I went home, not to my parent's house, but to my office, and I was looking forward to resting on the couch. Felicity came with me, more out of concern about the physical state I was in so close to being released from the hospital. I was glad she did. I was very tired, and still feeling the effects of the drug Edwina had used on me.
We walked slowly up the stairs and then stopped outside the door to my office, and I looked, once again, at my name still newly painted on the opaque glass.
The light was on behind it. Someone was in my office, or someone had forgotten to turn off the light after then.
I tried the door. It was unlocked.
Someone might be inside, waiting for me? Was it the people who had tried to kill me, or the people who searched the office? Or the cleaner?
I looked at my watch. No, the cleaner had come and gone. Maybe he forgot to lock the door on his way out?
Note to self: I need to get a gun, if only for protection.
I cautiously opened the door and pushed it open, staying outside the threshold in case trouble was waiting on the inside. The door swung open with a creaking sound, to display an empty room, as empty as I could see within the arc. There was no telling if anyone was waiting behind the door.
I took a deep breath, counted to five, and walked slowly in, keeping out of range of the arc of the door should it suddenly close.
There was nothing behind the door, and no one in the office.
Felicity made sure I was comfortable on the settee with a blanket covering me, and went to make coffee. I looked around the room and then at the ceiling, not looking at anything in particular. Perhaps Sykes was right, and it was time to consider some other occupation.
Then my thoughts strayed back to the case. How easily fooled I’d been.
Edwina; she had never looked the murderous sort, more like the little old lady who drove once a week to church and wouldn’t hurt a mouse. Who could have known what was hiding under a benign exterior?
Or behind a pretty face? I was going to have to be more discerning about the women I worked for and with if I was going to be successful in this business.
Then I saw something, perhaps an envelope, almost under the cabinet behind the door. I got off the settee and went over to look. It was an envelope with my name on it. It must have been pushed under the door, but not all of the way, and got caught as the door opened and slid across the floor ending up almost under the cabinet.
It felt quite thick, and pliable. Documents? Perhaps from my father. My name was written on the front, and it looked like his writing.
I opened it and two thick wads of notes fell out. Money. $100 bills. $20,000 to be precise.
Felicity came back, kettle in hand and saw me.
“What have you got there?”
“Money. A lot of it. Twenty thousand dollars to be exact.”
“My best guess, Jennifer and Edwina. There’s no note or letter with it, just used hundred-dollar notes. We need it, so it’ll be going in the bank.”
She was about to say something when there was a very loud thumping on the door.
We were both taken by surprise.
Another round of banging followed by, “Are you in there Harry?”
I went over and opened the door, and before I could open it properly she had pushed past me, almost knocking me over.
“The bastard’s gone,” followed quickly by, when she saw Felicity, “Who the hell are you?”
Felicity smiled. “I’m Harry’s girlfriend. He said I would meet his mother one day, just wasn’t expecting it to be so soon.”
His mother shook her head and give him a glacial stare.
“What do you want, Mother?” he asked calmly.
“The bastard’s gone.”
She held out a piece of paper, one that no doubt she’d screwed up in a temper, then smoothed out again.
“Which bastard?” Harry asked, expecting it to be one of his brothers who had been acting strangely.
Red-faced, and very angry. He’d not seen her like this before. And her hand that held the piece of paper was shaking.
Harry took the sheet from her and read the hastily scrawled note aloud,
“Due to some unfortunate business transactions, I find myself in a serious situation where the only choice I have is to leave. This is of my own free will and is as much to protect you and the children as it is to protect myself.
I apologize now for the hardship you will suffer because of me and try not to believe what will be said about me, and the company, in the following weeks. Most of it is not true.
Do not call the police. Do not try to find me. Simply tell everyone I have left you for another woman.”
It didn’t take much for Harry to join the dots after the last time he spoke to his father. It was the business regarding the vacant block down at the docks. And, if he was not mistaken, his father was connected to the people who’d tried to kill him.
“What do you want me to do?” I asked.
“Find the bastard.” No mistaking her intent in that statement.
“He said not to,” Harry said.
“Of course, he would. But I don’t care what his reasons are, I want you to find him.”
“So I can kill him.”
Then Felicity piped up and said, “I think I might have some useful information about that. Does anyone know of a man called Florenz.”
His mother answered, “That’s his partner at work. “Why?”
“That we’ll let you know when we have a chat with him.” She looked at Harry. “Let’s go. It’s all go-go-go here, isn’t it?”
© Charles Heath 2019