The final scene (at least for the first draft) from Breaking Bread, Book Five in the Bucks County novels by Margaret Sorick. Find the previous excerpt here.
As is often the case, both Kiki and her cousin started throwing blame at one another, especially after learning that there were police officers who witnessed the whole exchange among the three of us. Jack said the District Attorney was ready to throw the book at them. The only thing that might save them from life behind bars would be providing evidence against Uncle Gianni for all the evil he had perpetrated over the years.
We heard through the grape vine —that is to say, gossip exchanged at Juan Paolo’s salon— that Ray Curtis-Stevens was filing for divorce and distancing himself as quickly as possible from his young trophy wife. It wasn’t going to prevent him from being party to the civil charges that Michael, Brad and myself had filed against Mrs. Katarine Curtis-Stevens. The three of us sat across from the car magnate and his lawyer in the conference room of Thomas Quinn, Attorney at Law. Tommy Quinn had helped me when I first set up my business nearly two years ago and he’d helped Olivia protect her inheritance from her greedy ex-husband. We waited while Ray’s lawyer placed a document in front of Tommy and frowned. Ray looked positively ashen.
“This is your final offer?” Tommy asked.
“I believe this is more than generous considering Mr. Curtis-Stevens had no knowledge of his wife’s actions against your clients.”
“We’ll need to discuss this,” Tommy said rising from his chair. “We’ll be in touch.”
When Ray and his lawyer had left the room, Brad asked, “Well, what did they offer? What do you think?”
Tommy smiled. “I think it’s a good offer. Of course no one can put a value on the life of a sister, wife and mother but…”
Michael gave him a reassuring nod. “It’s alright. I think we all understand that.”
“The offer is this: Ray agrees to pay each of you $1.5 million and sign over the building he bought for Kiki, as-is with an estimated value of $925,000.” Tommy turned to me. “If you get Leo in there right away, you can reopen Le Boulangerie in it’s new location before the holidays.”
I clapped my hands to my cheeks. “Tommy! You’re a miracle worker!”
He laughed. “I don’t know about that. But it would sure be a shame to let that great location go to waste. Now, here’s how I’d recommend you handle this among yourselves…”
We worked it out so that the building would go entirely to me and the difference would be made up by adjusting the cash payments made to my brother-in-law and Brad. I would have enough to start the business up again without going into debt.
After concluding our business with Tommy, Brad and I walked out to the car together. He said, “You know, this still doesn’t solve my housing dilemma. I can’t stay out at Leo’s place forever. But now I’m at your mercy. I don’t suppose you’d consider renting out the apartment over the new building. You know, since you already have a place to live…”
“Hmm, yeah, but it doesn’t make sense for me to rent an apartment when I have one available in a building I own. Especially considering the convenience it would be for work.”
“You know what the perfect solution would be?”
“Yes, but that would be complicated, Brad.” I was only now getting back in my parents’ good graces. Tanya’s trouble making went farther than just my business. She’d been poisoning my parents’ against me for the last ten years. Moving in with Brad would tear open all the wounds that had started to heal. “It’s not the right time. You know that.”
He put a hand on my arm and stopped me. “You didn’t even hear what I was going to suggest.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. What do you think we should do?”
He reached into the pocket of his coat and I drew in a breath. When he produced an envelope, I exhaled. He held it out to me. “Go ahead, open it.”
I slid a finger along the crease to open the seal. I pulled out a sheet of paper with an itinerary. “Paris. Two round trip tickets, leaving April second,” I murmured as I read the type. “April in Paris?” I asked and looked up into his eyes.
He nodded. “Yeah, things should have settled down by then. The business will be back on track.”
“You want to take me to Paris?” I repeated. “How does this solve your housing dilemma?”
“You haven’t heard the rest of the plan,” he said, smiling.
“What is it?”
“You marry me first.”