" Ballard’s got to go away. He could hurt Liv and I don’t know why you just don’t feed him to a beehive and quit dicking around about it. Do bees even eat meat?"
"There are such bees as vulture bees, first classified in 1792 and recorded officially in 1982. The three species are Trigona Crassipes categorized in 1793, Trigona Hypogea categorized in 1902, and Trigona Nercrophaga categorized in 1992. The Vulture bees are attracted to rotting carcasses, and decaying flesh, as opposed to colorful flowers and sweet nectar. Like most adult bees, the vulture bees collects food to that back the nest, but rather than visit flowers like most bee species, Vulture bees gather meat. They are necrophages, the scientific word that means creatures that eats dead animal carcasses, and use the meat for the protein that these bees need to survive. Vulture bees, much like maggots, usually enter the carcass through the eyes. They will then root around inside gathering the meat suitable for their needs. The vulture bees salivates on the rotting flesh and then sucks it up storing it special stomach compartment until it has flown back to the nest. When it returns home, this meat is transferred to another Vulture bee. This bee’s job is to mix the animal flesh with a digestive fluid to break it down into an edible substance. This substance is then placed into pot-like containers within the nest until it is time to feed the immature bees."
"…that’s really fucked up, man."
"Not really, it’s just their natural behavior. And to answer your question: if I could get down to Central and South America or out West long enough to collect a large enough colony and transfer them safely, I would’ve done it by now and Ballard would be a non-factor."
"But, you just told me that they eat dead things, though. In order for it to work, Ballard would have to be dead, first."
"I stand by my statement."
"…you’re really fucked up, man. No wonder you and Liv go together like peanut butter and jelly.”
Fitz chuckled at Harrison’s statement and took another forkful of tabbouleh, chewing thoughtfully. Big Jerry had returned to California during the last leg of the Winter, seemingly defeated but Fitz knew better. His father was down but not out. The old man was looking to get control over him again or more than likely, revenge against him. Backroom Blueblood Betrothals was still hailed as one of the greatest journalism stories ever told and James had gone on to do many more exposes on big wigs of all sorts. The only reason that he could was because of the interview Fitz had given him and the only reason that Fitz had been able to blow the lid off of everything so thoroughly was because Big Jerry did not know how to shut the fuck up.
He was like the villain in every spy thriller: a megalomaniac who would detail every part of his plot to the hero and then have the nerve to be surprised and/or angry when the information was used against them. And Mellie hadn’t been quiet, either. She had been Big Jerry’s mouthpiece during his time at MSU before the Interview and he had gleaned Intel from her easily.
Big Jerry was seen as the father of the Infidel, a pariah to the bluebloods and wannabe bluebloods whose opinions he had centered his life around. He would never be on the Inside again and Fitz happily accepted the blame for it. The old bastard’s reputation was a small price to pay in exchange for him being able to have the career he wanted and the life he wanted without manipulation.
But, Big Jerry being Big Jerry just couldn’t leave well enough alone, especially with Eli Pope breathing down his neck.
Fitz never thought that he could have deeper disdain for a human being than his father but that was before he met Eli Pope. How such a beautiful person as his Livvie could come from such a son of a bitch was beyond Fitz’s comprehension. The way he talked down to his daughter, the way that he bullied his daughter, the way that he made Olivia wilt like an unwatered flower in triple digit heat made his blood boil. How many years had Olivia endured him? How many tears had she shed because of him? How many dreams had she deferred or hidden because of him?
The only useful thing the arrogant prick had done outside of his work was to contribute to Olivia’s creation and as long as he breathed, as long as Olivia wanted to remain with him, Fitz would protect her from her sperm donor’s poison. He knew that sort of poison intimately, the scars from it were still on his soul and like Olivia had become the balm to soothe them away, he wanted to do the same for her. That wasn’t saying that Olivia was some damsel in distress. Oh, no. His Livvie was a Gladiator and the strongest person he knew.
Even the strongest people need solace. Even the strongest people need back up. Even the strongest people need nurturing and most of all, they need to know that they were loved and wanted for them. A kind word, a listening ear, a show of genuine affection could work wonders and had with Olivia. Fitz made sure that she knew that she was valued by him, that she was needed by him, and that she was adored by him. She fed on that nurturing and gave it back to him, keeping him sane and…
Jake Ballard, Eli Pope, Big Jerry, or anyone else with a problem against her, against them would have hell to pay if they crossed out of line.
Fitz was sure that something was brewing with Ballard and if there was, their Fathers in Name Only had something to do with it.
They were probably the puppet masters, moving Ballard around on their stage.
If necessary, Fitz would cut the strings.
And then, he would cut their throats.
No one would hurt his Livvie without consequences while he was breathing and sound in mind and body.
(Another week, another Wednesday! Have a good one and an update for Shattering is in the works!)
“How stupid does he think I am? I mean, seriously?”
“That was quite a performance you put on. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that you were really mad at me.”
“I know that you would never cheat on me, Fitz. The anger I have is towards Ballard. At least my insurance will cover the damage.”
The damage was to her car. Overnight, someone had smashed the windows out, carved the word ‘BITCH’ into the left side of it, put a thong over the gear shift lever, and left a rather explicit note explaining that the person who did it was a current lover of Fitz’s. It was gloating and blistered with dark intent, informing her to ‘stay away from my man’ and other such things. Knowing that Ballard was probably nearby observing, both she and Fitz put on a show, culminating in her storming off in a tearful huff, him shouting after her.
Once enough time passed, she had come to the Fed Building and kissed him passionately on the stairs, once again putting on a show for Ballard. She had made a rather over the top (for her) apology and invited him to join her for lunch.
It was clear to everyone within earshot that food was not on the menu…
“This is ridiculous…he is ridiculous…”
“More like they. I have a friend of mine looking into our sperm donor’s finances and apparently, they both withdrew 25,000 dollars from their accounts 2 months ago. Over the next 3 weeks, Ballard split up the money through deposits at many branches of the same bank amounting to…”
“Half now, half later…wow.”
“Huck is coordinating with some people from the 1-9 and they want to lure Ballard into making his move so they can catch him.”
“Huck…I’ve heard of him. He was one of the best hackers in the country before the CIA caught up with him. Instead of putting him in prison, they offered him a job.”
“We’ve been friends since undergrad. He was in the military for a while but honorably and medically discharged after injuries sustained in a rocket attack.”
“And you trust him?”
“With my life. He’s like my big brother. Well, my big little brother. He’s two years younger than I am.”
“Okay…so, are they going to wire you?”
“No. Ballard will search for that. What’s going to happen is that I’ll have a GPS tracker hidden on me.”
“Like a panic button?”
“Exactly. You’ll be getting one, too. We’ve been operating under the assumption that when he makes his move, he’ll come after me but we can’t be too careful.”
“He’s unstable and that makes him unpredictable. He could take both of us at the same time. He might not even take us at all. He could come to us.”
“Like a hostage situation?”
"…what you heard was him fucking me on the desk. I fucked him behind the desk afterwards…”
"… and I certainly don’t appreciate you spreading false information about my personal life. You told Dr. Grant that you and I had been intimate when you know that’s not only a lie but an impossibility…”
"…What is wrong with you?”
"…Don’t come near me. Don’t yell at me and don’t you ever disrespect me like this again or I’ll cut your fucking nose off, you got me?”
"You’re going to prison for the rest of your life."
"Is that all you have to say to me?"
"I hope you’re not depending on Big Jerry and Eli to come riding to your rescue. I don’t know much of anything about how the good senator operates but I know Eli. Once he sees you as defective, he withdraws. Plus, your instructions were to keep things low key, weren’t they? You bursting into a pre-trial hearing and hauling me out at gunpoint is far from low key."
She wasn’t even scared.
She was actually…annoyed! She was looking at him and speaking to him like he was some bumbling barista at a coffee house, trying and failing to get her order right. Grant had given him the same look before he knocked him out. The butterfly catcher was still unconscious on the floor next to Olivia and all of her attention was on him. She had hurried to his side, checked his pulse, and put his head on her lap, tenderly running her fingers through his hair…
You can’t even do this right, can you, Jacob? You still want her to choose you, to want you, which is why you haven’t shot her yet. How much do you want to bet that there’s a sniper’s dot trained on the back of your head right now, waiting and willing to put you down like the dog you are?
"Shut up! You’re not helping!"
You’re beyond help, anyway…
"If I’m beyond help, it’s because of you, you hateful bitch!"
Awww…boo-hoo…mommy didn’t love me…mommy didn’t want me…mommy’s responsible for every little thing that’s gone wrong in your life. That excuse can only work for so long, especially since I’m dead and rotting in the ground, thanks to you.
"You died from cancer and booze damage…I didn’t kill you!”
Why are you lying? You killed me. You held a pillow over my face and killed me. Then, you cleaned up the evidence and lied to the cops about what happened. You killed me…
"I wouldn’t have put that damned pillow over your face if you had just learned to shut the fuck up! Always nagging, always whining, always cutting me down…nothing I did was good enough for you, mother! You looked at me and saw nothing but the bastard who knocked you up and ran for it and I can’t blame him for doing it!"
Wow…for once, you’re not blaming someone. How precious…oh, look who’s waking up…
Jake trained the gun on the butterfly catcher as he stirred and once the man was fully conscious, he immediately put Olivia behind him, blocking her from him as always…
"For fuck’s sake, I just want to talk to her. I’m not going to hurt her…"
"Forgive me if I don’t believe you, considering you hit me over the head with a fucking pistol. What is wrong with you? Why are you doing this?”
"One date, Olivia! That’s all I wanted! You couldn’t even give me that! I’ve been right in front of you for 5 years and you ran off with this…this…he’s a fucking Grant! They’re no good! His own damned father helped pay for this to happen! What kind of future are you setting yourself up for?!"
"A far better one than I could’ve ever had with you. Even if you kill us now, the months I’ve been with him far outweigh a whole lifetime with you. I never led you on, not even for a second. Don’t you fucking blame me for your current circumstances because you don’t know to handle rejection. I never told you to wait around for me. You did that all on your own."
"I love you! What was I supposed to do?”
"If you did, then you wouldn’t have done this. True love means that you want someone to be happy, even if it isn’t with you, especially if it isn’t with you. You don’t know what love is, Ballard. You never have and you never will. None of this will change anything but your status as a free man. Whether you kill us or not, you’re going to prison."