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My Little Mystery Part 3
By
frogprince

My Little Mystery Part 3

Cricket has doubts about Cal, but finds something great.

Cricket sat on the patio at the rear of her estate on Long Island watching her wolf pack frolic. Cal Henderson, her wolf pack caretaker, played amongst them. They were happy and accepted Cal as a member. Their quick acceptance of Cal had Cricket mystified. Who was this man? Where did he come from? Why did the pack accept him? These questions assaulted Cricket every day. There was one question that troubled Cricket more than these though. How did Cal capture her heart and draw her to him so easily?

A month passed since Cricket fought to maintain control of her company, Wolf's Head Oil. A group of middle managers tried to wrest control from her, because they wanted to stay in the old oil discovery and drilling business. The company, under Cricket's guidance, invested heavily in alternative energy resources. This investment opened new opportunities for rapid growth and huge profit margins for investors. The company, for the first time in its history, recorded triple digit growth in gross revenues. The stockholders overwhelmingly voted Cricket into the CEO position for life. Cricket accepted that position and promised more growth in the future. Everything fell into place for her. Everything, that was, but the mystery surrounding Cal Henderson.

Cricket rested her chin in her upraised hand and continued to watch her wolf pack play. Her mind wandered back to the day she met Cal. He came to her home office as one of three candidates for the position of caretaker to her wolf pack and overseer of the foundation that protected wolves worldwide. When they shook hands, a shock ran through their bodies that connected them. They both felt drawn to each other. Since then Cal helped her save her company. They spent time together going out on 'casual dates.' These dates became more frequent and increased romantically. Cricket worried that she developed a deep love for this man. She can't get romantically involved with anyone right now. She had too much to do.

At dinner, Cal and Cricket exchanged small talk about the pack and progress the foundation made to relocate some of the pack members. In the years the pack lived at the estate, it grew to be too big for its surroundings. Cal found an area in Australia, that needed a small wolf pack to curtail the rapidly growing rabbit population. Inserting a small wolf pack would not upset the natural balance there, because the predators of the wolves still existed. He and Cricket selected a male and six female wolves to send. Cal told Cricket, that the arrangements were in the works to put this new pack in place. Cricket sat there drinking her tea, fascinated in how capably Cal ran the foundation. He amazed and captivated her. She fantasized what living with and loving this man would be like for the next forty years. In the back of her mind a gnawing doubt rose. This doubt never left her mind. She vowed to herself to investigate Cal Henderson. She needed to know more.

After a long weekend, Cricket returned to her office and summoned her assistant Monica. Monica attended Bard School with Cricket and followed Cricket's career. She became an invaluable friend and ally since graduating.

"Monica, I am troubled by how close Cal and I have become. He is a major factor in my day to day living. I can not get him out of my thoughts. My heart races when I see him and when we are together."

"Well, he did play a major role in saving this company. You selected him to raise and care for your wolf pack and run your foundation. What did you expect to happen?"

"I certainly did not expect to be falling in love with another man so soon after Roger Wolfson. I need to find out more about him. Can you help me do that?"

"Boss, why don't you just ask him? He seems very easy too talk with and very open about his past."

"Please take his resume and do an in depth check of his references and his past employment? I feel there is something missing here."

"OK, boss I will get right on it this afternoon. Don't be surprised if he comes up squeaky clean."

With that, Monica left Cricket's office to start her search. Cricket felt relieved. The running of the company occupied her mind for the first time since stopping the takeover. All the managers who participated in the takeover were fired. The manager's careers ceased the day they got sacked. They became bad risks in the oil business. The results pleased Cricket, the Wolf's Head Board of Directors, and stockholders. Cricket spent the afternoon evaluating the results of the new Solar Products Division sales and revenues. The figures looked amazing.

Monica returned to her desk and brought up Cal's resume on her computer. It impressed her with his credentials. With all his achievements, why did he take this job with Cricket and the foundation? Now Monica wondered too. She secretly fell under his spell too. It was time to find out who Cal Henderson really was. Monica looked at his last position, a small company in Sweden. He left after five years and what appeared as a stellar career. Monica opened the company web site and poked around. Nothing unusual jumped out at her. The CEO Lars Halstrom, a noted environmentalist, was one of his references.

Monica spent the morning following the resume of Cal. She talked to the people Cal used as references and got glowing praise from each of them. No one spoke a word against him or said he had any faults. That type of reference was always good, but someone somewhere knew him as the not so perfect man. His education listing lacked a few years. In fact his high school did not appear at all. Hunt as she might, Monica found no high school records for Cal. Nothing appeared anywhere. This was unusual, but nothing appeared for Monica and Cricket too in high school records. The Bard School kept meticulous records, but never allowed their name to appear in public. Cal was exactly five years older than Monica and Cricket.

Was it possible that Cal Henderson was a graduate from the Bard School too? Monica wondered how to get that information without raising any red flags. Contacting the administration of the school was forbidden. She sat at her desk pondering what to do next, when Stefan entered. Stefan was the inside man who broke the takeover earlier by spying on the perpetrators. He liked Monica and came to ask her to lunch. Monica grabbed her bag and went with Stefan to lunch.

Monica sat distracted at lunch still puzzled by the lack of Cal's high school listing. Stefan noticed this and asked, "What is puzzling you today Monica?"

"Cricket gave me an assignment to dig into Cal's background deeper than his resume."

"Why not just ask him? He is a very open man willing and eager to chat about anything."

"I cannot find any record of high school education anywhere in his past."

"Is that all?" Stefan chortled.

"Yes, that has me stymied. I know that you, Cricket and I have no high school records, but Cal was not with us in school."

Stefan laughed. "No he was not with us in school, he was ahead of us. He graduated a year before we arrived. He was not the best student but succeeded in gradating."

"And how do you know this?"

"He told me the night we met at the gallery. We chatted about people we knew. He told me of a teacher he had in high school, Mr. Wagner, who was a great influence on his career."

"I remember Mr. Wagner. He inspired me to succeed in making bombs." Monica said.

Now it all became clear. Cal had cleverly built this facade of being a naturalist and world traveler to cover his nefarious deeds. Monica smiled, leaned across the table and gave Stefan a long kiss on his lips. Stefan caught off guard blushed, but not as much as Monica. She wanted to kiss Stefan, when they first met. Stefan reached out and took Monica's hand and smiled.

"I wanted to kiss you when we first met." He said. "There is something I see in you that I want. Can we have dinner tonight?"

Monica blushed and quietly replied, "I would love that. Come to my office, when you are ready to go tonight, I will be waiting."

The rest of lunch went quickly filled with office gossip and flirtatious chatter from both of them. Stefan kissed Monica when he left her at her office returning from lunch. It appeared that a budding romance was now in full bloom. Monica hummed as she went into Cricket's office. Cricket looked up from the spreadsheet.

"You look like you had a wonderful lunch. Do you have a boyfriend I don't know about?" Cricket asked.

Monica blushed and sheepishly answered, "Yes I had a wonderful lunch and YES I have a new boyfriend. He is so gentle and kind. We are having dinner tonight."

"Do I know this man?"

"Yes, you know him. We went to school with him. He kissed me and I got weak in my knees."

"OK, enough with the romance, did you find anything out about Cal?"

"Yes I did."

Cricket perked up and sat upright at her desk listening intently. "Are you going to tell me? I want to know."

"Well, if you look at his resume, there is no reference to his high school."

"I noticed it, but never thought to ask. What is it?"

"His high school like ours is hidden from view. He attended the Bard School and graduated a year before we arrived."

"Aha, now I have something on him. How did you get this information? The school does not give it out."

"My new boyfriend Stefan told me. He said Cal told him the night they met. Cal was very open about his past. All he did was ask."

"I guess I have some talking to do with Cal tonight over dinner."

Monica turned and walked out of the office, leaving Cricket deep in thought. This new information opened up a whole new world to explore. She knew now what part of the attraction was. They shared a common background. Would that cause a rift between them or bring them closer? Only time would tell. She wanted to go home immediately. She buzzed Monica and told her to cancel the rest of the day, she wanted to go home. Monica understood the request and canceled her day. Cricket cleared her desk, locked her files and went home.

On the way home, Cricket thought about how and what to say. Many questions filled her mind. "How do I ask him about his past? Do I really care? Is he trying to con me? Why is he really here? Can I trust him? How do I feel about him? How does he feel about me? He helped save my company. There is that spark I feel when we touch. His kisses are wonderful. Oh darn it, I don't know what I am going to do."

Cricket never handled a scenario like this. Her confusion overtook her mind. She drove by her home, because the mental distraction was too great. Before she realized it, Marcia Shaw's home came into view. Cal lived here when not attending the pack or conducting foundation business. She pulled in the driveway, drove up to the front door, parked and went to the door. Rather than ring the bell, she pounded on the door with both hands. Cal opened the door, smiling to see her. Cricket pushed by him almost knocking him down. Her anger rose to the fore, as she marched to the kitchen and sat at the kitchen table fuming.

Cal walked in, saw her fuming, sitting there. A look of confusion crossed his face. He sat beside her and took her hands in his. She tried to yank her hands back, but Cal held tight.

"What is wrong Cricket? Did something happen?" Cal inquired innocently.

Cricket burst into tears, the tension overwhelmed her so much. Cal released her hands and hugged her to him. Cricket raised her hands between them and pounded on his chest in frustration. Cal hugged her closer and kissed her forehead. Cricket's tears flowed down her face onto Cal's chest.

Sobbing loudly Cricket said, "I discovered that you and I went to the same high school. That got me thinking and the more I thought, I got more confused. I think I love you, but I can't. Every man, I loved, has died. I do not want you to die. I love you and need you."

Cal looked deeply into her eyes and saw the love, reflected by the tears. He smiled, put his hand under her chin, lifted it up and kissed her tenderly on her lips. Cricket stopped the tears, closed her eyes and kissed him back, wrapping her arms around his neck. They stayed that way for five minutes kissing tenderly.

Cricket broke the kiss and said, "Oh Cal, I love you so much. You are the man I need in my life forever. I do not care about your background. All I know is I love you. Let's get married?"

Cal sat back stared at her in wonderment and replied, "I am supposed to ask you to marry me."

He got down on one knee looked up at Cricket holding her hand and said, "Marcia Shaw aka Emily Truesdale, I gladly accept your proposal of marriage."

He stood up, picked up Cricket, kissed her again and spun her around. Cricket hugged him closer and held on tight. Her heartbeat increased and she wanted to tell the world. Cal stopped, put her down, and hugged her tightly.

"Let's call Monica and Stefan and go to dinner to celebrate." Cricket sang happily.

"OK, you call Monica. I'll call Stefan."

Cricket stopped Cal and said, "Monica and Stefan are dating and are going out tonight. We only need to call Monica."

"What do you know? We, Bard School grads, stick together." Cal said laughing. "Won't they be surprised?"

Cricket called Monica and told her to meet her and Cal at the best new restaurant in the city. Cricket told her to bring Stefan. Monica told her OK and hung up.

Cricket turned to Cal and said, "Get dressed up. We are going to celebrate tonight. I'll call for a limousine. I need to refresh my face, but I can be ready in fifteen minutes."

"I will be ready in ten minutes. I am so excited now. I am marrying the girl of my dreams. I have wanted to meet you since, I first heard of you at the Bard School. I knew I loved you then. When we met the spark between us confirmed it."

The limousine came, Cal and Cricket rode to dinner and met Monica and Stefan.

What happened at dinner and beyond is left for another story Part 4.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

Posted with permission at storiesspace.com

All other rights reserved.

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