Kate knew that the fall out from the article had just begun. Her father was impressed. “Good work, Kate. You and Locke make a good team.”
Kate laughed, “Not you too. Have you been enlisted to match make too?”
“Well you could do worse,” said her father.
“Like Bronson?” said Kate with a small grin.
“Well now that you mention it,” said her father.
“I’ve turned his proposal down, father,” said Kate. “He’s not with the loggers and I cannot be with anyone who I feel is against us.”
“A logger’s friend for sure. Now Kate, could you start bringing food to the wagon? You can drive the noon meal up and share the paper with Locke if you want.”
“I will but remember we’re friends and that’s all.” Kate was bringing out the last pan when the phone rang.
“Phone for you,” said her father leaning out the kitchen door.
Kate answered the phone and instantly recognized the voice of Bronson’s father. Kate swallowed what felt like an apple in her throat. “I read the article in the Courant with your drawings. I’m on business this week but we need to sit down and discuss this next week.”
” Yes, sir,” Kate replied firmly.
“I’ll be out there Wednesday. Please let Locke and Angus know. I’d like them there too.”
“I will,” said Kate almost unable to speak, with fear of what the meeting meant.
“I’ll be bringing several others as well. Could you please tell your father to prepare a special noon meal?”
“I’ll pass along the message sir.”
“We’ll meet Wednesday then. Bye.”
Kate hung up the phone and stared at it for a moment.
“Everything alright Kate?” asked her father interrupting her thoughts.
” I’m not sure. Your boss wants to meet Locke, Angus and me on Wednesday. He’s asked me to tell you to prepare a special meal because he’s bringing others with him.”
“Well,” said Kate’s father, “if it’s to be my last meal here, I’ll make it one to remember.”
“Oh father, I didn’t mean for the article and sketches to cause such a problem.”
“Kate it needed to be said and you and Locke said it. If I lose my job and save a few loggers it will be well worth it.”
Kate took the reins and started toward where the men were working. Angus stopped her before she left the camp. “Mr. Woo needs me to bring a couple of new axes to the site. And I’ve discovered something, you and Locke might be interested in. We can have lunch together and I’ll tell you the details.”
Kate and Angus were soon at the logging area. Angus helped Kate set up planks and loggers were soon eating. Kate was distracted as she served the men, thinking of Angus’s mysterious words. The line seemed to stretch on forever, finally though Kate was able to take her lunch and join Angus and Locke. She showed the copy of the Courant to Locke.
” Well,” he said with a chuckle, “I’d say my cousin did us proud. He even managed to get us on the front page.”
“It may have put us all in a big kettle of hot water though,” said Kate. She told Locke and Angus about the meeting Wednesday.
“Well, it should be an interesting meeting that’s for sure,” smiled Locke.
“And as long as we’re all in a kettle of hot water, we might as well make it a little bit bigger,” said Angus.
“Alright Angus it’s your turn. What are you talking about?” smiled Kate.
“This to be exact,” Angus pulled out what looked like invoices from his hip pocket. “I’ve been picking up supplies for Mr. Woo for several weeks now and something has begun striking me as strange about it. All of the other clerks pick up their invoices from the stationmaster and leave.”
“And you?” said Locke.
“Bronson always meets me there with the invoices. Typed on Lucky Ledge stationary. Something didn’t seem right. So I got permission from Mr. Woo to order the original invoices directly from the companies. They arrived today and look!”
The three friends compared the invoices. Every item matched exactly except for one thing. When transferred to Lucky Ledge stationary the items had a sharp mark up in cost. Kate and Locke looked at each other. “Bronson,” they both said.
“My thoughts exactly!” said Angus. “Mr. Woo agrees. Bronson was put in charge of supplies last March by his father.”
“About the same time the loggers first came to me with complaints about the cost of the items at the store,” said Kate.
Locke let out a low whistle. “This should be some meeting!” said Locke.
“Some meeting indeed!” said Kate.