Harry stepped out the door to Robert’s office and nearly walked into Jeremy. He was lurking by Robert’s personal Assistant’s desk.
“Harry.” He looked as surprised to see me as Harry was to see him.
“Jeremy. Going to see Robert?”
“No. God no. It’s too early in the morning to see him.” He noticed the assistant giving Harry a stony look.
“Oh, Sandy, this is the younger brother, Harry. The private detective.”
The change in her expression was instant. From loathing to fear. Did she have something to hide, or had she been listening in on his conversation with Robert?
“You didn’t say who you were?” she said in a different tone.
“You didn’t ask. But I won’t hold that against you.”
Then Harry realized why Jeremy was hanging around. He liked her. Harry should have made the connection when Jeremy mentioned her name. It had come up during one of Harry’s rare visits to home. But he’d be surprised if she gave Jeremy more than a moment’s notice unless she thought he had prospects at the practice.
“Did mother tell you why I’m here?”
“Yes, but I can’t tell you anything because I rarely see him. I’ve been working in the dungeon with Giselle.”
The dungeon was the archive, and where all the old case notes were kept. Giselle White had graduated from attorney to archivist in a bid to keep her foot in the door. Alone, except for several cats, it was the only way of staying out of a retirement village in Florida.
“I’m going there next. I can wait.”
“You go. I’ll be here for a while.”
She gave Jeremy a smile. Perhaps his prospects had changed since the last time Harry saw him.
The dungeon was on the floor below, and a quirk in the building design, the floor the offices were on, and the one below was serviced by a staircase. The original tenant for the two floors had requested in when they signed a pre-building lease, but by the time the building was finished, the company had gone out of existence and their grandfather had snapped up the accommodation for what he called a ‘song’.
There were two other conference rooms downstairs, but the rest of the space was given over to an archive, a law library, and filing space for old and current cases. He’d spent a lot of time in the law library when he was younger, and it was one of the reasons why Harry didn’t want to practice law. Too many nuances to wrap your head around.
Giselle was disappointed but understood.
My father and brothers did not.
And it wasn’t as if Giselle hadn’t tried to weave her magic on him at the behest of their father. They both had the impression that Harry might turn out to be a better attorney than my brothers, and even my father.
But they’d never know. Harry preferred to exercise his investigating skills as a private detective.
It disappointed Harry that his father never used his services for the legal practice’s investigations. Maybe Harry’s father thought if he had, Harry might have shied away from the law faster than he had.
Harry was walking past the top of the stairs when he saw movement on the floor below, and then a call, “Harry, is that you?” in the very distinctive British accent that belonged to Giselle. In all the years she had spent in America, it had done nothing to change it.
Caught. Now he’d have to go down to see her.
Age had only changed the way she looked, it had done nothing to blunt the keenness of her mind or the lethality of her glare. She was, Harry learned very early on, not a woman to anger, or disappoint.
He went down and greeted her with the usual hug. Something else about her, she carried around the aroma of mothballs.
“Since no one tells me anything, let me guess why you’re here.”
This would be interesting.
“Your father had gone gallivanting off on one of his expeditions.”
“I didn’t know he went on expeditions. I just know he’s gone away for a few days and failed to give an adequate excuse to my mother.”
“So, you’re here in an investigatory capacity?”
“Just dotting I’s and crossing t’s for mother's sake. It seems no one really knows where he’s gone. Do you? You seem to know everything that goes on in this place.”
“Nearly. But here’s a hint. It might have something to do with a certain plot of land, and I’m guessing you also know about it.”
© Charles Heath 2020