Edwin Strand was not invited. It was Estelle’s one request, and one that Pin was happy to comply with. This wasn’t only because of his love for her, but of Pin’s suspicions. He now believed both her, and Edward Mallory’s opinion of Strand.
The couple, the wolves, Francois, Carl, and the recovering Mallory gathered for a simple wedding. Estelle, knowing the potential danger Edwin posed to anyone decent, decided to be married now. Even though this meant introducing her family to her husband, and not her fiancé. The Captain, Shamus Arlowe, an old hand at this, married them. As both a seafaring man, and a minister, he had performed his share of weddings.
Though, never on the lowest deck of the ship among wolves, and other animals. It was a small, yet beautiful ceremony. Estelle in a simple white dress she had bought in Alaska, not suspecting it would become her wedding dress. Pin in his dress uniform, he had planned for this.
The dress too had been bought at his insistence, knowing his intentions. Surprisingly the wolves behaved themselves. Something that could not be said of all the passengers, chiefly the Strand boys. Rarely ever together, due to Edwin’s political agenda, they enjoyed a shipboard reunion.
It was during this reunion that they discussed their plan. “Edwin, are you sure you can pull it off? Cousin Aaron tried it years ago.” “Cousin Aaron was stupid enough to murder a former Secretary Of The Treasury himself. That dear brother is why we employ assassins, like the clarinet player.”
“Grandfather and Aunt Minerva’s plan needed tweaking, which we’ve accomplished, now we act.” Artemis’ main question was about the location, he wasn’t sure about the logistics. As arrogant as Edwin was, he listened to his older brother. If there was one thing Artemis knew, it was murder, so Edwin considered a change of venue for his triumph.
St Louis and Harriet enjoyed a rare above deck stroll that night, after everyone was asleep. He wasn’t taking any chances on his bride’s safety. This was why Harriet wore a scarf and hat to conceal her appearance as much as possible. Each dreaming of the day when they could be assured of her having a normal life again.
As the ship drew closer to it’s destination, Ralph and the circus were making their way to Washington to meet Francois and his cargo. They were scheduled to perform for an event that would draw the nation’s leaders, maybe even the President himself. Ralph, and his friend the High Flying Lewzinstra discussed the possibility of performing for him.
All the while, Aunt Minerva sat like a spider in her web. Everyone was coming to her, the boys, the patsies, and the victims. She smiled as she looked out of her hotel window. The painting of her father, placed above the mantle of the suite, as she had requested.
When you own the hotel, you can do things like that. Minerva liked owning things, she had recently bought a circus, a menagerie, and something else, an opportunity. It had taken all of her markers to pay for it, but it was worth it. Her nephews would carry on her plan well, with her guidance of course.
“I wonder if it’s time to tell them the final detail? I’ve kept this part secret for so long, but it will not be much longer. Soon, our family will take its rightful place, and everyone else will regret how they’ve treated us.” She had a thought, then laughed at her play on words. “Soon, the last strand will be in place!”