"Harvey, " I said, producing a bent cigarette and accepting the light he offered, "if you'll do this one last favor, I promise to forget that other little matter."
Had I gone too far? I watched his body freeze and his face empty of expression. He slowly turned to face me. I stared into his cold steel blue eyes.
Tonelessly he said, "The last time you wanted a favor you made that same promise."
"No, Harvey, you interpreted it as a promise and I just never corrected you. It's not as if I'm asking you to break the law, and I don't really think that would be a problem with you anyway. No, what I want you to do is perfectly legal."
"If I do this for you, what guarantee do I have that you'll forget the other matter involving Louise?"
To give me some time to think, I made a big show of grinding out my cigarette in the ashtray. "Yes, dear Louise. Do you realize she's been dead for twenty years? I've never told another soul what you did to her will. Does that make me an accessory to the crime?"
He turned from the window with a mystified look on his face, "Yes, it does. I wonder why I've never thought of that before."
"Before you walk out of here, Harvey, remember you don't have anything in writing stating I knew about what you did. As it stands, I could let it be known what you did without anyone knowing who supplied the information."
He came over and sat down on the sofa, "Alright, what is it you want me to do?"
"I want you to find my granddaughter and bring her to me."
"What! Any private detective could do that for you."
"Yes, they could. One of the disadvantages of hiring a private detective is that they can be bribed for information. You can't. I don't want anyone else to know she's my granddaughter until the right moment."
Smugly I envisioned the faces of all my greedy relatives when they heard that I had left everything to my granddaughter. Especially that step-grandson of mine. The playboy of the town of Bellemere. I shuddered when I thought of so much evil lurking inside such a young man. His charming smile fooled everyone but me.
"Will you do it?"
"What if I'm not able to find her? She could be dead."
"You bring me proof that she's dead and I'll still sign. You bring her to me alive and there'll be a bonus. And, Harvey, don't think you can pass off just anyone as my granddaughter. I have a way of knowing that she is truly my granddaughter."
"Very well, Jennifer. I'll type up a statement to attest to the fact that you were aware that I had changed Louise's will, without her knowledge," he signed, "to leave her entire estate to me upon her death. The day I present you your granddaughter you'll sign it, agreed?"
"Agreed." As I sat there looking at Harvey, I thought about how he was willing to do anything for money and I was willing to do anything to have someone with me in my declining years. Ah well, just as long as he brought me my granddaughter I'd give him what he wanted. There are no fools like greedy old fools.
Tell Me A Story Tuesdays project is sponsored by Elizabeth Harper of Gifts of The Journey. This story is attached to the TMAST eleventh week assignment.