|I Feel the Earth Move under my Feet
Author: Elena George PM
An earthquake hits LA during a late night at work.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 5 - Words: 7,523 - Reviews: 17 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 08-13-08 - Published: 06-03-08 - id: 4299077
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Ch 5 – Meet Frank
A/N: We left our couple on their wedding night marooned in Jackson due to a flat tire and no working jack.
When they were half undressed, Della danced them to the bed. Perry reached past her and flipped the sheets down and out of the way. He picked her up and gently deposited her in the middle of the bed. His trousers fell away as if on their own accord. He settled himself next to her, gazing full in her face, caressed her face with a tender hand.
"I love you," he whispered moving loving hands over her body. Her bra posed little interruption to the flow of his motions.
"And I love you," Della assured him as her hands moved his boxers out of the way.
Della rolled onto her back just in time to hear the pounding at the door.
Perry jumped with a start. He looked at his wife as she returned the annoyed gesture.
"Well, that kills the mood," she grumbled.
Perry gave her a rapacious look, "Not for me. Now where were we?"
Again the door was pounded upon, "Mr. Mason! Mr. Mason!"
Perry rolled over onto his back, gazed up at the ceiling, and called back, "What?!"
A muffled voice called out, "Mr. Mason, Perry Mason?"
An irritated response came, "Yes, that's right."
"I need to see you right away!" came the harried voice.
"This had better be good," grumbled Mason. "Give us a minute, will you?"
"Perry…" Della began but was cut off by her husband's fingers across her lips.
He kissed her gently, "If I don't get rid of him, we'll have no peace at all tonight, Darling."
She nodded as they redressed quickly. Della was still fussing with her hair when Mason opened the door to their unwanted guest.
"Good evening. Hope I'm not interrupting anything. Name's Frank Halloran," he took out a card and thrust it into Mason's hand.
Mason looked at the card and motioned toward Della, "Uh, my secretary and wife, Della Street."
He was unsure of exactly how to address her since that discussion had not been finished.
Frank reached out to shake her hand, "Pleasure to meet you."
Della smiled and took his hand as best she could without looking peeved, "Mr. Halloran."
Mason took over the conversation, "Mr. Halloran, what is it that you needed me for that could not wait until morning?"
"My brother, James... You see…he's been accused of a murder that took place a while back. He's not guilty. He's innocent, but…" Halloran began.
"Mr. Halloran, your card indicates that you are an attorney. Surely, you know someone who can handle the case," Mason protested.
"I'm licensed in Colorado but could get credentials for California, if I needed, but I do civil law, property, divorces, and the like. Criminal law never really appealed to me. The hours of a criminal attorney would leave me no time for my family," Halloran responded.
Mason nodded his head as Della dug through the suitcase and found a pad and pencil. She quietly began taking notes. Mason motioned for them to sit around the small table in the corner of the room.
"Tell me what you know," he asked.
"Well, it started a couple of years ago with the killing of a couple of young lovers," Halloran began.
Della gave Mason a knowing look as she thought of the story their benefactor had told them on the way into town.
"James was back from the Army and wanted to do some traveling and see the sights before getting back to work in Chicago where we were raised. He found he loved the country up here and bought a very small vineyard. I've been down to visit with my family every summer since then," Halloran paused and looked at Della who had just finished recording his words.
"She is my confidential secretary, Mr. Halloran. She takes notes for all my work," Mason pointed out.
Halloran nodded and began again, "So James and I were out with the families when the sheriff pulled us over. It seems I was carried away and speeding."
He produced the ticket, smoothing the wrinkles out on the tabletop.
"When the sheriff went back to his car after pulling me over, he came back with a flyer in his hand. Moreover, he had his hand on his gun!"
Mason lit a cigarette and offered one to Halloran who happily took one, too.
"Go on," Mason pushed.
"He took James into custody and told me that he'd be held on suspicion of murder! Don't you see, James could not have possibly killed that couple. He does not have it in him. But here he is – sitting over in the Jackson City Jail. Can you see your way clear to help us, please, Mr. Mason?" Halloran pleaded.
Mason stroked his nose, "And this could not have waited until morning?"
"I was at the diner across the street, having just seen James, when they said you were here. Said something about a flat and that you'd be on your way first thing tomorrow. I really needed to catch you before you took off," Halloran begged.
Mason drew on the cigarette, looked at it carefully, rolled the ash from the tip into the ashtray. He looked into Halloran's eyes and saw his desperation.
"All right, Mr. Halloran, I'll see your brother," Mason started.
Halloran jumped up and clasped Mason's hand, "I can't thank you enough."
"Don't thank me yet. I didn't say I'd take the case – only that I'd talk to him. I'll talk to him tomorrow. It's after eight o'clock, and there just is not much we can do this evening," Mason said flatly.
"That's all I ask. I am indebted to you in any way you see fit," Halloran started for the door. "I'll pick you up here in the morning. How's eight o'clock sound to you?"
Mason gave an inward groan, "We'll be ready."
Mason saw an eager but relieved Frank Halloran out the door. This time, he slipped the "Do Not Disturb" sign out.
"Della, how about calling the front desk and having the hold all calls," he commented with a wicked grin stealing across his face.
She gave him the same look and merely took the phone off the hook, "That should do it."
They met in the middle of the room, "Now where were we?" Perry kissed her forehead and began making lazy circles with his nose against her ear.
He proceeded to kiss his way down her neck and throat as she tugged his shirt tail back out. She slid her hands under his shirt and around his waist. They eased their way back to the bed, shedding each other's clothes as they went.
The next morning, Mason awakened to the sound of pounding on the door – again.
Della also struggled to awakened, "Must be Mr. Halloran," she mumbled as her eyes sought out the alarm.
"I don't want to get up," Perry told his wife as he enfolded her back into his arms.
The knocking continued, "Mr. Mason. You okay? The front desk tried to get you, but your phone is out of order or something."
A bleary-eyed Perry rubbed the sleep from his eyes, "Mr. Halloran?"
"Yes, it's me, Frank," was the reply.
"We overslept," began Mason. "Meet us in the front office in a little while. Okay?"
"Sure, sure," Frank responded as the gravel crunched under his feet as he retreated to the office.
The Masons began to stir from their slumber, "You get any sleep, Della?"
"Maybe an hour or two. You?"
He smiled lazily, "I think I finally fell asleep watching you sleep. You're the most beautiful woman I know."
She patted his chest, "You exaggerate, but I'll take it for now. We'd better get up and get moving. We've had long nights before…"
"Yes, but maybe not as much fun or as strenuous," Perry kissed his wife on the nose, on the forehead, on the chin, on the eyes, and on the lips. "I love you, Della."