Todd sighed and got up and walked to his desk. He opened a locked drawer and removed a note and walked back to his sister. “This is the reason I’m here. That and others like it.” He handed it to her.
Viki took the note. She saw the outside and opened it to read it. There was nothing on it but an address. “I don’t understand. What is this, and what do you mean, others like it?”
“I received my first note in Port Charles. I had no idea who it was from, but it told me Victor was alive and that I needed to finish what I started.”
“You mean you knew Victor was alive before coming home?”
He nodded, “I knew, but I didn’t believe it. I thought someone was playing with me. Then after getting those calls from Dani, I decided to go home and check on her. You know what happened next.”
Viki was stunned, she looked at the note again. There was nothing on it to say where it came from. There was only the design on the front. “The first note told you about Victor. You said others. Tell me what was on the others.”
“Viki, you need to understand. Once I was home all I wanted to do was stay there. Sure, I was shocked to see my brother alive and well. But I never for a moment wanted to kill him again. I just wanted to connect with my kids.”
“Of course Blair. I love Blair and always have. She made me see what a fool I’d been for months, but she held me at arm's length, refusing to let me close. Then a second note arrived, and everything changed.”
“When did the note arrive?”
“It was after Victor’s attempt to kill me. There’s more. Victor has a tattoo on his left wrist. That is the tattoo.” He pointed to the design on the note. “That tattoo also showed up on the man they pulled out of the river, I overheard Bo talking about it with Tea.”
Viki frowned. “Yes, I know something about that. I don’t know what to think about Victor. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact he tried to kill you twice and then Natalie tells me he’s suspected of killing that man. What happened to him in the last year and a half?”
“If I were to take a guess, I’d say they messed with his mind the way my mother tried to mess with mine.”
“They? Who are you talking about?”
“The Tattoo Organization. It’s what I’ve taken to calling it. After I got the second note, I decided to tell Blair what was going on, but before I could do that, someone tried to kill her.”
“Wait a minute. I thought those shots fired were from a gang who wanted Blair’s club shut down. Are you saying that’s not the case?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying. Someone is targeting my family. Dani was first. She didn’t overdose. Someone gave her toxic pills. Those shots were for Blair, they were trying to force my hand to get Victor, but he had already disappeared. The second note contained a list. Everyone I love is on that list including you and Natalie.”
Viki paled upon hearing that and Todd stopped, concerned for her. “Are you alright? Do you want some more tea?’
Viki looked at her teacup and managed a weak laugh. “I still haven’t drunk the first, Todd.”
Todd looked over and grinned ruefully. “Oh, yeah. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I’m fine, go on with your story. What happened after they tried to shoot Blair?”
“Blair and I decided the best thing to do was find Victor, so we went to Tea. She gave me an idea where to locate him, but he disappeared from there before I could reach him. After that, he cut off all communication with Tea. We thought if the organization believed he was dead, at least Victor could stop running, and they would leave us all alone. Unfortunately, that plan was never completed.”
“Why didn’t you go to Bo?”
“You know why. Bo doesn’t trust me. He never has and he never will. He thought I strangled myself, remember. I can’t work like that. Besides, I had no idea who was keeping tabs on me. The notes kept appearing from out of nowhere. Viki, all of you were threatened, and Dani and Blair were proof they meant it. Damn it!” Todd slapped his leg and stood up, walking away from his sister to stare out the window. “I have no idea who these people are. Yet they want Victor dead and me to do it. Why do things like this keep happening to me? ”
Viki got up and went to her brother’s side. “I’m not sure Todd, I asked myself that very same question right before I decided to call Tony Butler. I’m not giving up. That’s why I came here. I think you feel the same. I haven’t heard your whole story yet, but I have a feeling you haven’t given up either.”
He gazed out the window and realized the sun had set below the horizon. He hadn’t even noticed how dark his office was getting. Lights were beginning to go on around the city. He glanced at the Buckner mansion and saw that the lights were on there, too. Blair had arrived. His anger and frustration melted away, and he turned to Viki. “One good thing has come out of this. Blair has let me back into her life. She’s here this weekend. Let’s take this discussion to my temporary home, and we’ll fill you in on the rest.”
Baker strolled down the hallway like he owned the place. For years he had walked these same corridors as he performed his duties as Irene Manning’s second in command. Today seemed like just another one of those days. He was on his way to the new Director’s office. He had yet to meet the person, but if his employer was correct, he had a suspicion he was about to come face to face with a madwoman.
Reaching her office, Baker knocked. Seeing another woman sitting in Irene’s chair was strange. She looked up and smiled. It was disquieting, the look on the new Director’s face was almost maniacal.
“Come in, Mr. Baker,” Alison said over cheerily. “I’m glad to finally meet you. Please take a seat.”
Baker walked in and seated himself opposite her.
“I understand you worked for Irene Manning, and of course, were at one time a member of the CIA. I’m glad you decided to give us a try. According to my brother, you’re quite skilled in several areas. In particular, I understand you have intimate knowledge of certain persuasive techniques.”
“I have many talents, Madame Director. I wasn’t aware you would need those particular ones when I signed on.” Baker replied. He knew exactly what skills she was talking about.
“You may call me, Alison. You and I are going to be working very closely together. We have several guests here requiring your skills. My brother and I would be most appreciative if you would be so inclined to help us out. Believe me, it would be worth your while.”
Stall, Baker. She’s talking about paying you. Besides, you need to get on her good side. Manning will want to know more about this unknown brother. “I see, when you say worth my while, am I to understand there would be some monetary gain involved in this?”
“Of course. Everyone is entitled to what they are worth and if you succeed in helping us with our endeavor, you’ll be well paid.”
“Let me understand you completely. You wish me to use my skills of persuasion with your guests.” She nodded. “I’m quite willing to do that, but with one provision. I won’t kill them. I quite like my freedom, and if anything goes wrong, I won’t go down for murder.”
This time Alison cackled with glee. “Hahahahaha! Mr. Baker, you have no need to worry on that front. We don’t want them dead. They’ve been bad boys, and it looks like they need the proper persuasion to come home to the fold. Everyone must ‘Heed the Messenger’. So, are you on board? I’ll give you a moment to think about it.” Her tone suddenly turned serious. “But know, if you turn me down, I’m afraid the consequences won’t be to your liking.”
Baker met her gaze even though it chilled him to the bone. There it is Baker. The woman is nuts. She’ll make you one of her guests if you don’t go along with her. Speaking distinctly, he said. “I’ll be glad to assist you any way I can.”
“Excellent, come with me and I’ll introduce you to your first guest. Actually, it’s possible you already know him. He is Irene’s son after all.” She walked past him and out the door.
Todd turned to her and offered his hand. “No protests. You’re coming with me. You let me stay in your home even when you weren’t sure I was your brother. I’m not letting you spend a night in a hotel, especially here in New Orleans. We’ll pick up your things on the way to the house. Besides, we still have business to discuss.”
Viki knew when Todd took on that tone there was no talking him out of anything. She accepted his hand. “What do you mean business to discuss?”
Tucking her hand into his elbow, he guided her out of the office. “Did you forget? You called me with a business proposition I believe. Something about a new venture.”
The moment she had seen that Todd was Tony Butler, all thoughts of doing business with him had gone out the window. “Todd, that was before I knew you were Tony Butler. I can’t go into business with you.”
They entered the elevator. Todd turned to his sister. “Why not? You told me The Banner was my legacy as well as yours. I think it’s time I helped keep it around. Look, we’ll talk about it over dinner.” He smiled at her and led her out to his Limo, completely ignoring any further attempts on her part to talk about it.
Viki was impressed when the Limo pulled into the driveway of a large mansion. “Todd, I’m surprised at you. I didn’t think this was your style.”
“Only the best for Blair. I rented it to give her memories to hold onto when we have to be apart. It gives us the feeling of home. The only ones missing are Jack and Sam.” Todd stared out of the window wondering what the boys would have felt about such a place. “Do you know it even comes with Ghosts on Demand?”
Viki smiled at the wistful note in Todd’s voice. “I bet Jack would love it. He’s a lot like his father.”
Todd turned and smiled at his sister. “So Blair keeps telling me. I guess that’s why we’re having such a hard time reconnecting. He keeps his hurts close to his heart, like me. It’s hard to let them go. You know what I mean, you saw me after my Ireland return. I made a mess of that because I couldn’t let go of the hurt I felt when I saw Blair and Patrick.”
“I remember.” Viki reached and put her hand on top of his. “But you’ve changed and now you’re making an effort to rectify all of that. Never stop trying with Jack. He loves you. He’s just afraid.”
“No, Todd. He’s afraid he’s like you and Victor both, and he doesn’t want to make the mistakes you both made. Give him time. When this is all over you’ll have another chance with him, I guarantee it.”
Todd gulped and looked out the window. Blair was patiently waiting on the back veranda. “Come on, I’m starved. Let’s get you settled. You’ll like this place.”
Viki watched quietly as Todd greeted Blair with a kiss. He had changed so much since his ordeal with Irene. She took a deep breath. You took a chance and made a call. Who knew you would find your brother? Things are definitely looking up. She embraced Blair and the three of them entered the house.
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