“Did you want to talk about it?” he asked.
I took him by the hand and led him back to the couch. “She told me that people at the diner are talking about me.”
“Do you really care what people say?”
“No. But when it comes to my business, I have to.”
“What happened?” he asked.
“There’s a rumor that I’m closing The Treasured Chest. You know I’d never do that. I mean, if I won’t sell to you, why on earth would I close it?” I hadn’t told anyone but Trixi about Andrew’s offer.
“She heard that where?” Andrew asked.
“The diner on Main Street. That is where all the gossip occurs. But this one is not good. I’m sure I’m going to be hit with questions when I get into work tonight. I just don’t know how to make anyone believe it’s not true. I mean, everyone knows I didn’t want the club. Many people might believe I’d do it.”
Andrew became very quiet and I asked, “You know it’s not true, right? I mean, if anyone should know, it’s you.”
“I know you didn’t cause these rumors, but…”
“But? But you know who did, don’t you?” I asked. He nodded. Something about his body language had me on edge. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the answer, but I needed to. My hand still in his, I asked, “Who was it, Andrew?”
He looked me square in the eye and said, “It’s not a rumor.”
Well, that made no sense at all. “Of course, it is. I should know because I’m not looking at any property. And I sure as hell am not closing the doors at the club.” I knew my frustration was shining through, but if he wanted to talk in riddles, then he’d have to deal with my tone.
“Anne, promise me you’ll hear me out completely before you…”
“Flip out? Because if you don’t start talking soon, that’s exactly what’s going to happen,” I warned.
“I’m the reason people are talking.”
“You told people I’m selling my club?” I asked.
“No. I was looking for a new location for your club. Which meant I needed to make sure it was zoned for such a business in that district.”
“Which makes no sense, because I am not looking for another place. I already told you I’m not selling my club,” I said firmly.
“Not selling, but moving,” he explained.
“That either. And what the hell made you think that I was?” I was trying not to be angry, but already bordering on pissed. He’d crossed a line, one I didn’t expect. You broke my trust. And my heart.
“I can explain, but I’m not sure you’re going to be happy.”
“Don’t worry, I’m already not happy.” I pulled my hand from his. “Tell me,” I ordered.
“I have a copy of the will. I found a loophole. You have to run the club for a year in the black. It does not state you need to do so at that location. It just has to be The Treasured Chest.”
My mind was trying to process this, but all I could hear was he had a copy of the will. “Why do you have the will?”
“I was told about the stipulations around it. I figured that…”
“That you could get me to move so you can have that fucking land. It’s all about that land, isn’t it?” I got up off the couch, as I couldn’t stand to be near him a moment longer. “I can’t believe you. Everything has been…a lie. You are exactly what people say you are. A man who thinks of one thing, money.” I stepped further away as he reached out for me.
“Don’t touch me. Don’t ever touch me again.” I turned to head to my room and then spun around and said, “I suggest packing your bags and going back to Boston. There is nothing left for you here. Not the club, not the land, and definitely not me!”
I stomped across the living room and slammed the bedroom door behind me so hard a wall mirror crashed to the floor.
A knock on the door was followed by Andrew saying, “Anne, are you okay?”