“Oh, that nice young man who’s working with Mr. Sawyer to restore that theater? I’m so glad that old place is getting a face lift. It’s such an eyesore.”
Merle’s daughter, Milly, was very talkative. Unfortunately, it was all rather train of thought. It took all Deacon’s debate skills to keep her on the subject.
“Offers to buy? Oh my, yes. Mom had at least three offers a year. Since I took over, we’ve had how many Obi?”
Her twenty-something son looked up thoughtfully, pulling at the gold hoop in his left ear. Smoothing his neatly trimmed goatee, he considered a moment longer.
“There have been eight offers in the last three years since we took over.”
“Do you remember their names?”
Obi considered again, more quickly. “Well, we didn’t ever figure to sell, this is too good a location. But I kept records of them all, in case we ever wanted to. I have all their names on file.” He walked quickly to a laptop computer on a table behind the counter, and typed quickly, leaning over the back of the chair.
“Here we go. What a copy?”
“That would be great, thanks.”
“I didn’t think Mr. Sawyer was going to sell.” Obi said thoughtfully as he handed Deacon the list.
“He’s not. Listen, I need you to call this police detective he’s handling the graffiti thing. We think there is a connection between what happened to Madame’s place, and what happened to us. I don’t want to alarm you folks, but you could be next.”
Milly looked horrified. “Do you think so? Oh, my! Why would anyone do such a thing?”
Deacon looked at the two florists, speaking quickly and earnestly, he outlined his thoughts on the matter.
“So with us all being approached, you think maybe the same person is trying to make us all leave?” Obi asked pointedly.
Obi stroked his beard again. “We have to all stick together, don’t you think?”
“Exactly what Mr. Sawyer and I thought.”
The young man paused, cogitating again. “You count us in, Mr. Stewart. Dino is a good man, he’s helped us out a lot, especially after my dad left us a few years ago.”
“Obi, Mr. Stewart doesn’t want to hear about that.” His mother looked flustered.
“Dino is a fine man,” Deacon said sincerely. “That’s why Kacy and I hate to see this happening to him. It’s really eating him up.”
“You tell him Mom and I are behind him one hundred percent, and we won’t back down.”
Deacon felt compelled to buy something and chose a large bouquet of red roses. “Do you have a special sweetheart, Mr. Stewart?” Obi was looking at Kacy pointedly. “Would you like them in a box to be delivered?”
“No, I’ll take them with me, thanks.”
He paid the outrageous amount for the roses and carried them carefully in the car, laying them on the back seat. Kacy’s eye rolled back, ogling the roses.
“Pretty,” she said simply.
“Mm hm,” was Deacon’s only reply.
He said nothing more until they drove up to the garage and got out. He carried the roses and she unlocked the door. Closing it behind them, he swept her into his arms, holding the bouquet out to the side so it wouldn’t be crushed between them.
“I hope you like red roses, Kacy.”
Her eyes were brimming again, falling gently onto his shirt as she leaned her head against his chest. “They’re lovely. Thank you. I can’t remember the last time I got flowers.”
“You know the implication of red roses?”
She shook her head, holding the large bouquet with awe.
“In the language of flowers, they mean true love. I never thought I’d fall in love—until I met you.”
Deacon called Dino’s house around six, hoping to catch him at home. He got the answering machine. They had not seen Dino all day and both were getting concerned.
“I’m going to go leave this at his house.” Deacon folded the list from Obi, writing a short note on the outside. “He’ll get back to us when he can.”
He had made a copy of the list to keep for himself, on the copy machine in the office. He took Dino’s copy and slipped it through the mail slot on the door.
“Do you really think someone is after the land?” Kacy still found it hard to believe.
“Kacy, real estate is big business. Anything on the beach, even a crappy little cabana, could go for a mint. This place is prime property since it’s on the main strip, and within easy access from all points of the island. Someone wants it way too much, and seems ruthless enough to go to just about any length to get it.”
“He’s killed for it once already,” Kacy shuddered.
“You mean the electrician? I’m not convinced his death had anything to do with this. I think it was just a horribly stupid, careless accident. How many times have you seen people do dumb things on stage? I’ve seen people trying to hang lights with the batons up in the fly space. I saw two people working on a set once, one guy on the ladder working with a drill and the guy at the bottom, under the ladder, screwing together flats. So don’t write off stupidity and dumb bad luck.”
©2021 Dellani Oakes
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