After Currie taught her art class, she decided to take a few minutes and mingle with some of the people on the island. All of the sisters made a special effort to watch their guests in action. Maybe that way, they’d get a better feel for who was festering just beneath the surface. She left Thumper with Thora and walked down to the dock area to see how Price and Ted were doing on the three-hole golf course. They were behind the earthmover, and she could hear them arguing before she could see them.
“All you want to do is play on your machine,” Price complained. “This course is so smooth, it’s more like a putt-putt. Can’t you make some hills or slopes?”
“It’s not like we have a lot of room,” Ted said. “How do you think we’re supposed to have a lot of twists and turns in the space we have?”
“I didn’t say a lot. One or two would do.”
“You’re as pigheaded as my younger son. There’s no reasoning with you.”
Currie came into sight, but neither man noticed.
“Did you even look at my design?” Price crumpled up the paper in his hand and threw it on the ground.
“Who put you in charge of this project?”
Price glanced toward the woods. Emeralda was at the edge, picking berries for supper. “Do whatever you want!” he told Ted and stalked after her.
Ted leaned against a tire. He pressed a hand to his chest.
“Are you feeling all right?” Currie asked, hurrying toward him.
“Knock it off!” Ted growled. “I hate it when people fuss over me.”
“Yeah, well, we’re not too crazy about tossing dead bodies on the ferry to take to the mainland.”
Ted grimaced. “God, that boy reminds me of my Jaimie.”
“Your younger son?”
“Has an opinion about everything, and Lord, what a temper!”
“And your older son?”
“Tommy tries to keep everyone happy. Always responsible and works his ass off, and he covers for his brother. Jumps in if we start to get into it. If you ask me, he’s too easygoing. It’s going to cause him grief somewhere down the line.”
“Is that why you don’t want to retire?” Currie asked.
“I’m AFRAID to retire,” Ted snapped. “Those boys wouldn’t last two years.”
Currie looked up at the sky. The sun peeked between big, puffy, white clouds, warm and soothing. The dark clouds had been chased away. “Did you know everything you needed to know when you started the construction company?”
“Me?” Ted laughed. “Hell, no. It was the school of hard knocks for me.”
“But you knew how to do accounting and stuff, right?”
“My wife did. No, I’d never run a business before, but I saw a need, and I knew I could do a good job and make money.”
“Then your boys are a step ahead of you, aren’t they?”
Ted glared. “It’s not always know-how that gets you ahead. It’s drive.”
“It sounds to me like they have that. Probably got it from you, but they’re going to make some mistakes. You made some, and you did all right.”
“Quit with the feel-good stuff, will you?”
“What’s the worst that can happen?” Currie asked.
“I’ll retire, and they’ll ruin the business.”
“What then? Will you live out your last days in poverty?”
“Do I look like a fool?” Ted asked. “I’ve made investments. Meg and I won’t ever have to worry about money.”
Currie shrugged. “So you gave your boys a better start in life than most people can. They should count themselves lucky. That’s all you can do. The rest is up to them.”
“You set me up, didn’t you?”
“Nobody’s brilliant when they’re young,” Currie said. “You learn as you go. You did. So will your sons. Are they good people?”
Ted sighed. “Better than me. They take after their mother. Well, Jaimie might have a little of me in him.”
Currie smiled. “You’ve done all you can. There are no guarantees in life, even if you do everything right.”
“That’s just plain shitty,” Ted grumbled.
“No one’s crazy about it, but I don’t think you’re going to be the first person who makes that change.”
Ted bent over and picked up the piece of paper that Price had thrown on the ground. “You know, this just might work.”
“Why don’t you leave it until tomorrow? It will be lunch time in an hour.”
“And waste an hour?” Ted shook his head and climbed back onto the machine. “We’ve chatted long enough. I have things to do.”
She did too. As she walked back to the lodge to get lunch ready, she scanned the woods for a glimpse of Emeralda, but the sprite was nowhere to be seen. Neither was Price. At first, it worried her. Any of the guests could be the one who killed the rabbits. But Emeralda was a tree sprite, and she was in the woods. What could happen?