Day 2

Diamonds and Divorce

 

  Chase Winters pulled out the square box and slowly lifted the lid.  Inside lay a stunning coloured diamond necklace and he couldn't help but run his finger along the ice-cold stones. A shiver ran along his back as he took in the beauty of the necklace, earrings and matching brooch.  This suite was from the early 1700s and believed to have been part of a gift Empress Catherine I of Russia given to Sultan Ahmed III to negotiate the end of a Siege.  Whatever its history, the stones sparkled in the soft light speaking of an age of opulent luxury.  He felt privileged to have seen it, let alone touch it. Sighing, he slipped the necklace into the black velvet bag, carefully hiding it deep in the inside pocket of his black dinner jacket.  Briefly, Chase imagined all the things he could do with that much money then he quietly closed the door behind him walking down the sweeping staircase and back to the party.  His heart was thumping in his chest and at that moment, he felt like he wanted to run out into the night because he knew that he looked as guilty as he felt.  How silly was that?  He took a deep breath and calmed himself down. This was just another job.  Nothing more.  Anxiously he checked his watch, it was almost midnight and that meant that it was still too early to leave without drawing attention to himself. Unsure what to do next, he wandered over to the buffet table still trying to act cool, calm and collected. 

 

  ‘There you are!’ A female voice rose over the noise of the party.  A number of people turned around to look at the tall man with the slightly too long dark hair. Several women were quick to note that he really was rather handsome and well worth a second look.  Chase also turned around to see what everyone was looking at and found himself watching a beautiful woman with fiery green eyes and long silky red hair heading straight for him.  He couldn’t help but notice that her emerald green dress touched her body in all the right places and that she moved with grace and elegance. Another part of his mind screamed that she was dangerous and not to be underestimated. He was puzzled, not to mention stunned when she stood in front of him and slapped him across the face. Hard.

  ‘You two-timing, good for nothing cheat!!’ The words were spoken loud enough that everyone in the room could hear. ‘How could you sleep with that bitch when we’ve only been married a week and one day?’

  Mutterings rumbled around the room but as he was about to deny everything, a stiletto heel stabbed into his toe stealing his breath away and making his eyes water.

  'Excuse me?' he gasped.

  She raised her hand to slap him again but this time he was ready and caught her hand.

  ‘Do I know you?’

  ‘Hahaha,’ she grabbed his hand, guiding him through their audience to the dance floor.  ‘One last dance and then I want a divorce.’ 

  Chase was surprised when he looked beyond her to see that several people were nodding approvingly. He frowned not sure that he liked being the bad guy.

  Soft music, provided by a live band filled the Ball Room and a beautiful Ballard was playing. As Chase took her in his arms, he reminded himself that it was not good to tread on the toes of a beautiful woman, especially one who most definitely had claws. Her delicate rose perfume reminded him of long hot summer days and warm summer evenings. He relaxed as he felt her arms slide under his jacket, holding him tight and a tingle of excitement ran through his body …

  ‘Are you sure we don’t know each other?’ he whispered.

  She kissed him gently.

  'I'll have my solicitor draw up the divorce papers,' she turned abruptly leaving him standing alone and abandoned in the middle of the dance floor.

* * * * *

  'Name?' A policeman with a clipboard waylaid in as he stepped through the door.

  'Chase Winters.'

  The policeman made a big show of checking all 200 names on the invitation list before finally ticking one-off.  'Are you the one who's cheating on his wife?

  Chase ignored him. 'What's going on?' All of the men had been led into the huge library and were now being interviewed one by one. Chase had been waiting for almost an hour now and he needed to be somewhere else.

  'There's been a Break-in.' The policeman replied. 'Detective Roberts will see you now.

  'Was anything stolen?' Chase made a point of looking at the artwork on the walls as he walked over to the table where Detective Roberts was waiting.

  'Empty your pockets onto the tray,' Detective Roberts sounded as bored as he must feel interviewing this many guests.

  Chase placed his wallet, car keys and invitation on the tray.

  Roberts raised his eyebrows.

  'That's everything,' Chase assured him before he was subjected to a very thorough search.

  Chase straightened his jacket. 'So what was stolen then?  Jewellery?'

  'What makes you say that?' Roberts was now suspicious.

  'Has to be something small if you're looking in my pockets.'

  'You're free to go,' Roberts told him

 

  Chase headed straight for the back stairs down to the kitchen feeling tempted to whistle a merry tune.  Instead, he winked at the waitress getting a shy smile in return.  The back door was wedged open and he stepped out into the alley.  As arranged the motorbike was waiting for him and as he walked over, the light from the kitchen caused a bright flash as it hit a diamond earring.  The rider smiled at him as he got astride the bike, putting arms tightly around a familiar waist.  He breathed in the subtle scent of roses and thought of tigers and the fun they have…