tagNovels and NovellasThe Stalker Ch. 02

The Stalker Ch. 02

byD.C. Roi©

After I dropped Didi off at work, I drove back to my house, found the health club number in my files and dialed it. While the phone at the health club rang, I remembered what Jill Thompson looked like. I knew because I’d seen all of her. She looked, as I remembered, as if she was in her mid to late thirties, she had blonde hair, and a well-toned body. I remembered her as being quite attractive, too.

“Jamestown Wellness Family Spa,” a female voice said when the phone was answered.

“I’d like to speak with Jill Thompson, please,” I said.

“Just a second,” the receptionist said. She put me on hold, and I was treated to a short commercial that extolled the virtues of good health, particularly the kind that could be obtained by purchasing an inexpensive – inexpensive to them, anyhow – membership to the Wellness Family Spa.

“This is Jill Thompson,” a rich female voice said.

I identified myself and added, “Didi Wallace said you wanted to talk with me.”

“You’re the…the private investigator,” Ms. Thompson said.

“I occasionally do perform that kind of work,” I said.

“Are you available?” she asked.

“Depends what you want me to do,” I replied. “Rather than do this over the phone, why don’t I come down there. It might be better if we talked in person before you decide whether you want to hire me or not.”

“Yes, I guess that might be best,” she said. “When can you get here?”

“It takes me about fifteen minutes to drive from my home to the club,” I replied. “Is that soon enough?”

“That will be fine,” she replied.

Fifteen minutes later, I walked into the health club. A pretty black woman, dressed in a lavender Spandex outfit, was sitting behind the reception desk. She smiled at me and said, “Can I help you?”

I told her my name. “I have an appointment with Ms. Thompson,” I said.

The receptionist nodded and picked up the phone. After speaking a few words and listening, she put it down and smiled at me some more. “She’s expecting you,” she said. “You can go right in.” She gestured toward a door that had a sign that said, “Manager” on it.

“Thank you,” I said, and walked toward the door.

Jill Thompson stood up when I entered her office. She had on a shocking pink tank top made of shiny Spandex, shiny black leggings and a pink bikini that matched the top over them. Her midriff was bare and looked firm, as did the rest of her body, which appeared to have everything in exactly the spot it was supposed to be. Her hair, a sandy blonde and full, was pulled back and fastened with a shocking pink elastic band into a kind of fluffy pony tail.

She looked as if she might be my age, maybe a few years older, but the passage of time hadn’t done any damage to her looks. She had wide blue eyes and a full mouth. Only a few wrinkles showed on her face, and I thought they added character and made her look more interesting.

She walked out from behind her desk, smiled at me, and extended her hand. “I’m Jill Thompson,” she said.

We exchanged greetings and, at Ms. Thompson’s request, I sat down. She went back behind her desk and sat down, too.

“What can I do to help you?” I asked.

“I’m…I’m being stalked and threatened,” she replied. “I need protection.”

There seemed to be a lot of that going around lately. First Roscoe mentions a stalking case, now I’m bumping into another one.

“Have you talked with the police about this?” I asked.

“Yes, of course I have,” she replied. “They…they say they’re doing what they can, but…” She shrugged. “They never seem to be around when I need them to be.”

“So you’re looking to hire me as a bodyguard?” I asked.

She nodded.

“That will take more than one person,” I said. “And it’s liable to be very expensive.”

“Oh,” she said. “You…you mean you can’t do it alone?”

“Not if you want it done right,” I said. “I can’t stay awake twenty-four hours a day, and there are other things I sometimes have to do that would take my eyes off you.”

She looked puzzled. “What do you mean?” she asked. Then she realized what I meant and her face turned bright red.

“Why don’t you tell me what’s going on?” I asked. “Maybe I can help you come up with a way to deal with it that won’t be outrageously expensive, but will do the job.”

“All…all right,” she said. “I know who’s doing it, if that helps.”

“It does,” I said.

“His…his name is...it’s Billy…Billy Devlin,” she said. “He…he used to work for me.”

“Did you fire him?” I asked.

She nodded. “I had to,” she said. “He…he was becoming disruptive here at the club.”

“I take it he wasn’t happy about being fired,” I said. Actually, not many people are.

Jill shook her head. “No…he…he took it very badly,” she said. “At…at the time, he...he made lots of threats, but, well, with all of the other men who work here around, he couldn’t do much, you know?”

I’d seen some of the buff guys working out when I came in, so I knew what she meant.

“So I take it he doesn’t bother you here at the club, then?” I asked.

She shook her head again. “No…never. He…he wouldn’t dare,” she said.

“Well, then you’re safe as long as you’re here, aren’t you?” I asked.

“I guess I am,” she said.

“OK,” I went on. “We’ve eliminated the need for you to have me hanging around here during the day. Do you have any idea why he’s stalking you? Is the fact that you fired him the only reason?”

Ms. Thompson reddened a little and gazed at me. “Why…why do you have to know that?” she asked. “What…what has that got to do with your protecting me?”

“Knowing the guy’s motivation can be helpful,” I said. “If he’s a total nut case, that could make being your bodyguard a lot tougher. Mentally ill stalkers are so irrational nothing short of locking them up keeps the victim safe. If he’s doing it to get revenge on you for firing him, maybe we can dissuade him. On the other hand, if there’s another reason…”

“Like what?” she asked.

“Like is he a spurned lover?” I asked.

Jill turned as red as I’d seen her since I arrived. She nodded slowly. “I…I guess that’s the real reason,” she said softly.

“So you and he were lovers, you dumped him, and he doesn’t like that,” I said. “Now he’s on your case to let him back in your life?”

“We…I…I never intended for it to get that serious,” Jill said. “I…Billy…he’s years younger than I am. I…I thought we were just having fun, enjoying each other’s company. I…I never realized he thought it was more than that.”

“Looks like there was a serious misunderstanding on his part,” I said. “What kind of stuff has he been doing?”

“He calls me at home all the time, leaves awful messages on my answering machine,” Jill said. She hugged herself and shuddered a little. “And…sometimes…when I get home, he’s there, waiting.”

“Has he ever harmed you?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No,” she said softly. “But…but lately, he seems to be getting more and more angry. It’s like he’s starting to lose control. I…the more I tell him I’m not going to see him any more, the more furious he gets.”

“Do you think it might help if I went and talked with him?” I asked. “Maybe if I explain that he’s looking at some serious jail time if he keeps this up he’ll stop.”

“I’m not sure what he’d do if you did that,” Jill said. “He…he might think you and I…well…” She shrugged. “He…he’s very jealous. He…he did threaten one of the other men I…I’ve been seeing and…”

“Did he assault the guy?” I asked.

Jill shook her head. “I…the man…his name is Brent…he said he thought Billy wanted to jump him,” she told me. “But Brent’s much bigger than Billy and, well, I think Billy knew he’d get hurt if he tried anything.”

“OK,” I said. “Do you happen to have a picture of this guy by any chance?” It would help if I knew what the guy I was protecting her from looked like. It isn’t good when a person’s bodyguard protects her from the wrong person.

“I do,” Jill replied. “We...we had a picture of the staff taken for a brochure when Billy worked here. He’s in it.” She opened a desk drawer, pulled out a folder, took an 8 X 12 glossy picture out of it, and handed it to me. “Billy is the one kneeling in the middle of the front row,” she said.

I studied the picture. The guy she said was stalking her was short, very muscular, and had a dark crew cut. For some reason, he looked familiar. Then it hit me. He was one of the three guys I’d seen Ms. Thompson fucking in the men’s locker room the night I met Didi.

“You have a funny look on your face,” Jill observed. “Do you know Billy?”

“I think I may have heard about him,” I lied. I wasn’t sure it would help anything if I told Ms. Thompson I knew more about her sex life than she thought I did.

“Can…can you help me?” Jill asked. “I’m really frightened that Billy is going to do something really awful…and soon. You…you have to see how angry he’s been lately.”

“OK,” I said. “I think I can manage, at least for a while. It sounds to me like I’ll need to keep an eye on you after work, and make sure you get home safely, anyhow.”

Jill looked frightened. “But…but what happens after you leave?” she asked. “I’m afraid that if Billy sees you bring me home, that will just make him more furious.”

“If you want me to stay, it’s going to cost you,” I warned.

“How…how much?” she asked.

“I get $300 a day, plus expenses,” I said.

“But…but you won’t be working for me all day,” Jill said. “And…and I suppose you can sleep at night. I have a spare bedroom in my apartment you can use.”

“Why don’t we try a different tack here?” I said. “How much can you afford to pay me? You tell me that and I’ll tell you how much of my time it will buy you.”

She sat at her desk, looking thoughtful, for a while. “I can afford $3,000,” she said.

I thought about it for a minute. That was ten days work, but she had a point about me not being on duty all the time. And I would be sleeping, too. I hoped. “I’ll give you a deal,” I said. “Three grand will buy you three weeks of protection. I pick you up here after work, take you home, stay with you overnight, and bring you to work in the morning.”

“What…what happens after the three weeks is up?” Jill asked.

“Well, I guess we’ll have to see what happens,” I said. “Maybe I can think of some way to discourage our friend Billy before then.”

“All…all right,” Jill said. She sighed. “I guess that will have to do. For now. Do…do you want a…a retainer?”

“Give me a thousand now, the rest at the end of the three weeks,” I said. “We’ll see how things go.”

She wrote me a check on her personal account and handed it to me. I folded it up and put it in my pocket.

“What now?” she asked.

“I’ve got to go home and get some things,” I said. “You close at nine, right?”

She nodded. “I’ll be here about eight, just to be sure your admirer doesn’t show up here when there aren’t too many guys around to discourage him,” I said.

“All right,” my new employer said. “I…thank you.”

“I hope you can say that to me after this is all over,” I told her. I got up, left the health club, and headed for my house to equip myself for my new bodyguard job.

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