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Chapter 3

  • The Escalade finally came to a stop and Tora looked at the magnificent beach property. Large waves glistened in the distance underneath the morning sun, pushing the water closer to the large, rundown hotel. The peeling white paint made the hotel look much older than it probably was. Sand mounded across the street on one side with newer hotels and restaurants down the beach on the other. The gorgeous piece of land was located in a prime spot near the main road. It even had an enormous parking area behind.
  • The three exited the vehicle. Fasya walked ahead and up the steps, past an outside lounge area to the entrance. She could see Tora and Farrent inspecting the stairs as she unlocked the door and walked inside. Fasya hoped the lights still worked from the last time she came. To her surprise, they did. The light revealed what used to be the lobby, now covered in sand.
  • "Please take your time while you look around. I will be right outside," she said.
  • Tora walked around. He knocked on one wall; then he lightly kicked the trim against the base of the floor. The ceilings looked sturdy. There were no cracks, and the light fixtures were intact and not broke.
  • "What do you think," Tora asked Farrent. "This will be perfect for a nightclub. The foundation is solid."
  • Farrent nodded. "It looks worse than it is. It will not take that much to renovate. The building is five stories high, so we can knock out the second and fourth floor. Then you will have high ceilings for the main lounge and the VIP room, plus a third floor for personal use."
  • "Yes, renovation shouldn't take long at all; and that porch outside can seat overflow. Let's see what the asking price is on this place."
  • "You don't want to check out the top floors," asked Farrent with surprise.
  • "No," Tora shook his head. "It's the property I want."
  • When they exited the building, Fasya was standing against one of the pillars underneath the covered entrance. She looked at peace in her solitude, completely satisfied with watching some seagulls on the shore. Tora wondered if she was sheltered as a child. She watched everything at the restaurant and now here with sheer fascination. It made his assessment seem true.
  • "So," he said and locked the door behind him. "How much is this property going for? If we can come to an agreement, I would like to sign the paperwork next week. I would discuss it more today, but I have matters to take care of as soon as I leave Key Biscayne."
  • "Seven hundred thousand," Fasya replied and took out her key to lock the deadbolt.
  • "What?" Tora whipped his eyes from the building to her. "Is that some sort of joke?"
  • "What do you mean by a joke? That is the standard price for this property in relation to the properties around it."
  • "Ms. Rameer, I know you must be new to this line of work, but even a new agent would know how much a piece of land like this is worth. I would never expect to spend lower than seven million, and that is with a trade. Give me a fair market price and we'll talk about my company buying the property."
  • "Oh," Fasya frowned, now fully understanding what he meant. "I'm sorry; seven hundred thousand covers the lease."
  • "Lease?" Farrent spoke from behind Tora as all three started down the steps.
  • "My company has placed this property on the market as a lease, not a purchase."
  • "What?" Tora paused to breathe. "The listing stated nothing about a lease. That is ridiculous. This property needs obvious renovation. Who's going to spend that kind of money to renovate when the property isn't theirs. I won't."
  • "I don't know what to say," Fasya stepped off the last step and walked back to the Escalade. Inside, she pulled out a stack of paperwork with company letterhead and handed it to Tora.
  • He looked through the sheets and then again. "What the hell do you mean it isn't for sale?" He pinched the bridge of his nose and practically threw the papers at Farrent. Fasya flinched at his reaction and stared ahead, avoiding eye contact with either of the two men. Her arms protectively moved around her chest. It made Tora inhale a deep, calming breath, filling his lungs full of ocean air. He turned his attention back to her and wrapped his hand around her upper arm.
  • "Come," he led her to the back seat of the Escalade and opened the door, lifting to help her inside. "I know you had nothing to do with this mishap. Stay here with Brett while I call your company and straighten this out."
  • The closed doors on the vehicle did little to shield Fasya from Tora's growling voice as he shouted at the person on the other end of the phone. He paced one way and then the other. His hand flew up in the air and took the phone away from his ear as if he would throw it to the middle of the sea. Then he talked some more, finally saying little and letting the other end speak.
  • When he was through, Tora clicked off his phone and dropped it to the inside pocket of his coat. His arms crossed as his temper calmed. Farrent did not say a word to him and waited. It took minutes. They finally exchanged some words and Tora pointed at the Escalade, walking back to the opposite door of Fasya. His glaring eyes earned no words from her. She had already given up on leasing out the property.
  • "It appears that the company you work for switched the details of this property with another a mile down. Tell me...how can I trust your company when they clearly pay no attention to their own property's details? That is just not good business."
  • "I don't know what to tell you, Mr. Moloch. This has never happened before." Fasya started smoothing her hair that the wind blew out of place; rather she looked for something to divert her attention from him.
  • "Why aren't you looking at me when I speak? I am the client. Do you not want to talk about the property?"
  • "What? You are still interested?" Fasya was shocked. After all of that anger, she figured he would take her back to Gerard's and be done.
  • "You company lists the property for sale at nine million. Granted, I am going to need a week to think about it first and crunch some numbers together, but we may be able to come to a negotiation."
  • "For sale," she mumbled. Now she would not have the twenty percent down payment for the restaurant. "The property was not for lease - now what?" she uttered aloud.
  • "Do you have a problem with the property being for sale instead of lease?" Tora slid to the seat and shut the door as she looked away.
  • "No, there is no problem." She tried to make light of the subject but her voice sounded sad.
  • "Do you get a cut in the sale?" he asked. Fasya shook her head and laid her hands in her lap. "Why not?" he questioned further.
  • "Because, I am the leasing agent. Somebody else handles the homes that are for sale," she answered.
  • "That makes sense," Farrent added his thoughts and slipped in the front seat.
  • "Farrent," Tora pointed at him. "Don't," he warned and then looked at Fasya again. "So now you are upset because you won't see a dime for the time you have used today."
  • "Well, yes. I would have been promoting the other property instead of this one. It's not only my time today that I wasted. I guess mistakes happen though." Fasya felt out of sorts as she buckled her seatbelt. "You will be negotiating the price with someone else, Mr. Moloch."
  • "You seem pretty upset about this. What were you going to use your commission for? Vacations? Cars? Jewelry?"
  • Fasya shook her head as her eyes lit up. "No, nothing like that. I would have used the money to put a down payment on Gerard's, but I need twenty percent of the sale price and I don't have enough saved up right now. You know that restaurant where you ate. Well, the old owner is selling it, and I have been going there since I was very young. The buyers who are looking at it will turn it into a gift shop.
  • Tora gave her a peculiar look. He never expected her to want to invest the money. "Gerard's," he repeated.
  • "Yes," she smiled, remembering the brick building and bronze wooden interior. "I have always wanted it. It has a perfect view of the water. I have ideas for their menu and the interior; and the wine cellar is gorgeous - the attraction of the place. They actually take their customers inside and let them choose their own wine if they would like. When I found out that Mr. Gerard was retiring, I was devastated. I could only hope that someone else wouldn't buy it before I leased the hotel."
  • Fasya was animated in her excitement, completely forgetting about her nerves as she talked of Gerard's. Her love of the restaurant was easy for Tora to see - almost contagious. He could not resist what he was going to ask next.
  • "Alright, you have convinced me. If I decide to go through with the sale, why don't you give me a tour of Gerard's next week after I finish signing the paperwork?"
  • Tora could feel Farrent's eyes staring a hole through his head. He was probably wondering what Tora was up to and how much money it would cost. Tora could not help it. Something about Fasya caught his attention. She knew he had money if he wanted to spend several million dollars, yet she acted so natural. If nothing else, he was curious.
  • "Of course, I know Mr. Gerard won't mind at all if I show you around. You will love all of the hidden gems it hides."
  • "Alright," Tora pulled out his wallet and handed Fasya his card. "My information is on there. If you have any questions, that number belongs to Farrent. He handles my business affairs. Unless you hear otherwise..." Tora looked at Farrent.
  • "He's available next Tuesday," Farrent said as the Escalade stopped outside of Gerard's again.
  • "Alright, I'm holding you to that tour of the restaurant next Tuesday then."
  • "Okay," Fasya agreed.
  • "Good." Tora opened his door and held out his hand to her. With all of the talk, she took his hand without thinking; then her face turned bright red. Her embarrassment made Tora smirk. "We will be back next week, Ms. Rameer."
  • "Okay. Will you tell me what time you plan to come?"
  • "I will give you a call Tuesday morning to confirm. Unless something comes up, I will see you around six." Tora said and stepped back inside; but even as Brett started driving away, he could still see Fasya standing by the door, seeming slightly confused about what had just happened.