ACT IV: CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

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A/N: If you have a ballet programme on hand you probably know where I'm going with this.

This chapter re-introduces a character from ACT I: CHAPTER THREE...


Harry looked up at me from the bed, cross-legged, chin resting on his hand.

I held up the programme triumphantly. It was so obvious. Why didn't I think of it sooner?

"I know someone who can help us!"

"Nobody in the company will help me, Louis. They all hate me right now—dancers the administration, everyone. I burned all my bridges at the Bolshoi too. The whole industry has it in for me."

"Harry, what's the most important part of the ballet?"

"Me."

"No, baby."

He scowled.

"The audience." Or more specifically, the patrons.

Harry made enemies of everyone he worked with, but outside the company London's elite adored him. He had a terrible reputation throughout the industry yet he was celebrated by virtually everyone else.

I flipped to the back of the programme and showed him the list of patrons. "Our generous benefactors."

"I don't need money," he said.

I pointed to the name Margaret Wexley. "She's not just rich. She's the heiress to a media empire. She owns newspapers and magazines all over the world. I was her date at the patron's dinner. She's the most powerful woman in Britain besides the Queen."

"You think she'd publish a piece on Beauchamp in one of her newspapers?"

"I think she could make him the most hated man on the planet if she wanted to."

Mags had countless investigative journalists at her disposal and those journalists did almost the exact same job as criminal investigators, only without the same limitations. They weren't bound by jurisdiction and they didn't have to meet the burden of proof required by the courts.

If we couldn't try the case in a court of law, we would try it in the court of public opinion.

The next morning we ventured off to the Wexley estate. I rented a car. If we were going there under better circumstances, driving through the lush green hills of the English countryside might have been romantic. Harry was nervous. He bounced his knee and clutched his seatbelt the whole ride there. I assured him that if this piece were published they wouldn't have to use his name. He was a victim. His identity would be protected.

We drove up the long gravely path to the main house, if you could call it a house. I felt like we just rolled up to the set of Downton Abbey. It was a square classical mansion built in the Jacobethan style with Italianate towers and Gothic arches.

The valet, a sleek gentleman in solid black, was waiting to take our car. He didn't speak. Then the estate's butler, an older man, approached and told us that Ms. Wexley was waiting for us in the greenhouse. The property was so vast he had to drive us there in a golf cart.

I was glad I dressed up a little. I was wearing tan slacks and a navy blazer. Harry wore one of his billowy blouses with his hair down. Even though he was raised in a lower middle class family, he appeared oddly at home in a place like this. He must have been a Duke in a past life.

Mags emerged from the greenhouse in a wide-brimmed hat and soiled gardening gloves. We hopped off the golf cart and she waved us over. I smiled. She was as spritely out here as she was on the dance floor.

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