The Favor

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 2

Jessica snapped up Max’s offer to drive into the city with her. Traffic in Carrol Gardens wasn’t heavy but getting to the neighborhood was tricky. Usually she didn’t mind driving, but she had been on edge since she received Kathryn’s note. At the last minute, her mom decided to drive in with them. To Jessica’s relief, when they arrived at their destination, there were no people milling around the outside of the building, and a security guard was nowhere in sight. Once inside, Jessica began to relax.

Max let out a low whistle when they entered the condo. “I understand why you had doubts about the legitimacy of Kathryn’s request, Jess. Nobody, but nobody throws this kind of money into a landfill.”

“The furnishings are more elegant than I remembered. It would be insanity to discard the furniture when there are people out there who would adore owning just one piece of fine furniture.”

“Let’s do a quick walk through and then we’ll discuss our options.”

Helen sighed. “I don’t think I should tool around on this carpet. It must be two inches deep. I might get stuck.”

Max swung her up in his arms. “Well, darlin’, I’ll give you a quick tour.”

Jessica collapsed the wheelchair. “You two go ahead, I’ll join you after I put Mom’s chair in the kitchen.” When she turned to leave the kitchen, she noticed an envelope and note on the kitchen island. The note was from Kathryn. She skimmed it, then joined Max and her mom.

After she and her mom oohed and aahed over the gorgeous linens and drapes in the bedrooms, and the size of the shower, they headed back to the kitchen to brainstorm. Max settled Helen in her wheelchair, and then checked the cabinets and the refrigerator. “The condo reminds me of a TV set or set for a movie. It’s all surface. The refrigerator is not plugged in, and the stove looks new. There is a bottle of wine and a can of coffee in the cabinet, but not the normal food staples you expect to find in a home or apartment. Your friend Kathryn might have spent an occasional night here, but it is unlikely it was her main residence.”

“If that’s the case, what kind of setup is this, Max. When I visited her, I came here. I thought the condo was a little sterile, but I wasn’t looking for anomalies. Today, I spotted one. The clothes in the closet aren’t hers.”

Her mom asked, “How can you be sure? You haven’t seen her in years.”

“The clothes are petites, Mom. Kathryn doesn’t wear petites.”

Helen shivered. “Something very strange is going on.”

“She left a note on the island, Max. Did you read it?”

He nodded.

Jessica whispered, “Did I hear the front door opening?”

An irate voice demanded, “Who’s here? Show yourself?”

Without hesitation, Max strode quickly toward the kitchen door. He met a burly man toe to toe as the man entered the kitchen. The man growled, “What the hell are you people doing in my condo?”

Startled, Jessica froze. Max remained calm. “We’re here at the request of Kathryn Olson.”

“The devil you say. How did you get in?”

Jessica held up the condo key. “My name is Jessica Newman. I received a note from Kathryn Olson last week. She was on her way out of town and needed a favor. She asked me to make arrangements to have her furniture moved. My mother Helen, and her friend Max Albrecht, drove into the city with me to take stock. It didn’t make sense to hire a mover until I could give the company some basic information.”

“Dammit. Where the hell is Kat?”

Max demanded, “Who are you, and why do you ask?”

The man frowned. “Not that it is your business, but I’m her boss.”

Jessica asked, “Is your name by chance Wayne Springer?”

“Yeah. It is.”

“There is an envelope on the island that Kathryn left for you. There is also a note she left for me. Before you make new accusations, you should read both.”

Springer snatched up the envelope with his name on it and ripped it open. His face turned beet red. He glared at Jessica and asked, “How soon can you have the condo emptied?”

Jessica held his gaze, and her voice remained civil. “Will the end of next week be soon enough?”

He attempted to hide his shaking hands, but it was evident Kathryn’s words had deeply affected him. “If it’s not out by Saturday the locks will be changed, and a security guard posted.”

“Is anything yours besides the kitchen appliances?”

“Every damn piece of furniture in the place is mine, but she’s welcome to it. Where the hell is it being shipped?”

“A storage facility. I haven’t talked to Kathryn in six months, Mr. Springer, so I have no idea why she left or why she didn’t personally hire a mover. What I do know is that she checked out of here about two weeks ago. If you are just realizing she’s gone, you are not much of an employer or friend.”

He looked ready to throw a punch. “When you see her, tell the bitch she would be wise not to return to New York.”

Max took a step closer to Springer. “Is that a threat, Mr. Springer?”

“Take it any way you like.”

“Then, let me issue a promise of my own. If you hurt Katharine, you will answer to me. If I need back-up, I have friends in law enforcement.”

Springer turned and stalked out of the condo.

“Damn.” Max said. “What on earth did that woman get herself into?”

Helen slid her smartphone over to Jessica. “Trouble. Information on Springer wasn’t difficult to locate.”

Jessica skimmed the short article, then turned to Max. “His club was raided three weeks ago. I guess that explains why he hasn’t checked on Kathryn.” She handed her mom’s phone to him.

Max frowned as he read the article. “The article states Springer wasn’t charged. It’s possible his place of business is legitimate, but it is also possible he has the police in his pocket. Either way, it’s not the kind atmosphere I would want my daughter to work in. I have a hunch that every piece of furniture in this condo will be a bitter reminder to Kathryn about the years she’s been in New York. Burned out probably means she’s made an enemy here in New York.”

Jessica murmured, “I hope you are wrong, but there’s definitely something shady about this setup. I’m beginning to think she chose me to carry out her wishes because I am the only person she trusts.”

Her mom said, “That’s plausible. What do you think she would have you do with her valuables?”

“She mentioned Good Will, so she didn’t rule out giving it to someone in need. If I sell the furniture and give the proceeds to her parents, I could honestly tell her that I gave the proceeds to a needy couple.”

Her mom chuckled. “They no longer need financial help, but they could bank the proceeds. There might come a time when Kathryn needs the money.

“So, what about a mover? Do you think a large moving company will be able to work in a move as soon as next week?”

Max solved the issue. “My friend Rob and I can rent a U-Haul and move her furniture.”

Jessica shook her head. “Max, are you sure you want to be dragged into a situation that could turn ugly?”

“I offered, Jessica. If you think I’m going to let you and Helen face this alone, you’re mistaken. She’s my best girl and you run a close second.”

“If you put it that way . . . I keep telling Mom if she doesn’t snap you up that I’m going to make a play for you.”

His laugh was gruff. “I’m happy to hear you approve, because if she doesn’t say yes soon, I’m going to kidnap her and take her to a justice of the peace.”

“I’m in the room folks! My legs might not work, but my ears do. When are we going to eat? I’m starved.”

Jessica grinned. “What about now? There is a deli at the corner of Broad and Sullivan. We can grab a bite, and then come back here to get some packing done. If we leave by six, we can get home before dark.”

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.