He did say one thing before she left the office the next morning after telling him about the case Harry had cracked, even if it was with a great deal of good luck. All the same, he was impressed.
What she didn’t tell him was the nature of her visit, that she intended to help Harry find out who kidnapped and tortured him. She had that name, Florenz, which Harry had said he would look into with her, but so far he hadn’t called. If he didn’t by the end of the day, she would take to the internet to see what she could find before visiting him.
That brought another memory to mind, one that seemed to get lost in the moment, that she had told his mother she was Harry’s girlfriend, and he hadn’t denied it, only looked a little surprised. Then the news of his father had supplanted the moment and it was gone.
Perhaps when she saw him later, it might climb above the somber news of his father.
But for now, it was more important to keep an eye on Corinne, whom she still believed, despite assurances to the contrary, that she was going to meddle in affairs that could get her hurt, or worse.
Both Harry and she had tried to impress this on her, but Felicity recognized the signs of deaf ears syndrome. She’s suffered from it herself.
So, this morning’s task was to check and see if Corinne was doing what she promised Harry she would do and go back to school. That meant making a trip to Brooklyn, and if she was lucky, on to Hoboken to a particular cake shop that sold her favorite cake.
While on the train she read the newspaper, a real newspaper, unlike a number of others who were using smartphones and iPads. It was the same with books, she liked the feel of a bulky book in her hand, and to be able to turn the pages. Computers were rapidly taking the fun out of everything that was once a leisure activity.
There on the page before the crossword was a small piece about the body that had been found down by the docks, and oddly the victim’s name had not been published, not the exact details of how the man had died. That seemed odd to her. Perhaps the police had a reason, and if an opportunity arose with Sykes if he was still speaking to either of them.
She should be grateful he had not thrown the book at her for her part in the man’s death, or that she finished up standing trial for attempted manslaughter considering he had died, and no other
perpetrator had been found.
She was still shaken by the event.
The train arrived at the station and she alighted with a dozen or so other passengers. In a manner she had cultivated since going to her first Private Detective conference, she checked out each of the other passengers, on the train, and now off. Where they were going, how they walked, were they purposeful or dawdling. Any or all of those characteristics could mean something.
And for one, in particular, a lanky boy in his early 20s, walking casually, too casually she thought. And he had looked in her direction, on the train, and then on the platform several times, some in a manner that tried to hide what he was doing.
She took the elevator; he took the stairs. She did not run, or walk fast, giving away the fact she thought she was being followed, but kept close to the walls and used shop windows to keep an eye on his movements.
He’d stopped at a coffee vendor to get a cup, all the while casually watching what she was doing, and then cup in hand slowly dawdled in her direction. He was definitely following her, but she hadn’t noticed him when she left the office, so had it been someone else from that point, and once they assumed she was going to the subway, have someone else take up the tail from there?
Could she be that important to anyone?
Her mind went back to the man in the alley, and what he said, that she didn’t want to know who his boss was. Had he been alive and given her up to them? She hadn’t given him her name, but he would have a description. Or there might have been someone else there and saw what had happened?
A chill went through her.
Another glance backward and he was still there. The thought of confronting him went through her mind for just a second. Not a good idea at this point, but she would get a photo of him and check his identity later.
Right now, though, she needed an escape plan.
Up ahead was a hotel. They had back doors, and places to hide in between. Not a good idea to get stuck in the lady’s restroom, but somewhere else where she could see him follow her in and assume she’d left by the back door.
Tricks she had learned at another symposium.
Luckily there was a restaurant on the ground floor, and she was able to sit down and order a coffee from a vantage point where, if the man followed her in, she would not readily see her.
Just as the coffee arrived at her table, the waiter blocked his view of her, and as she had hoped, the man kept going through to the rear exit after a quick scan of the lobby and café.
She had a few sips of the coffee, and went back out through the front door, and continued on to Corinne’s University.
© Charles Heath 2020
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