Chapter Six (Part Two)
I stride to my car and drive to O’Reilly’s building, killing the engine once I have the building in sight. I haven’t really planned what I’m going to do, but it doesn’t worry me. My slate is cleared until I figure out what the hell is going on here, and I think O’Reilly will be my way in. Like most pompous, arrogant pricks, he’ll most likely fold once a little pressure is put upon him. I shift in my seat, trying to find a comfortable position. I fish out a red scarf from my glove compartment and tie it around my hair, then slip on my Ray Bans. I know that a stakeout isn’t anything like they show it on television or in the movies; it’s mostly tedious work. Hours of waiting with little return, unless the action is prodded in an artificial way. Since I am not known for my patience, I decide to do a little manufacturing. First, out of idle curiosity, I call the number DiCalvo had given me. I’m sure it’s a false number, so I’m not surprised to hear, ‘The number you are trying to reach has been disconnected’. Next, I call O’Reilly’s office number after using my scrambler so he can’t identify my phone. It occurs to me that I should purchase burners if I’m going to keep making anonymous phone calls.
“Caleb O’Reilly, how may I help you?” His voice is smooth and just a step away from oily. I can visualize the smug smile on his face which makes me itch to kick in his teeth. I raise my voice and make it as breathy as possible.
“Mr. O’Reilly? I’m an acquaintance of Mr. DiCalvo’s, if you know who I mean.” I pause, gratified to hear a hissing on the other end of the line.
“How did you, who are you, I mean, why are you calling me?” He’s disconcerted, but he hasn’t hung up yet.
“Mr. DiCalvo would like to meet you at his office this very minute. He has an urgent matter to discuss. About Angel. Don’t try to call him as his phone may be bugged.” I hang up the phone. This is the tricky part, whether O’Reilly will fall for it or not. I don’t doubt he’ll call DiCalvo—in fact, I’m counting on it. I turn on my car and wait to see what happens. Not five minutes later, O’Reilly is hustling from the building towards a silver Lexus. How disappointingly clichéd. He zooms off without looking around, so it’s a piece of cake to follow him. Pretty soon, we are in downtown near the Embarcadero BART station. To my surprise, he parks near Stacey’s bookstore and walks to the McDonald’s there. I trail him casually, my cell phone glued to my ear so it appears that I’m just one of the throngs going to or from work. I am still wearing the scarf and sunglasses, so I’m confident that I’m unrecognizable.
DiCalvo is already there, which means he’s closer to downtown than is O’Reilly up in North Beach, which isn’t saying much. DiCalvo looks just as I remember him, but worse for the wear. His leg is jittering under the table, and his eyes flit from spot to spot. I quickly order a Diet Coke and a Quarter Pounder so I won’t look suspicious, then I slide into a chair a few tables away from DiCalvo. O’Reilly has gotten stuck in a slower line so he’s not at the table yet. I study DiCalvo without his noticing me, and it’s all I can do not to punch him out. No matter how much I want to do him grievous bodily harm, what I want more is answers. I won’t get those by muscling the punk, especially as O’Reilly is making his way towards the table as well. The two of them are like Mutt and Jeff with one being a nervous wreck and a slob to boot while the other one is swathed in sartorial splendor and has a regal bearing.
“What the fuck are we doing here?” DiCalvo blurts out. “Who’s the bitch who called you?”
“Don’t know. Not the oriental chick. Not her voice.” O’Reilly looks down at his Big Mac in disdain. “Really, I don’t know why we have to meet here.”
“I like the food,” DiCalvo mumbles, biting into a hamburger. “It’s good for what ails you.”
“Whatever,” O’Reilly says dismissively. “Whoever it was mentioned Angel. Perhaps it was the real problem woman.”
“She knows better,” DiCalvo says. “She fucking knows better now. The only calling she should be doing is for a fucking pizza delivery. Bitch. Why couldn’t she have been like the other bitches?”
“Because he slipped this time,” O’Reilly says coolly. “He’s not infallible, you know. Especially when he starts thinking with his dick.”
“He should cut the fucking thing off,” DiCalvo fumes, shoving fries down his gullet. It’s not a pretty picture to watch this man eat, so I avert my eyes. I take a small bite out of my Quarter Pounder and masticate slowly. “His idea of pillow talk is going to be the fucking death of me.”
“You sure the girl will keep quiet?” O’Reilly asks, pushing his Big Mac away. He’s probably a man with finicky appetites, and the special sauce isn’t sitting well in his stomach. Do they even use the special sauce any more? Who knows and why the fuck am I thinking about that?
“Miss White better keep fucking that mouth of hers shut!” DiCalvo sputters, chomping on a Big ‘N Tasty, the mayonnaise slithering down the corner of his mouth. “If I have to send her another message, I will.”
“Not with my office, you won’t,” O’Reilly retorts. “Once is enough. I don’t want the geisha girl coming after me again, though she was cute.”
“Cute,” DiCalvo snorts, nearly spurting out a mouthful of coke. “I knew she’d be your type even with her hair pulled back and no makeup and shit.”
“She’s not docile enough, but I could fix that, I’m sure.” The smile on O’Reilly’s face is not pleasant.
“Hopefully, neither of us will ever see her again.” DiCalvo has finished his grease and is now working on the fat—a hot fudge sundae. O’Reilly has long since stopped eating and is watching DiCalvo will thinly-concealed contempt.
“I think you should talk to Madame DuBois again,” O’Reilly finally says. “She better recognize that she’s depending on the kindness of strangers.” There is definitely an undercurrent of menace in his voice. Now that I can actually see his face, I notice that he’s good-looking for an older man. Over six-feet tall, wearing a power-suit, silvery hair that is still thick and lush, and ice-blue eyes. If he had a heart, he would be quite the catch.
“You can’t tell me what to do,” DiCalvo says belligerently, setting down his spoon. He swells out his chest, looking ridiculously like a pouter pigeon. “I’m not your lackey, O’Reilly.”
“No, you’re the Handy Man,” O’Reilly sneers. “He can’t get along without you, can he?”
“No, he fucking can’t,” DiCalvo agrees, picking up his spoon again. He’s starting to sweat as he did when he was interviewing me, and I wonder if it’s a genetic condition.
“I have to go. Need I remind you that there are still a few loose ends to tie up?” O’Reilly stands up, looking down on DiCalvo.
“Fuck you, O’Reilly.” DiCalvo flips O’Reilly the bird, but doesn’t stop slurping down his sundae. “I been doing my job a hell of a lot longer than you.”
“No, you haven’t,” O’Reilly sighs. “I’m older than you.” He’s in much better shape, though.
“Whatever. Get the fuck out of here.” On that cheerful note, O’Reilly departs. I stay put, however, as DiCalvo is now my quarry. “Fucking asshole thinks he’s the boss of me,” DiCalvo mutters, sipping at what looks to be a chocolate milkshake. “Thinks he can give me orders, does he? Fucker. Who’s the one who took care of that fucking Angel? Me. Didn’t want to get his hands dirty.” He snorts before getting up to go. I wait a moment before following him. He is too wrapped up in his indignation to notice anything else, and he ambles along Columbus to a bar called Tosca’s. It’s barely past noon, and he’s hitting the bars. I hesitate, then slip in behind him. There are four or five people in the place, and three of them are smoking. Another bar where the staff looks the other way when the patrons light up.
“Shot of Jack,” DiCalvo says loudly, plopping himself down at the near end of the bar. I saunter past him and slip into the last seat of the bar, as far from DiCalvo as possible.
“What can I get you, darling?” The bartender is in his late twenties, a beefcake with flaming red curls, emerald-green eyes and dimples that peek out of his cheeks when he smiles. Irish with a hint of a brogue. He has a Gaelic tattoo on his left forearm.
“Just a Diet Coke,” I smile at him. “I’m waiting for someone, and I don’t want to be snockered when he gets here.” I keep my voice high and breathy, though it’s not easy to do.
“Lucky man,” the bartender drawls, looking me over. He offers a smile that is personal, but not insulting.
“Blind date,” I smile back. “You know how that is. I’m not sure I want to meet him.”
“Well, if he gives ya any trouble, let me know. I’ll toss him out on his arse. Me name’s Seamus.” He holds his hand out, and I give him mine. He brings it up to his lips and presses a kiss on the back of it.
“My name is Delilah,” I say huskily. “It’s certainly a pleasure to meet you. You must meet interesting people here all the time.” I look him over again, discreetly. He’s wearing black jeans and a black t-shirt, and it’s obvious that he works out. He reminds me a bit of a beefed-up Jonathan Rhys-Meyers with red hair.
“Sure do,” Seamus says pleasantly. “Take that guy over there. He’s a regular. When he’s in his cups, he’ll tell the most outrageous lies. Like, his last’s name Andretti, so he’ll say he’s Mario, then talk about the races as if they happened to him.” He shakes his head.
“Maybe his name really is Mario,” I tease. “It’s not totally impossible.” Andretti. I have a last name now. Let’s see if I can get a first.
“Nah, it’s Ricardo. He’s been in here plenty of times before.” Seamus grins, clearly pleased with himself.
“Ricardo Andretti.” I imprint the name on my brain because I don’t want to whip out a pen and jot it down in front of my attentive bartender. I also don’t want him paying so much attention to me that he draws the attention of Andretti to me.
“Can I be getting you anything else, darling?” Seamus leans back, looking at me from under incredibly long eyelashes. He’s laying on the Irish brogue thick. If it wasn’t the middle of the day, and if I were allowed in my apartment, I’d be banging this boy right now. Oh, and if he weren’t working, of course.
“You certainly can, but you’d have to quit your job to do so.” I drain my soda, staring at Seamus the whole time.
“What about your blind date, love? I don’t think he’ll be caring for you taking off with another man.” Seamus’s eyes haven’t left my face yet. I make an elaborate show of looking at my watch. It’s twelve-thirty.
“Well, he’s got ten minutes,” I say with mock-ferocity. “Then I’m out of here.” I glance over at Andretti who looks like he needs another drink. “I think Mario’s ready for another.”
“I’ll be right back. Don’t you be going anywhere now.” Seamus raps the bar with his knuckles before sauntering over to Andretti who is gesturing dramatically. Seamus sets two more shots in front of him, and I see no tip left on the counter. Andretti blasts Seamus for a few more minutes before allowing him to escape.
“Sounds like Mario was upset,” I comment. “I’ll take another Diet Coke.”
“Ah, Mr. Andretti always gets a wee bit belligerent if I don’t get the drinks to him fast enough,” Seamus says easily, pouring me a large glass of Diet Coke. “On the house.”
“Thanks.” I slip him a dollar for a tip which he makes disappear in a flash.
“So, are you going to make me a happy man and give me your number?” Seamus asks after a minute. “Or do I have to suffer another loss of opportunity?” He smiles, displaying no lack of confidence. I like that in a man.
“Neither,” I say in response. “You’ll give me your number, and I’ll make you a happy man later.” I wink at him, pushing a napkin his way. He clicks on a pen and scribbles a few things on the napkin.
“That’s me cell phone, me home phone, and me email address.” Seamus’s accent slips in and out depending on his mood; it’s a charming affect. “Use any and all to your heart’s content.” His glance lingers near my heart. “Nice tattoo.”
“You should see me others.” Seamus replies, clearly at ease with flirting. It’s an art that not many men have mastered. Some try too hard and come off as either desperate or creepy. Some don’t try hard enough, and give out mixed signals. I like a man who is charming without being sleazy, and that’s Seamus all over.
“Barkeep! Get the hell over here!” Andretti pounds on the counter. “Come on, Seamus. You can flirt with the bitch on your own time!” Seamus’s face darkens, but I reach over and place a placating hand on his arm.
“Don’t let the assholes get you down.” I’m afraid he’s going to defend my maidenly honor which will garner me more attention than I want. “It looks like I’m being stood up. I’m going to go, but I’ll give you a call soon.” I quickly peck him on the lips, causing him to blush in pleasure. I stroll out past Andretti who doesn’t even give me a second look. It’s obvious that he doesn’t care for Asian women which makes it even more intriguing that he hired me in the first place.