"He's here." Kaye dropped a stack of dirty plates onto the counter. "His regular table."
I nodded, straightened my shoulders, and swept out of the kitchen. "Hello," I said, as I placed a menu down in front of him.
"What a delightful surprise." James Emory smiled up at me.
A moment later, I brought him a Manhattan, courtesy of Andy, who was bartending tonight. I also brought Kaye's camera to the table. I'd called Officer Lacroix first, then Kaye. But I hadn't told Kaye why I needed to borrow her camera. I hadn't told anyone the details except Lacroix, not even Owen. Especially not Owen.
"Ah, thank you." James sipped the Manhattan. "What's this?" he added in a tone of polite interest, nodding at the camera.
"I have a question for you."
"Of course," James said graciously.
I loaded the photos I'd taken onto the camera's screen and scrolled to the painting of Suzanna standing on the city street. "This is you, here, in the entranceway, isn't it?"
I turned the screen towards him. He gazed down at it, but his expression didn't flicker. "What is that?"
"It's a painting. One of Suzanna White's, actually. And this man here, in the doorway, looks quite a lot like you, if you look at it closely. And then there's this," I continued, scrolling to the next painting: the seascape from Mrs. Gautier's gallery. "The mate to this painting was lost in the fire at the Artist's Lodge. I suppose you knew it?"
He looked up at me as if he had never seen me before. In a way, I could understand. I felt different.
"Maybe I should back up," I said to James. "You met Suze through her art. You started seeing each other. You took her out on your yacht sometimes."
I showed him the painting I had found behind the big blue tears: in this one, James stood on the bow of a small but beautiful yacht, his strong hands gripping the railing as he cast a dashing smile down towards the dock. He looked like a catalog model, but the sky was ominous and dark, spattering rain across his buttoned-up shirt. In comparison to James' cheerful expression, the mood of the painting was tortured.
Seeing this painting, I'd realized that I'd always assumed Suze fell from a little fishing boat. There were tons of them around the island, after all. But the boat had never been found. What if it wasn't a little fishing boat after all? What if it was a yacht—a yacht with high metal railings that would bruise or cut up her legs as she fell overboard, a yacht that was small enough for just one man to captain it, but big enough to go a long way out into the stormy sea at nighttime?
"Your affair continued for about a year," I continued, "and then it started to fizzle out. I don't know why, of course, but I wonder if she wanted to go back to Owen. To be faithful to him, at last, just as she had promised him. You, though... you didn't want it to end. You tried to convince her to stay, taking her out on your yacht again, where she painted this gorgeous sunset, and, of course, wining and dining her in New York City, not too far from your auction house. But it wasn't enough to keep her. You aren't the only one who wanted something you couldn't have," I added. "Not in this town."
"I don't know what you're talking about," James said, very coldly.
"I think you do," I replied, trembling. "And I want you to tell me what happened to Suze."
"Why would I know that?" He got to his feet—assertive, in control, every bit the proper businessman, except for the twitching pulse in his throat.
YOU ARE READING
Set Me Free [complete]Romance
A Wattpad Featured Read -- also featured in Cosmo! Where to buy the expanded & professionally edited version: Ebook or paperback: http://www.londonsetterby.com/where-to-buy.html Audiobook: https://wattpad.bandcamp.com/album/set-me-free * * * * * ...