"Cece. Hello," Carolyn said. Her voice shook. If she was anything like me, her knees were shaking too. My heart went out to her even though I hadn't even really met her yet.
"What's going on, Carolyn?" Cece asked. Her amusement over her sly maneuver had disappeared. It was obvious that Carolyn was upset.
"How about a cup of coffee, Cece?" Shannon asked.
"Actually, I'd like to know what's going on," Cece said. "Are you okay, Carolyn?"
Carolyn seemed to melt and fall into the chair behind her. "Oh, Cece, I'm afraid I have some horrible news."
"I'm trying not to panic yet, but at this moment you need to know that I can't find the pendant you bought."
"You? What? How? I don't understand."
Obviously, Cece was in intelligent woman. Her short sentences were the result of shock. She was also rich; from the impression Milton had given me, so rich that $25,000 might not be a huge loss compared to the rest of her fortune. But no matter how much money someone had, I didn't think a $25,000 loss could be looked at lightly by anyone.
"I'm not sure what happened, but I'm trying to figure it out," Carolyn said.
"Oh. I see." Cece looked at Shannon, at Milton, at me and then back to Carolyn. "I suppose you have insurance."
"I think so, but . . ."
They were silent, but Milton directed me backwards a few steps and whispered, "It isn't just the $25,000. It's almost double that - money owed the seller and then money to reimburse Cece. Freddie and Carolyn recently made an insurance claim for some things that were stolen. They could be in insurance trouble."
"This is horrible," I said.
"Milton," a voice said behind us, "you called the police?"
We turned to see . . .
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