He didn’t want to believe her. Henriqua could see that.
She had to try, though. This wasn’t much, but it was something—all she had—and it had cost her to procure it.
“Look.” Her hand shook as she pointed to the first page. It showed Vincent’s purchase of stock in Ben’s company shortly after she started working for him.
She folded her arms. “The day after you hired me, Vincent called me, said I should keep him in the loop about results. He made it sound like he was curious about my work, but he was looking for insider information. He also mentioned photos of my mother, asked if I wanted them.”
“In exchange for that information?” His thumbnail went white where he held the pages.
“He didn’t say so openly, but that was the implication. I didn’t give him any.” It would have been a crime. “So he burned her photos.”
Ben narrowed his eyes.
“He’s very manipulative. He turned my mother against me.” She refused to let any more tears fall over that. “I didn’t want him to do the same to us.”
“There is no us,” he stated firmly.
“I know.” Her throat rasped. “Why do you think I ran instead of trying to stick around to argue I was being set up by him?”
“How could he do that from Colombia?”
“Look.” She pointed to the next page, a class list from the university. It showed another person from the Indonesian team, Carlos Sanchez, had studied under Vincent. “When he couldn’t coerce me, he had Carlos set me up to look like the culprit. Vincent is the one who profited, not me.”
She pointed to the last statements. They showed Vincent’s sell-off of Ben’s stock days before the sampling was thrown into question. Vincent had promptly invested in one of Ben’s competitors. Three months after Ben’s samples proved worthless, Vincent’s new stocks showed a healthy bump in value as he cashed out.
“The only fraud I’ve committed is pretending to be Vincent’s assistant when I called to request those statements be mailed to his house. Then I entered through his open back door to retrieve them.”
Vincent had always left his mail in a wall pocket in the kitchen. He hadn’t noticed that she’d already pocketed the envelopes when he walked in and caught her there, but he had guessed rightly that she was searching for proof to clear her name. Their ensuing shouting match had turned from accusations and ugly threats to a physical attack.
A neighbor pounding on the door had given her the chance to run and she had, not stopping until she arrived here.
“I nearly went to jail,” Ben said harshly. “And this is all you give me?”
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