Chapter Twelve

Ta Daa! I have not one but two Chapters for you. We have rain and we have hats and we have The Señor .. but I warn you, in Chapter Thirteen, he is not very nice. Just so you know.

The rain hammered down with such force it practically bounced back up into the clouds after it hit the ground. Steinmann’s oversized umbrella just about stood up to the job until a strong gust of wind blew it inside out and almost took his hat with it. Cursing, he shook the brolly until it went the right way round again and folded it down. He jammed his hat even tighter against his head and turned up the collar of his coat. He was soaking wet. Whatever Guy Keeton wants it had better be good thought Steinmann. It wasn’t fit for a dog to be out.
He found Keeton sitting on a bench, arms folded, drenched by the rain and looking very unhappy.
“You took your time”
“It was your idea to meet in the park. I have a perfectly good office, which is warm, dry and private. I fail to see why we had come here”
“Your office walls have ears. And eyes. I’ve seen the cameras. This is strictly between us Frederic”
“My staff know better than to…”
“Strictly between us” Keeton interrupted him “I mean it. No one must know about this”
Steinmann narrowed his eyes “You have my word”
“Good” Keeton nodded at a figure leaning against a nearby lamp post “What about him? Do I have his word too?”
“Señor Valdez is discretion personified”
“That’s Valdez? Why did you bring him?”
“You want someone taken care of, you get Valdez to do it. Now what is all this about?”

Keeton raised himself slightly and picked up the plastic bag he’d been sitting on. It was all Steinmann could do not to laugh “What the…?”
“I needed to keep them dry” Keeton growled.
Steinmann was about to make a sarcastic reply but was stopped by Keeton handing him an envelope and telling him to open it. When he saw the content, Steinmann’s eyes nearly fell from their sockets. No wonder Keeton had wanted to keep this private.
“You should have told me Raquel had been taken. She’s not the only one, three of the girls at my club were abducted and I’ve received photos of them with a little blackmail note. Have you told the police? They are aware of what’s happening.. you have no idea what I’m talking about do you?”
“Taken? Photos? No I don’t know what you’re on about! These are photos of me and Raquel!”
“Shit” Steinmann closed his eyes. This had nothing to do with what had happened at his club, this was something else entirely.

The rain had started to slow down to a drizzle now, people started to wander through the park.
“We should go” said Steinmann, standing up and shaking rain from his hat “We can go to a little coffee shop I know and talk there”
Keeton nodded and the two men set off. Steinmann turned to give Valdez a signal to follow them, but he’d vanished. Gone to attended to some business I suppose Steinmann thought grimly. Heaven help whoever that business concerned.
His thoughts turned back to the photos he’d been shown. It doesn’t make any sense. There were plenty of people he could think of that would be capable of blackmailing his friend but taking photos of him in bed with his own wife?? It would be embarrassing for him yes, but hardly worth paying a demand for money over. Not like the photos of Julianna and the other girls. What on earth was going on?

Several feet above his head, a very bedraggled Bramble shook his wings and set off in pursuit.

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