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   Chapter 32 Storm Chaser

Storm Chaser: Book Two of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 16911

Updated: 2018-02-26 14:38


Chapter 32

Elena stepped onto the sidewalk and proceeded briskly to the garage where her car was parked. She clutched the stack of transfer papers with tight fingers.

"A valentine's gift, " she muttered. "He sent me a valentine's gift." She thought for a moment. "And I opened it in front of Andre. Andre, his cousin. Who I have a date with. Tonight." She reached the garage, got into her car, placed the papers and her purse in the passenger's seat, turned the key in the ignition and backed out into the street.

"Okay, " she said to herself. She used the same calming voice she used on Jasmine and many of the other pilots throughout the day. Somehow it didn't help. "I can send them back with a note stating that I couldn't accept such a personal gift from a business partner." She took a deep breath. That was it, she could send it back. Elena drove to the hotel.

"I wonder why he sent old lady pajamas, " she mused. "Not that lingerie would be any more appropriate, but I don't think that I look like the old lady pajamas type. He could have sent perfume…" She shook the thought away. "He shouldn't have sent anything." She said firmly. She turned into the hotel parking garage and found a spot by the elevators. She parked and got out of the car with the transfer papers. "That is the end of it. There are more important things to take care of."

The first item on her list was to find her grandfather. Alexandro would know who was serving as the council's secretary for this gathering. She had no doubt that the council would consider business under the guise of attending the opening of Nibbles. Since many of the heads of house from different families were here, much internal business could be completed. She walked through the carpeted halls. No doubt there were several power plays taking place behind these closed doors. She shook that thought away as it was nearly as distasteful to contemplate as Peter's gift. She just wanted to deal with the transfers and return home to prep for a night of bowling with Andre. She smiled at the thought, hoping the earlier delivery would not put a pall on the evening. Elena knocked on the door. The door swung open almost immediately. Marcus grinned at her.

"We had a bet going as to when you would get here, " He said.

"Really, " Elena answered. Marcus stepped aside and Elena entered the suite. Alexandro was sitting at a small table. He was sipping from a small glass of fizzy water. The opened water bottle was placed on the table along with several open file folders. His eyes danced with amusement. "So who won the bet?"

"It would be crass to tell, " Alexandro said placing the glass back on the table. He rose and gave her a hug. She smiled and inhaled deeply. He always smelled of the sea after a storm. "So what do you have for me?"

"I'm not sure it is for you." Elena said. Alexandro lead her back to the table and they both took a seat. Marcus placed a bottle of sparkling water and a glass in front of Elena. "Thanks, " She told him. She twisted the cap and poured water into the glass. Alexandro raised an eyebrow.

"Not really for me?"

"Well the list of names of the pilots I agreed to have transferred here would be for you as you are my council representative." She handed him the top sheet. It contained the names of the pilots and where they were transferring from. "These, " she said waving the rest of the papers. "Need to go to each of their former heads of house to complete the transfer."

"I see, " Alexandro said with a smile. "So they are not really for me." He scanned down the list of names. "You have been busy." He reached into his jacket pocket and retrieved his cell phone. He flipped it open and dialed a number from memory.

"Yes, " he said into the phone when it was answered. "This is Alexandro Calabrese in room…" He paused.

"34-309, " Marcus supplied.

"34-309, " Alexandro continued. "I require the services of Jeremy." He flipped the phone closed and placed it on the table. "Now, " he said turning his attention to Elena. "Tell me about Nibbles." Elena began to cover the details of the first full day of sales. In less time than she would have thought possible a knock sounded at the door. She paused her report as Marcus opened the door and ushered in a man in his early twenties. The man had close cropped brown hair, neatly combed, a clean shaven face and a differential air. He wore a plain black suit with a white dress shirt and a gray necktie. His black wingtips had been polished to a high gloss. Elena assumed this was Jeremy.

"These need to be delivered to the individual heads of house listed on each page. We will expect confirmation of delivery." Alexandro waved to Elena who lifted the stack of papers. Jeremy took them, nodded once, turned and left the room. Marcus closed the door behind him.

"Somehow I never pictured the cookware as actually selling, " Alexandro said resuming their conversation as if it had not been interrupted. "I thought it would merely serve a

I still want to see a foot note on Genghis Kahn, " she told him as she took a sip of her drink. Talk flowed easily between them and had quite a broad range. Elena found herself smiling more than she had in a while. By unspoken consent they stayed away from the more serious topics. They were midway through the cheese fries when Andre's gaze wandered to the door. He frowned at what he saw.

"Do I want to ask?" Elena said.

"Jonathan, " Andre responded. Elena nodded, but didn't bother looking around. "He is taking a seat."

"Maybe he didn't see us." Elena said. She picked up a fry loaded with cheese and bacon bits.

"Maybe, " Andre said. "He doesn't seem to be looking over here and we are kind of in shadow." They both sat quietly wondering how long they could go unnoticed. Andre gave a start and blinked hard.

"What?" Elena asked.

"Peter."

"What, are they both following us?"

"I don't think so, " Andre said slowly. He slid a little more into the booth's shadow and Elena guessed Peter was looking around. "He is taking a seat with Jonathan."

"Should we be looking for Smith next?" Elena said. She took a sip of her beer.

"I wouldn't count on it, " Andre told her. "Jonathan seems pretty intent to talk to Peter." Different scenarios skittered through Elena's mind.

"You don't think Jonathan is spying on the military for the Council do you?" She asked.

"I don't know. If he is, I bet it is a recent development. I doubt he is Guild raised."

"Why is that?"

"Well between you, me and Mateo we know a hefty slice of those in our basic age range who were guild raised. But he doesn't really have the look."

"Maybe he left the guild for the military. Or has family that is guild raised, " Elena suggested.

"The waitress dropped off their drinks and Jonathan just handed Peter something."

"What?" Elena asked, intrigued. After months of being the one other people were spying on she felt giddy at being the one doing the spying. 'Well actually Andre is doing the spying, ' she admitted. 'I'm just getting a report.'

"Looks like papers. Can't tell much from here."

"Damn, " Elena said. "I wish we knew. Jonathan has been up to some strange stuff lately." She told Andre about Kiera's apartment.

"Do you think he did that on Smith's orders or on his own?"

"I don't know."

"Peter is leaving, " Andre said.

"Did Peter give him something in trade for the papers?"

"I don't think so."

"Huh, " Elena said leaning back in her booth. "I wonder if that is because he took the initiative and contacted Peter about something rather than Peter paying him for information."

"He could have paid him with a wire transfer, " Andre countered.

"True." Elena sighed "Why does it seem like everyone around me has devious plans?"

"Maybe you just attract those sorts of people, " Andre said with a smile.

"Must be the new soap I'm using, " she returned.

"He finished his drink and is getting up to go, " Andre said. "He looks thoughtful, as if he didn't really expect whatever response Peter gave him, but isn't all that upset about it."

"Like he is trying to figure out a way to use it?" Elena asked.

"Yeah."

"I know that look well. It is one of grandfather's favorites."

"I can imagine." Andre leaned back in his seat. "He is gone now. I wonder what is going to come of that."

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