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Chapter 8 Lila

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One week later, Sam Loomis was sitting in the office at the back of his shop, writing a letter to Marion. 'Since I saw you last Friday afternoon,' he wrote, 'I've thought a lot about the things that you said. You're right. The money doesn't matter. I want to marry you now

While he was writing, Bob Summerfield, the young man who worked in the shop, called to him: 'Sam, a young woman wants to see you.'

Sam walked into the shop and saw a pretty young woman with fair hair and a small suitcase.

'I'm Lila, Marion's sister,' she said without smiling. 'Is she here?'

'Of course not,' Sam replied.'Is something wrong?'

'I haven't seen her since last Friday,' Lila said, her voice beginning to shake. 'She left home without saying anything. She hasn't even phoned me. Look, if she's here, I want to talk to her. She's in bad trouble.' She began to cry.

Sam told Bob to leave the shop, then turned to Lila. 'Tell me,' he said softly. 'What are you talking about? What kind of trouble is she in?'

'Yes,' said a flat, unfriendly voice from the door behind them. 'Let's all talk about Marion.'

Sam and Lila both turned to see who was talking. A short man with a hat low over his eyes walked slowly into the shop. He was carrying a raincoat over his arm.

'My name's Arbogast,' he said, showing them a card. 'I'm a detective, but I'm not with the police.' He looked hard at Lila and said:'Now Miss Crane, where's Marion?'

'Why do you want to know?' said Sam.

'$40,000,' Arbogast replied.

'I don't understand.'

'Your girlfriend stole $40,000.'

Sam looked at Lila.'Is this true?'

Lila explained everything. She spoke in a cold voice. She si believed that Sam was hiding Marion somewhere. But when s finished, her voice softened. 'Listen, Sam,' she said. 'Her be doesn't want to call the police. He just wants his money back.! if she's here ...'

'She isn't,' Sam said quickly.

'Miss Crane, can I ask you a question?' said Arbogast.

'Why did you come here to Fairvale? Did you know that yoi sister was here?'

'I hoped she was. I wasn't sure.'

Arbogast looked at her and said nothing.

'It's true!' she cried angrily.'Why don't you believe me?'

'I'm just doing my job, Miss Crane.'

'Really?' said Sam. 'Then have you phoned any hospitals пег Phoenix? Maybe she's had an accident.'

'That's not possible,' Arbogast replied. 'Her boss saw her ii her car last Friday. She was driving out of Phoenix with th money.'

Then Arbogast looked at Lila. He gave her a warm, friendl; smile to show that he finally believed her. 'I think she's here, Mis Crane,' he said. 'Maybe not here with her boyfriend, but she' somewhere near Fairvale. I can feel it. Don't worry,' he said touching his hat and walking towards the door. 'ГЦ find her.'


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