“Beautiful. But then again, I never expected anything less,” says a voice beside Tara.
Tara turns to face the speaker. “Hello, Clayton. Ready to be horse-whipped?”
Clayton laughs. “I guess it depends on who does the whipping. I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we have a wager? If I win, you’ll have dinner with me.”
“And if I win?” asks Tara.
“I’ll pay for the meal,” replies Clayton, smile.
“What if neither of you win?” asks Alex, scowling.
Clayton looks over at him, with an eyebrow raised. Tara introduces them. “Well, if neither of us wins,” suggests Clayton, “then, our wager will depend on our placements.”
“I don’t mind a wager,” says Tara. “But, I would rather on different terms.”
“What do you suggest?” asks Clayton.
“If you win,” says Tara, “I’ll have dinner with you. But, if I win, you’ll come to work with us.”
“What?” asks Alex. “I’m afraid that the hiring of staff would have to be approved by myself and my grandfather.”
“I thought I had full control,” says Tara.
“He’s right,” says Clayton. “I’m not going to interfere with your business arrangements. But I’ll accept your terms on condition that my hiring would be approved. After all, it’s a win-win situation for me.” He walks off.
“What were you thinking?” asks Alex.
“He’s very good with horses and would be a great asset,” Tara defends herself. “He’ll be questioning himself which option he prefers and it will distract him more than he thinks.”
“But I’m not sure I like either option,” says Alex. Tara smiles at him.
“The helicopter’s been circling this estate,” reports the White man. “It looks like it’s trying to find a place to land.”
“What are we going to do?” asks one of the Hispanic men.
“Call the Bandit and let him know what’s happening,” the Black man instructs him. Then he turns to Gavin, “What do you know about this?”
“Nothing,” says Gavin, raising his eyebrows innocently. “You can check my phone records. The only one I’ve talked to in the last few days is my girlfriend. I told you I only stopped around here to relieve myself, which I still need to do.”
The Black turns away from him and paces the room. The Hispanic man turns to him. “The Bandit says to take the rest of the stuff and leave.”
“What about him?” asks the Black man, pointing to Gavin.
“Tie him up and leave him here to be discovered, if he is discovered.”
“Mr. Cole, may I speak with you?” asks Marie.
“Of course,” says Nicholas. “Do you want to talk here or go somewhere more private.
Marie looks around the office. “It’s okay here. I just wanted to follow up with you regarding Melanie Black. My aunt, Blanche, caught her meeting with a man at the Hot Spot Cafe. She believes it was Carl Black. I’d like to know what you have found out about her.”
“I’m sorry I haven’t given this case much thought recently,” apologized Nicholas. “But I have been investigating her previous husband from a different angle. You might be interested to know that she may not be legally separated from her first husband after all. But absence of proof is not proof of absence, so I cannot tell you for sure yet. Only her husband knows the truth of the case. And I’m still working on how to get him to justice without compromising other parts of the investigation.”
“I understand,” says Marie. “But things are getting unbearable now that my father has put her on the Board of Golde, Inc.”
“Have you discussed matters with Michael Silverman? I believe he hinted at conditions in your mother’s last will that may affect the appointment of Melanie on the Board.”
“No, I haven’t,” says Marie. “He has always reassured me that everything was going to be all right, but never said anything more. I might have to ask him.”