A Rare Diamond in the Rough 12
A Different Course of Action ...
Only when Castle Luchsinger is in sight does Anna Maria begin to easy her tiny foot off the accelerator— but only a little. As she enters into the courtyard, both women let out a sigh of relief. From his bedroom window, Heinrich witnesses their rather rapid approach. He is concerned that something may have gone wrong— so he journeys out to receive them.
“What has happened? Was there a problem? The two of you look—” Anna Maria interrupts.
“Sì qualcosa è andato storto!” (Yeah, something went wrong.)
“Just had a run-in with what I think was two of Colonel Schneider’s henchmen.” Diamond elucidates. At that moment, Erhard comes rushing out from the Castle.
“Did I hear you correctly?” Erhard exclaims as he hurries to the car to help Diamond out of it while Heinrich assists Anna Maria.
“Sì, hai sentito Diamond giusto!” An upset Anna Maria replies in rapid Italian. (Yes, you heard Diamond right.)
“We were enjoying the sights and sounds of Milan when I spotted a couple of men dressed in black. They had a photograph in their hands, and they seemed to be talking about me.” Diamond clarifies.
“Then all of a sudden, Diamond grabs me and we are running for our lives. By the way, Heinrich—the Lamborghini drives like a dream.” Anna Maria having calmed down a bit speaks in English.
“The two of you could have been killed all because you wanted a day out. I am so disappointed in you, Diamond.” Erhard looks accusingly at Diamond.
“I’m so sorry, Erhard.” The ordeal that Diamond has experienced reveals to her just how irresponsible she has acted, and the poor girl bursts into tears. Erhard apologizes and begins to embrace her.
“Forgive me my darling.” Erhard begins. “It’s just that I don’t know what I would have done if anything had happened to you. Will you stay here now?” Erhard implores.
“For now, I guess. But you must realize Erhard, I can’t hide forever. Remember, we have a job to do. Besides, I really don’t believe those two men are going to report to Colonel Schneider. Especially since they let me get away. If they didn’t die as a result of the car crash, then failure is a guarantee of a bullet in the head.” Diamond states.
“That is true. I remember what happened to the two men in Dusseldorf.” Erhard agrees.
“My nephew Andor is gone into town with a couple of our security people. It’s business that requires his immediate attention. It is a pity that you were not able to purchase anything from our fine shops, but I can have them send over several catalogs. If you see anything you like—I’ll have it delivered. In the meantime, please find something at Castle Luchsinger that can occupy your time.” Heinrich suggests as he and Erhard head toward the stables.
“Do not feel bad, Diamond. I have a few trustworthy friends and they will help me entertain “an American cousin.” Anna Maria smiles.
Erhard uses the special cellphone given to him by Kit Weinberger in Washington, D.C. to inform him of the latest events. He begins to explain to Kit everything that Diamond and Anna Maria have revealed to him. Erhard seeks his guidance in handling the situation.
“Heinrich did well to ground that girl. Her head is like the Rock of Gibraltar with no chance of cracking. We men need to handle this. I am going to contact the United States Consulate General in Milan. Consul General Victor Shotwell is a personal friend of mine. I will be paying a visit to the Montecatini Building to see him.” Kit informs Erhard.
“Designed by the acclaimed Italian architect Gio Ponti? Why doesn’t this surprise me that you know Consul General Shotwell personally?” Erhard chuckles.
“You are starting to sound a lot like Diamond. It’s true that I know a lot of important diplomats. In my line of work, it pays to have friends in high places.” Kit returns the laughter.
“I am not complaining my friend. I’m glad.” Erhard retorts.
“When this is over—I want you to consider working with S.T.O.P. The Society to Overthrow Profiteering. S.T.O.P. is a network comprised of three different groups: undercover businessmen, bipartisan government operatives like you, and military liaisons. It is a very elite group and we have members in over 25 countries. There is a need to ensure that the world will remain safe from maniacs like Colonel Schneider and racketeer Leo Lancaster.” Kit suggests.
“I heard about the Day Bed and that Lancaster Money Market Scheme. S.T.O.P. is a great idea and I would be honored to be a member, Kit.” Erhard beams.
“In the meantime, keep a close eye on Diamond. I think Anna Maria Russo is just the person to keep that wildcat occupied without raising a lot of suspicions. Then when I arrive in Milan, we can come up with an alternative plan that doesn’t involve overly enthusiastic political reporters.” Now both men are laughing together.
“When can I expect you, Kit?” Erhard is anxious to begin to solve the problem at hand.
“By the beginning of next week. I need to get my small team together and to ensure that word doesn’t leak out to Colonel Schneider. I’m pretty sure that we neutralized his operatives in America, but I won’t feel completely convinced until the Colonel is totally out of the picture.” Kit replies with conviction.
“Don’t worry at my end.” Erhard reassures him. “I will talk to Andor, Heinrich and Anna Maria. They can handle the situation. Unfortunately, when Diamond does find out—all of our names will be on her crap list.”
Erhard hangs up the phone in search of Andor. He finds him in the back garden staring into space.
“I know what’s on your mind—Anna Maria.” Erhard begins.
“Yes. That Diamond can be pretty reckless can’t she?” Andor turns to look at his friend. “Yet, you’re madly in love with her.”
“I’ve never known anyone like her, Andor. Major General Adam “Kit” Weinberger is coming to Milan with his team from Military Intelligence.” Erhard tells Andor.
“Does Diamond know about this?” Andor asks cautiously.
“No, and Kit prefers that she not know until the operation is completed. He doesn’t want her getting involved. She’s just too foolhardy.” Andor shakes his head in agreement.
“I suppose that’s what it takes when uncovering political corruption.” Andor says. “Diamond just doesn’t know when to stop.”
“She is a rare diamond in the rough. My diamond, and I want to keep her in one piece.” The two men look at each other and shake their heads.
To Be Continued ...
A Diamond in the Rough 13
- A Rare Diamond in the Rough 13
Diamond’s mind is set on writing the story of her career regardless of the risk she will be taking. There are others who are just as committed on stopping her. The stakes are high and the casualties could be devastating. Will Diamond succeed or fail?
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS