My flight that night was cancelled. I stayed in Grande Prairie an extra day. I watched the snow fall, the idiots trying to drive down the streets, and wondered how long I was going to be stranded.
Then Sebastian called. “Okay. I called got a hold of the contractor. They bought the story. What’s going on?”
“I’ll have to tell you later, otherwise I could get you in shit.” That shut him up real quick.
By ten, I’d finished crunching the numbers for the 26 fragments of animal bone my crew found last year at our mitigation site. I had a minimum of one bear, one moose, two beaver, and one rabbit. Whoppee.
Now it was only a matter of time.
I didn’t have to wait long. At 1020, my phone rang again. “Elise,” even Sebastian’s voice had grey hairs sprouting, “Mom just called to say that some guy with straggly hair and glasses showed up in the backyard and started digging around. He says he knows you.” Mother has a cell phone — no land line, but the latest fully functioning iPhone — but do you think she could use it to call me? Nope.
“Yeah, that’s Mike. Tell mother to leave him alone. And don’t call the cops otherwise you’ll both be in shit.”
“O-kay. Um, another thing. She had some land guy call her asking for you.” He gave me the name and number.
Now what? Never fails. Shit always hits the fan whenever I’m out of town.
I called the number. “I’ve got a client who wants to buy your cabin and the land. Apparently, you’re sitting on some prime land with the mineral rights. Yours is the only bit of private land left in the area. I’m willing to offer you top dollar.” Double shit. I can handle land guys when they’re calling for work, but this was personal. This was about my dad’s cabin. The cabin my dad left me.
“Who’s your client?”
“I’m not at liberty to say.”
“Then I’m not selling.”
“My client is an oil and gas company.”
“Then I’m definitely not selling.” I hung up. My mother probably arranged that too.
Five months ago, my mother pulled out one hell of a manipulative card, the best one yet. She used my brother, Theo, to try to get me to sell my dad’s cabin. It was under the guise of paying off my debt to Theo. It didn’t work. I didn’t know who I was more disappointed in, my mother for trying to dispose of the only thing I had left of my father, or Theo for being her accomplice. This is why I’m edgy with my mother. This is why Theo hasn’t talked to me in five months. And this is why Sebbie and I are now best mates. He saved my ass by paying off Theo. Now, I’m indebted to Sebastian, in more ways than one.
I paced my hotel room. Braved the ice and walked down to the local coffee shop. Found the town library. I just couldn’t sit still and I couldn’t focus on that damned mitigation report.
I hate waiting.
It took until I was packing to catch my rescheduled flight that night. Finally, my phone rang. It was Mike. “I got something for you.”
I began to drool and shake. “What’ve you got? Bone?”
Mike giggled. Ah, us bone-types are all the same. I’d done my undergrad with Mike Ellis. We’d done a few labs and couple searches together. He was a decent, competent guy. I tried not to let his love of video games get in the way of my appraisal of his bone hunting abilities. “I got a couple carpals, a couple of metacarpals, phalanges and a wedding ring.” I nearly fainted with excitement.
“You take pictures and measurements?”
“It’s all by the book, baby.”
“I’m flying back tonight. Can I drop by?”
“Only if you promise to put in a game of Halo.”
“For you, Mike. Anything.”
Then I phoned Donoghue and made another date.