Warning: This post contains content that may not be appropriate for younger readers. The chapter contains adult conversations and minor language. Consider the rating PG.
I was waiting on tables when Cassandra found me.
“Alex is looking for you,” she informed me.
“Yeah, who else? Seriously, I’m not his lap dog. I don’t know why I fetched you. After you speak to Alex, would you go find my father? He’s probably holed up in the library. Seriously, leaving me out here to tend the guests alone. It’s his house.”
She plugged her nose and plunged into the pool next to me, splashing some water on my pants. I shook my head as I walked into the house. The Goth family is certainly… interesting… I wonder why Alex wants to talk to me.
“Hello?” I poked my head into the library.
No one was in the room. I noticed the portraits on either side of the fireplace. The one looked like a picture of Mortimer Goth, Cassandra and Alexander’s father. His hair was curlier and he was wearing more old-fashioned clothing, but it definitely had his likeness. I caught myself smiling. Alexander definitely had his father’s jawline.
I walked around to the other side of the fireplace. This portrait was of a woman, a beautiful woman with long black hair. Could it be? The tiny lettering below her bust line read ‘Bella Goth₁.’ Mortimer’s wife. Cassandra and Alexander’s mother. I vaguely recalled her disappearance nearly ten years ago. I was nine years old at the time. I remember my friends and I all idolizing her. She must have led a wonderfully glamorous life, I had thought, in her mansion with her handsome wealthy husband and two beautiful children. Now after actually meeting some of the Goth family members, I wondered if my assessment had been incorrect.
“What are you doing here?” a deep voice interrupted my thoughts.
I gasped and threw my hands up instinctively.
“This part of the house is off limits to the staff and the guests,” the man continued, and then asked brazenly, “Are you stealing? Trying to get a good photo for the tabloids?”
I turned around to face my accuser, Mortimer Goth₂.
“Absolutely not!” I said incredulously. “Cassandra sent me to find you.”
“My daughter?” Mortimer frowned as he walked around the couch.
“Yes, she told me to look for you in here,” I nodded assertively.
“I see,” Mortimer replied staunchly. “I wonder where she got off to.”
“She said she was going to take a dip in the pool and sent me locate you and said Alex was looking for me,” I said confidently.
That’s right, Kass, be strong. This is Mortimer Goth, millionaire extraordinaire, director of the state campaign and finance office. The one who couldn’t hang onto his wife. I’d heard too many tidbits of stories here and there about this man, but from what I knew, I didn’t like. In fact, something told me I should just stay away from the entire Goth family… maybe minus Alexander. But this was my only chance to encounter Gunther Goth and I needed his support to reopen the research for EXCES.
“Alex is looking for you?” Mortimer repeated, and his face relaxed into a smile. “Alex’s a good kid. How long have you been together?”
My eyes widened in annoyance and amazement. He must’ve thought I was Alex’s date to the party. When I didn’t respond, Mortimer continued.
“Now I think it’s cute he didn’t tell me. He’s had a rough couple years, my son, and he needs a little gal like you. Though your wardrobe choice could be… well…” he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “…better. You look like the staff. My son’s so private about his personal life unlike my Cassandra, but I know he doesn’t date much. In fact, you’re the first girl he’s ever brought here in the last few years. It’s nice that you came to my brother’s party together.”
“We didn’t come here together. I just saw him today,” I interjected.
“Well doesn’t he have some surprises up his sleeve?” Mortimer gave a cocky grin as he leaned back, almost as if he was assessing me. “I never suspected him to be the type to find a girl at the party, but if he doesn’t go for you, I wouldn’t mind picking up his scraps.”
“Excuse me?” I retorted. “The type to treat me like the lady I am or the type to realize his advances are unwanted and to back away politely? Aren’t you still married? I have to leave.”
Mortimer blocked my path.
“My wife’s been gone over nine years,” he said coldly. “I think it’s time I moved on.”
“And I’ve heard you have,” I said boldly.
“I’m just having a little fun. It never hurt anyone,” Mortimer smirked, waving his hands around. “Can’t blame a guy for trying. I wasn’t serious about you. I mean, you’re with my son. I couldn’t do that to him. I’m not that kind of father. What do you take me for?”
“Please, I should leave,” I replied, trying to stay calm.
“I thought you were looking for Alexander. I would imagine he’d be heartbroken if you didn’t oblige him,” he said sarcastically.
“You can tell him that you scared me away.”
“Oh so I scared you?”
I tried to step around him, but he blocked my path again. My throat tightened and my fists clenched.
“I’m just a scary guy. A big scary guy with the bucks, the bang, and the business? Is that what they all say?” he seemed almost saddened by his own admission.
“Mr. Goth, sir, you should probably get back to your guests,” I urged.
“My wife left me for a younger man and then she disappeared,” he cried out, startling me. “I’ve been trying to find her… trying to find her… and no one cares… no one cares because I got spurned. It’s good joking material. They still laugh at me, you know? I heard a good one the other day. Do you want to hear it?”
I wasn’t sure what to say so I stayed silent. He’s been drinking. That’s probably why he was in the house instead of outside with his guests.
“You know what they said?” he continued. “They said, ‘old Mortimer Goth has the sense of humor of a mortician so it makes sense his wife would leave that morbid house of theirs.’ Can you believe that? It’s probably true.”
He swayed a little while talking. Oh yeah, definitely drinking.
“So why can’t I have my fun with the pick of the litter too? Why not? Because I’m old. I’m an old broken man who’s all used up and tired and you and them…” he waved his hands to the side as if referencing the world. “You all think you’re better than me.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way, sir,” I said politely. “Perhaps we should get you some water and an aspirin or something.”
“Perhaps you should come back later for a private dip in the pool or something,” he grinned lasciviously. “Clothing optional.”
I flushed. Just like that, he’s back to his creepy self.
“I’m leaving,” I stuck my chin in the air as I pushed past him.
“Oh and we have plenty of towels too,” he called after me.
I returned to the party, bringing a fresh bucket of ice to Jasmine at the bar. I turned around and nearly plowed into Gunther Goth, Jr.
“I’m sorry,” I murmured. What is it with me today and running into the Goths?
“Hey Red,” Gunther greeted me, and I blinked in surprise. “My niece said you were looking for me.”
“Oh uh…” I fumbled for words.
“Weren’t you the pigs girl?” he smirked.
“What?” I frowned.
“The pigs-in-a-blanket girl. I thought it was great what you did offering sausages to the Wrights,” he chuckled.
“Okay, thank you,” I said slowly.
“So what did you want to ask me?” he inquired.
“I was hoping to talk with you about a division of your research company,” I replied earnestly. “I wanted to speak to you on behalf of several hundred patients out there who are suffering from EXCES.”
“EXCES?” his smile turned to a frown.
“Yes, sir, EXCES. Hundreds of people have died from the disease and hundreds more will die if something isn’t done about it. I believe your research could be crucial to making the breakthroughs that are necessary to finding a cure and eliminating future pain and suffering.”
“There are other companies out there already doing that, young lady, so if you’ll excuse me…”
“No, please, don’t leave. I know the division that was researching unknown diseases is now closed at the RRS but I believe it would be extremely beneficial to open it up again.”
“Look honey,” Gunther patted my arm. “It may be beneficial but it wasn’t profitable. I thought Alex directed you to me because you wanted to ask for a job which is why I was willing to listen, but I can’t help you. Now you’re very young and pretty and I wouldn’t mind you working as one of my administrative staff in my office but you just don’t understand the inner workings of a company like RRS. Now please go occupy yourself with some meaningful work.”
“This is meaningful!” I exclaimed, drawing the attention of some of the party guests. “Doesn’t it mean something to you that people are dying? Doesn’t it mean something to you that someone is willing to work hard to help these people? Doesn’t it mean something to you that you could be helping make history? For generations, your family has poured their time, money, and energy into a worthy cause… finding a cure for EXCES and now suddenly you want to give up?”
“I didn’t give up suddenly,” Gunther gritted his teeth. “The division was closed over two years ago because the numbers were simply not cutting it.”
“Yes, but that’s precisely why it needs to be reopened. Because high numbers of people are dying and countless more are suffering!” I said passionately.
“Listen, I told you my answer. It’s final. If you want to try and schedule an appointment at my office for a job interview, great. Otherwise, this conversation is over,” Gunther waved his arms to demonstrate the finality of his words.
“Please, sir, Mr. Goth, that can’t be it. I can’t give up and neither should you. My dad is dying!” I exclaimed.
“Seriously?” Gunther’s eyes widened. “Are you still here? Are you still talking? Look at me.” He lifted his hands up placing one above his head and one below his waist. “I’m up here and you’re…” he made brought his arms back down and made a small gap between one of his hands. “…down here. I’m someone everyone knows and you? You’re just a nobody. Me? King. You? Bug. You know what I do to little irritating bugs? I squash them.” He stomped his foot for emphasis. “My word is final. You need to leave.”
“I am not a bug!” I retorted.
“Shut your trap, kid,” Gunther closed his hand. “You are what I say you are and you will do as you’re told. Now leave. You’re fired.”
When I stared at him blankly for a moment, he lunged forward.
“LEAVE!” he thundered. “Before I call the police and have to report you for trespassing, you brainless twit!” He leaned back and laughed. “Seriously, Alexander, my nephew sure knows how to pick them. He brings me this poor pathetic excuse for a woman and hopes to find her a place in my company. Did he honestly think I’d listen? What the hell, man? What does he know anyway about business?”
I gasped painfully, raising a hand to my face to hide the tears that were spilling rapidly down my cheeks.
“That’s right,” he snarled. “Go cry to your daddy. Oh damn! Your daddy might not be around anymore.”
A sob escaped my throat.
“He… has…EXCES!” Gunther leaned forward mockingly, emphasizing each word deliberately.
I turned and fled across the pool area, stopping momentarily at the buffet table to snatch my purse. Maybe I was pathetic. Maybe I was stupid. Maybe I should’ve tried to schedule an appointment, better prepare my words, or approached him differently. My pleas had fallen on deaf ears. This whole night had been an embarrassing mess and a painful waste.
I recognized Cassandra’s voice. I didn’t turn around. I didn’t want her to see I’d been crying.
“Yeah,” I sniffled.
“Uh, Uncle Gunther told me to tell you that he isn’t going to be paying you for your services tonight,” she informed me, sounding almost bored. “I don’t know what you did to piss him off, but man, you really knocked that one out of the park.”
“Excuse me,” I turned around quickly and bolted past her, running away with what little dignity I had left.
Chapter 29 Coming Soon!
- What will Kass do now that Gunther’s refused to reopen the EXCES research division?
- How will she recover from the Goth family party?
Author Changes: What’s different?
- Picture size was edited.
- The line “just like that…” was added.
- Dates were changed.
- Bella Bachelor Goth is the missing wife of Mortimer Goth, the mother of Cassandra and Alexander Goth, and the daughter of Simis and Jocasta Bachelor. She disappeared on the 4th of Simuly ten years ago. The family all has different theories of why and how she disappeared, but it is believed she ran off with another man. The police determined it was a cold case after never finding her. Bella was a former television and movie actress.
- Mortimer Goth is the former husband of Bella Goth, the father of Cassandra and Alexander Goth, and the oldest son of Gunther Goth, Sr. and Cornelia Goth. He is a deeply troubled man, and while he has attempted multiple relationships with other women for appearances sake, he still loves his wife. He moved his family to Sunset Valley when Cassandra was in high school. He is the director of the Califorsimia Office of Campaign and Political Finance. He had an older sister, Minerva, who never married her partner, Elmer Watson, but had three children (Chiara, Gloria, and Wolfgang) by him. Minerva and Elmer both died. His younger brother, Gunther Goth, Jr. and sister-in-law, Amelia have one son, Monty. His younger sister, Morgana married Thornton Wolff and also lives in Sunset Valley.