Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sessions Chapter 35 - If Looks Could Kill
Sandy Point - The Rusty Pelican
Slim watched the two of them, Gemma sitting at the table arms folded, slender legs crossed, and her body language screaming. She toyed nervously at the long strands of her jet black hair while Coop sat at the opposite side glaring, arms casually folded and legs stretched out. He steadily tapped the toe of his heavy boot against the chair leg, aggravated and on edge.
Focusing on her, Slim got into it. "I'm going to cut to the chase. We aren't giving you a blank check. Name your terms. What's the price for you to keep your mouth shut?"
Gemma turned her eyes on Cooper. Her mouth was tight and her words clipped. "You raped me."
Cooper laughed, a long mirthless denial. "That's bullshit! You were right there with me!"
"You walked into my house uninvited, ripped my clothes, carried me upstairs and threw me down. Are you going to tell me it happened some other way? You were brutal. That's rape!"
"I didn't hear one word of complaint from you. No one will believe I took you by force. Not that first time, not the second..."
"That's enough!" Slim shifted his eyes back on her after throwing a look of warning at Cooper. "You go to the cops? File a complaint? You're here so tell me what you want?"
Smug, Gemma replied, "I want a contract for Brew...for Jimmy. Long term."
Rising from the table, Coop snorted derisively and walked away. "No way. We aren't buying that trouble."
"Coop, sit down." Trying to bring things back to business Slim played his hand. "You know Jimmy's a risk. I don't care what you've got on Coop, if..." pausing for dramatic effect, "...if we consider it there will be stipulations in the contract. And this will not be an open ticket. One contract with Hitman. That's all it will take for you to market your...talent."
"I have as much to lose here as Cooper does. There will always be doubts about how I got a contract as a green agent. I want it long term...and I want him to admit he raped me so there is no question in this room what went down. And I want to see it...the contract."
Slim leaned in resting his large hands on the table in front of her and growled, "I don't give a damn what you want or what you have to lose. Shut up, sit there and listen to me. Nobody's admitting anything. We draw up a contract for Jimmy Breaux, but it's our terms. He blows it, that's it. You get whatever the hell you think you're getting out of this, and you shut the hell up and go away.
"Coop doesn't want you near his kids. You leave them alone. You don't say a thing about what went down between the two of you, you stay away from his wife, you stay away from the media. And lady, if you think you're coming back and asking for more, you don't know me. I'll ruin your ass. You know I can do it. Now get out of here."
Gemma finally stood. "Threaten me all you want. He forced himself on me, you know he did; I can see it in your face that you're wondering. As for his kids...Wyatt is Julia's son. If he wants to see me I am not going to discourage it and you will not stop me." Turning, head held arrogantly in the air, she left them.
After a long moment Slim drew a deep breath and exhaled. "Coop...man this is bad. Keeping it from Beth, you're going to have a hell of a time pulling that off, and the woman is out for blood. Anything to her claim you raped her?"
Pacing, shoving the chair aside, every move on edge, his voice hard, Cooper came back at him. "No, come on Slim, you know I didn't rape her. I wasn't gentle but I didn't rape the bitch. Can we knock this contract out? I want to get it over there, get the damned thing signed, and go meet Beth; I can’t fuck that up. And Slim, thanks."
Sandy Point, 10 Big Tree Road: 4 PM
"A year." Jimmy read slowly, working his way through the 20 pages of small type, slowly slowly reading it. He read so slowly. Rayne bit her lip and kept quiet while he read and read and used his finger to keep his place while he read. Glancing up across the table at Cooper, he asked dryly, "How many clauses you throwing at me? Am I gonna need to get a hall pass to hit the john?"
Cooper sat there in the dim rainy afternoon light, his face cold, shadowed. "Show up and do your job. You get one chance. One."
They'd had less than an hour to react to the phone call from her father: he was bringing over a contract. Nothing more than that. No explanation. No conversation. Jimmy looked wary and stunned. Cooper looked exhausted. They didn't say much to each other even across the table. Without asking, Rayne pulled the contract across the table, taking it from Jimmy, flipping through it, then looking up at her father. Jimmy knew she was going to do this, they'd had enough time to cover that much even if she hadn't told him what she was looking for. "Gemma Wilson gets a percentage."
Jimmy sat in the chair facing the window. It was the chair with the short leg, and he was struggling with it, rocking back, leaning forward, nervous, smoking. She'd surprised him with that question; he slid his eyes toward her, then stared silently down the length of his cigarette, letting her take it and go with it. For now anyway.
Cooper shoved his hair back, a quick and irritable gesture. For someone bringing such a gift, he didn't seem happy about it. "She's his agent, Rayne. He signed a contact."
Of course he had. Tightening her hands around the rough bottom of the chair, wondering how far she could push this, Rayne asked, "What if he fires her? Would you resubmit the offer?"
Cooper hesitated. The room was full of silence and the steady drip drip of water leaking through the hole in the gutter outside the window. He turned to Jimmy. "You can anticipate legal problems if you try that."
"There's a waiting period," Rayne pressed, annoyed and alarmed. Cooper kept hammering at Jimmy, pushing on the weak link, avoiding her. This contract wasn't about Jimmy. It was about Gemma. The room felt cold; she needed a sweater, she needed a coat, she needed a fire. She needed an answer. She turned sideways on the chair and raised her voice. "After that expires, would you resubmit the offer? It's a simple question, Dad."
"I'm here now. I'm not guaranteeing another offer in three months." He shot a narrow eyed look over the table at Jimmy, who was still rocking back in his chair and still silent. "It's your decision," he pointed out, "not Rayne's. It's your chance. Take it or leave it and do it now."
She had her answer, and she was surprised how much it hurt. She got up, pushed the chair out of her way, pushing it hard banging it against the table, announcing, "Excuse me, I need some air. It stinks in here."
Jimmy let her go. Screen door slapping shut, she was standing out there in the rain, leaving him to sit here with Cooper. Cooper watched her go out there but he didn't get up or say a damned thing. Rennie probably got it right about him and Gemma. He rocked back on the chair, unnerved, lit another smoke, he didn't want to lose this chance, insult the man, make a wrong move, going out to talk to Ren might be a wrong move. What was worse? Losing the contract or losing his girl? He stood up, dropped the butt in the ashtray, hands shaking, refusing to make that choice, he said, "Gimme a minute."
Standing on the far side of the front porch, staring out at wet trees and wet boats, Rayne didn't move when Jimmy came up, planted himself between Rayne and the kitchen window, and asked quietly, "You gonna tell me what's wrong?"
She kicked the wet rail and leaned on it harder and didn't look at him. "You're her present. He can't stand you. There's only one reason he'd do this, and it's for her. Don't do it, Toad. Don't start out like this."
The kitchen window was open. Whatever they said, Cooper could hear it. Jimmy leaned over the porch rail next to her and whispered, "Rennie, sweetheart, that's the way it works. Me, I don't give a damn if I'm hanging on a chain around her neck, his present, it's still a contract. You don't get Cooper Stanfield driving up and giving you a contract, nobody gets that. If I got to use his girl on the side to get us a start, I'm doing it. You gonna work with me?"
Rayne, all wet and angry, looked past him through the kitchen window at her father, and pushed him aside and stood stuck between him and his arm across the steps down since he didn't want her to go what the fuck was this about? Making him give it up for some piece of ass Cooper took down? You get one shot, one big chance, you can't don't choke on it. Didn't make sense, no sense at all, he tried to think of something to say when she hit him again.
"Work with you to do what? Use my father's whore to get what you want? You may as well fuck her yourself. I grew up with this, I know all about how it works. You want it, take it, but it's going to come back at you, Toad, and it pisses me off. I have to go, I can't be here right now, I need to get out of here."
He heard the back door squeak open. Rayne hurried down the steps toward her car. Through that open window, he saw that contract fluttering on the table. He went in, walked past it, walked past his Fender, walked out the back where Cooper was leaning against a porch column that might fall any damned minute now. The whole place was falling down. Never was gonna be another chance like this, not like this. Cooper didn't say a thing. "I'll sign it," Jimmy told him. "Gimme a pen and I'll sign it."
NEXT CHAPTER: Chameleon Chapter 9
at 8:07 AM