The Farmer’s Market was just getting started when a well-dressed businessman stopped by a vendor and tried a sample of Holy Granola. David Harrison was impressed, bought a bag and continued down the row.
At the FHARP adoption stand, Abby sorted dogs into different pens She was surprised when she saw Harrison heading towards her with a big smile. Too big.
The FHARP CEO greeted Abby with a warm hug. “I heard about the accident. That’s a miserable road.”
Abby nodded, didn’t really want to talk about it. David understood, changed the subject to the usual conversation as to how the adoptions were going and asking about Murphy. Abby played along, knew there was more to his surprise visit – confirmed when David asked to have a word with her behind the FHARP van.
“I know how attached you are to Winifred. You’ve done everything you could for her…”
Abby knew where this was heading.
The CEO didn’t waste any time. “But now that the case regarding Walter Knox’s death has been resolved, it’s time to move on. We have someone who wants to adopt Winifred.”
Abby stiffened, head shaking reflexively.
“You can’t foster her indefinitely. You know the rules. She needs a good forever home. That’s what we’re here for. You mustn’t lose sight of that, Abby.”
“I haven’t.” Abby’s mind raced. “As a matter of fact, I’ve been working on a potential… situation for her.”
“Oh. I wasn’t aware. I haven’t seen anything—”
“Paperwork’s almost done.”
David read between the lines, decided to let her play it out. “Well then… I guess that settles it. You seem to have it all handled.”
“I’ll call Rosa and tell her—”
“Rosa. Charles Stanton’s housekeeper. She’s the one who—”
Abby’s frozen stare stopped him. “Abby?”
“You said her name was… Rosa?”
“That’s right. She’s very familiar with Winifred. So if your candidate doesn’t work out… Always nice to have a backup.”
“Absolutely. Good idea. I’ll mention it to my… candidate. Who knows? Maybe he’ll have a change of heart.”
“Good. Rosa would love to see Winifred have a good home after the accident.”
“Yes. I’m sure she would.”
David Harrison smiled and handed Abby the bag of Holy Granola.
The heads of Murphy, Winifred and the Boys moved left, right, left, watching Abby and Jerry pace back and forth across Evelyn’s kitchen.
Evelyn sat in her chair, filling her face with beer and Holy Granola.
“So…” Abby had it all figured. “I’ll set up the interview. Go out there with Winifred…”
“She’ll take one look at Rosa…” Evelyn chimed in.
Abby turned to Jerry, “You’re sure it’s rose.”
“No. I’m not sure. But that’s what I got. I saw it. I smelled it. Rose… Rosa? And she works for Stanton. What else could it be?”
Abby and Evelyn gave him hard looks.
Caught between the crossfire, Jerry turned to Winifred. “Winnie… Rose? … Rose-a?”
Winifred jumped into his arms, planted a big wet kiss on his mouth.
“I think that’s a yes,” Evelyn said.
“What about Stanton? You think he’ll be there?” Jerry asked.
“I don’t know,” Abby said.
“Have you been to his place?” Evelyn asked.
“I have,” Evelyn said. “Don’t ask. Quite a place. More like a compound. And a long way from the gate to the main house.”
“Just because you get in doesn’t mean you’re going to get out,” Jerry said.
“Stanton’s no fool. Rosa’s adopting Winifred for only one reason.”
Jerry looked at Abby, “If he sees you, he’s going to know—”
“Got to be somebody else,” said Evelyn.
“I’m not letting Winnie anywhere near Rosa or Stanton without me! Besides they know I do the interviews. They’re expecting me.”
Evelyn shot Jerry a wicked smile. “But they’re not expecting me.”
~ ~ ~