Episode 120 All That Glitters internet soap opera: Clayton loses; Belle assigns Rachel to check on the Blacks; Jared Starr offers Ashley recording contract

“What was he thinking?” asks Alex.  “Did he deliberately sabotage his own chances of winning?”

“Why are you so upset?” asks Tara.  “I thought you’d be happy that you beat him, even if you didn’t win the event.”

“I just wonder if he is purposefully trying to become an employee.”

Tara shrugs.  “What of it?  I said he’s very good.  I also told you he’d be very distracted.”

“But I’m not sure I like the idea of hiring him.”

“Jealous?” Tara asks.  “If you’d rather not hire him, then I should at least offer to have dinner with him as a consolation prize.”

Alex scowls.  “I’ll leave it up to you to decide.”  He walks away.

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“What’s happening with Gavin now?” asks Rachel.

“I’m not sure,” says Belle.  “I can’t reach him.  I think his phone is dead.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Nothing,” Belle replies.  “I can’t do anything until I hear something from somebody.  I don’t know if it’s good news or bad news, but I can’t make it worse by rushing in.  All I can do is wait.”

“I know I’m inexperienced in investigations,” says Rachel, “but I’m willing to do anything you ask.”

Belle smiles.  “I have to concentrate on my schooling so I can graduate.  I need to make sure certain people stay out of my hair.  At the same time, I am involved in an investigation that no one should know anything about.  What you could do for me is find out more about Carl Black and his family.  Especially, their whereabouts and activities.”

“Right on it, boss,” says Rachel, as she walks out the door.

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“Miss Silverman?”

Ashley turns around.  “Yes?”

“I’m Jared Starr,” the man says, holding out his hand.  Ashley reluctantly takes it and shakes it.  “I heard you perform at the Hot Spot Cafe the other night and I read the wonderful review.  I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only who appreciated your talents.”

Ashley smiles.  “Thank you.  But there must be more to this visit than just congratulations.  Though it is a good start to flatter a publisher before you ask to get your book accepted.  I take it that you are a writer?”

“Actually, no,” says Jared smiling.  “I’m a music producer.”

Ashley raises her eyebrows in surprise. “Oh.”

“Starr Productions is only a small recording studio.  But, being small, we concentrate only on the best local talents.  I think, though, we have a chance of making you bigger than just local.”

“Oh,” Ashley says again.

“Unfortunately, because we are small, we can’t offer you a big recording contract or anything.  But we’d like you to consider working with us to record a CD.  We can work out the details and make an equitable split.”

Confused, Ashley answers, “I’ll have to have some time to consider it.  I wasn’t expecting any of this.  My family eventually wants to have their own recording studio, but that is sometime down the line.”

“Well, I don’t think you should wait that long.  But give me a ring when you’ve made up your mind.”

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Episode 119 All That Glitters internet soap opera: Tara and Clayton make a wager at the horse show, Gavin is to be freed, Marie sees Nicholas regarding progress on Melanie case

“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.

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“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.”

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“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.”

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Episode 114 All That Glitters Internet Soap Opera: Gavin sends Belle home; William declares Melanie will join Golde, Inc board; Alex & Tara prepare for horse show; Rachel is curious about Belle

“Well, we’ve made a connection, sort of, between the jewelry and the drugs,” says Belle.

“It’s not a very strong link yet,” says Gavin. “We saw money exchanged for drugs. But how and why is that connected to the stolen jewels?”

“I hate to admit that it’s out of my league,” says Belle, resignedly, “but there’s so much we don’t know yet and I’m not sure how we’re going to find out.”

“So, what now?” asks Gavin.

“Well, we still need to  know where the drugs go,” Belle answers.  “I think we need the police to investigate that gang that took off with the money.  But what do we tell them?”

“We might need another agent to handle that.  We don’t want this to leak out to the police, yet.  They have enough to deal with right now.  Besides, we don’t know where they took off to.”

“I wonder what Nicholas has found out,” Belle muses.

“I think you should go home and find out.  Besides, you need to get back to school.”

“What?  Leave you here alone?”

“Don’t you trust me?  I thought we’ve gotten over that.”

“It’s not that.  I just thought you would need extra help.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Gavin says, sarcastically.  “But you still have a short spell of school left and you wouldn’t want to be held back for a measly few weeks.  I will return as soon as I can.”

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“Are you out of your mind?” asks Robert.  “We’ve had too many changes recently.  Now is not the time for more change.”

“What’s one more change?” asks William.  “After all, I’m only trying to protect my own interests.”

“Do you really think Melanie’s best interests are your own?” asks Tom.

“She’s my wife,” William turns on him.  “I do not want to hear any disparaging words about her.”

“Dad, I think you’ve gone over the top with her,” suggests Jason.

“Damn you!  I did not ask your opinion.  I suppose you all think that she’s a fortune-hunter.  Well, you know nothing about her.  If anyone rushed into this relationship, it was me.  Not her.  I still hold the majority stake in this company, so I don’t need your approval.  I only thought it would be in the company’s best interest to involve everyone.  I see it was a mistake.”

“I know I’m new,” Blanche chimed in, “and I’m not supposed to vote on anything major.  But, you have my support, William.”

Marie gasps.  William turns to Blanche, awestruck.  “Thank you,” he says.  “You’re all dismissed.”

Outside, Marie turns to Blanche.  “How could you?” she asks, angrily.

“Strategy, my dear,” Blanche replies, nonchalantly.  “When you get to my age, you might understand it better.  But fighting William head-on is not going to work.”

“Hmmm.  Very true,” says Robert.  “Maybe we should go along with him.”

“Oh, no,” says Blanche.  “Everyone capitulating would look suspicious.  We need a spy in the enemy camp.  William may not like me, but he’s not likely to trust any of you right now.”

Tom chuckles.  “My enemy’s enemy.  We knew you were devious, Blanche, no offense, but I hope this works.”

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“Stardust looks wonderful,” says Alex.  “And she’s so well-behaved.”

“Yes,” says Tara.  “I’m hoping Twilight will be ready in time as well.  He’s well-trained, but can be mischievous at times.”

“Do you know anything about Thornsby’s team?”

“Nothing,” says Tara.  “I’ve been out of touch recently.”

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“She’s pretty good,” says Rachel.

Nicholas turns around, “Hello.  Care to join me?”  Rachel sits down.  “Ashley is a great singer.  Too bad her personality doesn’t match. But don’t tell her I said that.”

Rachel giggles.  “How funny that she’s not at all like her sister.”

“Yes, and I’d better warn you that she’ll try to claim me tonight, so don’t do anything to make her jealous.”

“Oh?  What about Belle?  I thought you were dating her.”

Nicholas lowers his voice.  “That’s what Ashley thinks and let’s keep it that way.”

Rachel wrinkles her forehead.  “I don’t understand.  Where is Belle, anyhow?”

Nicholas looks uncomfortable.  “Uh, she’s still out of town.”

“Where?” asks Rachel.  “I don’t mean to be prying, but word is that you both went out of town together.  I was hoping you’d introduce me to her.”

“What is your obsession with Belle?” asks Nicholas.  “You seem to know a lot about her, yet you’ve never met her.”

“Actually, I have met her.  In a way.  I just wanted to meet her up close and see if she might recognize me.  Not that I expect her to.”

“I don’t know how anyone could forget you.”  Nicholas examines her closely.  Rachel turns away shyly.