Having set up a good persona, Deacon and the others decide to try to beat Donnan Varin at his own game. They set about conning the con artist.
“Your friends are welcome to have a seat,” Varin said with false good humor.
“Thank you, they don’t sit, Mr. Varin. I don’t think the boys’ knees bend.” He chuckled, smiling in his most disarming way. “Say, let’s stop all this formal stuff. I’d be proud if you’d call me Pres. May I call you Don?”
“Certainly!” Varin’s smile was forced and he kept looking at the three bodyguards. “May I offer you some refreshment? I’ve got a fine selection.”
“Thanks, no, Don. I’m not a drinking man.” He smiled as
Don was served a drink and leaned back in his uncomfortable chair.
“Mr. Keith,” Varin began.
Deacon held up a well manicured hand, his gold and diamond pinky ring glittering richly in the light. “Now, Don, we agreed. Call me Pres.”
“Pres,” Varin corrected himself with a forced smile. “When your people contacted me, they said you have a business proposal for me?”
Deacon’s five star smile flashed across the room nearly blinding in its sincerity. “I do indeed, Don. As my assistant told you, I’m looking to expand into the Florida real estate market.”
Don leaned back, crossing his legs and grasping his left knee in his interlocked hands. “As a matter of fact, I have a piece of property in mind that would be ideal….”
“I’d sure like to see it,” Deacon grinned, preparing to stand.
“Oh, it’s not quite ready for settlement yet, Preston.” Varin nearly jumped from his seat. “We’re still negotiating with the current owner.”
“I see.” Deacon frowned. “Don, I thought we were clicking here. Maybe I need to be talking to the land owner one on one, not going through you.”
He stood, preparing to leave. Varin leapt to his feet, face registering his alarm.
“Now, Preston, let’s not be hasty! As a matter of fact, the owner is seriously considering my offer. I expect to hear from him tomorrow.”
Allowing himself to be placated, Deacon sat again on the edge of his uncomfortable chair.
“Well, Don, that’s got a nice ring to it. I reckon I can wait another day before I go elsewhere.”
Deacon signaled that it was time to go. Don accompanied him to the dock and saw him off.
“Well,” Deacon said once the shore was out of sight. “Y’all heard. So what do you think?” He kicked off his shoes and loosened his tie.
“You were very convincing,” Scarlet said.
“He’s such a greedy bastard,” Deacon said angrily. “How could you marry a man like that, Scarlet?”
Scarlet’s eyes lost their gleeful glitter. “Don wasn’t always so bad,” she told him. “He changed after awhile.”
“Money and power change a man,” Deacon said undoing his
jacket and slipping it off. He shook his head sadly. “Kind of have to pity a man living like that.”He lay down, putting his head in Fiddlestix’ lap.
“Don’t make the mistake of pitying Donnan Varin.” Scarlet said scathingly. “He’s made a fortune off other people’s misfortune and he’ll keep doing it.”
“What would you do with the company, Scarlet?” Fiddlestix was playing with Deacon’s hair.
Scarlet’s expression changed from anger to nostalgic. “I want to complete what Don started, making affordable housing for the poor. That was our noble purpose. It sounds foolish now, like naive children.”
“No,” Deacon answered sleepily. “It sounds like you had a dream in common. Kinda sad to see a dream die.” His voice got soft as he drifted to sleep.
Fiddlestix heard Scarlet sniffle and looked up at the other woman with concern. “You okay?”
Scarlet nodded, then shook her head adamantly. “I don’t know. Part of me hates his guts and the other part still loves him so much it hurts!”
“I understand, Scarlet. Except for Deacon, every man I’ve ever loved has made me feel that way.”
“I don’t want to kill Don, I just want him to be himself again.” She wept uncontrollably.
Fiddlestix rose carefully, putting Deacon’s head on a cushion. She went over and sat by Scarlet, hugging her tightly, she let her cry.
“Love sucks,” Scarlet sniffled.
Fiddlestix glanced over at Deacon’s profile, so handsome and peaceful. “Just when you love the wrong person. When it’s right, there’s nothing better.”
They sailed to the Harlich compound quickly. Deacon woke shortly before they docked. He and Fiddlestix went immediately to Karl’s office.
After another conference to discuss what had transpired at Varin’s they ate a quiet supper and went to bed early.