“I’m not sure how much I can get together but I can see,” I offer. I cleared out most of my account and I sure as hell can’t ask Con for the money. Not if it’s for Teddy. That would set this all back. I was just about to tell Con how good my brother was doing too. I guess I’ll have to keep this secret a little longer. The weight of it keeps getting heavier each day. But I know I need to try to help. I can deal with the consequences of those actions later.
“If you think you can but there’s no pressure.” He smiles at me, already looking as though he feels better. The last thing I want is for Teddy to get down on himself. That could be a dark path for him. One that he’s traveled enough times for a lifetime. One that I have the opportunity to make brighter with my help.
The only thing I’ll have to figure out is where the hell I’m going to come up with that sort of money.
“When do you need it by?” I ask, hoping he doesn’t say soon.
“The sooner the better. I’d like to jump on this before everyone else does.”
“Okay. I’ll see what I can do.” I shove the rest of the croissant into my mouth, wondering how I am going to clean this mess up that I’ve made. I can only hope it all turns out okay. How much worse could it really get?
The jewelry set is stunning. I can already see it draped over Abigail’s golden skin. The pearls are big and imperfect, but juxtaposed against the jewel cut sapphires, the variation lends a special quality to the pieces.
“When I saw this, I knew that there was only one person who could do justice to it,” declares Frances Dupuis, head of the Dupuis House. My family has bought gems from his firm forever because he always has the most unique finds. “I thought perhaps Mrs. Weathers could wear it to the Children’s Fund Ball next month.”
The Children’s Fund is a charity for service member orphans. Abigail used to chair that foundation. I can’t recall why she quit. “You are right. Your taste is impeccable.”
“Thank you,” he preens. “Shall I have it delivered?”
“No, I’ll take it.”
Frances grimaces slightly. “Sir, please allow the Pinkerton to bring it over. I don’t think I could sleep at night knowing that you’re carrying them around in your suit pocket. What if someone would steal them? They’re one of a kind.”
I laugh. “All right, Frances. I don’t want to be responsible for your lack of sleep. Have your staff deliver it.”
I haven’t asked the price but apparently it’s so expensive that Frances doesn’t want to let it out of his sight without armed guards accompanying it. A white gloved assistant brings the invoice out. The seven figures on the paper do not surprise me, but Frances releases a sigh of relief, as if he was worried he wouldn’t be able to move a set as expensive as this one. I sign it with a flourish. Frances promises to have it delivered this afternoon. As he’s getting me the receipt, I let the house staff know that the package is coming and that it is a surprise for Abigail. Diane, our housekeeper, will put it in the safe for me. I’ll give it to Abigail tonight so she can have time to find a dress to pair with it.
Back in my office, I give Blank a call. “Tell me about the rumor you heard regarding Abigail.”
“I figured you’d call me about this. What I’ve heard from a reliable source is that Abigail was involved in the purchase of Good Foods. Now whether she put money up or she just helped convince a few majority shareholders to sell to Orchard, I don’t really know. The shareholders don’t know either. The sale was directly to Orchard and their family don’t need your money to swing that purchase, but there was another bidder for Good Foods.”
“And that was Heath,” I guess. The two of them had a marriage of convenience according to Abigail. What that meant, fully, I wasn’t sure, but it sounded like shit. Heath wanted to act like my marriage was in trouble because it made him feel better, but I wasn’t the one who bought my wife from some shipyard in New Jersey. Abigail married me because she loved me. Heath tried to buy everything and then acted surprised when some of his belongings didn’t respond with gratitude.
“You’d be right. They were fighting over the last shares from an old woman who has permanently settled in Martha’s Vinyard.”
“There are permanent residents at the Vinyard?” I thought that was for vacation only—especially the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day when the city’s asphalt turns hot enough to bake entire meals on.