ARC TWO: NEW RIVALS
Part One: North Of The Border
Chapter Six: Eric's Gambit
"Oh, thank God that's stopped."
Sirena dropped the last of her stage clothes down onto the heap beside
her, reaching up to tie a scarf into her thick wavy hair. Glancing at
her reflection, she rolled her eyes, hunting in her purse for her
"All go and still no sign of Mom." She muttered, dialling her mother's
number and putting the phone to her ear. "What in hell time did she
order my car for anyway? Can't anyone do anything without her yelling
at...Mom? Where the hell are you?"
"Stuck in traffic, currently." Phyllis sounded annoyed. "I've been
trying to call the venue but not having much luck. Their switchboard is
jammed. How did it go tonight?"
"It went fine. Why weren't you here?"
"Do you need me to hold your hand for every stage show?"
"God, no. But it would be nice if sometimes you saw what I could really
do when I do it well."
"Well, some bonehead called me out on a paperwork technicality and then
got chicken and wouldn't own up to it when I got here." Phyllis sighed.
"I'm not surprised. Most employees cower when you storm in on them in a
rage." Emily sounded amused.
"Well, they shouldn't call me out then." Phyllis retorted. "It was a
waste of my evening. Paperwork is all fine for your next gig, but a
headache I didn't need. And your car is on it's way, in case you're
wondering. Traffic is like hell tonight."
"It's late." Emily glanced up at the clock. "I wonder where the fire
"Pile up or something." Phyllis responded. "Anyhow, I'll probably be
there before the car, so don't go anywhere, all right? Stuart with you?"
"He's been playing the bodyguard. Mom, I don't need it. This place is
"Well, I ain't taking chances." Phyllis said flatly. "See that he stays
with you. I'll see you soon."
"Yeah, yeah. I get it." Emily rolled her eyes. "I'll see you shortly.
She terminated the call, tossing the phone back into her bag and
rummaging around inside for her cigarettes and her lighter. She paused,
glancing at them, then sighing, dropping them back into her bag.
"So Mike's not here and it's okay for me to smoke?" She asked herself
out loud, glancing up at the no smoking sign that hung over the door.
"Why did I even buy them? Am I that on edge about being in Canada? I
haven't smoked more than a couple here and there since Mike was born.
Come on, Em. You know you can't take this up here and then go home and
be fine about it. You know it doesn't work like that, and you promised
yourself you'd never do that around Michael. Some Gabor you are if you
can't handle stress without a kick."
At that moment there was a knock on the door, and muttering a curse
under her breath, she got to her feet, stalking across the dressing
room and shoving the lock back, pulling the door open.
"What the hell is your problem!" She exclaimed then, as she got a
glimpse of the person on the other side, she cursed again, going to
shut the door. Eric was too quick for her, however, blocking her
attempt with his foot.
"Is that any way to speak to your father?" He asked softly.
"Wouldn't know. I don't have one." Emily said coldly. "Get your foot
out of the way, else I'll break it for you, and something else besides.
I have nothing to say to you now, or ever. Mom was right. You are a
"Your mother has interesting opinions on many subjects." Eric said
thoughtfully. "Not all of which are good for you. It's a shame that you
seem determined to follow her delusional attitude to life instead of
harnessing the genuine abilities you have inside of you. You're my
daughter. You must be capable of more rational thought than that."
"Oh, I can be very rational, Daddy." Emily retorted. "Rational enough
to know I don't want you anywhere near me. You had a chance - one
chance - to be a part of my life and my son's life. You decided to
screw me over and use me to get money instead. Mom had to pay you off
to get you to leave me alone. What makes you think I want to talk to
"Because I have a business proposal for you which can only be good for
young Michael in the long run." Eric rested a casual hand on the door,
pushing it back and catching her off guard. He slipped into the room,
shutting the door behind him and sliding the lock across. Emily stared
"Why did you do that?" She demanded. "What do you think you're going to
do to me?"
"Talk to you." Eric said with a shrug. "What else would I do to you?
What did your mother tell you about me?"
"That you're not to be trusted, and I believe her." Emily's brows
knitted together. "Let me out. Or no, even better...you get out. Mom
will be here soon, and so will my security team. You might not be a
violent person, Eric, but believe me, Mom and I both can be if you get
us annoyed. You're going a good way towards that right now."
"Assault charges aren't really good publicity, so I don't think you'll
do anything of the sort." Eric said calmly. "Besides, it doesn't cost
you anything to hear me out, does it?"
"Only time, which I don't have where you're concerned."
"Well, the sooner you listen, the sooner I'll let you out." Eric
shrugged. Emily made a lunge for her bag, but he was there before her,
scooping it up and removing her cellphone, sliding it into his pocket.
"No, I don't think Mommy needs to be part of this conversation." he
said lightly. "Not right now."
"Give that back!"
"I will, when I'm done talking." Eric assured her. He flicked through
her purse idly, pulling out the cigarettes and eying her keenly.
"Tut tut. With a small child in the house, too." He said mockingly.
"What kind of an example did your mother set you?"
"She didn't, and it's none of your business what I do." Emily snatched
her bag away, dropping it down on the unit behind her. "What part of
that don't you understand?"
"Oh, of course not." Eric smiled. "Your mother wasn't around when you
were growing up. So it must have been...let me see...Kimber Benton that
set you the bad example. Am I right?"
"Well, since you weren't there either, it's hardly important now."
Emily shot back. "And you're hardly the one to be judging me on what
kind of a parent I am, are you?"
"I couldn't take care of a child I knew nothing about, now could I?"
"Don't try and play that card again. You did that last time. I don't
follow the same lines twice." Emily shook her head. "Just get to the
point and get out."
"My impression was that you hated your little charity house upbringing
quite badly." Eric pursed his lips. "Dumped like garbage on someone who
really didn't want you - would that sum it up about right?"
"What part of 'none of your business' don't you understand?" Emily
bristled. "My childhood was a very long time ago. Whatever issues I had
then, I don't have them now."
"Really?" Eric's glance flitted to her bag, and he raised an eyebrow.
"Seems otherwise to me. Seems to me you're still trying to escape it."
"Meaning what?" Emily demanded. "If you want a fist in the face, Dad,
you're going the right way..."
"Threatening behaviour." Eric cut across her, counting on his fingers
as he did so. "Getting pregnant to get your mother's attention. Raising
a mistake from a brief fling. Smoking. Wild stories. Club nights out.
You tell me. Are you really past all of those things? It's Kimber's
fault, you know. She probably knew all along who you were...it's not
impossible, I can see it just by looking at you. Your mother's eyes.
Your mother's spirit. She could have found you your family whenever she
wanted to but she chose not to."
"And this matters to you why?"
"Because I have the perfect way to get back at her." Eric responded.
"You and me both."
"What do you have against Kimber Harrison?" Emily looked startled.
"What did she ever do to you?"
"Aside from steal a music company out from under my nose on several
occasions?" Eric raised an eyebrow. "I could say she prevented me from
bonding with my only daughter. That she kept you from me when she could
have tracked me down."
"Well, considering what I know about you and your last attempt at
family bonding, I think she did the right thing." Emily said bluntly.
"Look, Dad, I'm running out of patience. You had your chance to involve
me in your life and in your business affairs. You screwed up and you
did it big time. Gabors don't forget things easily...or did you not
pick that memo up when my Mom kicked you out of America? We don't
forget, we don't forgive. And you said yourself I have my mother's
spirit. Why would I even think about talking business with you? Now or
ever? And don't pretend it will benefit Michael. You've used that line
before as well, and I've no time for it. Whatever it is you want from
me, I'm not interested. And you might as well not come back, because I
won't change my mind. I won't be interested tomorrow, or the day after,
or the week after...or ever."
She pushed past him and with one fluid movement, unlocked the door,
pushing him up against the wall and extracting her phone from his
"So do me a favour and leave me alone." She muttered. "The only thing I
ever want to hear from or about you again is that you're dead and you
aren't going to bother me any more. Because I'm not your daughter, and
you might as well get over it now. I won't ever be anything more to you
than a quick means of cash, and you'll only ever be some random jerk
where I'm concerned. Get out and leave me alone, before Mom gets here
and rips you to shreds herself. This conversation is finished."
She released her grip, pulling open the door of the dressing room and
shoving him towards it. He straightened his jacket, pausing to give her
a long, hard look.
"You do have your mother's spirit more than you have my good sense." He
said coolly. "But we'll see who has the last laugh in this."
With that he was gone, and Emily leant back against the wall, closing
her eyes briefly as she fought to get her wild emotions under control.
She clenched her fists, banging them against the wall as she struggled
to control her anger.
"How dare he." She muttered. "How dare he! Who does he think I am,
someone he can manipulate and drag into his games on a moment's whim?
Dammit, and it means Mom was right, too. Maybe he was behind yesterday.
Maybe she was right to have Stuart here. Maybe..."
"Miss Gabor?" At that moment, Stuart's voice startled her and she
glanced up at him, offering a faint smile.
"I was just thinking about you and Mom's babysitting idea." She owned.
"Are you all right, Miss?" Stuart looked anxious. "The door was open
"I'm fine. I just wanted some...some air." Emily forced herself to get
a grip on her composure, nodding her head. "I spoke to Mom and she's on
her way over here now. Looks like we're both stuck here till she gets
here - traffic or something, I don't know what - so you might as well
come in and take a seat. You did get rid of that fan okay?"
"Yes. She's long gone." Stuart nodded. "I cut her loose at the venue
perimeter. She said she was going to be sick,but she seemed to improve
with fresh air. She looked a bit ashamed of herself. I think maybe she
had a touch to drink or something. She totally lost her head."
"Well, at least you were here to deal with it." Emily said levelly. She
slipped her cellphone into her bag, pulling out the cigarettes and
setting them down on the unit as she looked for her lighter.
"I know it's no smoking in here, but I'm beat and I need something."
She said. "You want to join me in breaking the rules? After all, it's
your overtime too, and Mom'll settle it if any of the venue staff have
a problem with it. After all, she's Phyllis Gabor and not many people
will argue the point when they have her to contend with."
"Well, after that little incident, I won't say no to that." Stuart
grinned, dropping down into a seat and accepting a cigarette. "I'll be
glad to see your mother, in truth, and report back on tonight. Even
gladder that she was proven wrong. Just another madcap fan...we deal
with those a lot."
"Yeah." Emily sighed, putting her cigarette to her lips and lighting
it, tossing the lighter at her companion. "And now I guess we just wait
for our transport outta here."