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Chapter 2 Marion's Plan
'I'm sorry I'm late,' Marion called as she hurried into the office.
'Don't worry,' the other secretary said. 'Mr Lowery s having lunch with a customer.'
Marion gave the other woman a tired smile and sat at her desk.'Did anyone phone while I was out?' she asked.
'Just your sister. She says that she's going away for the weekend ...'
Just then Mr Lowery walked in. He was talking to a loud-voiced man in a cowboy hat. Marion immediately looked down and tried to look busy. She knew Tommy Cassidy and she didn't like him. He was an unpleasant, greedy old man who was always talking about money.
Cassidy sat down on Marion's desk and showed her a photograph of his daughter. 'She's eighteen years old,' he said. 'And she's never been unhappy.'
Marion looked at the photograph and then at Cassidy. She didn't like the way that he was looking at her, with his clear, cold eyes and his wet, smiling lips.
'She's getting married next month,' he said, 'and I'm buying her a house.' He took a thick packet of money out of his pocket and waved it in front of Marion's face. '$40,000,' he smiled proudly. 'This will make her happy, won't it?'
Marion looked at the money and smiled politely.
'Are you happy, Marion?' Cassidy asked, still holding the money in front of her.
Marion wanted to stand up and shout at him: 'How can I be happy? I can't get married for three years while Sam works to pay off his father's debts. But you're rich! You can make $11,000 in three weeks. It isn't right!'
But she didn't say any of this, of course. She sat at her desk and smiled sweetly.'I think so, Mr Cassidy,' she said.
'I hope you are,' Cassidy said, putting the money on the desk. 'Remember, Marion. Money can't buy happiness, but it can stop unhappiness.'
He walked away into Mr Lowery's office, but Mr Lowery didn't follow him. He was looking at the money on Marion's desk and seemed worried. 'I don't want that money here over the weekend,' he said to her quietly. 'Take it to the bank after work.'
'Perhaps I can take it now?' Marion asked. 'I've got a terrible headache.'
'Good idea,' Mr Lowery agreed. 'Take the money straight to the bank, then go home and have an early night.'
Marion put the money into a white envelope, put the envelope into her handbag, and left the office.
But she didn't take the money to the bank. A plan was taking shape inside her head. '$40,000 is a lot of money,' she thought. 'With this money, Sam'll be able to pay his debts. Then we'll be able to get married.'
Pleased with this idea, Marion went straight home. She put some clothes into a suitcase, and drove out of Phoenix.
As she was waiting at some traffic-lights for people to cross the road, Marion looked at the bag next to her with the money in it. 'Of course,' she was thinking, 'I can't tell Sam that I stole the money from my boss. I'll, have to think of a good story to tell him ...'
Suddenly one of the people crossing the road stopped in front of her car. It was Mr Lowery. Without thinking, Marion smiled at him and waved. He looked at her seriously, then walked away.
'Oh no!' Marion thought. 'Now he knows I haven't gone home with a headache. If he thinks I'm running away with the money, he'll phone the police. I must hurry. If I can get to Fairvale before Monday, they'll never find me. I'll be safe with
It was a long journey. After driving all night across the desert, Marion began to feel tired. She had to stop. She drove off the highway and parked at the side of a quiet road. 'I'll just rest for half an hour,' she told herself.
But she was more tired than she thought. She lay down in the front of the car and slept until the morning.