“Then Juan Carlos reappeared in mid-June, and suddenly he and Mrs. R, they were the very best of friends. What’s wrong with this picture, I asked myself. Juan Carlos told Reney that I suggested he move into her place to keep an eye on it while it was up for sale. It wasn’t true, but Mrs. R was adamant that he do just that.
“I did my due diligence, McKenzie. I did my job. You need to know that. It’s important that you know that because … I had Navarre checked out through a credit service. I demanded that he show me the money. His personal banker sent me a letterhead statement confirming that Juan Carlos had the liquid assets not only to lease the property but also to purchase it. Five-point-four million dollars, McKenzie.”
“The letter? Did it come from Lake Minnetonka Community Bank?”
“I called him, too,” she said. “The president. Brodin. I spoke to him to make sure the letter was legitimate. It was. Still, I shouldn’t have signed off on it. I knew there was something wrong.”
Anne closed her eyes. She was silent, and for a moment I was afraid she might have fallen asleep. I was wondering if I should wake her when her eyes snapped open.
“I did it because I liked the way he did me,” she said.
“I slept with him, McKenzie. I slept with Navarre. Many times. Does that shock you?”
“Shocks me, too. I had sex with him that first day on the boat. I don’t know what I was thinking. He was so … I fucked him again in my office when we got back. That’s why I was so unhappy when I didn’t hear from him again. When he showed up two and a half months later … I can’t believe how stupid I was, selling out that way. I didn’t even like him personally. Just the way he did me … When he returned, we started up where we left off. Then it ended.”
“What ended it?”
“Ms. Riley Muehlenhaus Brodin. Juan Carlos met her at the club. Club Versailles, of which I am not now nor ever will be a member. He met her and completely forgot about me. Gave me up for a girl that looks like a character in Japanese anime.”
I didn’t get the allusion. I took it, though, that it wasn’t meant to be flattering.
“Then he tied up at my dock on Saturday morning,” Anne said. “He walked into my office like nothing had happened and asked for my help. He claimed a terrorist group called ETA was after him and he needed me.”
“Did you believe him?”
“I wanted to believe him, McKenzie. I wanted to be needed.”
“Why did he leave yesterday morning?”
“We heard that there was a fire at Casa del Lago. He wanted to check it out.”
Maybe that was his boat you saw in Gideon Bay, my inner voice said.
“He didn’t come back?” I asked aloud.
“No, he didn’t.”
I found Sarah Neamy behind the reception desk at Club Versailles. She looked as if she had aged three years since I had last seen her.
“The deputies were here,” she told me. She spoke quickly, as if she wanted to get the words out before someone came along to stop her. “They were here all morning, asking questions about Mrs. R and Juan Carlos. The club’s lawyer was here, too. I bet that comes as a surprise to you, Club Versailles has lawyers. He followed the detectives around, listening to the interviews. He was there to protect the club’s interests, he said. The detectives wanted to see the questionnaire that Juan Carlos filled out. The lawyer wouldn’t let them until he read it first. He claimed it was club property.”
Sarah looked to her right and left before she bent down to a shelf behind the desk and retrieved a white envelope printed with the Club Versailles logo.
“I made a copy just before they arrived.”
She gave me the envelope, and I said, “Thank you.” I was desperate to take a look inside right then and there, yet didn’t want to be seen doing so in the lobby. I slipped the envelope into my inside pocket, instead.
I asked the same question I had asked Anne Rehmann: “Are you okay?”
“I guess so,” Sarah said. “Didn’t get much sleep last night.” She brought both her hands to her cheeks. “Do I look awful?”
“You look wonderful,” I said.
“You’re just saying that. Did you get any sleep?”
After I arrived at Nina’s the evening before, I spent a half hour explaining myself, and the next two hours in her embrace. Afterward, I slept like a well-fed newborn. I couldn’t tell Sarah that, though.
“A little bit of sleep, not much,” I said. “What about your job? Has anyone said anything?”
“Not yet, McKenzie. They’ll wait until a mistake is made or someone complains. Club Versailles has lawyers, like I said. They won’t risk a wrongful termination claim.”
“It’s so unfair.”
“This is the rich and powerful, McKenzie. Fair is not a word they know.”
The voice came to us from the corner of the reception desk. We both turned to face it. A man stood there. He was handsome, in his late sixties, with the clouded-eyed expression of a man who has had made too many decisions he didn’t want to make.