Story:Declaration of War
Declaration of War
Written by Shataivian
The Baltimore Spirits were going to the playoffs. Having clenched a spot on April 1st, and then the division title on the 25th, Lisa had plenty of time to play without the stress of making it weighing on her. Although, she had plenty on her shoulders. Eliza Mae. Why was this woman’s name on her birth certificate? It had to be her real mother. Of course, it was. Why would her father tell her the truth? He’s never done it before. And yet, Lisa was still no closer to finding any answers.
The Playoffs would begin tomorrow with Baltimore playing against the Minutemen at home. So, of course her father and his girlfriend had to come to cheer her on. They had arrived at Lisa’s condo early in the day while she was practicing with her team. Once back home, Lisa was greeted by the two, with both of them trying to dig their claws into her before the other.
“Come, love. Let’s go grab a coffee. I’ve got so much to catch you up on,” Valencia said to Lisa with a smile. But this time David stepped in.
“No,” he said firmly. “I want to take my daughter out tonight.”
“Oh, darling,” Valencia pouted. “You always get to spend time with her. Let me have a chance with her.”
“You took her out last time. Now it’s my turn,” he said through a smile.
It was a breath of fresh air watching the two desperately try to get to her before the other. Lisa’s double speak with David has proven useful for keeping him on his toes. With him so worried about what Valencia was doing, any subtlety with his daughter was neglected, and Lisa ate it up.
“Hey. Hey,” Lisa interrupted. “Why don’t we all go out? I’d like to spend time with both of you, actually.” With a little more pushback from the two, eventually they had no choice but to agree to go out together.
After ordering and receiving their drinks the three took a seat at one of the tables in front of the window. David slowly sipped at his coffee looking clearly uncomfortable with the situation. Valencia looked as smug as ever. But Lisa. She was the one hardest to read. She kept her back to the window to try and avoid being recognized right away, though with the playoffs being tomorrow and the city filling up with fans, it was a fleeting battle. That and they were in a Steerbucks. But there was enough time in between meeting fans for the three to spend together. And in those times, Lisa would propel the conversation.
“I haven’t heard anything from Ivie,” Lisa said into her cup.
“That’s a good thing, isn’t it?” Valencia asked.
“I suppose. I still can’t believe you found all that stuff on her.”
“What can I say? You want answers, I’ve got them,” Valencia said as she gave Lisa a side smirk.
“It’s all in the process,” David added.
The three mostly sat in silence, trying every now and then to break down the building tension with simple questions and pointless everyday information. A fan would then walk up, ask for a photograph, a crowd would notice and form around their table, and then things would get quiet, building the tension right back up again. But for once, Lisa wasn’t feeling the tension. Not personally. No, it was the other two clearly trying to figure out who was playing who, watching what they said and how they said it. Perfect. Time to make a move.
“Maybe you can help us out with something,” Lisa said to Valencia.
“I’d love to.”
“So, here’s the story. I’ve lost my passport and need to order a new one.”
“Lisa,” David sighed.
“No, no. I’ve mentioned she might be able to help.” Lisa’s voice was chipper, and her face was bright the entire time she spoke. “Anyway, So, yeah, I lost it and, of course, I need it to travel to, like, Canada and other places. And to order a new one I need to send in some identification. The big thing they need is my birth certificate. But here’s the thing. I’ve lost my birth certificate as well! Isn’t that wild?” Lisa exaggerated a laugh. “So, here’s what I’m wondering, since you’re this excellent sleuth, you think you can help me?”
“Get you a new passport or new birth certificate?” Valencia asked, matching Lisa’s cheery tone.
“Listen,” David hastily jumped in, though was still able to keep his composure. “It’s just a convoluted mess. I can get you a new passport. It’s just a mess because of how things were handled at birth, with Bella’s death, and her husband... It’s a process, so it takes a while.”
“But if Valencia knows how to get that info faster, what’s the harm?” Lisa sang. “You think you can help me?”
“Why can’t you just order a new birth certificate and then a new passport?” Valencia sang back.
“Ah, see, well, I can’t seem to do that either.”
“Really?! Well, what do you need in order to get one?”
“Oh, some basic information: My name, my mother’s maiden name, the city I was born in, and also, though not necessary, my father’s name.”
“Is that all? Well, what could possibly be the issue then?” Valencia’s voice was so forcibly charming, David couldn’t help to squirm about in his seat.
“Well, at first, I was using the wrong name. I thought my mom was one woman when she turned out to be another. But then I tried that name and for some reason that didn’t work.” Lisa’s cheery voice caused David to adjust in his seat.
“Hmm. Did you try without your father’s name? You know, just in case?”
“I did!” Lisa clapped her hands together. “And still, nothing. It’s been quite the dilemma, let me tell you! So, what do you think? Even with all that, can you help me?”
“Hmm.” Valencia placed one finger on the side of her chin as she looked up towards the ceiling for her answer. “Sure. I think I can. Shouldn’t be too difficult of a job. I’d have to gather some funds first.” Valencia’s eyes slowly, but sharply fell on Lisa. “Think you could help with that?”
“Oh, can’t,” Lisa sighed. “See, my last expense tapped me out.” And finally, David found his opening.
“’Last expense?’ What expense?” he asked. It was just enough to steer the conversation a bit. He figured it couldn’t be all that expensive to do whatever Valencia was planning to do, especially with Lisa being a millionaire. But he couldn’t just let them know that. If it was an affordable fix all this time, then Lisa would be sure to raise some questions. No, he needed to be in control. And to do that, he needed to be delicate.
“Oh, you know,” Lisa began to answer. “Got a little something for myself. I’m a little embarrassed to say,” she laughed.
“But still…” David pause. A millionaire unable to afford something he considered to be affordable didn’t add up. And so, he discovered another opportunity to gain control. “Lisa, are you… broke?”
“‘fraid so. I’m hoping it was a good investment, though.”
“I’m sure it was,” Valencia jumped in. “But that really is too bad about your funds. Not sure what I can do for you on my own,” Valencia said as though waving a closing opportunity in her face. And just like that, it was Valencia’s turn to take control.
“Aww. Really? That stinks,” Lisa pouted.
“But hey, Davey said he’ll get it, so why not just trust him?”
“Don’t worry about it, sweetie,” David said calmly. “It’s a bunch of dumb hoops I gotta jump through, but I’ll get that passport for you before you need it. How have you been getting to Canada without it anyway?”
“Haven’t been there since February. I’m on an east coast team now.”
“Right. Well, we’ll still need to have a little talk about how you’re spending your money, missy. There’s no reason you should be broke.”
“Don’t worry. It was an investment. But… It seems it’ll only get me so far.” It seemed obvious to Lisa that Valencia was still looking to get money out of her for more information. But as she said, she no longer had the money to pay her with. And David already proved to be unreliable. Valencia and David had been fighting all afternoon for control over the other, but it was time for Lisa to show them both who was really in charge of this meeting. “Man,” she scoffed. “If only I had my dumb birth certificate.”
“Yeah. I wish I knew where it was,” David said before sipping his coffee and adjusting himself as though he was ready to leave.
“Oh. Valencia knows.”
“What…?” Both David and Valencia froze as they stared at Lisa in shock.
“Yeah. She has my birth certificate.” Valencia’s eyes went wide as the other two locked their gaze on her. Her lips parted just a bit, and then curled upward in amazed confusion.
“W-why would she have your birth certificate? Even I don’t know where it is,” David asked, never once taking his eyes off his partner.
“Oh, ‘cause she found it.” Lisa’s voice was so matter of fact, David finally broke his own gaze and turned his attention to his daughter.
“Lisa,” he laughed. “I don’t know what this is, but you and I have already searched everywhere for it. Where could she possibly have found it?”
“Hidden inside the couch. Like inside the back of it.” Again, there was no hitch in her speech.
“Mmmhmm. And like really in there. Like in a way that couldn’t have happened by accident. It was purposely hidden there… By you.” Suddenly, Lisa’s chipper gaze turned daggers.
“Lisa,” he laughed. “I didn’t hide your birth certificate. Val, do you know what she’s talking about?”
“Oh, she does,” Lisa jumped in. “She even showed me the envelope it came in. And there’s no way she could have faked that.”
“Oh really?” No more playing. David put his attention back on his partner. “I’d like to see it.”
“You and me both! But unless you have $45 million you won’t be able to get the rest of it,” Lisa sang.
“What are you talking about?”
“Oh, see it WAS $50 million, but I already paid $5 million for a tiny strip of it. Actually, that’s what that big expense was for.” Lisa laughed as she spoke. “It only had a name. But, wouldn’t you know it, it’s a name I don’t recognize!”
“You gave her $5 million?” David’s voice was slow and hushed.
“Who’s Eliza Mae?” Lisa quickly redirected, and David visibly flinched. She didn’t push. She didn’t keep talking. She just remained silent, leaving him enough time to answer. But David was frozen. “Hmm. Thought so,” Lisa continued. She interlaced her fingers together and rested her nose on them. “So, first it’s Sandrine, then Bellamy, now it’s some woman name Eliza.” Again, Lisa left time for David to say something, and again, David remained frozen. Lisa laughed. “You know, at first, I wasn’t sure about trusting ‘Val’ when she came to me about this. Actually, it happened right here. We ran into each other here in, like, November, and she said the darndest thing. She asked if I truly knew everything: about Sandrine, about Emmett, and… about my real parents. It’s funny,” she laughed again. “‘cause it seemed like she was implying that you weren’t one of them.”
“Wow,” Valencia said as she applauded Lisa with the palm of one hand and the fingertips of the other. “I’m impressed. You’ve learned quite a bit.”
“Only from the best,” Lisa sang out with pride. But there was a dark cloud brewing at the other end of the table. Though his body seemed calm, David was giving off an aura of rage, and the girls could feel it.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait. So, was this what you were after from the beginning?” David’s hushed voice accused Valencia. She in return cocked her head back as David spoke, unfazed by his threatening tone of voice.
“‘fraid so, dad… (I think),” Lisa answer for her.
“No. No. I have worked my tail off to fix my relationship with my daughter. And I admit, I’ve fucked up a lot, did a lot of things I regret. But I’ll be damned if I let anyone come into this family only to start shit and spread lies all in the name of, what? Chaos? A paycheck?” Valencia’s smile slowly began to fade. “I can handle being used… But you prayed on my daughter, played to her fears, and used her to get her money. Sorry ‘babe,’ but you messed with the wrong dad.” And it was at this point David finally broke through Valencia’s confident demeanor. Her eyes widen, and she instinctually sat further and further back as David leaned further and further forward in his seat. “Now, you listen to me. You are going to pay back every. Last. Cent. My daughter gave you. And then… You are going to answer to me.”
“Oooh. Scary, dad… (I think),” Lisa laughed as she clapped. “But. You act like she came up with this all on her own. You never answered me. Who is Eliza Mae?” David didn’t move, but his eyes fell to the table. “Mmmhmm. So, here’s where we are. I can’t pay you another $5 million for a tiny strip of information,” she told Valencia. “Buuut... I eventually will. So, don’t go too far, my informative friend. But. If you’ve been lying to me like dad (I think), said. Well. You heard the man. And as far as your relationship? Well, I can’t imagine what it feels like to be in a manipulated relationship fueled by lies and money, but I’m sure you two can heal from this.” Lisa continued to laugh and then noticed the clock on one of the walls of the Steerbucks. “It’s getting late. I better get some rest before the playoffs tomorrow. Super excited!” She then got up, giving the others no time to retort, and swiftly left the shop. In less time than she expected, David followed behind her and stopped her at the corner of the street.
“Lisa,” he softly said to her.
“I’m going to get the truth with or without your help,” Lisa said back, keeping her eyes on the crosswalk signal.
“You know you’re my daughter, right?”
“C’mon, Lisa.” David held Lisa’s shoulders and spun her around to face him. “I mean, look at our necks. You think it’s a coincidence we’re both yellow-necked mice?”
“You could be dying it.”
“Lisa…” People started to move past them as the signal changed, allowing them to cross. “Emmett. He’s a yellow-neck. He’s got his mother’s spots, but he has my neck. I’m not dying it. If anything, I should be dying my hair,” he tried to joke.
“My mother a yellow-neck? You know what, don’t answer that. I’ll figure it out for myself.” At this point the crosswalk signal began to blink. “You’ve lied to me again and again. When you claim you’re coming clean, you lie to my face again. You’ve lied when I secretly already knew the truth, and I’m sure you’ve continued to lie about other things.”
“I know… I know… And an absurd explanation like this would make things feel… better. I get it. If this WAS what the truth was, all the loose ends would be tied. But the real truth is boring. Like I said before, things got messy because of how last minute everything was…” But as David continued to explain himself, Lisa’s attention drifted. Afterall, it’s as she said. David lied to her again and again. Anything he’d say now would just be a distraction. She said she’ll figure it out for herself. Although she prayed that the truth would actually be something boring, but she doubted it. And as the crosswalk signal finally stopped blinking, Lisa made her way into the street, leaving David mid-sentence. She was no longer going to listen to what he had to say. And now he knew it, too.
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