Kristi runs into Edmund, who is also watching the man at the excavation site, but the intruder hears them and leaves before they can figure out what he is up to. Readers voted that they learn something important about Alan.
“Come on,” Edmund said. “Let’s get something to eat.”
The terrace of Bernard’s was shady and cool, dotted with tubs of exotic trees and brightly colored English flowers; roses, petunias and marigolds. They found an empty table and ordered lunch.
In the street below them, a car horn blared. The driver’s head popped out and swore loudly at the camels blocking the road, but they just looked at him and sniffed lazily. As the driver struggled with the door handle, the camel’s driver pulled out a stick and drove them slowly to the other side.
Kristi wrinkled her nose.
“It smells–” she broke off as she noticed Alan sitting with his back to them, half-hidden behind a potted tree. A large man with a red face and expensive suit sat across from him, but they were speaking too quietly for her to hear.
“What?” Edmund asked, twisting around.
“Don’t look,” Kristi hissed. “It’s Alan, talking to someone.”
“Don’t you think that’s kind of suspicious? I mean, I know this is his first season here. How would he know anyone yet?”
He leaned towards her. “Why are we whispering?”
“I don’t want him to notice us. Here, edge your chair back and see if you can hear what they’re saying.”
“Don’t be silly.”
“Edmund, come on!”
“It’s probably just someone he knows from England. People vacation here all the time.”
Drat. Okay, that did make sense. Kristi sighed.
As the waiter delivered their food, the man sitting across from Alan got to his feet. “I’ll be in touch, Lord Blackstone,” he said.
Edmund froze, his fork halfway to his mouth.
Alan stiffened and glanced around. He caught sight of Kristi, who dropped her napkin and ducked under the table.
Lord Blackstone. That sounded vaguely familiar.
She sat up and kicked Edmund under the table. “What’s wrong?” she whispered.
“Miss . . . Parker. Edmund.” Kristi looked up to find Alan standing over them.
“Hi,” she said. “Um, want to join us?”
But he was already pulling another chair up to the table. He straddled it and looked at them through narrowed eyes. “How much did you overhear?”
“Everything,” Kristi said, ignoring Edmund’s glare. Maybe if he thought they already knew . . .
“Only what that man just said,” he corrected. Kristi kicked him again, but missed and smacked her foot against the chair leg. Ouch. He raised his eyebrows.
“So you’re the new Lord Blackstone,” Edmund said.
He shifted uncomfortably. “Yes, the late Lord Blackstone was my uncle.”
“Why didn’t you tell us?”
“Who’s Lord Blackstone?” Kristi interrupted.
“Lord Blackstone is–was, the expedition’s patron. We knew he died a few months ago, but we didn’t know who the heir was,” Edmund explained.
Alan shrugged. “I wanted to see if the dig was worth keeping open.”
“I haven’t decided yet. It seems like it may be more trouble than it’s worth. But look, I want this to remain a secret.” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.