When Harry walked into the office, the first thing he noticed was cardboard boxes and plastic sheets stacked in a corner.
The next, Gwen was at her desk, looking slightly dishevelled. There were any number of possible explanations, when there were noises coming from the room next to his office.
A storeroom, the ideal place to hide something, or someone.
But that didn't explain the cardboard and plastic.
"You're looking a little flustered," Harry said, also noticing a rather sheepish expression, like she'd been caught unexpectedly.
"Been helping your, well, what is Felicity? Private investigator partner, colleague, or girlfriend, or just a friend who’s a girl?"
Good question. But that wasn't the first thing that was on my mind. "Helping with what?"
"She moved on. This office is rapidly becoming an apartment."
More noises from the storeroom. Time to investigate.
He crossed the room and stood outside the door for a minute before he knocked on the door. He was not quite sure why he would be knocking on the door to the storeroom in his own office.
"Is that you Harry?"
"Why? Are you not decent?" Where the hell did that come from? Was he harbouring secret desires that were only in his deep subconscious?
He heard a laugh from behind the door. It was a whole different Felicity than the one he had got used to, and had he somehow forgotten that she was a very attractive woman. He just hadn't thought of her in that way.
Not until now.
"Come in. The doors not meant to be shut, it just made it easier to move stuff around."
Harry opened the door and stepped in. It was quite large, meant to be a similar sized and purposed office to his own, just in case he ever took on another investigator. It hadn't been on his mind, but perhaps it was time. Her father was happy for her to stay with him, where he considered it would be impossible for her to get into trouble.
Harry didn't have the temerity to tell him he was wrong. The girl was trouble with a capital T, and just what he needed.
A wall of shelves and filing cabinets, the last time he'd seen then, scattered, then a sofa, desk, mini bar with refrigerator, and a large white board.
Felicity was sitting behind the desk. "What do you think?"
"Much better than the last time I was in here."
There was a chair opposite the desk, so Harry sat in it. More comfortable than the one he had. Her chair was better than his too.
"I knew you wouldn't mind, and I can't keep sleeping on your sofa, can I?"
Was there a salacious invitation there or was his mind going down a path it shouldn't. There was no question they were in anything other than a comfortable working relationship and should keep it that way.
He liked her, perhaps more than he should, but he was not sure what her feelings were towards him. Best to leave it that way.
He turned to look at the whiteboard, something he had been considering buying himself. "We're moving into a more professional mode. Is it time to put what we know up there?"
"No time like the present."
It was a complicated case because of the number of people involved. A decision had to be made about who the principal suspects were.
"Your mother, Emile Florenz, Clay Shawville, Alexander Argeter, all part of the gang of five who've known and interacted with each other since university days. You are going to have to tackle your mother over sine very delicate affairs. I'm sure, from their body language, she's sleeping with him."
Nothing would surprise him, and he knew Felicity wouldn't tell him unless she was certain. The fact he knew very little about his mother was disappointing. Now she was under the spotlight, he was not sure if he wanted to know
"Then there's both Gillian and Alicia, both of whom may or may not bear a grudge against the father, particularly the latter. It's worrying she knows Florenz, but I would put it past him to be sleeping with her too."
“She is.” He shook his head. “You have no idea just how much that disappoints me.”
“It’s life Harry. Most people are not monogamous.”
"So, sex could be a motivation, rather than greed, or for the moment it seems so. My father's endless affairs would be enough to send any wife over the edge. It also might mean any number jealous husbands and boyfriends. Come to that, it just might be a simple case of screwing the wrong woman.,"
"It might, but he left a note when he usually doesn’t. I think he's been planning this, or at the very least, knew the day was coming that he would have to disappear for a while."
An interesting premise, and one he could agree with.
"Aside from my mother, what other lines of investigation do we have?
"I'm interested in Alicia. I'm going to do a deep dive into her life, see why she chose your grandfather, and what she's planning to do. I'm sure she doesn't have your family's best interests at heart, and I'm sure she'd like to have what your mother has, a wealthy and respectable family who's in the top one percent. Come to think of it, does that make you a very, very eligible bachelor?"
Harry never quite thought of it like that if anything happened to his mother. It's just not the sort of thing people wanted to think about. Did that mean that Harry’s father would be a very rich man if anything happened to her. Again, not something he had to think about, not until now. Odd that he had never really considered belonging to a very wealthy dynasty. He wondered if his brothers were aware of
"To be honest, I’ve never been interested in anything to do with my parents. We've never been spoiled, by parents or grandparents, in fact we don't get to see my mother’s family very often. If she's rich, then she doesn't splash it about, so who knows? Does that mean I'm no longer 'eligible'?"
"Wealth is a curse, Harry. What do you think?"
"I'm just as lovable penniless?"
She smiled. "You might want to have another chat with Gillian, see what she knows about them now we know a little bit more. As for you, you are, among other things, incorrigible maybe, and something else to ask your mother is her net worth, though I suggest you trying to be subtle about it. I guess we have our assignments. I'll fill out the board with anything else relevant, and you too, when you get those scraps of paper you call a filing system together."
© Charles Heath 2020-2022