From Riches to Rags
will start over, having learned a little more about what Chris expects from me. She told me to look up her father, so that’s exactly what I will do, using the resources I already have in place.
    “Ms. Blackstone, please, come in.”
    She showed me into her office full of old paintings and fake leopard skins. She offered me a beverage but I declined it, preferring to keep my mind sharp because according to George, this woman was not very forthcoming with her information.
    “Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Ms. Bonner.”
    “Well, you are, in a way, my client, Ms. Blackstone. Although I may still require a release form signed by you, depending on what I can help you with today?”
    “Will your wife be joining us?”
    She’s the one I really wanted to question because I had a feeling she was connected to Chris’s family somehow.
    “Yes, when you called earlier, I took the liberty of calling her. She should be here at any moment.”
    “Very good. And what role does your wife play in Chris Livingston’s life?”
    “I would prefer she answer your questions regarding Ms. Livingston, and as I said, she will be here at any moment.”
    “Fair enough.” Okay, if I can’t go in the side door, I might as well play along. “So, I understand you two were just married. Congratulations.”
    “Yes, thank you. We got married nine months and fourteen days ago.”
    “Aha, I see that you’re still in the honeymoon stage, that’s nice.” I do believe the southern belle blushed. Pretty.
    “And here’s my better half now.”
    I turned my head to see a woman not unlike myself, strong and confident, walk through a side door. But unlike me, she was a little disheveled and worn a bit thin.
    “Ms. Blackstone, this is my wife, Meg Bumgartner.”
    “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Blackstone. I’ve heard so much about you.”
    Bumgartner extended her hand, and I gripped it firmly, squeezing it tightly. I’m not sure why, perhaps it was the way that I could tell she was lying through her teeth. “Likewise, I’m sure.” I said, still gripping her hand. When I realize she could take as much as I could give, I released it.
    “So, what can we do for you today?” Bonner asked.
    “Tell me what the hell is going on with Chris Livingston.”
    “As I told your colleague, and as I’m sure you are aware, client confidentiality is our main concern, and‒”
    “Chris told me to look up her father and then I would understand what she’s been through. She has as much as given me permission to find out, because apparently it is too painful for her to tell me herself. And ladies, I want to spare her that pain, but I also want to be of help to her if I can.”
    “Ms. Blackstone, may I be blunt?”
    “Yes, Ms. Bumgartner, fire away, I can take it.”
    “You’re full of shit.”
    Wow, the woman sure doesn’t mix words . And from the way her wife gasped, I’d say that she had reserved them just for me. “And why would that be, Ms. Bumgartner?”
    “Because, and I quote, ‘ Do you know who I am, bitch?’ and ‘I’ll have your job for this.’ ”
    I couldn’t believe it, I was actually blushing. Me, embarrassed?
    “She told you?”
    “No, I was there and I saw how you bullied her right out of a job. You must be very proud.”
    “Okay, now you’re just being hurtful.” I said snidely, locking my eyes on hers, gritting my teeth like a rabid dog.
    “Ladies, please. Let’s at least be amicable toward one another.” Bonner was obviously the brain in that family.
    Bumgartner wouldn’t let it go, “I think your skin is probably too thick for that, Ms. Blackstone. But regardless, let me assure you, I will not let you hurt Chris again. She has come too far to be knocked back down by the likes of you.”
    “And I assure you, Ms. Bumgartner, that I would never do that again. In fact, that’s why I’m here, to make amends, to make it up to Ms. Livingston, however possible.”
    “Is that why you’re stalking

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