The Jewels of Sofia Tate
little shrug. “It might have been just coincidence that the car was parked at Elizabeth’s. Someone might have been leaving the park and happened to be a bad driver.”
    â€œDo you think so?” Garnet said, suddenly feeling as though she had overreacted. “But what about the vase?”
    â€œCould’ve been knocked over when Elizabeth had the heart attack. And she might’ve got the bump when she fell.”
    â€œBut why was the front door open?”
    â€œMaybe she was about to go outside.”
    â€œI suppose,” Garnet softly agreed. She cautiously pulled the tab off the Coke can and took a sip. “There is one other thing that’s kind of weird.”
    â€œWhat?”
    â€œWell, I decided I would look after Ginger while Elizabeth’s in the hospital —”
    â€œYeah. Good idea. Who knows how long she’ll be there,” Dan interjected.
    â€œAnyway, my mother and I decided to leave Ginger at the house for now, and I needed a key,” Garnet said. “I knew Elizabeth had one in her purse. The thing is, when I took out the key, there was fifty thousand dollars lying underneath.” She took a bite of her pizza and watched Dan choke on his Coke.
    â€œFifty thousand dollars in cash?” he sputtered.
    Garnet nodded.
    Dan searched her face and let out a deep breath. “See, I told you she might not be thinking clearly anymore.”
    â€œThat might not be it.”
    Dan’s eyes grew wary. “What do you mean?”
    â€œWell, last Sunday after you left, someone phoned. I heard her talking. There was something about fifty thousand dollars. I don’t know what the call was about or who she was talking to, but she was upset after. And the day I met her — you know, when she fell in front of my house? She had a bundle of cash that day, too, but it didn’t look like as much as what I found yesterday.”
    Dan tilted his head. “Do you think someone’s extorting money from her?”
    Garnet shrugged again. “I don’t know. She didn’t talk about the call and I didn’t want to ask.”
    â€œWhy not?”
    â€œWell, it’s not exactly any of my business, and to be honest, she was so upset I was afraid to. I had to get her one of those pills,” Garnet replied defensively.
    Dan sighed. “So where’s the money now? Still in her purse?”
    â€œNo, my mother took it. She’s putting it back into Elizabeth’s account. She works at the trust company where Elizabeth banks.”
    â€œThat’s good,” Dan said. He poured the last bits of fries from the cardboard container into his mouth and licked his fingers. “Are you going to visit her at the hospital?”
    â€œIf they let me.”
    â€œDo you want to go together? I’ve got track after school but if you want, I could pick you up after supper.”
    â€œOkay,” Garnet said, feeling a slight flutter.
    â€œI’ll be over at seven.”
    Jeans or green capris to go with her pale yellow shirt? It was an oddly difficult wardrobe decision for a visit to an old lady in the hospital. Jeans, Garnet decided. She pulled them on, then dabbed a little of her favourite floralscent onto her wrists. The doorbell rang. Garnet peeked through the blinds and saw the black sports car parked at the curb. She checked her watch. Either Dan was a few minutes early or her watch was behind again. Smoothing a hand over her tied-back red curls and lamenting her freckled nose, she took one last look in the mirror before heading down the stairs.
    â€œCome on in, Dan,” she heard her mother say. “So nice to see you again. Garnet should be down soon.”
    Garnet slowed herself down, trying to appear casual and relaxed as she entered the front hall. “Hi, Dan!”
    â€œHi! Ready?”
    â€œYeah,” Garnet replied, swinging a small purse over her shoulder. “Bye, Mom. See you later.”
    They walked

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