I got to tell you, Lydia looked a hell of a lot better in the grunge style, than I do. Sean/Jack was at a place where he could take a break. That being the case, I forced her to dress in the clothes I bought for her. She looked almost gorgeous even in the baggy jeans and baggy football jersey. They did hide her glamorous side, but she still had that natural beauty coming through. I couldn’t disguise that.
Even so, she was going to be hard to recognize without some serious concentration. That had always been the best for which I could hope. Someone sitting across from her in a restaurant staring at her for an hour might guess. If she were to bump into an old friend, they might recognize her. I doubted that if she walked into a convenience store with dark glass and a knit cap, any one would recognize her. Odds were good that no one else would recognize her from the TV show anyway, but especially not looking as she did when Sean pronounced her complete.
“Now Sean, do I need to warn you that her life might depend on you keeping your mouth shut. I have never lost a client and if I anything happens to Lydia I would be very, very upset,” I informed him.
“Maxine, I’m prissy, not stupid,” he informed me in his gentle voice. He also had a very serious look on his face.
“Fair enough we will never have this conversation again,” I said it and it cut two ways. There would be no further warnings and I expected him not to need any reminders.
“There will be no need, I get that you are a bad ass bitch. You are just the kind of woman that we all just love,” he said with a grin.
My smart phone chirped. I needed to get some kind of cool ring tone on it again, but I didn’t dare give it to anyone else to add one. I could easily figure out how to do it myself, I just hadn’t decided what to put on it. Mostly in the end of my old life, Lucas had been choosing the ring tone for me. I thought maybe I should run down the old magnificent seven theme again.
“Hello,” I said into the phone. There was no name on the screen to go with the number.
“Maxine what the fuck are you doing. I have been getting calls for the last few hours,” my old friend Blevins said to me.
“Calls about what?” I asked.
“About Judge Timmons,” he replied.
“Oh and who is calling you,” I asked. I knew damn well that the brotherhood of the badge had spread the word. I just didn’t know what side they came down on.
“Cops, lots of cops,” he replied. Then he added, “The judge is one of the good guys. They just find this impossible to believe. If they don’t believe it, you should go forward carefully. You don’t want to come down on the wrong side of this thing. Oh course I’m not telling you what to do.”
“Blevins, my job is to keep her alive. All the rest is between her and Jennifer.” I said.
“I get that, but this is a team sport. You are on our team or their team. It’s like a basketball league, there are different teams, but it is always our team or the other team,” he said.
“So, you know I’m not playing for the junkies, or the dealers, so what team do they think I’m on?” I asked.
“Like, maybe the turncoats,” he said almost light heartedly.
“Thanks for the warning, I’ll be careful,” I suggested.
“Do more than that Maxine, take a look at her story,” he suggested.
“Fair enough, when you going to join our team?” I asked.
“You have my number, at least you do now,” he said with a click.
If Blevins sent me a warning, I had better pay attention. He was my friend, but first of all Blevins was a cop with a cop’s instincts. “Sylvia take Sean home will you?” I asked.
“Sure,” She didn’t even question why she wasn’t taking Jerrod and Lydia as well.
“So Lydia lets talk,” I said after they had gone. There was a definite change in her demeanor after I said it. “If you don’t want to talk to me, I can dig it. I can try to keep you alive, even if I know absolutely nothing about the threat. But any person in real danger would be peeing in their panties to help prepare for it. Information is the key to keeping you safe.” I said that and then shut the fuck up. I just waited and looked at her questioningly.
“Alright, what do you need to know?” she asked.
“Why isn’t Harold willing to let you just leave. We have now made this a matter of public record. If anything happens to you, he knows they will come looking at him. I expect him to just back off, unless you know more he is afraid that you will leak when it gets really nasty. If there is something you better tell me. At least tell me enough so that I have some idea how far he is willing to go.” I trusted Blevins’ instincts, but I trusted the look of Lydia injuries just as much. If she was faking it, she had gone to a lot of trouble, so there had to be some big payoff for her.
“Harold has managed to accumulate quite an estate. Some of it was tips from grateful clients, when he was a lawyer. Some of it came from his wife’s insurance after her death. Some has been from tips from grateful lawyers, since he became a judge. There are records of those transactions. No smoking guns, but I know which stock purchases were from lawyer tips, probably using lawyer money. Stock brokers don’t really care whose name is on the check as long as it is good.”
“Let me get this right, you are saying Harold was getting rich fixing cases?” I asked.
“I’m not sure he let any guilty men go free for money. I once overheard him say that would be just plain stupid. However when his rulings were close, and might have gone either way, they would likely be more favorable for lawyers who gave him stock tips. Especially those accompanied by stock certificates, I think.” she said.
“So, if you knew which stocks were from his lawyer friends, someone could trace them back to the lawyer and case. That would put the good judge in a box for sure?” I asked.
“I am sure he is afraid of that yes,” she said.
What she hadn’t said was just as important and cast doubt on her whole story. I would bet my ass that, since she was a trophy wife, there had been a pre-nup. She might just challenge it with Jen saying that a pre-nup was not a license to physically abuse your wife. She was entitled to half of everything. If the settlement offer wasn’t good enough Lydia would demand half of the assets, even those that the judge didn’t want to ever see the light of day. It was an eloquent scam, if it was a scam.
All that didn’t make a bit of different, it was still my job to keep her alive. I might fuck up her scam, but I still needed to be sure she lived to pay her bill, for Jenn and me, if no other reason.
I sent Jerrod and Lydia, who was dressed like me, total grunge, to the pasta pit for take out pizza. Lydia needed to get out, but I’m not so sure she was comfortable dressed as just an ordinary woman, but we will see, I thought.
“I’ll bring the bike by and pick up the truck,” I informed Jerrod. “If there is anywhere she wants you to take her, call me, I want to know. I am pretty high profile, so they might be watching me, but it is hard to follow a bicycle with a car without begin seen. In other words there is no telling what time I will get out to pick up my truck. So be very careful, just in case they pick up the truck and follow you.” I said.
“Got it boss. I go to the restaurant for take out just to shake them off me just in case they follow me from here,” Jerrod said.
“Yes and be very careful before you go to the Bluebird house,” I said.
“Do you have the pictures yet?” he asked changing the subject.
“I really have not had time to check, but I will right now before you leave.” I turned on the laptop and checked. “I have an email from Kate with attachments. I will check it out and forward the pictures while you are picking up food,” I said it intending to do just that.
I would have to, if Jennifer hadn’t called. “Well the shit has hit the fan now. I have been getting calls from the Judge’s lawyer for the last hour.”
“I know you love that,” I said sarcastically. “Were there threats made?”
“Of course there were. They were subtle, and veiled, but they were still threats just the same.”
“So do you want to stay at my place?” I asked.
“Maxine why the fuck do you think I over paid for a penthouse condo in a three story building, some penthouse. I have a Russian cop and his ex FBI agent girlfriend living beneath me. I have a social spy and his girlfriend who packs heat, when she goes for a walk at the mall. Plus I have a shotgun derringer that will most likely break my wrist, if I use it. Honey I am pretty well protected. I will just have my dates meet me at the Cloak and Dagger until this is settled.”
“So, do you really think he is dirty?” I asked.
“Maxine, I honestly do not have a clue. I never heard anything, but Lydia tells a very plausible story. If he doesn’t go along quietly, she can ruin him. Probably even if he is as clean as that bald dude in the tee shirt in the commercials,” she said.
“And you are alright with that?” I asked.
“If I find out she is fucking with me, I will hang her beautiful ass out to cure in the sun. I won’t ask, but if someone hands me the evidence, I will dump her ass faster than a guy with body odor,” she said.
“Fair enough,” I agreed. I knew what I had to do. I needed to know if the judge was dirty. For that I needed a world class computer researcher. Peter was my go to guy for that kind of thing. I couldn’t afford bullrider for something so simple.
I dialed Peter’s number on my smart phone. I had a feeling that my phone from the farm would be pretty hard for the local private eye’s to hack and the cops better not be trying to trace my calls. Jennifer would be all over them and love every minutes of it.
“Peter, I need you to do some research for me again,” I suggested.
“Have you seen your comic book on line?” he asked.
“No I haven’t really come across it yet and I have been a little busy. To busy to go looking for it. Send a link in an email and I’ll check it out,” I suggested. “In the meantime would you look at the ‘easy to find’ records for a Judge Harold Timmons, and his wife Lydia as well.”
“Sure no problem. I can have it for you in a few hours,” he said.
“Don’t rush, tomorrow is fine.,” I said. “I got to go Peter, someone is at the door.” It was a lie. I just wanted to end the conversation.
I had promised Jarrod the pictures, so I opened the email from Kate. It read simply, petty rough looking, and the owner said no to your 80k offer. They are firm on 125k.” The email was strictly business and I appreciated it.
I decided to send the email on to Jerrod, along with my suggestion that we pass on the property. I also suggested we put Kate back to work on finding us a place.