“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.