The Mysteries of Riverside Gardens

Chapter 10: Lovers’ quarrels

Bill is dead, and yet what goes on in Riverside Gardens is far more dramatic when love fights change things.

Lovers’quarrels, Photo by Holly Bartley on Unsplash


“Is this what you’re looking for?” Rita repeated behind him.
How to get out of this mess, his brain was working at full speed, find a valid excuse, quickly. Bruce turned around slowly, he didn’t have time to look up at Rita, the lace panties landed on his forehead. For a moment, he smelled it, he smelled that sweet musky smell of the mermaid. This perfume of sex tore him away from reality for a moment.

But Rita’s voice brought him out of his torpor. “Is this what you’re looking for?” she repeated for the third time. Bruce babbled, but he was still out of ideas. “It’s just… well… it was a gift… for you”. “And do you often give gifts that have already been worn?”. Rita’s voice was a firmness he had never heard before. The sound of her voice was even higher.

It’s crazy how in moments like that, when you’re at the foot of the wall, you start thinking about things that have nothing to do with the moment. Yes, it was crazy how his mind wanted to escape from that situation. For example, he was thinking at that moment that Rita had never been sexier, that his newfound authority was awakening a carnal desire that he hadn’t had towards her in years. Of course, he was afraid of her too. He felt his wife’s determination to know the truth.

Faced with her silence, she began her diatribe. She had closed her eyes all her years, yes she knew, of course she knew. For Paula today, but for everyone else. She had stayed, for their family, for their love, for all that these women would never be: she Rita, the love of her life! But she thought that with age he would become more faithful, that he would turn away from his own carnal desires, that he would see her. No, she didn’t think he would do it again. Yes, she was disappointed, disappointed and sad.

Bruce remained petrified of Rita’s statement. Sometimes his eyebrows would frown, sometimes he would smile. She loved him, for knowing and not saying anything all his years, that was what he wanted to take away from all this. Yes, she loved him enough to forgive him.

Rita looked at him sternly. She was waiting for an answer, a reaction. Bruce approached gently, he took her hands. She pushed him away almost instantly. No, but what didn’t he understand about what she had just said to him? What was his problem at the end? He tried desperately to kiss her, but the slap in the face stopped him dead in his tracks. Well, he had tried, which was a bad idea at first.

He tried a shy “I love you”, which resulted in a slap on the other cheek this time. Rita should have taken up tennis, her forehand was as effective as her backhand. He stammered an apology. His voice was shaking, be strong Bruce, you can coax her, a touch of bad faith, a touch of tenderness and a little humor, it usually worked. He looked her in the eyes. Yes he conceded, he had been weak, but this woman, this woman had bewitched him. What’s more, she, his beloved, the woman of his life, his soul mate, had abandoned him. Yes, perfectly, he had felt abandoned, left behind, while she was parading for the presidency. But it was only carnal with Paula, he would never leave her, she was the apple of his eye.

She cut it off and her eyes didn’t peel. Bruce’s words weren’t enough to calm her down, he would have to go through the gift phase or even a grand romantic gesture.

Bruce didn’t print every word that came out of Rita’s mouth. Only after a few seconds did he understand. It was too much, she could no longer accept. It was over, Bruce, over. He babbled, it was too stupid for a simple little adventure out of nothing. That woman was nothing.

What about the other lies? The garden gnomes, your secrets? That room they didn’t even share anymore. Bruce’s blood was just a trick. Did she at least know why he’d gone somewhere else? Why a few months ago, he couldn’t even look at her without having a high heart?
Rita’s face decomposed, tears began to stream gently down her cheeks. “No, why?” she stammered, but deep down she already knew the answer: the van.

Bruce was pinned down like a grenade, ready to destroy everything. The argument that followed was merciless, all the mistakes of their fifty years of marriage passed, everything that annoyed them, everything they hated about each other, everything. The hatchet was more than dug up, and Bruce took more blows than he thought, his angry wife was worth several thousand Sioux warriors.

He wasn’t sure how they got there, but she had just slammed the door in his face, her on the inside and him on the outside. Helpless, he found himself on the peroneum with his coat and a few things scattered on the ground, which she had deigned to throw at him. It was almost dark.

If only he had already bought his van, if his converted van had been there, he could have slept in it. Yes, he could have lasted for days, until she begged him to come back. She couldn’t do without him, she loved him too much. Who would fix the water heater? Or who would make her a new piece of furniture? Who would even taste her wonderful pastries? No, it was sure, she needed him. She would come back.

Bruce thought for a moment, but did he even want her to come back? These last few months, everything was keeping them apart. He was dreaming of adventure, youth and travel, and she was buying awful garden figurines to make herself look good to her constituents. Maybe that was the end, maybe she was right.

He began to pick up his things from the floor, and in the middle of his underpants he discovered Paula’s lace tanga. He grabbed it and held it to his nostrils. Hmm, it had kept her smell. His crotch woke up almost instantly. Of course, she was the solution, Paula was the woman of the rest of his life.

He stuffed all his things into the toolbox that was lying around on his fibula, and headed for his lady’s house.


Franck left Sue’s office looking lost. Bill had been rushed to the hospital yesterday, the diagnosis was clear, he had succumbed to his head injury. Bill would never come back.
For the first time, Sue had treated him gently. She understood that the shock must have been hard on him. He probably saw Bill as a mentor, a friend maybe even, but unfortunately, Bill would never come back. He had to be strong and continue to do his job to the best of his ability. She had even patted him on the back before he left the office.

He had his promotion. Without Bill, Frank was the head gardener. Sue said he would be on probation for a while, and only then would his salary be increased. New gardeners would be hired soon to help him. But Frank was lost. Did that mean he was going to have to decide? Him?

A wave of panic ran through his veins, he couldn’t decide. Chief Gardener, but he didn’t have the soul of a leader. No, no, she could call him that, but he would never be the head gardener. She was the chief.
Already the chiefs were mean. And he, well, yes, he had made a few mistakes in his youth, but never with bad attention. And then, he was already having trouble organizing himself, so organizing the gardening here. Just at the thought of it, a wave of tics shook his whole body. He had to sit down and catch his breath.

Nothing in his pockets, he had forgotten his inhaler. A wave of anguish rose in his chest, he was not going to make it to the gardeners’ workshop, he felt he was going to run out of air before. Nicky, where was Nicky when we really needed her. He needed her arms around him to calm him down. Franck crouched down and started to swing back and forth. Breathing, just breathing. He wasn’t even a leader yet and he was already suffering from the stress of the position.

A hand rested on his shoulder. He jumped up and tried a judo grip, but the man’s arm came free, and Franck did a somersault in the grass before getting up again. Strangely enough, he was able to breathe again. His eyes turned to the old man facing him. The man’s turquoise-blue pupils stared at him benevolently. He had already passed the grandfather in the campsite, but he couldn’t say when. Maybe, no… Or maybe… Oh yes, it was the naughty grandpa, the one who was being dragged around by the sexy granny from the village. He remembered now. He repressed a laugh. What a Grandpa!

“Andrews!” said the old man, reaching out his hand. Frank wiped his sweaty hand on his pants and shook hands with his new friend. Yes, he felt that the grandfather was already his friend,” Franck Stick !”said our proud gardener. Andrews smiled benevolently at him, he had seen him, and he didn’t seem to be in his right mind. Perhaps he needed a little pick-me-up? Franck babbled, he had forgotten his inhaler, and his pill for concentration wasn’t for another two hours.
Andrews shook his head, maybe he had something that could help the gardener get through this difficult day. He had heard about Bill, but what a shame. Besides, poor Frank still had more than six hours of work left to do. No, really in this state it was going to be complicated. Franck nodded his head, what a brave man, he understood his problem and was eager to help him. Yes really, this man was simply adorable.

The tall resident reached into his pockets and grabbed something, but he didn’t take it out right away. He looked into Frank’s eyes. “Nothing in life is free, you know, kid?”. The gardener shivered, he had heard that before, in prison, and it didn’t mean anything to him. He had another asthma attack, he coughed, suffocated and squatted again. Oh no, he was going to die, here in the middle of this lawn, which needed fertilizer.

Thinking about fertilizing the lawn relaxed him, he imagined himself driving the mower and pouring out those little smelly balls of fertilizer. Oh yes, it would be so relaxing. His breath returned to a normal or almost normal rhythm, but he remained crouched, he wanted to avoid facing the giant facing him. Not that he was really a giant, but hey, Franck wasn’t very tall. No, he wasn’t small, a little below average but not small.

Andrews looked with surprise at the little man at his feet. He had been told that he was a funny character, but at this point? There he was talking to himself, swinging back and forth. Andrews no longer dared to put a hand on the gardener’s shoulder. Okay, we had to do it differently.

Andrews cleared his throat and told him in a calm voice that he didn’t need to worry, he only wanted to do good. Just like friends, he would have liked them to do each other a favor, that’s all. Just small services between friends.

Franck raised his head and Andrews handed him two blue pills and without thinking, the gardener grabbed them and swallowed them. He didn’t have enough saliva, the pills stayed on his tongue. Oh no, the pills were coming loose. Ewwww, that was infamous. Don’t spit it out, but it was awful, he swallowed this half wet dough with difficulty. Andrews was looking at him gently, that was going to get better. Strangely, Franck felt his body relax almost immediately. Maybe Andrews was a magician after all.

“If you want some more, you’ll just have to make some deliveries for me?”. Franck looked at the old man, his instincts told him he could trust. He nodded his head, got up and followed Andrews to his garden shed with docility.


Susan had spent the night at Rick’s bedside, the end was near. She would come here to fill up on food and take a little nap before leaving for the hospital. Her body was shaking like a leaf, she saw her reflection in the mirror and thought she saw a ghost. She was sickly pale. Yes, she had always been frail, Rick called her his twig, but today she was skinny, she hadn’t had a real meal in days, she hadn’t slept more than four hours in a row for weeks. She felt exhausted. If the cancer wasn’t killing Rick, it would kill her.

What would she like to leave with him, what would she like to lie in that hospital bed and go hand in hand with her loved one. Yet this invisible thread of life held her, her children, her grandchildren, she could not imagine abandoning them. Not now, she still had so much to live with them.
Oh and then, she imagined Rick in Heaven, sulking on his cloud, and repeating to her “You had the chance to enjoy it again and you chose to die ! If it had been me… “. And he would be right.

But at the thought that life could go on without him, her whole body was collapsing, she wasn’t sure she had the strength. In any case, at that moment, even reaching for a dish in the refrigerator seemed insurmountable to her. So much the worse.
She went to the bedroom, slept first, then she would eat. It was simple, and yet it seemed so difficult. A sob came immediately when she lay down on the bed. Bad idea. Rick’s smell had almost gone. Eight weeks without his presence, the smell capsules had not survived. A tear ran down her cheek.

It won’t be the bed, then. She walked to the chair in front of the window, grabbed the bedspread in the process, wrapped herself in it and sat down. The street was empty, she perceived movement at the pool, the shadows were moving softly on the ceiling in the building. She stayed a moment to observe the slow dance of her silhouettes, and finally fell asleep.

She was awakened by the ringing of her phone, she straightened up immediately. As long as it wasn’t Rick, she swallowed painfully, put on her glasses and looked with surprise at the four letters that appeared on the screen. Rita. She had a sigh of relief. Yet she didn’t pick up the phone. It was as if an invisible wall separated the two friends. They had disappointed each other, and through silences, missed appointments, missing support, the bond between them was becoming increasingly tenuous. It was not broken, for the moment, but she didn’t know how much longer it would last.

The phone went black again. She had a touch of guilt. Of course, she wanted to talk, but she didn’t want the pity that everyone was serving her on a platter. And while Rita was benevolent, her compassion smothered her, made her sour. Not what she needed…
At that moment, she turned her head towards the window and saw Paula, the Riverside nymph. And if so, why not?
Thoughtlessly and spontaneously, she opened the window and hailed the beautiful one.

The mermaid, wrapped in her satin negligee, shivered in the wind. When Susan offered her a cup of tea, she moved backwards briefly. Susan felt the hesitation in her eyes, obviously the beauty was more accustomed to approach men than women. Finally, with a brief nod of her head, she nodded her consent and walked towards the front door.

Paula stood there in the doorway, her gaze straight and wild. Neither compassion nor pity. Susan took her to the kitchen, the water was already boiling in the kettle. Without a word, she handed her the metal box filled with teabags of tea in a thousand colors. Paula grabbed one at random. White tea with vanilla and blackberry. Well, Susan had never tasted this one before. It was time for a change, she caught one too.

For a moment the two women remained silent. Their eyes met, they exchanged long glances that said more than words. Paula had this hard but deep look in her eyes. A look that said, it’s horrible, but you’re going to get over it. Not now, later.

Finally, it was Paula’s faint voice that broke the silence, “Is he going to leave soon? Is that it?”. Susan lowered her head and started sobbing. In a perfectly natural gesture, as if they had been friends forever, Paula stood up, walked around the table and took Susan in her arms. She smelled of chlorine, and her hair tickled Susan’s neck. Yet the hug did Susan a lot of good. And after several minutes, the sobbing stopped, Paula got loose and returned to her chair just as naturally.

Paula then spoke, did Susan want to laugh a little? Susan nodded shyly. Bruce, Rita’s husband, refused to leave Paula’s house. She mimed the big man snoring all night long. Susan laughed wildly as Paula imitated Bruce’s cheerful look when he showed up with his toolbox and big coat at her door. It looked like Santa Claus. Well, she had put him up that night, but he had better go home right away. That’s not all, but she had other lovers on her schedule.

Susan pouted, and the rest of the conversation was light. If bedridden Rick was still in the corner of her head, she enjoyed talking about something else, and laughing.oh yes, it had been so long since she had laughed.


Rita hadn’t had the strength to get up this morning. She had no breakfast to prepare, she didn’t need to shower and get ready for anyone. Bruce was gone, finally, she had kicked him out. Out, goodbye, her handyman. He was leaving behind him an abyssal void.

All night long, she had tried to detect the old man’s snoring, she was so used to it, it rocked her. But nothing, not a sound, the guest room was empty. Late in the night, she thought she heard a noise, she got out of bed, opened the door and looked for it on her fibula. She had this little hope that her man was fighting, that he had fallen asleep on one of the armchairs in front of the house and was waiting for her to let him in. Her hopes were soon dashed, she walked around the house, no trace of Bruce. He was gone.

Her heart tightened and she pulled the blanket tighter around her. One question had kept her awake, where had Bruce been all night? She tried to reassure herself, Andrews would welcome Bruce. Yes, the two men were friends, he had probably slept on Andrews’ couch and would come back with his tail between his legs tonight. Unfortunately, she had a hunch that he had gone to return the red thong to its landlord instead.

She had to be sure! This morning, she wasn’t even hungry, nothing, not even a little craving. She had made a mistake, she could feel it. Oh no, she didn’t want to lose her Bruce, she just wanted him to stop, to understand, to come back to the conjugal bed. Yes, she was ready to go to the end of the world for him, by van, boat or plane, it didn’t matter if they stayed together.

She just missed making him breakfast. She loved their traditional couple, she was the cook and he was the do-it-yourselfer, they complemented each other, an old couple, but a beautiful couple.

To give herself courage, she tried to reach Susan, but her call went unanswered. Too bad, she would go directly to her.

Come on, she had to know. She struggled out of bed, her back was hurting, and the few steps to the bathroom seemed like a half marathon. After a long shower, she put on her blue flowered dress. She zipped it up, it seems she has put on a few more pounds. It was Bruce’s favorite dress, if it was going to make him want to come back, it was the perfect outfit.

After combing her hair and light make-up, she looked at her reflection in the mirror satisfied. Not bad. If she was Bruce, she would come back! She put on her sandals and left. Once outside, she sniffed the fresh air, she was going to make him want to come back!

Once on the street, she hesitated for a moment, as she had to go to Andrews’ house, or rather to the house of… She couldn’t even mentally pronounce her name. The truth terrified her, so she decided to go to Susan’s house, and then to Andrews’ house. There was no hurry. Maybe she would even find Bruce at their door on her way back.

On the way, she passed several of the residents. She greeted them with a fake smile on her face. Some would stop her to tell her about the theft of their garden gnome, others would complain about the bridge schedule, or others would just say a discreet hello. For the time being, the news of his separation from Bruce didn’t seem to have gotten out. Perfect, she would get him back tonight and everything would be back to normal quickly.

In front of Susan’s house, she was about to climb the few steps that separated her from the front door when she heard shouts and laughter. Surprised, she walked away a little and went around the house to spy on the kitchen window.
Susan was probably not alone. From the angle she was standing, she couldn’t see who had replaced her. She should have been at that table, she should have been the one who cheered Susan up and made her laugh. Who gave herself the right to play friend?

She leaned over, she couldn’t see. Painfully, she climbed up the wall, she could now see the delicate, manicured hands.hum who could? She had to find out who this woman was. She leaned a little more, and lost her balance, her back fell heavily on the wall. Impossible, no, it wasn’t possible, that face, that hair… Susan’s new friend was none other than Bruce’s new lover… Paula.

It wasn’t enough for her to steal her husband, she was also planning to steal her friend. War was declared. Rita, lying all the way on the wall and on the bush that had thrown her off balance, was already preparing her revenge. Her thoughts were of strangling the nymph with her ten fingers, when a face above her appeared.

Sue’s expression of disdain on her face served as an electric shock to Rita, who straightened up almost immediately. She tried to put her hair back in place. Suddenly she was ashamed. Her lifelong enemy saw her in one of the worst moments of her life. She put her fake smile back on her face. She had to find an excuse, a way to explain why she was lying on the wall at the back of Susan’s house.

Sue continued to stare at her, while Rita slowly got back on her feet. The sound of Susan’s front door opening made the two enemies’ heads spin. Then they heard the tinkling of the satin mules on the tar, and finally caught a glimpse of Paula’s silhouette in the corner, walking at a brisk pace.

There is no doubt that it was Paula. The bitch. Sue’s lips dropped a “I hate that woman!”. Rita then grabbed Sue’s arm and said, “What about me! Maybe for once we could team up?”. The witch’s eyes lit up with a new glow. Rita’s words had just hit the nail on the head.


Paula left Susan’s house with a peaceful smile on her face. It had been so long since she had felt such friendship for someone. She had forgotten how nice it was to share, without pretending, to be yourself, to forget to throw her hair back, not to roll her big doe eyes, to just enjoy the moment.

Susan and her, however, were so different, they hardly knew each other, they didn’t have so much in common. But she had seen in her a strong woman beneath her fragile airs, an honest, kind and natural woman, a little of her opposite. After all, opposites attract each other.

Even consoling Susan had been natural for Paula, she hadn’t thought about it, she had simply followed her instincts, she had held her in her arms for a long time. Normally, this kind of situation made her uncomfortable. Physical contact, she reserved it for men, for her bed. But again, with Susan, it had been different.

Oh yes, it was a beautiful day. Well, she hadn’t quite gotten off to a good start. Bruce had stayed the night, his snoring had kept Paula awake. She could see the dark circles under her eyes. She had tried to hide them with concealer, but with the pool…

When she got up, Bruce was still sleeping. He seemed peaceful, she hadn’t had the heart to wake him up. She hoped he didn’t make a habit of it anyway, because sleeping with a man was definitely not something that was missing from her life! She hoped that he would already be gone by the time she came back.

Oh and then, at the pool, she and Andrews had been flirting. It was crazy how funny this man could be, she loved his humor. Yes his humor, and his body so perfectly preserved. He could free himself tonight, if she was still in shape. Of course she was in shape, she whispered in his ear, sticking her pelvis to his thigh. Then, like a mermaid, she walked away.

It had been more than a week since they had shared a moment together. Paula hadn’t let herself go, and other men, including Bruce, had made up for the absence of her favorite lover, but she had missed him. She didn’t like to admit it, but with Andrews, it was more than just a carnal experience. If one night she saw him without even having sex, she would still be happy with the evening. Well, maybe a little, but let’s say that if Andrews were to stay overnight, she would like to have breakfast with him.

Yes, she was really looking forward to tonight. She was going to have to find a way to pass the time until tonight, so that she didn’t go around the house in circles. She had several books to finish, she was going to take a nice bubble bath with a mask. Yes, it would be a day for her, a little nap and she would look better than ever for tonight.

She was approaching her house. Strange, the curtains were drawn. She always left the curtains open, she liked bright places, where the light was reflected in all the mirrors she had arranged. Why did Bruce draw the curtains? He was just supposed to wake up, get dressed and leave Paula’s house.

An anxiety grew in Paula’s chest. What if… No, it was impossible. If Bruce had gotten it into his head to move into Paula’s house. Uhlala, she hadn’t planned that at all. Paula looked at the time on her phone, she had eight hours left for Bruce to leave.

She walked up the few steps of the peroneal, took her keys out of the pocket of her satin dress, and turned the handle. The living room was plunged into darkness, the television screen was blindingly illuminating the couch. An old rerun of a series from the 80s was playing. She turned her gaze slightly to the left. Bruce was slumped on the couch in his underwear. He had just realized he was there. He smiled at her.

“I never start the day without a good breakfast,” he said in a suave voice. She contemplated him stunned. He hadn’t left, it was a nightmare. “Ah, on the other hand, I don’t digest eggs well, so if you have bread, peanut butter and even jam… “. Paula was staring at him completely baffled. Had she understood well? Was he insinuating that she had to prepare breakfast? No, she must have misunderstood. She smiled at him and pointed to the kitchen cupboard. “Help yourself,” she finally said between her teeth.

She hurried out of the room, she was going to take a shower, hoping that he would be gone by the time she came out. When she arrived in the room, she was close to fainting. On the floor, a huge suitcase and two large bags were lying on the floor.

“I was waiting for you to come and make room for me,” Bruce whispered behind her, and he came over to give her a kiss on the neck.


Sue kept looping Rita’s words in her mind. Joining forces with her lifelong enemy to bring down the unbearable Paula. It was a genius idea!
And when you think about it, having Rita on her side doubled her chances of success. Yes, she hated Rita, she hated her kindness, she hated her sweetness, she hated her warmth.Sue was cold, calculating and bossy, and she didn’t particularly like people, but she wanted this village to be a decent place. Yes, she and Rita hated each other, but they respected each other, they had common values such as family, marriage, order, respect for rules…

While this Paula, this Paula respected nothing. First, she seemed to take Sue in a negative light, she didn’t show her the respect due to her position. No, the nymph was parading around, complaining, executing this village. Well, if you hate this village so much, leave it! This woman was worthless, unmarried, childless. Worse, she was playing with other people’s marriages, she was consuming men like vulgar supermarket cookies! Bruce, Andrews, plumber, mover, Sue feared for her own husband, Pete. She had to get rid of this scourge, before she set the village on fire and blood.

She picked up her phone and sent a short text message to Rita. “I’m in, see you tomorrow in my office at 8 a.m.”. Yes, with Rita, they would get their way, that was for sure. Sue smiled contentedly and sank into her desk chair.

Allison knocked on the door. In a stern voice, Sue told her to come in. Oh my God, Allison was still wearing one of her shapeless pants and a shirt that probably came from the Salvation Army. Sue looked at her with disdain, the woman was sorely lacking in taste. Allison remained prostrate at the door, but whether she was talking or not, Sue didn’t have all day.

With an angry nod, Sue encouraged Allison to speak. “We just got the invitation for Bill’s funeral, it’s going to be Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at the … “Sue cut it off, they’ll find out later, don’t bother to break the news, the residents had enough funerals, she didn’t want a rush. Well, Allison could go, she would represent the campground. She could take Frank with her, and with the company credit card, she could also buy a wreath of flowers. The matter was settled, she could go.

Sue chased Allison out of the door with a wave of her hand, but the big jig remained stuck in the doorway. Anything else? Allison lowered her head and babbled, they had received an email from the manager this morning. She had barely finished her sentence when she left the room. Sue frowned, it didn’t look good.

She got up in a hurry and slammed the door. Sitting back in her chair, she turned to the screen and clicked twice on her mailbox. It took a long time for the software to open, putting Sue’s nerves to the test. Her eyes wandered through several e-mail lines before she found the one she was interested in.

Dear Sue, Dear Allison,

I would like to express my deepest condolences to you, Mr. Drew Bill’s death is very regrettable and I hope that you will shed light on the circumstances of this tragedy.

Nevertheless, the email I am sending you concerns a completely different subject. After going through the accounting sheets with Sue, I noticed several inconsistencies. The most notable is the one concerning Franck Stick’s salary, and the fact that office operating costs and expense reports have tripled in recent times, and I would like us to review the budget together.
I propose a special meeting on Thursday morning at 9am. This will give you time to clear up accounting inconsistencies and gather all the necessary documents.

Yours sincerely

Peter Carty, CEO of Riverside Gardens Estate. “

Sue’s blood froze. She ran out of air, she opened the window. The bugger hadn’t given up. He was a tough guy, and he was determined to find out the truth. A plan, he needed a plan. She was definitely not going to fall now.

First of all, she would keep Allison away from this meeting, this dumb woman knew nothing about it and goofy as she was, it was far too risky. Second, she would have to convince the manager that she had put Bill in charge of managing the gardeners’ salaries. Bill had simply miscalculated. Well, she would have to be very convincing. She would have to review Frank’s pay slips and put Bill’s name on them. It was going to be an awfully tough game.

Sue wiped her face with her scarf. The day had started out so well, though. She put her fingers on the keyboard and started writing her answer.

“Hello Mr. Carty,

Thank you for your support in this painful moment for us. Bill was a talented and involved gardener whose loss is a heartbreaker for the whole village.

I will make myself available for Thursday’s meeting, unfortunately Allison will not be able to join us, her presence at Bill’s funeral is required.

As far as the budget is concerned, I am surprised, as is Franck’s salary. In the last few months, Bill has been feeling tired and we have given him more administrative tasks, in order to change him of function when Franck is trained. So Bill was in charge of editing Franck’s pay slips, as well as inventories and purchases for the garden shop. Although for the first few months I personally checked the accuracy of the pay slips, after several months I trusted him completely. A priori, I was wrong.

I will conduct my own investigation. We’ll meet on Thursday to discuss this in person.

Sincerely yours.

Sue Smith, General Manager of Riverside Gardens Estate. “

She looked satisfied with her email. All that was needed was to tamper with a few of the tax lines sent, create new evidence of Bill’s guilt, and that was it.

Sue smiled as she rubbed her hands together, no man had ever interfered with her plans, it wasn’t going to start today.

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