In our last episode: After learning from JT Mendoza that Celia had a part in Monica’s death, Mark calls Sunni. Sunni refuses to believe Celia would drug Monica because she had no motive to do so. Mark realizes he has neglected his mother who was close with Monica and is probably grieving. Over waffles, Mark tells his mama what he has experienced since the cotillion. He learns that Blake Harlow and his associates are out on bail. His mama talks him into taking her to the De La Croix’s home.
When Sunni answers the door, she is surprised to see Diane Masters with Mark.
“Mrs Masters, it’s so nice to see you. What brings you way out here so early in the morning?” Sunni seasons the question with a touch of sarcasm it seems to Mark.
“I understand you have had quite an ordeal or two since the cotillion,” Diane Masters pokes one foot into the doorway.
“Yes, and a couple of times could have been worse had Mark not been near,” Sunni still clings to the door placing her body between the door and her unexpected guests.
“I think we need to talk about Mark’s involvement. Won’t you please invite us in,” Diane stands with both feet in the threshold.
Sunni’s plastic smile sags into solemnity as she submits to someone she respects sincerely. Mark admires the masterful manipulative manner of his mama.
Sunni leads them into a cozy intimate den adjacent to the foyer. She invites them to be seated and politely offers them coffee.
Before Mark can refuse the offer, Diane accepts for all of them, “I propose you have the kitchen bring a pot. We have a lot to talk about.”
Sunni accesses an intercom and requests a pot of coffee, three mugs and any pastries available. Sunni, then joins Mark and his mama who have found comfortable places to sit.
“Mark wants to know why the safe in the library no longer contains the ledgers,” Diane decides to forego any small talk.
“My father only kept ten years of financial records in the safe. It was time to begin a new decade.”
“Why the charade that could have cost you and Mark’s life?” Diane Masters arms were folded in front of herself.
“Monica was told someone wanted those books. Someone wanted to find errors that might expose fraud,” Sunni clears her throat.
“Impossible. Do you know who gave Monica that misinformation? No, let me guess – Tina Majors,” Diane spoke in a manner that Mark only heard a few times.
“I believe that is correct,” Sunni sits erect in her seat with her hands folded in her lap.
“I don’t like to talk negatively about people to other people, but I feel that for your safety you need to know what your father and stepmother knew,” Diane’s tone became friendlier.
Mark closes his mouth as he suddenly realizes his jaw had dropped and remained for the last couple of minutes.
“Tina’s family and her husband’s family are close associates with people who would love to find fraud or scandal, anything that would curtail or end the effectiveness of the Foundation and their efforts to help people of color and lower or middle class income families succeed.”
“Tina seems… seemed like a good friend to Monica. Her family is a strong, generous financial backer,” Sunni’s face pales.
“The De La Croixes are powerfully influential people. Supporting the Foundation is a respectable and honorable thing,” Diane glances over at Mark.
“Celia will be disappointed to hear this about Tina. She really admires the Majors,” Sunni states as Celia enters the room behind one of the kitchen help pushing a cart.
Celia glares at Diane Masters before she walks over without looking at any one else and stands in front of where Mrs Masters sits.
“You’re in my house, woman,” Celia’s index finger stiffens toward Mrs Masters. “Discuss your opinions about anyone else in the room who can defend themselves, but you have no right to talk about the Majors that way.”
Mark starts to stand in defense of his mother, but Diane stops him by showing him her palm.
Looking Celia in the eye, Diane speaks softly and calmly, “You’re quite right, Celia. So, you begin by explaining why you had JT drug Monica’s drink.”
“Who accuses me of such a stupid thing?” Celia takes on a different mannerism.
“JT came to me last night and told me that you and he did it as a prank,” Mark draws Celia’s attention away from his mother.
“JT is a liar if he told you that,” Celia unconsciously begins to back away from the three seated.
Sunni quietly dismisses the kitchen worker who brought in the cart. Sunni remains seated and anxious to know Celia’s heart on this.
“I guess I’m lying if I tell this group that you pulled a gun on me out in the driveway there,” Mark leans forward in his high backed chair, his fingers digging into the arms of the chair.
Celia’s eyes widen showing signs of nervousness. Mrs Masters and Sunni staring up at Celia who offers no response.
“I guess Sunni lies when she contradicts you about you being abducted,” Mark rises up out of his seat.
Mark steps toward Celia and offers his hand to his mama. Diane acquiesces after only a split second hesitation.
“Now, my mama lies about Tina Majors. Everyone is a liar except you and maybe Tina,” Mark helps his mama up.
Celia watches carefully and huffs as Mark, his mama in tow brush passed her.
“I’m going now to tell the police what JT told me. Then, I’m leaving it up to the authorities what they do about it.”
Mark turns to address Celia and Sunni when he reaches the doorway to the den, “I’m going to change my mind, Sunni. I think the police need to know that some of their upstanding citizens and one of their detectives roughed you up and mistreated you and me over some contents in your library safe.”
“You made a mistake telling me where you’re going, Mark,” Celia chortles.
“Why is that, Celia?” Mark pushes his mama towards the front door and stands between her and Celia.
“Before you reach the steps outside, Tina Majors will know of your plans. Steve Sherman will greet you before you enter the precinct. Who knows he might even take you to meet your old schoolmate, Blake Harlow,” Celia declares loudly and smugly.
“You were quite specific, Celia. Did you leave anyone out?” Mark leans against the door jam.
“Celia, what are you doing?” Sunni stands and reaches out to Celia.
Celia slaps Sunni’s hand away, “Aren’t you tired of playing nursemaid to a bunch of lower class ingrates who think we owe them something because of what they imagine our ancestors did to their ancestors?”
“Celia, you’re confused. Love your neighbor as yourself. We all need each other. Remember?” Sunni pleads with Celia.
“Go home and forget about what JT told you and everything that happened since the cotillion or you may end up like Monica, Rueben and … Kate,” Celia laughs.
“Thanks for the warning. Thank you for being so specific and so clear,” Mark shouts back at Celia.
Mark, then pulls a cellphone out from behind his back and flashes it up for Celia to see.
Mark slaps it in front of his face, “Madison, did you get all that?”
Celia snatches up her cellphone and starts to dial. Sunni lunges for Celia and wrestles her to the floor. The two sisters struggle, screeching and clawing each other. Mark rushes over and separate the De La Croix sisters. He stands between them holding them back until they calm down.
“Mark has them settled down, now,” Diane has Mark’s phone talking to Detective Madison.
Sunni holds on to Celia’s phone. Celia stands fuming and confused. She slaps Mark’s arm away from holding her back.
“It was an accident. Tina and Gina were just trying to help me cover it up,” Celia’s voice is frantic.
Sunni turns her back on Celia. She hands Mark Celia’s phone.
“I’m telling you the truth, Sunni. It was an accident.”
Sunni plops down on to the couch, still unable to look at Celia, “Tell it to the judge.”
“Madison says if you come down, now and tell your story, it will probably go better for you, Celia,” Diane Masters adds.
“I’m sorry, Sunni,” Mark sits down beside Sunni.
“You did what you had to do. I’m just sorry you had to do it,” Sunni turns to Mark.
“I’ll go with you, Celia if you go now,” Sunni approaches her sister.
Diane gestures for Mark to leave the two sisters to work this out on their own. He lays Celia’s phone down on the couch and join his mama. Diane brings Madison up to date, ends the call and hands Mark his phone.
Outside as they get into the car, Mark’s phone rings. Mark doesn’t recognize the number and starts to decline the call.
“Maybe you should answer that,” Mrs Masters suggests.
“It’s okay. If it’s important, they’ll call back.”
“Answer it,” Mrs Masters uses her mama voice.
“Hello,” Mark listens momentarily, then turns and gives Mama a look.
“Sure, I’d love to have dinner with you, Dr Kalite. Okay, Myra. When? Sunday after church,” Mark climbs into the car.
Mrs Masters listens and smiles. Mark continues to talk with Dr Kalite.
“How will I know when you’re home from church? Yes, I guess I could do that. I’ll see you Sunday.”
“So, you have a date with the doctor, then,” Mrs Masters beams.
“You knew she was going to call, didn’t you little schemer?”
“What makes you think that?” Mrs Masters buckles her seatbelt.
“Because she invited me to church as well.”
“I’m going. Are you happy, now?” Mark heads down the long driveway.
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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.