52. Edward's Plot

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After the henchmen left with Maurice, Edward wandered into the main room of the Diamond Club. He hated dealing with such heavy matters before his morning coffee. It left him feeling so depleted the rest of the day. Through the front window, sunlight streamed into the room, spilling dazzling waves of light across the floor. And that brought a little energy back into his mood. Edward ambled behind the bar. Moments later, he was pouring coffee liquor, vodka, and cream into a mug full of ice. He took a sip and let out a satisfied breath. "Now, that's some good coffee."

High on the back wall, the round gold-rimmed clock ticked eight fifty-nine. It was almost time for his next appointment. He was tapping his fingers on the counter top when the man knocked on the front door before entering.

"I hope you have news for me," Edward said, voice bordering on skeptical.

His name was Mr. Smith, a brown-skinned brother, who looked average in every sense from face to feet. He wore a plain gray suit and simple blue tie, adding to his averageness. Working for Edward, that average quality served him well in his duties of gofer, informant, and spy.

Mr. Smith hopped onto a barstool. "Mr. Benedict."

Edward nodded and tipped the bottle of vodka towards him.

"Too early for that stuff," Mr. Smith said. He gestured his chin at the refrigerator.

Edward frowned and set the bottle of amber liquid down. Then he removed a bottle of milk from the refrigerator and filled a beer glass to three-quarters full.

Mr. Smith took a small sip.

Edward gave him a serious look. "So what've you found out about Ms. Sarah Stewart?"

Mr. Smith nodded. "She's quite an interesting lady. I don't have to tell you she practically runs her uncle's car repair business."

"I only care where she goes. So I can meet up with her again ... accidentally, of course."

"Of course. So the girl didn't have much of a social life when I first started tailing her. Church on Sunday. On weeknights, she shops after work and cooks dinner. Reads at night. Her best friend is Nella Carson. On Saturday afternoons, they go to the flickers or stroll the market district." Mr. Smith took another sip of milk.

Edward shook his head. "That doesn't really help me at all."

"No, I suppose not. But this will. Sarah bought two tickets to the Pioneers' home opener."

"Now that's interesting. Who's the second ticket for? Nella?"

"As it turns out, Nella can't make it to the game. She's heading up a charity drive for First Baptist to send packages to the troops. That second ticket is for her uncle ... if she can get him to go."

Edward grinned. "Never. The old man hasn't left his property in two years. He's practically a hermit. This is perfect! There'll be an empty seat next to her."

"There's one other thing you should know."

Edward felt a tinge of concern. "What's that?"

"Sarah started dating a former Rook."

Edward's face twisted. "Who?" He lifted his mug to his lips and took a slug of his coffee concoction.

"Henry Louis."

Edward nearly choked on the drink sliding down his throat. He took a moment to regain his composure. "Henry Louis?"

Mr. Smith nodded.

This was a predicament Edward hadn't expected. He took a step back and raked his fingers through his tight black curls. And then an idea unraveled in his expression. "I have another job for you."

Curiosity overtook Mr. Smith's expression.

"I want you to buy me a ticket to the Pioneer's home opener."

Mr. Smith's mouth opened. "But they're sold out."

Edward reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a roll of bills. He peeled off a ten and two fives and handed the bills to Mr. Smith. "Buy the ticket from Sarah."

Doubt clouded Mr. Smith's expression. "But what if she won't sell it to me? Besides, it'll blow my cover."

Edward felt a moment of impatience and sighed. "Your cover is secondary now. And I'm sure you can be persuasive."

The tight lines in Mr. Smith's forehead went slack. "Okay. But what are you planning to do?"

Edward returned a devilish grin. "Let's just say, I'm going to be Sarah's date for the game."


Author's Note

Congratulations! You've almost arrived at the Pioneers' home opener which will cover the next ten chapters. And no,  all ten chapter are NOT about the game. The game only occupies a small portion of these chapters.

The ten chapters cover all the happenings - before, during, and after the game.

And there will be several surprises along the way, including a bit of a shocker in the tenth chapter of this sequence.

Thank you for reading this far. It means a whole lot to me. And I'll keep doing my best to delivery you an exciting story.

Take care!!

Tom

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