Diamond in the Dark — WIP fragment three (indents disappeared)

He met the reporter at the Hilton downtown. Jake figured he’d wow her with the view from the Polaris Restaurant. The rotation would at least make certain he had a captive audience. He had to find out what she knew that he didn’t.
What connection did the corrupt cop have with the Boston mob? And why on earth would they be trying to kill him? He’d never done anything to them. Not that he could remember. He’d never thrown a game. He’d always played his best, done what was asked of him. He never gambled, at least not until after he’d retired. And then it was only a weekly poker game or two.
As he entered the downstairs atrium, he caught sight of Ms. O’Neill standing by the glass-walled elevators, waiting for him. He came up behind her, out of her view, and tapped her on the shoulder.
“Hi. I’m Jake Diamond. Thank you for agreeing to meet with me. Shall we?”
She didn’t say a word as he let her enter before him. They rode up to the restaurant in silence. That was fine with Jake. If she felt uncomfortable, more the better for what he had planned. As long as he could keep this information away from Goldberg, maybe he could take his case back. Even if he was out on bail, and couldn’t leave the state, that didn’t mean he couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on.
When the elevator doors opened, the host waited for them, a welcoming smile plastered on his face. “Welcome back to Atlanta, Mr. Diamond. Your table is right this way.” He led Jake and Hank over to a table beside the windows, and laid the menus in front of them.
Jake held Hank’s chair out for her. She smirked. But she sat down.
Jake made his way across the table and slumped into the chair. He opened out his napkin, placing it on his lap. Hank followed suit.
The host came back carrying a bottle of their best Cabernet, as Jake had requested in his phone call. Jake allowed the host to open the bottle, pour two glasses for them. The host then waited a moment. Jake shook his head. The host went away.
Hank just smiled, a quizzical look on her face. “I saw you at the blackjack table yesterday, didn’t I? Just as I was leaving.”
Jake smiled back. “Yes. The dealer is an old friend. Just in town catching up. I saw your interview earlier this evening. And it gave me an idea.” He leaned over the table toward her, lowering his voice.
She leaned toward him, still smiling.
“I would like you to write my biography, Hank.”
If he’d asked her to strip in public, her reaction couldn’t have been more shocked. “I thought you….”
“Yea, I know. You thought I would meet you here and wine and dine and seduce you. Nope. Not my style. Especially when the lovely lady wears a gold wedding band on her left hand.” He paused. “No. I seriously want you to write my bio. But before we get to that, why were you at the casino today, talking to Lester?”
Her jaw dropped. Two surprises in five minutes. Jake wondered if she’d close her mouth anytime soon. She managed. “Mr. Diamond, Jake…I just wanted to play blackjack before I went to the interview. No other reason.”
He smiled again. “No. That’s not the only reason. I heard enough of your interview to know you have an ulterior motive for being in Atlanta right now. And I think we can combine our resources and find out what you need to know. And at the same time, I can figure out why somebody is trying to kill me.”
Again with the jaw dropping. Her mouth closed just as a waiter came to their table. After they’d ordered, she stared across the table at him. “Mr. Diamond, not only have you surprised me three times in ten minutes, but you have no idea what’s going on, do you?”
He shook his head. “Not really. I’ve been on the scene at three homicides in the past two days, one of them right in front of me, and the police are not looking to let me leave Atlanta anytime soon. So as long as I’m here, I can try to figure out why somebody is trying to kill me. And why bodies are dropping all around me. And how it connects with your research about the Boston mob.”
She fingered her salad fork as the appetizer arrived. “How about we eat dinner first, then we can talk. And maybe you’re right. Maybe there’s a connection between your problem and my case.”
He nodded. “I can do that,” he said, picking up his fork and spearing a spring roll. He dipped it into the sauce.
She watched for a moment, then followed suit.
The dinner became an exercise in small tortures for Jake, as he watched this brilliant woman eat her dinner. The man she’d married was a lucky guy, Jake thought.
About an hour later, after dessert and coffee, Jake looked out the windows at Stone Mountain. The setting sun glinted off Robert E. Lee’s face, reflecting into Jake’s eyes, just enough to make him blink. But not enough for him to ignore the mirror image of the man walking slowly toward them across the central hub of the restaurant.
Goldberg? How the hell… Jake shook his head and turned around. He looked at Hank. “I think our little meeting has been discovered.”
Goldberg walked over to the table and moved into a seat beside Jake. “Mind?” he asked, knowing Jake wouldn’t stop him. “You’re a hard man to keep up with, Diamond. You were supposed to meet me at the station four hours ago. Mind telling me what’s going on? Oh, excuse me, I don’t think we’ve been introduced.” He looked at Hank and waited.
Jake laughed. “Lt. Goldberg, this is Ms. Hank O’Neill, a reporter from Boston. We’re old friends, just having a meal together. Do you mind?”
“Yes, I mind. Nice to meet you, Ms. O’Neill. Now Jake, what is really going on here?”
Jake looked at Hank, who smiled and shook her head. “Go ahead. Tell him,” she said.
“Ms. O’Neill is investigating a connection between the Boston Mob and the Atlanta Police Department, Lt. I watched her on a talk show this afternoon on Channel 7. You oughta watch it sometime. Lots of fascinating people, information, events…”
Goldberg interrupted him. “Okay, I get it. Now, what do you two know that I don’t know, yet?”
Jake frowned. Goldberg hadn’t been surprised by the possible Mob connection. “ She hasn’t told me much. We just finished dinner. You know, dinner? The meal where you eat and don’t talk much?”
Hank smothered her laugh in her napkin. Goldberg had to grin.
“Okay, Jake. Let’s put our heads together and see what happens. Oh, and how did our seed planting go today?”
“Just perfectly. I do believe they’re going to take root any day now.”
Hank gave both of them a puzzled look. “Anything I need to know?”
“No,” the men both said together.


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