In the last installment: Mark Masters is released from the ER. He looks for Sunni but finds Celia waiting for him. They agree to talk things out at a coffee shop. Celia shares suspicion that Sunni is hiding something from her. Mark shares his suspicion that Celia is also hiding something.
“Why do you think I am hiding something from you?” Celia’s tone grows more harsh.
“Where did you say you were when Sunni and I were threatened by the three men?”
“I was also at the house escaping from them. I called the police that rescued you. I told you this already.”
“What are you not telling me?”
“I have told you everything. Why do you not believe me?”
Mark leans back and crosses his arms across his chest, “Two things bother me about your story.”
“What bothers you? I hope I can explain,” Celia leans forward and offers her hand to Mark.
Mark glares at her hand but maintains his distance, “For one, the timing of the police was almost too perfect.”
Celia leans back and folds her hands around her cup, “Too perfect? Not for you. You ended up in the ER.”
“After I and two of my captors had returned from retrieving the ledger from my home. Why then? Why not before?”
“It took time to go to the station and convince Lt. Sherman that Sunni was in trouble.”
Mark shakes his head, “Why Sherman? Why go to the station? I asked you before but I don’t recall your answer. Why didn’t you just call 9-1-1?”
Mark notices Celia’s fists are clenched as she asks, “What is the other thing?”
“The other thing?”
“You said two things bother you about my account. What is the second?”
Mark looks deep into Celia’s eye, “Sunni talked to you. Blake got orders from someone who was to be holding you captive. Sunni asked to speak to you to make sure you were alright. You were.”
Mark watches as Celia’s face morphs into some unfamiliar expression before she comments.
“Sunni never…,” Celia raises an eyebrow, “How do you know it was me? Did you hear my voice?”
Mark realizes it only appeared like Sunni spoke to Celia. This rehearses Mark’s earlier suspicion of Sunni and the items of the safe for which she was so protective.
“But that would mean she had to stage the kidnapping as well,” Mark says his thoughts out loud accidentally.
“Exactly. I think we need to confront her with this and make her tell us the truth,” Celia’s voice fills with a renewed enthusiasm.
Mark shakes his head, “No, that doesn’t make sense. If she already knew what was in the safe, why would she need to stage all that?”
“Let’s go ask her,” Celia stands and gestures for Mark to follow.
“Yes, we need to examine what we know and see where it all leads,” Mark stands to his feet.
Mark starts to follow Celia to the door, but then stops, “Why didn’t you just call 9-1-1?”
Celia stands a few feet away at the entrance with her hand on the door. She stops. She looks around the room. Then, she walks back to where Mark is standing.
Celia scans the shop once more, “You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you.”
“Say what? What am I going to make you say?”
Celia’s countenance softens, “I was afraid.”
“Afraid? Afraid of what?”
“I was sure that these men were the hooded men. I was afraid they’d catch me. I didn’t know what they would do with me. At first, I was just trying to save myself. It was later, I decided to go get the police.”
“You know what I know, Celia. Sunni hasn’t shared any more with me than she has with you. Let’s go try and make sense of it.”
A few moments and miles later, they arrive at the De La Croix Plantation House. As they travel up the long, tree lined driveway, a strange uneasiness possesses Mark Masters.
Mark glances over at Celia, but he does not detect any signs that she senses anything different. She does look determined and resolute. He supposes it is to finally get to the bottom of this mystery.
When Mark looks ahead, he notices that a plain, gray vehicle is parked near the foot of the stairs leading to the entrance to the house. Mark believes the car is or at least resembles the cars issued to the local police detectives.
Celia pulls up right behind the vehicle. Mark checks and Celia does not look surprised to see the car.
Celia’s voice does not match her face, “I wonder what this detective wants?”
Mark remembers his maternal grandfather telling him, “If the cops are in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time, prepare for the worst and be on your best behavior.”
Whether this is the right place/wrong time or wrong place/right time, Mark is not sure, yet. As he slides out of Celia’s car, he prepares for the worst.
Celia slowly exits her car. Mark decides to remain close to her vehicle. He stands holding an open car door. Celia seems to be waiting for someone or something.
Another car speeds toward them. Celia waves for them to pull up behind her car. Mark watches and tries to make out who is in the third car.
Mark does not recognize the driver of the vehicle nor the broad shouldered man sitting beside him. Soon after the car rolls to a stop just a couple of feet behind Celia, Tina Majors and Gina Franklin crawl out of the backseat.
While Mark was engrossed in trying to make out the human contents of this third vehicle, he failed to notice that Celia has walked up to the front of her car. When he turns, he can see Celia aims a small pistol at him.
“Get inside and don’t try any heroics. Since you claim to know no more than I do, you’re quite dispensable.”
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.