Madigan mulled over the fact that she hadn’t made a clean getaway last night. She bit her fingernail as she stared blindly out of her window at the other skyscrapers dotting the city.
This was a dire situation.
She didn’t have to replace her cellphone, keys, and credit cards, which was a hassle she could do without. Her personal items weren’t found by the police and admitted into evidence or in someone else’s possession like a motorcycle club involved in whatever seedy business that made a shootout an eventuality.
However, the return of her jacket and clutch meant that someone knew. The biker guy, it had to be him. The mere fact that he knew where she worked and lived, was a threat.
Madigan felt a molten heat creep through her body at the thought of the biker guy close to her. Details from the night before were vivid. She could feel the timbre of his voice resonating in her chest, making her unsure in her heels. He was a massive granite statue, radiating heat when he towered in front of her, pushing her against the wall.
Her breath hitched in her throat. She needed to control this. He couldn’t turn her into this feeble skirt, sighing at the thought of him, if she didn’t let him. Madigan could stay on top on the situation. It was no different from her professional life. She looked at her rugged fingernails in disgust.
First, she needed to know for sure, the biker guy had returned her stuff. She dialed Bethany on the loudspeaker.
‘Call security. I want to see the footage of the person, who returned by belongings. By tonight.’
Madigan ended the call and dug out her personal cellphone to place the next call. Two could play the intimidation game, she resolved.
‘Hello Mike. It’s Madigan Gardner. I have a job for you. I need some information on a biker. I don’t a name or a club, but he was present at a shootout in a bar called the Narrow last night. Come evening, I’ll have some surveillance footage of him.’
Madigan didn’t have to tell Mike to be discreet nor did she need to explain why she wanted the information.
‘Sure thing. With the footage in hand, I’ll have something to go on.’
Madigan ended the call, knowing that within a few days, she would have the same information, the biker guy had on her and thus have levelled the playing field.
Later that night, Madigan cleared away after her dinner consisting of a piece of salmon and a salad. She reclined in her small couch with a glass of Chardonnay within reach and flicked through a design magazine. She reached for her phone to glance at her email.
It had to be him on the surveillance footage. No one else would return the jacket and her personal effects. She had already contacted Mike and given him the case, but still restlessness bubbled in her stomach. Madigan wanted to see the footage. She wanted to see the guy, she remembered, see if he lived up to her expectations.
Madigan sprang up from the couch. She didn’t have expectations for a biker. He was a random guy. She just needed to make sure that he was going to stay away.
The ping from her phone notified her of a new email. Madigan opened the attachments and flipped through the pictures. It was him, tall with the upper body strength to impress a wrestler. He had dark hair cut in a buzz cut, which Madigan didn’t think conformed with her image of a biker. He was dressed in black from top to toe which the exception of the detailing of the patch on his back. Madigan shivered at the sight of him. He scared her, and nothing was allowed to scare her.
Madigan forwarded the footage to Mike, had a sip of her Chardonnay, and schemed.
“Ms. Gardner?’ Bethany approached Madigan at her desk, where she was reading the reports Gavin and Jimmy had compiled. ‘You asked me to let you know the minute Ted Balducci made contact. I just got off the phone with his P.A., scheduling a meeting for 2:30. I told her you only have half an hour, like you said.’
Madigan grinned. ‘Excellent. You did good. Now, at 3, I want to the knock and tell me next appointment is waiting in my office.’ That would get Balducci’s panties in a bunch, letting him know that he isn’t the most important person around.
Madigan was ready at 2:30 and with Gavin and Jimmy in tow, she headed into the conference room, where Balducci and his three associates were already seated.
‘Gentlemen,’ she greeted him with a nod, ‘Ted’.
Madigan sat down with the back towards the windows and Gavin and Jimmy on either side. There were 30-some hours left before the offers expiration, and Mr. Ollivers’ ex-mistress had sung as told.
Balducci looked confident, but Madigan knew the ruse was thin.
‘The board isn’t happy with offer, Gardner. I’m afraid they may vote against it, if there isn’t something to sweeten the pot.’
Madigan translated his statement. The board didn’t dismiss the offer. They aren’t happy with the very bleak offer on the table nor are they happy with Balducci’s results, but they’ll take it.
‘What would you suggest?’ There was no way Allister Consolidated to was adding to the offer, but Madigan couldn’t help to see where this would lead.
Balducci leaned back in his chair and exhaled, feigning nonchalance.
‘A no-fault compensation of 25 million to the three majority shareholders.’
Madigan let the silence hang in the air as she slowly counted to ten, making sure that everyone heard how preposterous the suggestion was. The older of Balducci’s associate had trembling hands. Madigan smiled at him and then centered on Balducci.
‘The offer is final and expires tomorrow at 10 PM.’
Madigan got up leave.
‘You’re one cold bitch,’ Balducci gnarled at her back.
‘So I’ve been told,’ Madigan retorted and left him in the conference room.