I Love Dialogue - Checkmate 2

Dane Berry has had a few rough days. He's been chased by rabid body builders, accosted by a screaming fan, robbed and shot at. The one bright spot in all this is Milla, but he won't consummate his relationship with her while all this hangs over his head. He's already put her in danger once, he doesn't want to be responsible for her getting badly hurt. Now, he's having a conversation with the managers of the hotel/ casino where he's staying. They are worried about Dane, but more concerned about the impact these incidents might have on their reputation. Dane's bodyguards are with him.

"I have a question for you," Cam said from the table. He'd been listening to all the discussion. "Who was the shooter?"
"The shooter?" Mr. Phillips looked confused.
"Yeah, the guy that took a shot at Dane. And why did your guys fail to stop him?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Mr. Andretti looked offended. "We hire good people. They know their shit. None of them have less than three years of military or police training."
"Maybe so, but I saw what I saw," Cam replied, standing up. "You got a guy roughly my height, he's not as fat as he tried to look, we figure that was padding." The other bodyguards nodded. "There were half a dozen guards there and he barreled through like they were nothing. The smallest guard there was Steve's size."
Steve stood next to Cam. He was easily four inches taller and considerably heavier.
"Now, I didn't go to college, and I'm not up on my physics, so bear with me. If I've got six guys his size and one guy my size, and we don't like each other, who do you think is gonna fall down?" He pointed from himself to Steve, spreading his hands toward Andretti and Phillips.
The owner and manager looked at one another uncomfortably.
"I dunno about you, but I'm thinkin'—me."
"Did they know the shooter?" Steve asked, folding his arms across his chest. "And more to the point, Bill, can you trust your people?"
"Not to mention," Jed added, coming up on Cam's other side. "Can we trust them—or you?"
"Are you threatening me?" Mr. Andretti looked highly offended.
"Should we be? It's a few simple questions," Jed continued. "Seems to me, we could find the answers if we asked nicely."
"I don't have to stay here and be insulted," Mr. Andretti said, turning pale. "If you're quite done?"
"Ain't a matter of if I'm done," Jed said quietly. "It's a matter of if Mr. Berry is done."
"I'm done," Dane was furious. "Gentlemen, I keep my end of a bargain. I won't bad mouth you, but don't expect my endorsement either. Good day." He shut the door behind them with a distinct bang.
"They didn't hire the shooter, right?" Cam asked.
"No, that came from Allie, if that's truly who is behind this," Dane replied.
"Oh, I think so. That part makes sense. Then why cover up who the shooter was?" Steve added.
"Talk about embarrassing. That had to have been their guy. Not only that, their men know who he is and they didn't stop him, which makes you wonder how many of Andretti's people are really on his ex-wife's payroll," Jed mused.

© Dellani Oakes 2015



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