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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 6 page 05

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“Yes, of course,” said Sloan. “There will be pictures, video, sound...”

Olivia held her hand up to stop him again. She inhaled deeply. “Right. Shall we talk about remuneration now? Daddy used to say, ‘Life is a game and money is how we keep score.’ He loved games but I hate them. He would turn over in his grave knowing that I’m in this situation. The truth is, he never liked Carter.”

“Really...why not? Did he give a specific reason?”

“Daddy was all about a man’s work ethic and breeding and although Carter comes from a good family, he hasn’t always applied himself. When he was younger, there were some incidents, nothing serious, but I suppose Daddy would have heard about Carter’s pranks from his society friends.”

“What sort of pranks?” asked Sloan.

“You’ll no doubt find out when you search his background. There was a charge for drugs and public drunkenness but he’s already told me everything about his past. He wasn’t trying to hide it.”


—♦—


Olivia was summoned to Marty Sloan’s office ten days later. She sat on the same faded couch, her stomach in knots. Finally, she thought, this nightmare will be over. Sloan had told her on the telephone that he had enough facts to confidently report back to her.

In his office, Olivia listened intently as Sloan gave her a briefing.

He flipped through a large file. “We interviewed the hotel staff at the Germain, surreptitiously of course, and uncovered from the banquet manager that Carter was indeed at the hotel paying a large deposit on an upcoming event. A surprise birthday party — for you! The jewellery store clerk confirmed that he had sold a Van Cleef necklace to a certain gentleman as a birthday gift for his fiancée. As for Victoria’s Secret, well, let’s assume you will be getting some new lingerie shortly.” He smiled at her. “So you see, all we’ve done was spoil a very elaborate surprise.”

Olivia beamed as tears sprung from her deep blue eyes. “Oh Mr. Sloan, I can’t thank you enough.” Still, something didn’t add up. “Are you absolutely sure?” she had to ask.

Sloan stood and walked round to her. He took her hand and helped her out of her chair. “Your worries are over. He’s clean. I wish you and your fiancé every happiness. And now I believe you have a wedding to plan.”

She felt as though he was rushing her out, and that too seemed strange. The little girl in her wanted to jump for joy and forget all the unhappiness, but the woman she had become felt uneasy, unconvinced.

“Should you ever have need of my services in future, you know where to reach me.”

“I doubt that we shall meet again, Mr. Sloan. Good-bye,” she said coolly.

<CONT...>