Frank’s mad skills find facts that not only tie Jeff to the office break-in, they link Jeff and Ralph Penwarren. The scheming bastards have been siphoning off money from Mable and other residents of Sheltering Oaks who had no family to watch over their interests.
“I suppose it sits in trust for their children,” Marka replied. “I don’t know. But it had to be a real lure for Penwarren and Jeff. The unattainable golden apple, so to speak. With the money still in trust, they might get their hands on it. But with Frank here and Rachel holding Mabel’s power of attorney, that hope faded.”
“How much money we talking?” Shay asked.
Everyone stared at Frank. He glanced around nervously.
“What?” He shoved his hands in his pockets.
“How much?” Shay repeated.
“No clue. Seriously.”
Shay pointed at the computer. Frank dutifully worked his magic and the account opened. The five of them stared at the zeros. They seemed to go on forever.
“There’s like a billion dollars there,” Brad said, his voice cracking on billion as if he were a teenager again.
Frank stared at the screen, his mouth hanging open. It was slightly over a billion dollars. All he could think of was “That’s my money. That’s my fucking money!” He’d certainly never have to work again if he accepted it. He couldn’t believe his father and uncle turned it down.
“Frank?” Marka touched his arm. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” He gulped, blinking hard. He was too stunned to say anything more.
“What I want to know is why Ralph wanted that ring,” Marka said.
That required another explanation. Marka gave it that time. Frank was still too much in shock over the bank account.
“You’re sure that’s what he was after?” Cherry asked.
“Had to be. That’s the only thing of worth that Mabel had lying around. She’s got more jewelry,” Frank finally answered. “But he can’t get at that unless she’s dead. Even so, the bank box would be frozen and held until the estate was settled.”
“It’s just a ring,” Brad said.
“Worth more money than most of us will see in a lifetime,” Cherry reminded him. “It cost Tom over half a million dollars in 1938. Can you even imagine how much it would be worth now?”
“No, not a clue,” he replied.
“Like I said, more money than you’d see in a lifetime.”
“So, we know what Ralph and Jeff were after. I guess the trashing of the office was mere pique?” Marka said.
“Very likely,” Shay replied. “There was no real reason for it except he was pissed at Frank.”
“That reminds me,” Frank said. “I need to schedule that random drug screening. I’ll include myself and back date it so it doesn’t look as suspicious.”
He sat back down at the computer and accessed his work files. He had everything he didn’t want messed with saved in a Carbonite account. His password was the longest they allowed. A few minutes later, looking satisfied with himself, he exited the program.
“That will give us something to compare to the urine in my office.”
“Excellent. Now, you two need to go get some dinner and go back to your apartments.”
“I’m not leaving Marka on her own,” Frank stated. “We haven’t solved all this yet and she’s got a known tie to me.”
“Which is why we’re beefing up security in and around the facility. I’m just as glad you aren’t home,” Shay commented. “Easier to keep an eye on you here.”
“I like my privacy,” Frank said with a sigh. “It’s nice and secluded. I could see trouble coming. . . .”
“Speaking of which,” Marka said. “What did Phil and Clark find out?”
Shay shook his head. The gesture could have meant anything, but Frank took it to mean that he didn’t intend to talk in front of Cherry and Brad. Nodding almost imperceptibly, he agreed. He had no idea the clearance of the two young agents and he didn’t intend to find out they weren’t in the right pay grade by saying something out of turn.
“I suggest eating in the cafeteria or dining room,” Shay said. “Then head to a room—any room. I’d prefer Frank’s. His location is more defensible.”
“You’d make the lady move?” Frank said with a sarcastic smirk. “Nice.”
“I gave the lady a choice.”
“I’ve got a lot more crap to move, Frank. Sorry, Colonel. I know it would be better. . . .”
“Not enough to trouble over,” he replied. “We’ll manage. But I’d like you in a centralized location together. Can we manage that?”
“Everyone knows we’re together. Might as well make it official,”Marka said. “Feel like being roommates?”
Frank snuggled close, nose tickling her ear. “Mates, for sure,” he replied.
Marka giggled, not just because it tickled, but because she could feel his excitement as he held her close. His fingers brushed the outer aspect of her breast, making her shiver.
“I’m gonna run out of clothing,” Frank said absently.
“Take your stuff to the cleaner’s,” Shay remarked unsympathetically.
“Did the guy who trashed my place mess up my suits?”
© Dellani Oakes
Fair Warning: Next installment, part 71 is going to be hot. Don’t read this one at work, folks!