Warming the IcePrincess Pt. 05byJ-Stroke©
Authors note: I strongly urge you to read all of the preceding chapters. With the context they provide, this chapter and those that follow will be much more enjoyable for you. Without knowing the characters and from whence they sprang the story may not make much sense. Many of the chapters contain highly erotic scenes of adults having intimate sexual relations. If you are somehow offended by this or are under 18, please stop reading here. To all the rest I wish you the very best and Thank you for reading.
(An Unhappy Reunion)
Keith watched me walk in and signaled for his assistant manning the recording devices to kill the audio feed and leave the room so we could talk privately.
When the door was closed, he said to me, "You really shouldn't be here Jane."
I was still pissed and told him, "Well I wouldn't need to be if you'd have listened to me yesterday."
Setting my valise on the counter top, I pulled out "Crew-cut's" ID card along with my grainy photos and said, "So I was just being paranoid was I?" slapping them down on the counter top in front of him.
He was clearly shocked as he saw the pictures and snatched up the ID card, "Holy shit, Jim Tomlinson? Where did you get this? I went through the academy with this guy. I think he's still posted in DC." "Well he was here this weekend," I told him an angry edge still in my voice, "He gave that to me Sunday after I handcuffed him to a dumpster downtown."
"What?" He barked in disbelief.
"You should be able to identify him easily enough from the livid bruise in the middle of his chest," I smiled and added, "He should also have a nice knot on his head and may still be limping too."
Keith shook his head and told me, "Jane what did you do? If he decides to press charges you could be in serious trouble for assaulting a federal agent."
"Nope, don't think so Keith," I said confidently, "A single female in an alley defending herself from a lone assailant, good luck trying to make that charge stick. The stupid ass never bothered to identify himself as a law enforcement officer, before or after he laid his hands on me Keith."
"Alright, fair enough he should have known better," he said nodding and released a tired sigh.
"Oh I'm not through ruining your day yet Special agent," I said pulling a chair over for him to sit in.
"Get out your notebook and try to follow along," I taunted while I pulled another chair over for myself.
"Adams was not behind the scheme at Continental. Oh he may have been at Allied early on, but someone else was running him ever since that first investigation ended there. this morning, I figured out who is behind it all," I told him watching his eyes widen at the news.
"In fact I think Adams has been trying to get caught for years but somebody wouldn't allow it to happen, any guesses who I might be talking about yet?"
He shook his head remaining silent his face was grim and I could sense his patience was starting to wear thin.
I nodded at the widow to the next room and asked, "Has Adams given you anything useful to go on?"
He came out of his chair reacting to some inner agitation, turned to face the window, and told me, "Not flipping a word since his damn lawyer showed up."
"When did he get here?" I asked.
Keith was clearly pissed when he started telling me about it. "It was the strangest damn thing I've ever seen. Walcott was still hanging around and wouldn't even let us interview Adams until his lawyer could get here. He said that after chasing this guy for a dozen years he didn't want him getting off on some bullshit technicality. Hell, our hands were tied. I sure wasn't prepared to go head to head with the deputy director so we didn't push it. Then as soon as the lawyer gets here Adams dummies up and Walcott disappears back to Washington."
I folded my arms looking through the window and said, "Makes sense, somehow or other the lawyer must be in on it too."
"In on what?" he barked still not ready to see the truth.
"Wow, maybe I've overestimated you Keith, I guess I'll just have to spell it out for you," I said in a disgusted tone.
"Who ran the original investigation on Adams, Keith?"
"Walcott," he answered flatly.
"Who forced himself into the middle of your investigation?"
"Who insisted that Adams remain in his job after he was found embezzling three years ago?"
"Well that was Walcott's idea too," he answered as he folded his arms across his chest.
"Who insisted that a lawyer be called in before you could question your suspect?"
"That was Walcott too," his answers were coming slower now.
"Who in Washington had the authority to send that team here to spy on me and take pictures?"
He answered shaking his head, "Lots of people Jane."
"Well who do you think sent that team and is now trying to black mail me and Miss Stillwell with the picutres they took?" I pulled out the photo of Claire and me kissing on the balcony and the note giving it to him to read, he didn't need to see the rest of them, not now, not ever.
His expression told me he was becoming more and more confused and irritated. Oh but I was miles ahead him in that department.
"It's fucking Walcott you dolt!" I roared, "It has been all along. The asshole even called me this morning trying to threaten me."
His face was a mask of confused disbelief, still not wanting to believe his precious agency could be home to such brazen corruption. "What did you do?" he asked.
I told him grinning, "Oh it took a bit of effort, but I was ready for that filthy bastard before he ever dialed my number."
"Do I wanna know about this?" he asked the incredulity on his face was slowly being replaced with a spreading smile.
"Oh you'll probably find out most of it, whether I like it or not," I answered him, "Let's just say that threatening accountants and computer geeks can be really hazardous to your health, they tend to turn ugly when they're cornered."
He pulled out his cell phone and began dialing furiously. While he did his thing I called Dan to have him fax over a sample of the computer code he found in Allied's records and our own. Although I really hated to do it, I also asked him to send over a sanitized list of our preemptive dirty deeds. The FBI didn't need to know how tight we had Walcott's tit in the financial wringer, so we left most of that stuff out. I did give Keith a detailed account of how we had managed to secure the money from Walcott's numbered Swiss bank account. Dan also told me the account had been "pinged" twice from the DC area this morning and he was still tracking the source. I told him to call me the second he had an exact location.
Keith called to have a pair of sheriff's deputies escort Adams Lawyer to a different interrogation room. It was kinda fun to watch the jackass sputter and shout through the one-way mirror as they removed him bodily from the room. His next call was to the US Marshal's office in Washington DC. I heard him explain that he needed them to take the Deputy Director of the FBI into custody and hold him citing a whole list of numbered criminal codes. He asked them to him call back once they had him in custody and he would swear out the complaint.
He looked at me and said sounding weary, "I'll probably catch hell for doing that, but until we know who else is working with him inside the bureau, I can't really trust anyone there."
I told him, "Just worry about putting that son of a bitch behind bars Keith, the rest will just have to take care of itself."
I showed Keith everything we'd found out about Walcott over the past few days as soon as they came scrolling out of the fax machine. He seemed to understand what we had found and "ahem"... done. He relaxed a little laughing his ass off when I told him about our BOLO, declaring Walcott a pervert He pointed out that we missed putting "armed and dangerous" on it, but at this point it really didn't matter. He also reminded me that the money we jerked out of Walcott's Swiss account would have to be held until it was released by a Federal judge. I assured him it was safely sequestered in an account that couldn't be accessed without three signatures, Bart's, Claire's, and mine.
The agent who had been interviewing Adams swung the door open clearly confused and rushed inside to find out what was going on. While they talked, I turned back to the widow and watched Adams sitting alone. Keith explained it all to him and issued orders to get someone rolling on the paperwork to collect the evidence from our office. I'd heard it all before so I tuned out for moment and started thinking about how much I missed Claire. I was so relieved that she would be home soon this whole situation was starting to wear on me. When I heard the other agent tell Keith, "This still doesn't clear Adams," I snapped out of my daydream.
"No, it doesn't quite does it?" he agreed with him.
Thinking aloud I said, "Maybe he can do that?" and nodded toward the window. "Now that Walcott has been flushed out, whatever hooks he had into Adams would be pretty much useless wouldn't they?"
They both nodded conceding my point.
After a second or two I asked, "Is there any reason I can't go talk to him without a lawyer present? You know just one employee of Continental visiting a "colleague" who's in trouble sort of thing?"
Deep in thought, they both scratched their heads at varying intervals until I finally couldn't take it any more and said, "For Christ sakes boys we're not getting any younger here."
Neither of them could think of an argument for what I was suggesting and I was already tired of waiting. I told them both, "I'll just bring him a fresh cup of coffee. I suppose if I were to accidentally leave that door open there's really no telling what someone might overhear when they were walking down the hallway."
Keith grinned as he poured a cup of coffee and told the other agent, "Ya see Woody, I told you she'd have made a good agent," handing a styrofoam cup to me as I stepped past them and through the door.
Adams didn't even look up when set the coffee cup down in front of him. His face was grim and tired looking but the minute he heard my voice his head snapped up in surprise.
"Cliff do you remember me?" I asked him flatly.
His brow wrinkled for a second and then relaxed and he answered, "De Marco isn't it? You ran the auditing crew I think."
"That's right, my office was next to the west stairwell on nineteen," I told him watching some of the tension leaving his face. It must have been a bit of a relief for him to be able to think about something other than a lengthy prison term.
"So tell me, how is the company holding up under this mess," he asked me. His tone projected a mixture of emotions. Misplaced amusement, resignation, and maybe even a twinge of regret.
I didn't want him in a defensive mood so I told him the truth without fixing any blame, "Between the two of us, we have the place in quite an uproar."
He laughed but it wasn't at all a happy sound. He asked me, "It's obvious what I did, what the hell could you do that would make it any worse?"
I shrugged and told him how Bart Stillwell put me in charge of trying to repair the damage and find out why our investment income was in the toilet. He stiffened visibly when I told him that, and he abruptly asked me a single word question, "well?"
"Oh we found it alright, a few lines of code buried in our mainframe," I told him calmly.
"And?" he barked his voice rising in volume and pitch.
"We changed the commands around. So, instead of putting our money into a certain Swiss bank account, we had our computer empty that account into ours."
I paused letting the implications of that news sink in. His features took on an odd worried countenance and then I dropped the other shoe, "Cliff, Walcott is finished. There are U.S. Marshals going to his office to him in handcuffs as we speak."
I was stunned as I watched his face go completely ashen, then he howled, "Sweet Jesus no!" and crumbled to the table coffee spilling everywhere. "The bastard's already killed my mother now he's gonna go after my son!"
I screamed toward the open doorway, "Keith, better get in here! Oh damn it where is that guy?" I stormed over to the door throwing it open and hollered," Get in here! Now damn it, both of you!"
Adams wept as he told us about his fifteen year old son. The boy was a student at VMI right near the town of Lexington Virginia. Walcott told Cliff that he had an old army buddy that owed him big. He just happened to be a long-time instructor at the military academy. The Deputy Director threatened Adams after the death of his mother that if he ever tried to cross him again a single phone call would put his son in immediate mortal danger. Keith made a flurry of calls in the next few minutes. The first was to the Bureau's Quantico training center. He dispatched an agent he knew personally and trusted to collect young Adams ASAP. Placing him in protective custody until further notice was the best Keith could do through his bureau sources. Next, he called the local police in Lexington directing them to get to the school and take charge of the boy. He told them an agent was already in route from Quantico to take him off their hands. Unfortunately, VMI was half a state away from the shores of the Chesapeake where Keith's friend was starting from.
While we waited to hear back from the Marshals in Washington and the locals from Lexington, Adams told us the horrifying story of his mother's tragic death. He admitted to starting the embezzling scheme at Allied insurance group over ten years ago. His mother, an Alzheimer's sufferer and had just been placed in a full-time nursing facility. The rapid worsening of her condition had made it impossible for Cliff and his wife to care for her. Her nursing care was extremely expensive and left Adams scrambling for some way to pay for it. Mrs. Adams was placed in the Golden Horizons Secure Nursing Home in Bennington Vermont. It was supposed to be one of the premier facilities of its kind in the nation, but it was also enormously expensive. He began by duplicating small claims payments by hand and carefully allowing the discrepancies to disappear during the audit process giving birth to his "streamlined system." When allied went to electronic bookkeeping via their newly installed mainframe his activities accelerated. He was desperately trying to catch up with the mounting bills for his mother's medical care. When his embezzling was discovered at Allied, Walcott entered the picture and promptly made him an offer he didn't dare refuse.
He told Adams he could make the investigation go away, and he would see to his mother's care at the Nursing home. All Cliff needed to do is agree to do a little favor for Walcott in return. The task was simple enough and Walcott would phone him with instructions for managing it as they were needed. Adams was to sneak some computer commands into the right place in Allied's mainframe system. That was all it would take to make all of his troubles disappear, was it really so much to ask? When Cliff balked, Walcott told Adams that his family just happened to own the Golden Horizons Nursing Home, and He would personally see to his mother's care.
Adams knew he was finished as soon as Walcott told him that he was willing to look after her care personally. It was just too awful to consider what might happen if she were to wander away from the home. An Alzheimer's patient alone in the woods on a cold winter night might never remember her way back before something terrible happened. Hopelessly boxed in Adams did as he was told. For six years he did it at Allied, through the merger, and then resumed doing Walcott's biding once he was installed at Continental. As a majority shareholder in Allied insurance group Walcott, saw the resources available at Continental and was the driving force behind getting Adams moved over to Continental. He made a gob of money in the merger and retained his income stream by forcing Adams on Continental. It was truly a win-win for that oily bastard.
Once again, Clifton Adams was forced into servitude by Walcott's with the threat to his mother's safety as the leverage. When the stress became too much he tried to end the nightmare by immediately restarting his embezzling scheme. He had hoped that this time he might be caught by some one else and this time possibly take Walcott down with him. When Bart Stillwell called the in FBI and Walcott reappeared, his situation deteriorated further. Finally, in mid-December of last year unable to bear the strain any longer, he told Walcott that his health was deteriorating and he decided to retire early at 62. Walcott was furious but Adams stood his ground. A few weeks later, on Christmas day, there came a knock on the door. Adams and his family were notified that Dorothy Adams had wandered away from the nursing home during the night. She was found in the woods several miles away, dead from exposure. No one at the home saw anything and it was most likely just an unfortunate accident. Adams knew better and Walcott was on the phone the early the following morning with a warning for Cliff Adams that an early retirement was not in the cards for him. The bastard had found a new way to torment Adams telling him all about his old army buddy, who just happened to be an instructor at VMI in rural Virginia.
I felt like I was going to be sick I could hardly imagine anyone being so vicious as to do something so utterly cruel. Keith told us both he would be opening an immediate investigation at the Nursing home. If Adams story proved true and Walcott was involved in any way, a murder charge would be added to the list of crimes he would have to answer for. The special agents ringing phone forestalled any further discussion.
"Gibbons," he said gruffly and listened to the caller.
I reached over giving Cliff's hand a sympathetic squeeze and wiped the tears from my eyes.
Keith shot up out of his chair and started pacing as he listened finally he roared, "How damn it? Alright, I'll be in contact shortly to process a fugitive warrant."
He snapped the phone closed venting his frustration, "God Damn it!"
We all knew but no one wanted to be the first to speak in the silence that followed.
"Somebody tipped him," Keith growled his eyes flashing with anger. "The son of a bitch left the building minutes before the marshals arrived at his office."
Keith and I locked eyes for an instant before we both arrived at the same conclusion, "The lawyer!"
A deputy was still with him standing off in the corner when we burst through the door. The attorney had a smug grin on his face and a cell phone rested next to his briefcase in the middle of the table. When Keith reached for the phone and the lawyer immediately started to protest.
"Shut the fuck up," I barked at him, watching as Keith thumbed through the menus to find the last number dialed. The display showed us his last call was to Walcott's Washington office.
"Read him his rights," Keith glared down at the little bald headed lawyer. "Book him for aiding and abetting a Federal fugitive then put him in a holding cell. I'll deal with him later."
We returned to speak with Cliff Adams and learn more about the crimes of the former Deputy Director. Before any of us can say a word, Keith's phone interrupted, this time with better news. The police in Lexington had found young cadet Adams in class and he was now safely in their care. Keith asked Adams where his wife was because he wanted to place her in protective custody as well until Walcott was safely behind bars.
Then he turned and said to me gravely, "Until we catch that slimy bastard you'll be a target too Jane."
I grinned trying to put on a brave face and told him, "You're not putting me under FBI protection Mr. Special Agent I have some serious trust issues regarding a certain federal agency. Thanks but no thanks buddy, I think I'll just take care of myself."