Silly Games

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Part Forty

Adam looked at the dossier of information that had been collated by Marcus, using various investigators and agencies; it was the more recent pages from a contact in LAPD that had worried him the previous day. A known 'for hire' wastrel from the wrong side of town was seen near the warehouse prior to the fire. Adam hated that the only person who he thought could and would pay someone to damage his business was Stafford. Did he hate his son that much? Adam sighed and placed her fingers over his eyes. If his conclusions were correct, then how would Laura cope with that?

He heard the door to his office open from behind his closed eyelids, and slowly opened his eyes to see Marcus leaning against the doorframe. They'd been roommates in college, and firm friends ever since, when he became an established lawyer, Adam was in the throes of creating his business and needed his help and guidance, it had proved to be his greatest move, Marcus was the best ally any one could ask for in the cutthroat world of business.

"You look like you've lost a million!"

Adam gave a half laugh, "feels that way." He gestured to the seat opposite him, and waited while Marcus sat. "I think I know who might have paid off Troy Parkin."

Marcus's eyes widened, "really? And you haven't told the police?"

Adam shook his head, "no. I...er...I fell out with my father. My REAL father. When I was back in London. I wonder whether he might..."

Marcus leaned forward, hands on the desk, "you think your father may have destroyed a huge part of your business? Really? What the hell have you done to cause THAT much anger?"

Closing his eyes he took a deep breath, Laura had been right that people would make a lot of assumptions when they learned of the closeness of their family ties. Opening his eyes he tried a smile, "Laura, she's my father's adopted daughter, and he isn't happy at the thought that we're more than siblings."

Marcus's eyes were wide as he stared at his oldest friend, "well, well, well. Are you that bad a prospect that he'd do this?"

Adam shrugged, "he told me I wasn't good enough, told me to keep away from her, but she's followed me here. I can't think of anyone else who would have paid someone to try and destroy me. Can you? And he's hardly going to make it to the LAPD radar. At least not unless a concrete link appears."

Marcus shook his head slowly, "no, but I'm hoping with everything I have that it wasn't your pop, because otherwise you'll be asking this woman to choose."

This was no new train of thought for Adam, he couldn't think about it, not in any real depth. All he could remember was the kiss she'd given him as he'd left for work, her lips tasting of coffee, her body wrapped in just a satin robe pressed against him. He was rock hard in seconds. And just a slight memory caused that to happen again. The one thing he knew was that he was happy to play it all her way, but to do that, he had to share his fears. Not something he was looking forward to.

"Do we know where the police are in tracing the money transfer?"

It was his only lifeline, that the police would uncover someone other than his father to explain the arson. But everything was on a go slow. He wanted to walk into the house and to Laura with the relief of knowing it wasn't Stafford Marshall, but as the hours ticked by, he was running out of time.

Laura pushed the cart up and down the aisle of the supermarket wondering at the different products that filled the shelves. She had a new desire in life, and that was to provide meals for Adam, it was her way of displaying her love for him without uttering the words. She'd gathered numerous items but was still looking for inspiration for the evening. Then she passed the fresh fish counter and saw the biggest and most succulent looking king prawns, and ordered them eight each. She knew a great recipe for Thai prawns. Her mouth was watering at the thought.

Then she thought of feeding them to Adam, his lips sucking the juices from her fingers and it was more than just her taste buds that were set alight. Shaking her head she couldn't lose the grin, but she ignored the looks of curiosity from the elderly women buying milk, instead she skipped towards the check out with a spring in her step.

As she was loading her grocery bags into the car, her phone rang, and looking at the display she saw it was Adam. Smiling she connected, "Why hello?"

"You're sounding happy!"

She knew she was giggling like a school girl, but she couldn't resist. "Well the sun is shining; I'm buying food to spoil you with and having interesting thoughts about how we spend time après dinner!"

Adam dropped his head to the steering wheel and managed to hide his groan. When he'd realised Laura's car wasn't outside the house, he'd wished he'd called in advance, but in truth he was thinking his courage might desert him on the journey from his office to the house. He had one question for her, and that what he was thinking. But now that she was happy, shopping and planning a night of no doubt earth shattering passion, he had no idea how to go on.

"Sounds...bliss!"

Her chuckle was like a bolt of heat to the groin, the thought of what she intended was starting to sway his own agenda once again. Then her words only muddied the waters further, "planning to make you Thai prawns, just wondering how they'll taste on your skin."

He laughed, "am I about to be your plate?" When she hinted at the affirmative, he knew that he had to try and find out more about Stafford under his own steam. "I'll try not to be late then!"

Her giggle echoed down the phone as she ended the call.

Adam sighed, back to the drawing board. He had to find out more, and if he couldn't ask Laura, that left the man himself. Starting the car, he pulled back out of his drive and headed back to his office.

The pool may be small, but it was a sun haven, the water wasn't freezing even for late November. Laura had lost count of the number of laps she'd swum, and now she was starting to feel tired. Hauling herself out of the water, she slumped onto a sun lounger and sighed again. It was in the mid twenties, a nice temperature, and she was feeling tired. So she closed her eyes for a few minutes.

Laura wasn't sure whether it was her thirst or the distant sound of a phone ringing that woke her. But as she walked into the house trying to detangle her hair with her fingers, she made for the kitchen, just as the answer phone kicked in.

"Hi, this is Adam. I'm not available...leave a message."

So aggressive! She thought as she took a can of diet coke from the fridge. She'd just popped the tab when a voice echoed around the room, and it made her whole world spin.

"I missed your call, and understand you want some answers," it was her father, and he sounded...sad. "I'll tell you anything you need to know. You seem to be hinting at something big. Not sure I like that, but well...call me. Give my love to Laura." And then he was gone.

Laura was frozen to the spot, she missed her father, and it sounded like he was missing her. That tugged at her heart strings, and she immediately made for the phone and picked it up, intending to call him back. Then her mind finally caught up with her actions, Adam had called her father, she couldn't imagine him doing that, he'd told her numerous times how he never wanted to see him again.

Something didn't make sense. She glanced at the clock, just after four. Adam would be home soon, she'd shower, change then start dinner, he'd tell her what was happening, she was sure.

The shower in Adam's en suite was quite simply unbelievable, one huge central shower head dominated the cubicle, but there were also three panels of numerous smaller heads that pointed in various directions. And boy was it invigorating. Reaching for the shower gel, she started to soap her body, arms, and shoulders. When she reached her breasts, two large hands reached around her and took the sponge from her hands.

"Let me help!" Adam whispered in her ear.

His sudden appearance didn't scare her, instead she relaxed, not realising she wasn't relaxed until that moment! Handing him the sponge, she tried not to moan as he started a rhythmical and determined route over her body.

"Couldn't resist when I saw you in here!" He spoke into her neck, he was still behind her, but his hands were cleaning her, teasing her.

She turned in his arms, then started to wash her hair, it was all too much for Adam, and he took her lips as he backed her up to the glass wall.

"This was meant to be an after dinner thing!"

Lifting her legs he smiled as she wrapped them around him, "I thought it was a 'during' dinner thing!"

With a shrug she pulled his lips back to her and spurred him on, this was a time when actions spoke louder than words.

Laura was grinding the galangal with a pestle and mortar when Adam finally joined her in the kitchen. She'd dressed and left him shaving after their shower, and now he stood in the room in just a pair of shorts.

Now that they were in the living area, she shouldn't hide her concerns over the phone call any longer.

"My father called today."

She threw the comment out there and didn't know what his response would be, but the last thing she'd imagined was for him to turn white, stopping dead in his tracks. "Really?"

She shrugged, "an answer phone message." She nodded her head in the direction of the flashing machine.

Adam walked slowly towards the machine and pressed the play button, then as Stafford's somewhat subdued voice echoed into the room, he rued not dealing with this earlier in the day. Slowly he turned to see Laura stood, hands on hips, waiting his explanation.

Great!

Walking past her he took a beer from the fridge and cracked it open. "The fire at my factory on Sunday." He glugged at the bottle before meeting her eyes, "it was arson."

"You think my father did it?" She sounded incredulous, immediately making the connection, and Adam realised that this was all about to blow up in his face.

"I'm not sure." As he made to explain she started to shake her head.

"Really? Really? What the hell is wrong with you?"

He saw red for a moment, "Laura! Someone paid a small time crook twenty thousand dollars to torch my storage units. I don't have any enemies, I don't think it's industrial espionage or corruption."

Laura rolled her eyes, "so you think it was my father...YOUR father?"

She had every right to be angry he realised, but he was sure that this was an option. "Does he bank through the Cayman islands? That was where the money came from. The police are on to it, if it is him they'll find out eventually...but I called him to ask him. Ok?"

Shaking her head in disbelief, Laura made for the doors that led to the beach; she needed space to deal with this. As he made to reach for her, she glared at him until he stepped back. Adam knew he had to give her that time. As the door slid shut behind her, he picked up the phone and dialled Stafford. This was a conversation he'd find far easier.

"Adam?" he answered the call with a question and Adam realised he'd been waiting for this call. "I didn't think you'd call back, hell I didn't think you'd call at all!"

Adam laughed dryly, "amazing what you'll do if you have to." He didn't wait for a response from the other man, instead he added, "I just want you to answer me honestly. Can you do that?"

Stafford's voice was quiet, "sure. If I can."

"Do you bank via the Cayman Islands?"

Stafford laughed, "not for years. I got ripped off by my financial advisor there a few years back, moved all my accounts to Switzerland and Jersey."

"Really? Shit!" Adam was part disappointed, but also largely relieved.

Instantly there was concern in the older man's voice, "is everything ok Adam?"

Adam laughed, "what do you care? My second question, have you ever heard of Troy Parkin?"

"Is he an actor or something?" Stafford was almost confused.

Adam wanted to laugh but he couldn't, "did you pay someone to set fire to my warehouse?"

For a moment Stafford laughed, then stopped, "you're serious? Adam! I'm not a crook, and I definitely wouldn't damage your business like that!"

"No we'll just leave the damage to my emotions, hey? I mean how dare I call you out of the blue like this?! Someone like me! And then I accuse you like this!"

His father stumbled a little unsure of his words, "I regret some of my actions...I don't like to think you're in trouble."

"Bullshit! You just don't want to think that Laura's in trouble! As if I'd let that happen! I get that she's all you care about!"

Stafford was silent for a moment, "I know you'll look after her, but I am worried for you!"

"Save it! I can look after myself...and her!" With that, he hung up.

As much as he didn't want to, Adam believed Stafford, there was some quality to his answers that made her realise he wasn't covering his tracks, but that he was genuine. And that meant he was back to the drawing board again, and this time he had no idea of who else this could be.

He looked at the phone, then to the kitchen; the ingredients for the meal still scattered over the work surface, and sighed. He'd upset Laura, just what he didn't want to do. But he'd had to ask Stafford, and she had to know about that. But he'd screwed it all up, by not telling her the previous night. Strolling to the window he looked at the beach and the solitary figure sat on the sand a few feet from the water's edge. What must she be thinking? He was the only person she knew here, if he let her down then she'd have no one.

Grabbing an old university hoodie, he slid it over his bare chest and headed out into the rapidly cooling evening. He scuffed his bare feet over the sand as he walked towards her, and rued the heavy heart that seemed to make his feet struggle over the sand.

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