Episode 3 – In Episode 2: Mark Masters finds his way back to the grand ballroom of the cotillion where he speaks briefly with hostess Monica De La Croix and later with the youngest De La Croix, Celia. While with Celia, Monica mysteriously dies. Mark is concerned, seeks and finds Sunni leaving Celia to tend to her stepmother.
“What made you believe something dangerous was possible?” Mark Masters offers comfort by placing one hand on Sunni De La Croix’s shoulder and his other arm around her.
Sunni’s reaction causes Mark to think he overstepped his boundaries until he realizes Sunni dashes back to the library where they first conversed today.
As he follows her back to the library, he realizes she carries the small pistol in her hand. Sunni slows her pace just before approaching the threshold of the library. With each careful step, she raises the pistol up toward her bosom until the barrel points upward to the ceiling and the handle rests firmly in the palm of her right hand cradled in the palm of her left.
Mark remains at Sunni’s heels. When she stops and glances quickly about the room of the library, gun poised, he presses his back against the wall. She looks suddenly around the doorframe before easing into the library. She relaxes and with both hands still coddling the pistol, she allows her arms to fall to her waist.
“What are we doing here?” Mark addresses Sunni from the hallway as he timidly sidles to the open doorway.
Sunni dangles the gun hand to her side and points with her left hand to an open safe in the middle of a row of disturbed books. As the two approach the safe, Mark notices several books scattered over the floor.
“Looks like someone’s been here,” Mark points out while he shadows close behind Sunni.
“That’s great detective work, Mr. Masters, but don’t leave your day job just, yet.”
Sunni checks and double checks the surfaces of the safe with her hand and her eyes.
“What did they get?” Mark peers over Sunni’s shoulder into the apparently empty safe.
“Nothing. At least nothing of importance.“
Sunni swirls around on her heels and suddenly Mark and Sunni are face to face. In a split second before his head snaps back and he steps back away, Mark notices how flawless Sunni’s face is and how very young she is.
“If there was nothing important here, then why the gun and the guard duty?”
Sunni only smiles. Then, she starts to walk away. Curious, confused, and frustrated, Mark snatches Sunni’s arm. Whether accidentally or purposely Mark can only guess, the small pistol pokes into Mark’s stomach.
Mark releases his grip, “Then answer my question, why did you suspect trouble?”
Sunni glances down at the gun in Mark’s stomach and then up into his pitiful, pleading face. She returns the pistol to her side, barrel pointing downward.
“Okay, but this may draw you into some trouble that you don’t need or deserve.”
If it wasn’t for the sounds of sirens, the drone and murmur of a restlessly curious crowd attending to a mysterious and sudden collapse of the hostess of the cotillion, Mark would find Sunni’s suspicions as paranoia. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Now, coupled with an empty safe, Mark is intrigued.
“I don’t need trouble but I must understand,” Mark feigns courage by relaxing his shoulders and stuffing his hands in his pants pockets.
“My father,” Mark can feel his muscles tighten again as Sunni draws closer speaking softly, “warned me that after his death some powerful people would stop at nothing to destroy what he and the Foundation started.”
“So, what was in the safe and what does that have to do with any of this?” Mark puts his arm around Sunni’s shoulders mainly to free his arm as she presses closer to him.
“I don’t know for sure,” Sunni moves away suddenly and darts toward the oak roll top office desk nearby.
Mark follows as Sunni opens a drawer and pulls out an envelope from the drawer.
“I replaced this with some rare books. One contained a note.”
Mark recalls some books scattered on the ground and surmises that those were the rare books.
“What was in the note?”
“ ‘I hoped to catch you in the act. Maybe next time.’ “
“What is in that envelope? Or do I want to know?”
Before Sunni can answer, a uniformed police officer appears in the doorway. Sunni quickly thrusts her hand holding the envelope and the hand holding the revolver into the open drawer. Then she places both hands behind her.
“We are assembling everyone into the grand ballroom for a moment,” the officer snaps and waves Sunni and Mark towards him.
As they both move obediently to the officer’s gesture, Mark spies the envelope behind Sunni’s back. Her pistol is not.
Soon, Mark and Sunni are at the doorway beside the policeman who motions them to proceed ahead of him down the hallway toward the ballroom. Mark follows Sunni and notices both hands are empty and naturally swinging freely at her sides.
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.