While Fawn and Nana talked about furnishings for the new house Angel sat in the office section of the barn at the Browning residence. She was not alone.
The oak chair in which she sat creaked as she sat hunched over her father’s ledgers. The entry that caught her attention was for an account labeled “Jackson Holdings.” The beginning balance figure was astounding. How was it that a poor farmer in a hovel of a house could have such a large sum of money? Was Fawn holding out on her? Either Fawn was very good at keeping things close, or she was not as naive as Angel had always believed, or, and this was probably the truth: the poor ninny had no idea how well off she really was. All the better for Angel. She turned the ledger toward her companion.
Her companion stroked his neatly trimmed beard. “Interesting,” was his only response.
“This explains a few things,” Angel considered. “This is why my father is always giving the Jacksons nice things. It’s their money, not his. I have misconstrued everything. Oh, well. It doesn’t change my plans. Is everything ready?”
Her companion leaned his chair back against a wooden supporting beam. He re-positioned the toothpick in his mouth and spoke around it.
“Just a few loose ends to tie up to avoid complications. Some of that is being done as we speak. Once that’s done, we are set to move. Just don’t try to double cross me. You think you hold all the cards, but I’ve got an ace up my sleeve.”
Angel didn’t blink. She reached across the table, grabbed his wrist, and said, “You think you do. You may think I’m a wild, crazy, brazen harlot, but there’s more to me than that. It is you who had better think twice about stabbing me in the back.” Her next words were spoken through clenched jaws: “I’m not fragile and I don’t break.”
A nicer-than-average brougham pulled up in the yard of the Gardner’s house. The driver looked around and noticed the well-kept yard, vegetable garden, and white wrought iron table and chairs. A hand-carved oak plank hung from a tulip tree by two long lengths of rope. He nodded his head in appreciation. But what really caught his eye was Fawn Jackson playing ring-around-the-rosey with two young girls. They were far enough away, and making enough noise they probably had not heard the plodding of the horses nor the ...