Thirty three year old Helga Pataki is shocked when she learns her former classmate, Lila, has been murdered. The shock continues when it's revealed that Lila's soon to be ex-husband is the prime suspect. Arnold. It's been 15 years, but she knows he didn't do it. And she was going to prove it. Along the way she starts exposing secrets Lila held in life, spilling a few of her own in the process.
For now this is a hard T, ratings may change to M.
Secrets Part One
Thirty three year old Helga Pataki let out a sigh of relief as the elevator doors closed shut, causing the view to her office disappear before her eyes. She glanced down at her watch, too lazy to fish her phone out of her purse, and checked the time. 8:30. She put in fourteen another hour day; just like she had for the past three weeks. God, she was exhausted. She was beyond relieved that the trial was starting in just two days. They were well prepared; if all went according to plan and there were no big surprises the trial should be over in a matter of just a couple of weeks. The settlement was going to be huge if, no not if, when they won this case. All these extra hours she was putting in would be well worth it in the end.
As the elevator descended to the first floor Helga shifted her feet uncomfortably. Her feet were aching. She needed out of the three inch high heels she was wearing. As a teenager she never wore the things. She usually stuck with chunky heeled boots, sneakers, flats, or sandals. It wasn't until she hit her twenties that she started wearing high heels and discovered that she kind of loved the way they made her feel. Without heels she was 5'7, with heels she was six feet or taller. It made her feel powerful. It made her feel intimidating. As a lawyer who otherwise did not look very intimidating in the court room it was an extra boost she needed, despite the achy feet.
She straightened her posture as the elevator doors opened and power waked to the front doors, exiting the building. She took quick steps forward, flagging down a taxi. She gave the driver her address as she slipped into the taxi, placing her briefcase to her next to her as she dug into her purse to find her phone. She had a text message from her ex-husband, asking her how all the pre-trail stuff was going. She quickly typed out a message telling him it was going great, but was looking forward to it all being over. She was going to need a vacation after all this. Mike texted back moments later, offering her use of the cabin they once shared a couple hours away.
Helga met Mike Wallis while in law school. She was three years younger than him, but just as driven. He had told her once that's what originally attracted him to her. They were married the summer after she turned twenty five. She was just finishing up law school and he was already making a name for himself at the law firm he was working at. They had been a good match. On paper they were practically perfect for each other. They had been happy for the first five years, but they had slowly drifted apart. By the end of their marriage they felt more like roommate than a married couple. They simply fell out of love with each other and decided to divorce while they were still friends.
The divorce had been finalized eight months earlier and they were both much happier than they had been while they were together. Mike was now seeing a lovely woman, Hannah, and Helga honestly wished him the best. He deserved to be happy. She knew he felt the same for her. In the divorce Helga kept their penthouse and Mike got their cabin on the lake, though he still let her use it from time to time since his permeant residence was in the city.
She typed out another text thanking him and telling him that she might have to take him up on that. Shoving her phone back into her purse she rested her head back onto the seat and shut her eyes. She was relieved that her cab driver wasn't talkative. He probably could see that she was about to fall asleep in the back of his cab. She was pretty damn close to falling asleep when she felt the cab pull over into a stop. "Mam?" The drive asked, almost gently, like he was afraid he'd startle her. "We're here."
Helga's eyes snapped open before she grabbed her wallet, pulling out a ten and five. "Thanks. Keep the change."
"Thank you. Hope you have a good night."
"Thanks. You too." Helga waved as she exited the cab, her purse and briefcase in hand. She stifled a yawn as she approached her building. Her penthouse had its very own private elevator and Helga was rather thankful for that. She hated small talk with neighbors she didn't really care about. It was bad enough running into them in the building's gym, they always seemed to have a need to ask for a mundane legal advice. Law was her career, but she absolutely hated the fact that there was so many people who thought they should sue over the stupidest little thing. It was kind of ridiculous.
The elevator doors opened and Helga stepped into a small sitting area, where there was another locked door to enter the penthouse. She unlocked the door and kicked off her heels the second she walked in. She set her purse and briefcase down at the small table next to the front door before slipping her phone into her pocket. It was 21% and needed to be charged when she went to bed. Slipping off her coat she draped it over her briefcase rather than putting it away in the coat closet.
For a moment she thought about going straight to bed, but on her way to a bedroom her stomach growled loudly. It was then Helga realized she never ate supper. She quickly changed into an oversized T-shirt, one that she was pretty sure was Mike's at one point, and a pair of sweatpants. She made her way to the kitchen, raiding the refrigerator for something to eat. She frowned slightly when she saw the box of Chinese takeout. When was the last time she got Chinese? She pulled the takeout carton from the refrigerator and threw it away, without opening the container. She didn't need to small that. She returned to her search for something to eat and settled on leftover pizza from two days earlier. She plopped the plate into microwave and leaned against the counter for a moment as it cooked.
She sighed, sick of the silence she turned on the television that was in the kitchen and quickly flipped the station to HGTV, which had most of her favorite shows. Property Brothers was on. Jonathon was currently showing a couple what he could do with a rundown home to make it their own. The microwave beeped, singling that the pizza was done cooking. She grabbed the hot plate and sat at the counter watching her show as she ate. Drew pointed out the home's beautiful views and Helga glanced out of the floor to ceiling windows that were in the kitchen/dining/living room area. It was view that attracted Helga and Mike the penthouse in the first place. The view overlooked Elliot Bay and it was especially gorgeous in the morning and early evening hours. She loved sitting out on the balcony that was off the master bedroom drinking coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at night. The sunsets were phenomenal. She missed being able to see them.
She nibbled on a piece of pizza and sighed again, she was so lonely. She missed being in a relationship. She missed the companionship that Mike gave her. She knew the divorce was for the best. If they hadn't divorced when they did they probably wouldn't be friends today. By the time they started talking about separating they had started fighting more, but at least when he was still around she had someone to talk to after these late nights. She was too exhausted to go out.
She missed sex. She really missed sex. Self-love just wasn't the same for her. She needed to get back out there, Helga decided. The divorce had been final for eight months and Mike had a girlfriend. It was her turn to find someone else.
She just needed to find the time first.
"Damnit, Lila." Thirty four Arnold Shortman cursed his soon to be ex-wife's voicemail. "You need to start returning either my calls or better yet have your lawyer call mine. Please." He stressed the word please, "I just want to get this all over with." He ended the call, tossing his cellphone to the side before his hand roughly rubbed his face. He filed for divorce almost a year earlier and nothing was getting done. Things were only getting uglier. Lila was making the whole process as difficult as she could. Even though she was the one who cheated.
The day Arnold brought up the fact he was filing for divorce Lila didn't argue. She didn't beg him to reconsider. No. She simply shrugged and told him she wasn't leaving the house. If he wanted a divorce he'd have to be the one move. So he did. He left their spacious two bedroom home for a cramped one bedroom crappy apartment. What hurt the worst was the fact she refused to give him his grandmother's wedding ring back. It was the one thing he asked for during their divorce proceedings. She wouldn't even entertain the idea. The fact that she spent the past five years bitching that she wanted a bigger ring pissed him off even more. She didn't even like the ring. She just wanted to hurt him.
Arnold honestly didn't know why he ever married her in the first place. He wasted too many years on that woman. He pulled himself off the couch so he could grab a beer from the refrigerator. Taking a swig he sat back down, and turned on the television. He probably shouldn't be drinking. He taught fifth grade and it was a school night, but one beer wouldn't hurt. Two or three probably wouldn't hurt either.
He released an angry sigh. Arnold wished he would have waited to call Lila. Now he was just annoyed with his estranged wife. He was annoyed himself. He should have broken up with her in high school the first time she cheated on him. But when he found out and confronted her she cried and swore it was a mistake and she promised she'd never do it again. Bullshit. When they got married and he'd get mad at her for overspending or picking fights with him he always ended up folding and apologizing to her. Lila was extremely manipulative, especially when it came to him. He just wish he realized it sooner; it probably would have saved him years of heartache.
After finishing his beer Arnold through the bottle in the recycling and made his way to his tiny bathroom and brushed his teeth to get ready for bed.
"Where the hell are you?" Lila Sawyer hissed into her phone, "You were supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago." She rolled her eyes, "I don't care. I want my money." She laughed mockingly as the person on the other end of the phone call spoke, "You think I'm asking for too much? Think about how much you'll lose if I tell anyone that dirty little secret of yours. I tell you this, you'll be losing a hell of a lot more than just your money." She paused as the person spoke and smiled despite the fact they couldn't see her. She ignored the beeping signaling she had another call, "Good. I'm glad you're seeing it my way. Be here in 30 minutes or else." She threatened, "Yes, the same place as last time. See you then."
After ending the call, on habit, Lila deleted the number she had just called. She rolled her eyes once she noticed Arnold called her. She held the phone to ear, listening to his voicemail. That earned yet another eye roll. Lila honestly wasn't sure if it was funny, pathetic, or just cute when Arnold was trying to be demanding. It was pretty laughable. Lila was positive that if she went to his shitty little apartment right now in fake tears and false apologies he would take her back. In fact she was so sure, she'd put money on it. She had him wrapped around her little finger since day one. That wasn't ever going to change.
She would stop dangling Arnold soon. Sooner or later he'd give her anything she wanted in the divorce just too finally end it. Including that pathetic little ring that he had been crying about. Smoothing out her fiery red hair, she shoved her phone into her coat pocket and made her way to the meeting spot. She couldn't wait to get her hands on this money.
Little did Lila know, she wouldn't be leaving the meeting spot with her life, let alone the money.
So I hope you guys liked this first chapter. I know it was probably a little boring, but I wanted to take some time to introduce Helga and Arnold and show where they are in their lives at the moment. I know it may be a little overdone that Lila is bad, but I think (I really, really hope) that story has a different (and natural) take.