Dangerous Secrets (Mystery — Day 21)

Two uneventful weeks passed and Allen and Eva decided it was time for them to return to their own home.  “We have to face the fact that the police may never find the person responsible for Jaime’s death, and with the two of us hanging around, you’ll never begin to live your life again, Tara.  We will always miss Jaime, but we still need to live our lives.  We cannot allow ourselves to live as though all of life has stopped for an indefinite period of time.”

“I know you’re right, Allen.  I will really miss having you and Eva here, but I do realize that I have to find something to do with myself.  Simply waiting for the phone to ring is not really living and it has taken its toll on me.”

Allen and Eva packed the few things they had brought with them, gave Tara hugs, and drove away.  Tara stood watching them go, wondering what she would do now.

She spent an hour in the house and found it too quiet and lonely, so she went for a walk in the woods.  When she returned, she had made a decision and she called a real estate company.  She set up an appointment to meet with Ms. Janice Myers in thirty minutes.

Tara walked into the office of Land and Homes Real Estate and was greeted by the receptionist.  She informed the receptionist that she had an appointment with Ms. Janice Myers, and the receptionist informed Ms. Myers that Tara was there to see her.  Ms. Myers came out and ushered Tara to her office.

“I’ve pulled some possibilities from the files to show you. I think you’ll find them to your liking,” said Ms. Myers.  She handed eight sheets of paper to Tara.

Tara looked through them.  She really liked  three of the options and asked when Ms. Myers could take her to see them.  “We could go right now, if you like.”

Ms. Myers suggested that Tara actually visit all eight so that she could get a clear picture of what each was like to determine what she felt she was looking for and would meet her needs.  Tara actually enjoyed looking at all of the little shops, but still really liked the three she had originally picked.  She asked more questions about each of the three and considered their locations and the areas surrounding them.  She told Ms. Myers that she would give her a decision by the end of the week.

The next day Tara called to set up an appointment with Trenton Davis.  He said he could see her that afternoon.  He suggested meeting over lunch, but Tara declined that offer.  She arrived at his office five minutes before the scheduled time, but he was quick to have his receptionist send her in.

“Mrs. Richardson, may I call you Tara?  It’s very nice to see you.”

“Thank you, and yes, Tara is fine.  I need to speak with you about plans I have for using some of the money that Jaime left me.  I want to open my own business, a little cafe.”

“That’s wonderful.  There should be no problem getting the money.  There were no specifications for your inheritance.  What type of cafe are you planning?  Have you thought about all of the things you will need to start such a business?”

“I have been studying things on the internet, and I have visited a couple of cafes in the city and spoken with their owners.  I know it’s a big endeavor and there are many things I need to get into place before opening such a business.  I have already been to a realtor and will be deciding on one of three places by the end of the week.  I know that I will need a couple of employees as well.  I will have enough money to cover all start-up costs, won’t I?”

“You should have enough money for all of your start-up costs, with a good amount left over.  Jaime left you very well set.  So, why may I ask, are you not going to put your efforts into your painting talent?”

“I love to paint for pleasure and relaxation.  I wouldn’t mind trying to sell some of my paintings some time, and maybe even having an art exhibit for such a purpose someday, but art is not something that can always be counted upon.  It is not stable employment, and I have found that I love to cook and bake.  I love creating my own foods and pastries, and that is something that should be fairly stable.  After all, everyone needs to eat, right?”

Trenton smiled and said, “Yes, everyone needs to eat.  What type of foods and pastries were you considering?”

“I really don’t want to say.  I don’t want to give away any secrets, but I promise that my cafe will be unlike any in the area or in the city.  That will be what hooks my patrons and keeps them coming back for more.”

“Sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into this endeavor.  I look forward to being one of your first customers.  Would you like some help with the decision of which of the three places you want to purchase?  I would love to help you, if you tell me a bit more about your plans for the cafe and show me the three.”  Again, he flashed that brilliant smile, the smile that tugged at the corners of Tara’s heart, as it seemed to convey his interest in her.

Tara felt her heartbeat quicken and felt the blush in her cheeks.  “You’re very kind, but I really want to do this on my own, and Jaime’s murderer has not been found, nor is the three months up yet.”  She gave Trenton a smile that said, “Have patience.”

“Touche.  Well, here is all you need.”  He handed her two checks and said, “Simply fill them out for the amounts you need.  If you need more than the two checks, just let me know.”

“Thank you.”  Tara rose to leave.

“I wish you the best with this new adventure, Tara.  I’m sure stepping back into life is scary, but new adventures can be exciting and exhilarating.  It may be just what you need to move forward.”  He took her hand, and kissed the back of it lightly, gave her another one of those smiles and walked her to the door.

She left his office feeling excited and exhilarated, but she wasn’t sure if it was because she was taking the first steps to begin a new business or if it was because of Trenton Davis and his hand-kissing and smiles that spoke volumes.

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