This is what the end of the road looks like, he thought as he pushed the door open and stepped into the small motel room. There was a time he would have turned his nose up at a place like this, a time he would have considered the men and women he passed on his way to the room to be sad degenerates. Now, he simply looked at them and wondered when it had changed for them, what had happened in their life, who had given up on them, or had they just given up on themselves?
The room smelled–a mix of stale cigarette smoke and age, but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t here for long…just long enough to get the plan in place. He pulled out the folder and opened it as he sat at the small table in the corner. The articles spanned years. Nicholas Newman stood with his arm around her waist, a happy moment frozen in time. Their marriage may have ended, but the two were still close. They shared a daughter–a bond.
Phyllis Newman wasted little time moving on to another powerful family, soon becoming betrothed to Jack Abbott and subsequently marrying him. Phyllis’ life had clearly been an interesting one and he almost regretted not having had more time to spend reading up on her sordid past. In this case, the highlights would have to do. The recent tabloid fodder centered around her torrid affair with Billy Abbott…aka loaded Abbott brother number two. Scuttlebutt was Billy boy was still crazy in love with her. That could mean only good things for him.
Curtis leaned back a bit, holding the press photo of Phyllis in his hand and staring at it for a moment. His marriage was over and he knew it. He’d lost Lise years ago before Luke had ever been diagnosed. In fact, he was certain the papers would have been filed by now had it not been for the sheer insanity of the past year. He was losing his wife…he couldn’t lose his son.
He pulled out the rest of the papers, stacks of medical bills, numbers that blurred together on page after page and immediately overwhelmed him. One woman, three men, two powerful, rich families. This had to work. He would make it work.
Some would say he had nothing to lose, but in truth–he had everything.
Phyllis glanced at the clock. It was almost midnight. Who would drop by this late? Her heart beat a little faster as she realized Summer was out of town. She hadn’t heard from her tonight…what if…
She pulled the robe tight around her, walking quickly to the door, her breath already tight in her chest. “Who is it?” She called her hand gripping the handle.
“Uh..it’s Curtis…Curtis Fielding.” He paused, looking around the hallway. “Listen, I know it’s late and I apologize for intruding, I really do. It’s just–I need to speak to someone about something and I’m just not sure who I can trust…”
Phyllis stood at the door, her face pressed close. There had been something in his eyes during their last meeting, something that intrigued her, that fascinated her. He seemed torn, distracted, unsure. She’d mentioned it to Jack when she’d brought in the briefcase–that she wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue. And now here he was…at her door, asking her for a place of confidence. It was late and she was here alone. Everything screamed that this was a bad idea and yet there was something about him. The eyes? The jawline? The crooked smile? The voice? Maybe everything combined.
She took a step back and slowly pulled open the door.
Curtis hesitated, almost surprised she’d agreed so quickly. He almost felt guilty for punishing someone so trusting, so willing to give him an opportunity to explain, but he had no time for sympathy. It had been her carelessness that had cost him the job with Jack. It had been her that had shown her hand to Abby–she had caused him to lose the job at Newman. The job that came with the paycheck and the insurance–the insurance that at least covered some of Luke’s medical expenses.
That was what he had to focus on…he had to think about his little boy and how angry he was that he was going through this hell. When he thought of him, it was easy to lash out, to want to hurt people, to want to hurt anyone–even someone that didn’t necessarily deserve it.
“You said you needed to talk about something?” Phyllis finally spoke when the silence in the room became unnerving.
Curtis looked up, startled by the sound of her voice. “Yes. Yeah, I did. I don’t know what you might have heard, but…”
“I heard that you told Victor you were giving information to Jack and me.”
“I know how that must sound, but you need to understand…he already knew.”
“He couldn’t have known. Nobody knew.”
“He did. Apparently someone followed you to the club the other day, saw our exchange, and reported right back to the big boss.”
Phyllis eyed him suspiciously.”And I’m supposed to believe that because you say so? Because your word is suddenly golden?” She paused, her green eyes flashing at him, “we are only connected because you double crossed your boss to make a quick buck. You put your greed over your loyalty…”
“You don’t know anything about me.” The deep sexy voice that had once been alluring was suddenly ominous and vaguely threatening.
“I know that you didn’t think very much about the wife and son you wouldn’t be able to support when you lost your cushy job at Newman. What is it Curtis? You got a gambling problem…or another little problem you’re trying to pay to go away?”
“You need to stop making these snap judgments, Phyllis. People will get the wrong idea about you.” He patted his pocket lightly, confirming it was there, the feel of the cool metal sending a wave of adrenaline through his body.
“Now it’s my turn,” she said smugly, “you don’t know anything about me either.”
It was as elegant and fluid as he’d hoped it would be and the look in her eyes was the perfect mix of shock and terror. He knew that feeling all too well and now, knowing someone else felt it too, it somehow made him feel less alone. He pointed the gun at her, his smile broadening.
“You’re right. I don’t know you, but we’ve got plenty of time to take care of that.”