Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chapter 76: Oona Opens The Gateway

Fri, December 4, 2074 1:06 pm: The Omar Matlapin Judiciary Building, Office of the Attorney General; Downtown, Pleasantview


There were moments in Oona's life where her anger heightened to such an extraordinary crescendo that she thought perhaps she could see it-- Faintly whispered primary shapes floating before her eyes and falling from sight like volcanic ash. This was one such moment.

Nearly 24 hours had passed since Jorge unknowingly broke the news that her work, her father's work, her father's father's work was in jeopardy. For three generations, her family had one basic duty to Kvornan Tricou. Like hell J.L. Tellerman was going to cultivate the Fiorello Vineyard.

Oona slammed the door shut behind her as she entered Horace's office. He declined to look away from his monitor even when she picked up one of his chairs and threw it against the back wall forcefully enough to chip the plaster.

"The land title! Who owns it?" It was as fitting of a hello as she thought that he deserved. Horace tossed his greasy black hair behind his ear.

"Isabella does. In fee special. I believe we have had this conversation once before. Surely you don't imagine that a half-hearted flirtation and an insinuated threat would stall the transfer of ownership?"


Horace wheeled his chair over to face her. An ugly sort of grin tugged at the corners of his lips, and it was so infuriating that Oona's right hand twitched for a weapon that she was not concealing. She struggled to keep her voice even.

"As the future heir to the Mortimer Goth estate, you have the right of compulsory seizure. Is this true?" Horace folded his hands one on top of the other.

"That is correct," he said.

"How much?"

"I beg your pardon?" Oona cracked her knuckles. She was small but she could still take out this skeezy son-of-bitch if he drove her to it.


"How much would we have to pay you to seize the land title?" Horace sat back in his chair. She had his attention now.

"You know, I fail to see what you and your father would be getting out of this transact--"

"How much, you shit-licking little weasel? Before I reach down your throat and punch your prostate out through your anus."

"That is physically impossible."

"How much?" Horace chuckled and for the first time, Oona thought that he might be scared. She leaned against his desk, close enough to yank him by the collar if she wanted to.

"You know, I am beginning to sense an air of desperation," he said. Despite his arrogance, he met her eyes weakly.

"I will not repeat myself again." Her voice was low, threatening. Horace gestured toward the only chair that remained upright.

"Dearest cousin, please have a seat." Oona said nothing but shifted her weight to grant her a faster reaction time for when she would surely strangle this man to death. Horace shook his head. "It isn't about the money, really. It's the politics of the thing. Ripping the land out from under my sweet little auntie in the midst of such a large business undertaking? It would be poor form to say the least."

"We are prepared to offer you three hundred thousand simoleons." Horace made a sound that was something between a laugh and a scoff.


"Four-Fifty," he countered. Oona gritted her teeth.

"Four-Fifty will cost you a thirty year lease."

"Thirty years?"

"You heard me, asshole." Horace seemed to contemplate her for a moment before shrugging.

"Fine. I will expect the market rental rate. Monthly. Adjustable for inflation. And you are not allowed to do anything to the property. No building anything larger than 800 square feet. No subletting. No cultivating. No commercial anything. And your father better not embarrass me on this one. The instant a corpse-sniffing dog finds any portion of the human anatomy on my family's property, your lease is void." He was only half-joking; more than that, he was daring her. He was looking her in the eye and declaring that by entering the arena on his terms, she was only opening the gateway to further dictates. In the long run, she would be at a disadvantage. What, for instance, was going to happen when the money ran out? Oona pushed her thoughts aside. What she needed most at this point was the buy time until a more permanent solution could arise.

"We reserve the right to occupy the land holding in the interest of natural preservation and 800 square feet sounds perfectly adequate to me." Horace perked up.

"I didn't know that Addison London was such a environmentalist."

"What can I say? Dad loves the cuddly little animals." Oona turned to leave without another word. Before she reached the doorknob, she could hear Horace wheeling his chair away from the desk.


"You know, I think I'm starting to like you," he called after her. Oona gripped the door knob.

"None of this ever happened. You are arresting production on the Fiorello Vineyard because you are deeply concerned about displacing the habitat of the silver-horned swamp toad. That last is not negotiable. If this deal ever gets out, I will personally send you home to your mother in pieces. Count on it."

Fri, October 16, 2074 10:53 pm: Mermaid's Cove Nightclub; Downtown, Pleasantview (about Six Weeks earlier)


"I won't pretend that I'm not surprised you asked me to meet you here." Horace's tone was brusque, and his one exposed eye was brimming over with reservations. That would never do. Oona chose him over his father because she thought that he might be more knowledgeable, if less pliable on the subject of certain family matters. But she had to make him comfortable, otherwise they were going to get nowhere tonight. She bit her lower lip and ran her fingertips along the edge of the glass candleholder in front of her.

"I'll get straight to the point. Earlier this evening, my father heard some interesting news from Jean-Luc Tellerman about his wife wishing to purchase the land in Arbormoor. I was under the impression that this was impossible under the terms of the estate." Horace cleared his throat, seemingly caught off guard.

"That is just about the last thing I expected you to say." Oona smiled for just an instant.

"I can be full of surprises," she said.

"So it would seem." Horace was looking her up and down. He pinched his bottom lip between his thumb and forefinger before scratching his shoulder through his jacket. "Though Isabella is not the next in line, she is still an heir to the body of Mortimer Goth. This means that any portion of the estate may be transferred to her in fee special. In another words, she hands my father a check, he hands over the land. Now tell me, what is your interest in several acres of fetid wetlands?" Oona placed her hands on her lap. She decided to ignore the question.


"My husband would like to place a bid on the land." Horace raised an eyebrow shrewdly.

"You mean Addison London wants to place a bid on the land." Oona rolled her eyes at him. He would get no points for cleverness. Horace took a sip of his cocktail. "Come now. If we are going to have a successful business relationship then it's best that we don't beat around the bush. You buy the asset with your daddy's money. Phoenix ends up with a muddy plot in his portfolio that he doesn't even know he has. And it has to be him because he is a resident, an heir to the body of Mortimer Goth and an outright pawn. Why you would go to those lengths to secure the shittiest acreage in Pleasantview, I don't know and the more I think about it, I don't want to know. Somehow I doubt that your father is looking to stick a grocery franchise there." Oona crossed her legs.

"How much is Isabella Tellerman offering?"

"That is between me, my father and our solicitors."

"Why?" Horace chuckled at the question.


"I'll admit," he said. "Shady little back room meetings that can only lead to Phoenix being imprisoned or whatever you have planned-- This is what happens when a man of birth marries a townie-born slut with a father of, let's say, questionable honor. But Phoenix is still a Goth and I will uphold my family's interests. I cannot discuss Isabella's offer with you because this conversation is over." Oona lowered her chin and smiled at him. There was something about this man with his prematurely creasing face, filthy black hair and imported cologne. It was going to be such a shame if she had to have him wasted before the Tellermans could break ground.


"I assume you know who you're dealing with, Mr. Goth." Horace lifted his sleeve and took a quick look at his watch before standing.

"Have a good night Ms. Horne, though I will expect to see you again."

"That you may." Horace sniffed at her disdainfully. The lines in the sand were drawn.



  1. I do believe I have just had an "A-ha!" moment :)

    Also, in her own crazy, loose cannon sort of way, Oona is awesome. I can see why she and Phoenix of the cereal and Saturday morning cartoons didn't work out--they're sooooo different. It would be interesting to see them in a post together, though.

    Not sure what to think of Horace just yet. He seems kind of slimy. Interesting, but slimy. I'm sure there's more to him than meets the eye, though.

  2. Oh absolutely Phoenix and Oona are different. I think Oona fell in love with him initially because they were so different and because he made her laugh (albeit unintentionally). He had the ability to tear down her defenses. Also, he was so exterior to this whole portion of her life. She could retreat to Phoenix and feel comforted in her retreat. Unfortunately, it was not destined to last.

    Horace is very cunning and very slimy. Just how caught up he is remains to be seen. Oona thinks that he is fairly in the dark but knows to be cautious of him. Horace suspects her on a couple of levels. It's an interesting dynamic because they are both following their convictions. (However, now that Oona and Phoenix are divorced and so long as Horace holds the land title, he is willing to make a bit of money off of all of this because how much harm could Oona and London do?)

    It didn't come up here but I wouldn't be surprised if later on, Horace has the fleeting notion that Addison had something to do with Kelly's death. Maybe Addison lined a few pockets and had the murder declared an accident. Who the hell knows? And now Oona has popped out of the woodwork, intent that no one should be sniffing around that particular plot of land. Horace doesn't know Oona but with what little he has seen of her, she is volatile. Not to mention the fact that she was willing to let Phoenix take the fall for who-knows-what. Maybe she really would protect her father from being arrested for her mother's murder.

    So in short, they both have their own, very good reasons to be wary of each other. On the other hand, I think they secretly respect one another just a wee bit.