The truck honked at him. Red felt someone grab his arm and pull him back onto the sidewalk.
"Are you alright?" Vincent asked.
"Y-yes, thank you!" Red glanced around. "Did you see who did it?"
"Yes." Vincent pointed at a retreating figure. "That guy over there!"
Red looked, and gasped. The guy had red hair! "That might be the same guy that tried to ram us down yesterday!" Red exclaimed. "Let's nab him!"
"But I think," began Vincent, but it was too late, Red was already dashing after the guy. Vincent sighed. "Oh well. Help! Police! Help!"
Red never lost sight of his quarry. He doggedly pursued him through the crowd and into an alley. The guy was racing towards the back where a fence was separating the alley from another street. He began to climb up it, but Red had caught up and grabbed a hold of him, pulling him down. The two scuffled for a couple of minutes before two cops showed up and collared them both. Vincent pointed at the guy.
"That's him, officer, he pushed this young man in the way of the truck!"
The officer holding Red let go and helped his teammate handcuff the crook. "Well we'll, looks like you caught yourself quite the catch. This is Red Bowers." The officer looked at Red. "Now why would he try to kill you?"
Red huffed. "I think it's because he's working for the rival of the man I'm working for. Both are searching for their grandfather's will."
"Ah," said the officer. He glanced at Red Bowers. "Got anything to say?"
Red Bowers growled. "I've never seen this jokester before in my life! And I'm not working for anyone!"
"I saw you push him," said Vincent sternly.
"But what I want to know is, who else are you working with? And did Fabrizio Dente tell you to attack Signor Russo, or was that a decision you made?"
Red Bowers blinked. "Say what?"
"Did Fabrizio Dente order you to attack Signor Russo and leave him for dead?"
"I-I know nothing about that, I promise!"
Red got in his face. "Then what do you know?"
"I was just told to scare you off the case, that was it. I knew you wouldn't be killed."
"Oh, that's reassuring," grumbled Red. "So who hired you?"
Red Bowers shook his head. "That I can't tell you."
"You can't, or you won't?" asked the officer. Red Bowers kept his mouth shut. The officer sighed. "We'll take him to the station and see if we can't get any more information out of him. Thanks for nabbing him."
Red gave the officer a pleasant smile. "You're welcome." The two officers led Red Bowers away. Red growled. "Guess that wasn't much help."
"What do you mean it wasn't? You captured a pretty despicable criminal and put him off your trail. I'd say that's a big help. One less person to worry about following you."
Red huffed. "That is true, but I wish he had given us more."
Vincent shrugged. "You can't have everything. Just be happy with what you have and go from there."
Red sighed. "Fair enough. Come on, the guys might already be at the hotel."
Vincent nodded. "Right." The two walked to the hotel quickly and on high alert, but nothing else happened to waylay them. As soon as they got into Red's room, Red took a glance around, perplexed. They were the only two in the room.
"Huh, I would have thought they would have been back by now."
Vincent shrugged. "They could still be on their way. But I will take this moment to call Mr. Flores. Excuse me."
Red smiled. "Of course."
Vincent walked outside to make the call. Meanwhile, Red took to thinking. So the guy he just caught, also nicknamed Red, off course, didn't know everything that was going on and was obviously working for someone. The other thing was, he was afraid of that person. Who did Fabrizio hire to keep his cousin away from the Adalante? Did he even know these guys were cutthroats? If he did, was he really that desperate? Red did hope one thing, if they kept taking out these guys one by one, they might be able to get the whole gang behind bars fairly quickly. But if anything, they might change tactics once they found out one of the gang was behind bars. He pursed his lips. They might even act out soon to make sure they didn't get to the Adalante.
"Red! You alright?" exclaimed Sunny, bursting into the room. He was followed by Lloyd and Vincent. Red jumped and growled softly at the intrusion on his thoughts.
"Yeah, I'm fine, thanks to Mr. Steele."
"And you captured the guy too?" Lloyd asked.
Red sighed. "Yes."
"Man, why do you get all the fun?" said Lloyd with a humph as he crossed his arms.
Sunny turned on him. "Dude, nearly getting run over by a truck isn't exactly fun."
"You're right, but he still captured the guy!"
Red huffed. "Stick around long enough, you might just help catch the rest of the gang."
Lloyd grinned. "I definitely will."
Sunny rolled his eyes and groaned. "Ugh, whatever." He turned to Red. "But seriously, man, you're fine?"
Red smiled. "Yes, Sunny, I'm fine. Thank you."
"So, what did you guys find out?" Sunny asked.
Red glanced at Vincent. "Well, I found out that June Fall works for Mr. Steele."
Lloyd's and Sunny's mouths dropped as they glanced at Vincent. "Really?"
Vincent shrugged and nodded. "Yeah, and it looks like you met her too. Strange coincidence that the camp you took refuge in after your little, ah, um, incident in the river just so happened to be the one Miss Falls was staying at."
Red nodded slowly. "Yes, rather coincidental indeed."
"Was that it?" asked Sunny slowly.
Red and Vincent shook their heads and told them what the book said about Giovanni Russo and what Red Bowers had told them. Red continued on to reveal some of his speculations.
Vincent rubbed his chin after a moment of silence. "If your hunch is correct, Mr. Randall, then we are dealing with a rather notorious, and dangerous gang."
Red huffed. "So it would seem. What did you find out from your phone call?"
"Oh, I spoke to Mr. Flores's secretary and we have a meeting set up for this afternoon." He glanced at the clock. "Speaking of, you don't mind my taking off right now?"
Red, Lloyd, and Sunny glanced at each other. Red shrugged. "I don't think it's a problem. But speaking of, you two didn't tell us what you found out."
Lloyd waved his hand dismissively. "Nowhere near as much as you. Carson's Lodge is closed for the summer and is undergoing some maintenance. Sunny and I scoped out the place. We should be able to get in and search the wine storage rather quick."
Sunny nodded. "It's being used as the waiting cabin for the ski lift. They wanted to keep it looking rustic, so not much was done to it."
Vincent nodded. "That's good. We should be in and out of there in no time. Though I am glad you two didn't take it upon yourselves to go searching for it right then and there."
Lloyd chuckled nervously. "The thought had crossed my mind, but Mr. Hughes said he wanted to be there when we found it, so we came right back."
Vincent smiled. "Yes, that is true." He glanced at the clock again. "I really must go. Do you need to go anywhere?"
"Um," said Sunny, "is there any chance you would be able to drop us off at the movie set, or is that too far out of your way?"
"Eh, it's not too too far out of my way, but we have to leave now. It's going to be cutting it close."
"Well we're ready. Let's go," said Sunny. Red jumped up from the bed and made sure the door was locked before the three followed Vincent to his car. Vincent dropped them off at the movie set before heading on to his meeting with Jose Flores. Red, Sunny, and Lloyd sought out either Roy, Mr. Hughes, or Gene Zellers. They eventually found Roy in the director's trailer, looking at some stuff on his laptop.
Roy blinked at them as they filed into the trailer. "Why are you three here?"
Lloyd shrugged. "We figured you could use the help. Plus, there's nothing else we can do. I think we've found everything we can so far."
"Plus, Mr. Steele was going to a meeting with another author," said Sunny. "We didn't think he would need all of us there."
Roy adjusted in his seat and placed his head on his hand. "Well then, what did you find out?" The three brought him up to date on everything that had happened. His mouth dropped when Red told him about catching their tail and his speculations. "He pushed you into the path of a truck?"
"And then he caught him!" said Lloyd with a little cheer. "Now we don't have to worry about one guy!"
Roy pursed his lips. "Yeah, one guy. Who knows how many people are in this gang." He turned to his laptop. "What did you say his name was?"
"The officer called him Red Bowers," reported Red. "I remember because he's going by the same nickname that I am."
Roy nodded as he typed on his laptop. "Yeah, you'd be surprised by how many go by that nickname. Hmm, Red Bowers, Red Bowers . . . it doesn't say that he's part of any gang nor is known for dealing in gang activities . . ."
"Was he arrested for anything previously?" asked Red.
"He was a common thief and is out on parole, but he has since killed a man, which is why the police were looking for him." Roy glanced at Red. "You would have been murder victim number two if Mr. Steele hadn't been there."
Red let out a huff. "So I figured."
"But this also means we don't know how many are in the gang, if they even are a gang. They could just be a group of criminals brought together to take out Signor Russo, and us, apparently." Roy glanced at Red. "And if your hunch is correct, then the guy Red Bowers was working for is going to be more ruthless."
"As ruthless as Mr. Hughes's special friend?" said Sunny in a mocking tone.
"It's possible." At that moment, the trailer opened, and Gene Zellers walked in.
"Hey Roy, can I ask you a . . ." He paused when he saw the three young men. "Oh, you're here! Fantastic! I need three extras for a few scenes. Come get fitted!"
The three glanced at each other. "Uh . . ."
Roy chuckled. "Go ahead. You should be able to keep an eye out for our, um, adversaries."
"Are you kidding?" blurted Sunny. "We get to be extras in a movie. Heck yeah!"
"That's the spirit!" said Gene with a smile. "Come on!" With a whoop, Sunny and Lloyd took off after Gene. Red sighed and shook his head before chuckling and following them. They got fitted into vineyard worker outfits and were told what to do. All three set about their tasks with eagerness. But then they saw Scarlet and White enter the scene, and all their senses were on high alert. Yet, even though they kept a rather close eye on the goings-on of the set and kept an eye out for the gang, they managed to have fun and did a pretty good job as extras.
When the scenes were finished, they walked back with Mr. Hughes to Gene's trailer. Roy was still working away at his laptop.
"Anything?" asked Mr. Hughes the instant the door was closed behind them.
Roy shook his head. "Nothing so far, there's still a few left they have to get through."
"Alright." Mr. Hughes turned to the three. "And what happened to you three this morning?" The three related their adventures again.
"And Red Bowers isn't part of any gang and there are no known associates," said Roy when the three finished their narrative.
"Well, I think it's safe to say we're making some progress," said Mr. Hughes as he proceeded to sit down. "Do you know when Vincent will let us know about his meeting?"
"Oh, no, I didn't ask," said Red with a wince. "I figure he'll call us with whatever information he gets from this meeting."
Mr. Hughes nodded. "Very well. I think we should head back to the hotel and go over what we do know so far."
"Sounds good," said Roy, closing his laptop. The five left the set and went to the hotel. They had their little meeting in Mr. Hughes's and Roy's room.
"So, what do we have right now?" asked Mr. Hughes.
"Well," began Red as he paced around, "this whole thing started with Signor Russo getting hurt. Red Bowers put me, Sunny, and Lloyd in harm's way yesterday, and me today, to keep us from finding the Adalante. At least, that's what I gathered. He won't tell us who he's working for, or with, meaning it's possible he's scared of them. He also did not confirm that they were working for Fabrizio Dente, though it's very likely they are. Then comes the question of the illegitimate heir. But we haven't been able to find anything on that front. Now, the wine storage building at the construction site did not have the Adalante, meaning it could only be either at Carson's Lodge or at Mr. Vincent Steele's house." Red stopped pacing and shrugged. "That's the gist of it."
Mr. Hughes nodded. "That sounds about right. And we are going to do Vincent's house last to give us a chance to capture the gang, should the Adalante be at his house and not at Carson's Lodge."
"What you wanna bet the Adalante is in fact at Mr. Steele's house?" mumbled Sunny. "That would be rather ironic, to be honest."
"Well if it is, then maybe we can use Carson's Lodge as a trap to capture the rest of the gang."
Lloyd grinned. "I like that idea."
All five jumped when a loud banging was heard at their door.
"Now who could that be?" asked Roy as Mr. Hughes rose to open it. Vincent Steele stood on the other end.
"Mr. Steele?" chorused Red, Sunny, Lloyd, and Roy.
"Why Vincent, what's wrong?" asked Mr. Hughes.
"You are not going to believe this, but . . . this is Josefina Flores." He stepped aside to let in a lovely Hispanic woman in her mid thirties.
"Oh, the daughter of Jose Flores, I presume?" said Mr. Hughes.
She smiled. "I am. Mr. Steele was telling me you were looking for me."
"Uh, we weren't specifically looking for you," said Roy.
Miss Flores blinked. "Oh, but he said you are!"
"They are indeed!" exclaimed Vincent. He let out a huff. "Gentlemen, she is not only the daughter of Jose Flores, the author of Master of Vineyards, she is also the granddaughter of Maria Rodriguez!"
(Author's Note: Oooh, now the plot really thickens! What will they find out? Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion! Just to this cliffhanger, the full book still has a few chapters left, lol. ;P On that note, yes, next week's posting will be later in the week as we have just put in an application for a house! Woohoo! We're hoping to get it by Monday, we have a family reunion we want to go to, so we'll be gone over the weekend. Just have to get utilities and internet (and a fridge), but it's a nice place with all the room we need. So excited! Thanks for reading, and I hope you're having a wonderful day! God bless!)