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59

Fleeced

Maybe we should just break up. Janey cried daintily into her oatmeal.

Thomas grabbed her hand. We could try counseling.

Counseling? Why do we need counseling?

Because you want to break up.

No I dont. Im upset because I embarrassed you.

Forget it! Well get through this. Now eat, you need to eat. Thomas dug into his soft-boiled egg. We need our strength to get through today.

If only Mrs. Buckland hadnt called me yesterday wanting some stupid roast chicken. This never would have happened.

Janey, Thomas chided, life is full of if onlys. If only Ben hadnt died, if only Nat hadnt died, if only theyd given us the diamonds before they died

Hello, folks. Regan was standing at their table.

Regan! Thomas looked up. Sit down.

For a few minutes, Regan said as she took a seat. They were at the same table as the night before, and the dining room once again resembled a tomb. But tonight, Regan thought, hopefully, there will be some action. She glanced up at the portrait of the clubs founder and was sure the expression on his face had turned into a scowl overnight. I cant blame him, she thought. I saw Clara.

The other troublemaker, Janey remarked.

Dont do this to yourself, my darling. Clara was worse, Thomas insisted. She broadcast our problems to the world. You didnt know that when you went over to Bens and took the food that-

Thomas, I know what I did!

Regan helped herself to a croissant and sipped the cup of coffee the waiter put in front of her. She didnt want to get in the middle of any tiff between the two lovebirds.

I know you know, Thomas said. All Im saying is that you didnt know it would end up on the front page of the paper.

Forget the paper, Regan advised.

Have you seen it? Thomas asked.

No. My mother called me about it.

Janey groaned. I could kill Mrs. Buckland. Then her face took on a startled expression. She must be reading about it too! My business very well might go down the tubes!

Join the crowd, Thomas said wryly.

Okay, now, Regan said. I want to go out to the store and get those perfumes. Are you going to be around here later this morning, Janey?

She nodded. Ill be helping Thomas blow up balloons for the party tonight.

Theres one way for the two of you to get rid of all your tension, Regan thought. After youre finished, you can hit each other in the head with them. The police will be checking out the list Lydia gave me of people who were at the party. If you can match any of the perfumes I find to the one you smelled yesterday, well take it from there.

Thomas looked worried.

Whats the matter? Regan asked.

This morning Janey had the sniffles. Her nose is stuffed up. Probably from sitting on the floor of that cold closet all afternoon yesterday. Janey, after breakfast Ill get you some vitamin C.

I wont be gone long, Regan said. With any luck your sense of smell will hold out until I get back.

Ill do my best, Janey said. Then her face brightened. I just thought of a line Ive always loved.

Whats that? Regan asked.

A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.

Beautiful, Regan muttered. And then she thought of the name of the perfume she was particularly taken by. Lethal Injection. I cant wait to see the bottle that stuff comes in, she thought.


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