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       Poison, p.7

           Adrienne Woods
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  Tears welled up in his eyes as I said that. I meant it, even though I’d promised my father not to pursue it, I’d find away to get his brother out of there if he was still alive.

  “Okay,” he smiled. “But I’m going to draw up a contract and everything. I don’t want you to think that I’m a cheat, you hear me. It’s going to be a normal business contract. How does thirty percent sound?”

  I bit my lips and smiled. “Thirty percent. Are you serious? I hope you’re going to let me work here too from time to time.”

  He laughed.

  “Elena you are a princess, they’d lock me up or something.”

  “By whose orders, mine?”

  We both laughed and he reached out his hand. “Deal.”

  “I’m glad we could do business together.” I giggled. “I’ve always wanted to say that.”

  He laughed too as we walked to the door. “Just give me your details and I’ll send the money tomorrow to your vault. This place needs a huge reopening. Go crazy.”

  He laughed again and this time it reached his eyes. “Okay, partner, whatever you say,” he said and gave me a hug. “Thank you, Elena.”

  “You are so welcome.”

  “Go, I’ll join you in a few minutes. I just want to lock up and get horribly drunk.”

  I laughed. “We got horribly drunk on my birthday, I doubt that we are the right crowd for that.”

  “At least one champagne glass. I finally have something to celebrate again.”

  “No, we have something to celebrate,” I said and went back to Becky and Sammy.

  “We’re going to leave, there’s like almost nothing.”

  “I know, and no we are not going to leave, Becky. We are going to celebrate because I just bought thirty percent of Longbottoms.”

  Both girls gasped. “Are you serious?” Becky shrieked.

  “It’s good to be a princess with a vault filled with money.” I fell backwards on one of the sofas.

  They looked at me with huge eyes and gaped.

  We sat down and I told them everything about what had happened to Jimmy. From tomorrow on, he was going to get everything back into place. Jimmy joined us with a huge bottle of bubbly and four glasses in his hand as I finished with the story.

  “You seriously just went into business with Elena?”

  “The girl’s nice and she gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so why not?”

  I giggled. “You have to say that now.”

  He popped the champagne bottle and poured us each a glass.

  “To Longbottoms finally reaching its full potential,” he said.

  “To Longbottoms!” we all cheered with our glasses and took a sip.

  E CELEBRATED WITH everything that was in Longbottoms’ fridge. There wasn’t much but we could make us each a sandwich. Jimmy put the music on full blast and we started to dance after we devoured them. He let loose, as Becky said, and around one we said goodbye.

  Tomorrow was going to be filled with a lot of things, item one was how to get two million pagoleons over to Jimmy’s vault.

  I hoped it wasn’t going to take too much time. Jimmy said he would meet me at the bank and then we could sign the contract afterwards.

  I slept like a baby that night without an arrogant dragon haunting me or a guy, the guy I really wanted.

  I woke up when my alarm screeched inside my ear and took a shower. I couldn’t stop smiling thinking that I now owned thirty percent of Longbottoms. It was going to be awesome, and I felt awesome helping someone with my new-found fortune, someone who desperately needed it.

  At nine, Jimmy’s car pulled up in front of the bank. I climbed out of Lucille’s Audi, which she let me borrow, with my hoody over my head, and greeted him.

  “Are you ready to give two million pagoleons away?”

  I laughed. “I’m not giving it away, it’s an investment.”

  He laughed. “Already thinking like a business woman.”

  I giggled and he opened the bank’s door for me.

  The woman sitting at the reception desk looked at me twice to see that it was me and ran over to greet us. “Princess, if you’d told us you were coming we could’ve opened the bank a bit later today.”

  “Nonsense. I’m only going to be a minute or so.”

  Jimmy suppressed a smile and burrowed his chin deep into the top of his chest.

  “I’ll get the manager then.” She walked back to the desk. “Please take a seat, it will only be a minute,” she said and we both sat down on a sofa.

  “A minute, you know they are going to ask you at least a million questions right?”

  I looked at them. “Well I don’t have a million minutes for this, so they’ll have to find another time to ask the million questions.”

  Bogart emerged from one of the doors and gave me two kisses on each cheek.

  “I didn’t know you were still here.”

  “Well, I decided to stay for a while, making sure your money is safe and secure.”

  I smiled. “Then you are not going to like what it is I have to ask you today. But I really need this to be taken care of.”

  He frowned. “Okay, let’s hear it in my office.”

  Jimmy stood up.

  “Before I forget, this is Jimmy Seymore. My new partner.”

  Bogart smiled. “Already opening businesses I see.”

  “It’s not what you think, your office,” I said as he shook Jimmy’s hand and introduced himself.

  I was glad Bogart was still here, at least I could negotiate with him into releasing two million pagoleons.

  We followed him into a small office and sat down.

  “How much are we talking about here, Elena?”

  I sat straight in my chair. “Now before you say anything, I’ve thought about this and nothing is going to change my mind. I want this for me and obviously for Longbottoms to survive.”

  “I thought it was about Longbottoms.”

  “I want it Bogart, please don’t make it hard for me.”

  He laughed. “Princess, it’s your money. You can do with it whatever you want. If this is what you want, all I need is the bank account to transfer it to.”

  “Really?” I said too chirpily and we both laughed.

  “Guess with royalty it does only take a couple of minutes,” Jimmy said as he handed a huge file to Bogart which I assumed had his bank details.

  Bogart typed on his computer, not asking one question. He apologized on behalf of everyone about me going through hell with the council but I waved it away.

  “So how much are we going to move over to Mr. Seymore’s account?”

  “Two million, please,” I said.

  Bogart hovered for a minute, then a smile sprawled over his face, and his fingers pressed the buttons again. “Are you sure, princess? Once I press this button it’s gone.”

  “It’s not gone, it’s in Longbottoms and Jimmy and I have a deal. So yes, press that button please so we can begin.”

  He laughed again.

  “Elena, are you sure about this?” Jimmy asked. “It’s a lot of money.”

  “I’m a hundred percent sure. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t have come to your office.” I looked at Bogart. “Press the button, please.”

  He pressed it. “It’s done. The money will be available in two days. That I can’t speed up, sorry.”

  “It’s fine.”

  “Will there be anything else? I see you haven’t made any huge withdrawals other than today. Have you thought about getting some property, things like that?”

  I shook my head. “I’m not ready for that yet, and I don’t need anything else, thanks Bogart.”

  “You are welcome, princess.”

  “Please, call me Elena.”

  Both men chuckled.

  “Sure will, Elena.” Bogart arched both his eyebrows and stood up.

  We mimicked him. Jimmy shook his hand and I gave him two kisses on the cheek again and we left.

  “My heart is beating so fast. Pinch
me,” Jimmy said and I giggled.

  “I’m not going to pinch you. My heart is beating crazy as well. I’m so excited for this new journey to begin.”

  “At least it’s not going to be a life threatening one.”

  I laughed. “Thank Heaven for that.”

  E SIGNED THE contract next and it was general stuff, as a lawyer explained. There was no fine print and it was straightforward just like Jimmy. It felt good to sign my name taking thirty percent ownership of Longbottoms.

  Afterwards we met Becky, Sammy and the whole crew with Isabel and Lucille for lunch to celebrate my new business.

  We laughed as Jimmy told the story of just a minute. “I’ve never had things so easy at the bank as you do,” he joked.

  “Perks, I guess.”

  “They’d really close the bank for you to go and do business?”

  “I don’t know, I guess,” I said.

  After lunch we said goodbye to Jimmy, who decided to take two days off, and keep Longbottoms closed.

  In two days, everything would start happening again. I’d never felt so alive and I was glad that my mother and father had left me something to help someone like Jimmy. Okay, it wasn’t something, it was plenty, more than I needed and I had to spend it wisely. Even if I hadn’t made that promise to my father ….I shouldn’t think about that.

  I wondered what the papers were going to say about all of this tomorrow morning. Urgh, I dreaded it, but something this big was bound to come out, if it hadn’t already.

  Still my dream that night was pleasant.

  E WENT TO Longbottoms every single day to help out where we could, but to be honest, I was more of a distraction than anything else, so I spent half of everyday in my office, it was so awesome to be able to say, and looked at resume’s for the kitchen chef. Longbottoms needed a good one, especially when we were going to start catering for huge functions and maybe it wasn’t a bad thing that my name would be associated with Longbottoms. Lots of business was going to come our way.

  I found two chefs who had a lot of experience. One was a Copper-Horn just like Dad and I made my choice. Copper-Horns just know how to present the most amazing food and I dialed his Cammy from Longbottoms’.

  An entire kitchen appeared and I heard a voice coming from a man wearing a huge chef’s hat. His back was turned to me, and staff squirreled around the kitchen as if they were preparing for a huge event.

  “Hi, it’s Elena here from Longbottoms, can I please speak to Jerry?”

  Everything stopped and the chef turned around. His eyes were huge, but he snapped out of it and quickly grabbed a cloth and wiped off his hands. “Princess, I really didn’t expect a call so soon, or one coming from you.”

  I giggled. “Well, here at Longbottoms we don’t waste people’s time, so can you come in for an interview in the next few days?”

  “I would be honored to, thank you.” He smiled.

  “Let’s say Thursday at nine.”

  “Thursday would be perfect. I’ll take the day off. Thank you again,” he said and we said goodbye.

  The kitchen with all its staff and stoves disappeared.

  “Look at you, arranging interviews and everything,” Becky said with a magazine in her hands as she plopped down on the chair in front of my desk.

  “What can I say?” I joked back.

  “Can we go or do you still have paperwork to do?”

  I giggled. “We can go, I’m sure Jimmy can handle everything. Besides I’m just a distraction,” I replied and got up.

  Inside, Longbottoms was a mess. Charles, who’d stuck with Jimmy through all of this was busy packing the fridge behind the bar with new stock that had arrived this morning. Jimmy had appointed a manager who was really hands-on. She’d created a system out of nothing, and said that the previous one was a mess.

  I really liked her. She was tall, beautiful, and loved to wear tank tops with jeans and slip-ons. Her raven black hair was tide up into a sloppy bun and the way she kept tugging on her hair, placing it behind her ear whenever she spoke to Jimmy made me think she was into him.

  Her name was Monique, and she was really in her element whenever she came to work. It was just the right person he needed for the job.

  She struggled to speak to me in the beginning, but after two days she’d warmed up to all three of us and babbled like she did with everyone else.

  I found Jimmy behind one of the booths with a lot of invoices in front of him. He looked up as I came near. “Jerry is going to come and see you at nine, on Thursday morning.”

  Becky and Sammy walked to the door.

  He smiled. “Thanks, Elena. Tell me, was he shocked that it was you?”

  “A little, but that’s a good thing.”

  “So, Jerry then, huh?” he asked as I walked away.

  “He’s a Copper-Horn, they’re good in kitchens.”

  He laughed again. “See you, Elena.”

  “Bye,” I said and met Sammy and Becky still waiting by the entrance.

  The flyers were going to arrive today, and the radio stations all had advertisements going that announced Longbottoms was in business again. Oh, and each and every time they mentioned my name.

  We refused to think about the bitch that’d stolen all of Longbottoms’ money and decided to look forward and make the best out of all of this.

  School was going to start soon, and Jimmy made sure that the opening would be the Friday before we had to go back to Dragonia.

  He was really an amazing person when it came to Longbottoms and the best person/dragon to run it.

  RIDAY CAME FASTER than we thought and everyone helped with the opening, even Sir Robert.

  The entire day Monique shouted orders at whoever and I found Jerry early on Friday morning preparing for tonight’s opening. He reminded me of Monique the first time she’d seen me. I guessed both of them didn’t think that I was actually going to be so involved, but I wanted to be. It helped me forget who I was and what was lying ahead of me.

  Jimmy had gotten five of Paegeia’s best D.J’s to play tonight. Three of them were actually dragons from the other side and never in a million years did I ever think that David Guetta was a dragon, and not just any dragon, a Fin-Tail.

  I guess he’d broken all the rules of becoming famous and just did it because of his love of music.

  How old he really was, well that was the question.

  Sir Robert helped with wiring up huge spotlight outside and people would see the light miles and miles away tonight.

  Lucille and Isabel helped Jimmy with whatever he needed and, after a while, Jerry, with feeding everyone after everything was working the way it should. At five we left to go get dressed.

  Tonight was going to be awesome and a great opening. If all of this wasn’t going to get Blake to come back, nothing would, and a small part of me was really starting to miss him too.

  HEN WE ARRIVED we couldn’t find parking anywhere. We’d left early as Becky suggested, but it wasn’t early enough. Cars poured out of the drive way and onto the street for another two blocks. I couldn’t stop laughing and couldn’t imagine what the inside must look like.

  “I don’t think that Longbottoms has ever been this full,” Sammy said.

  “Well, I can’t complain.”

  Isabel and Lucille laughed. She and Sammy had gotten ready at Lucille’s place and it was fun having all of them there.

  Becky, as always, looked stunning. She’d blown out her hair and chosen skinny jeans with a shoulder-cut top and leather jacket with high-heeled boots. Sammy went with tight black pants and flat boots, like me. I had to wear one of my designer jackets over dark blue jeans and a halter neck top. I needed to look like a princess/business woman and Lucille had tied up my hair and done my make up again.

  Lucille drove around the block and dropped us off at Longbottoms’ entrance. When one of the parking lot guys saw us, he waved like crazy to get our attention and showed with his arms and hands that there was parking reserved for us.

  What can I say, it’s good to be the boss of an awesome club.

  Inside was a mess, and flashes overpowered me. This time I smiled and answered questions as best I could until Monique took my hand and told the press that I was needed.

  “Thank you,” I said.

  “Oh, Jimmy gave all of us the run-down on what it was going to be like when you walked in here.” I laughed as she led me and all of us to the VIP room.

  It was packed with the old crowd. Blaze and her friends were also there and she gave me two kisses on the cheek just like last time. I didn’t even go to the opening of this year’s warbel games as we were too busy getting everything ready.

  “What are you doing here?” I asked her as Sammy’s eyes grew right next to me. “Aren’t you supposed to be training?”

  “We took tonight off to celebrate the opening. Jimmy really had a bad break and you are my favorite princess for helping him out,” she said in her slightly European accent.

  “Well, it’s my pleasure.”

  She laughed.

  “Before I forget, please meet Sammy. She is a huge fan, and she’s that stupid idiotic dragon of mine’s sister.”

  She gave me a sad look. “Still no word from him?”

  I shook my head. “He’s still pissed off because I kicked his ass.”

  She laughed. “Give him time. He’ll come to his senses,” she said and looked at Sammy. “Hi, I’m Blaze, nice to meet you.”

  “I know who you are.” She grabbed Blaze around her neck and we just laughed at Blaze’s stiff posture.

  “You sure don’t waste any time. Quite the opposite of your brother.”

  We all just laughed.

  A waiter came around with cocktails on a tray and handed me, Becky, Sammy and Blaze one. I gestured for him to write it on a tab in the air and he nodded. I didn’t know all their names yet, but I was sure I would in the next couple of days. We sat on one of the sofas next to Blaze and started talking.

  When the first DJ started we all danced right there in the VIP room.

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