Chris would have waited around for Patterson, but in spite of the secretary’s assurances, she didn’t think he’d be in today. After all, a man doesn’t murder his partner late in the evening and simply show up to work as if nothing happened. There was covering up to be done. If Patterson wasn’t at his office then he’d be in his penthouse apartment. Chris knew where that was.
She hailed a cab and soon found herself at the base of Douglass Towers. Stepping past the doorman and into the expansive foyer, she considered the best way to get to the top. She produced a ten and a business card from thin air and palmed them. Once on the elevator, she gave her best thousand-watt smile to the elevator operator.
“What floor, Miss?” The older man didn’t miss a detail.
Chris held out her palm and the old guy shook it, reflexively. “Penthouse. I have a meeting with Mr. Patterson.”
Making both disappear into his coat, the man made the metal box soar heavenward. “He’s a very important man.” Glaring down his nose at Chris, he sneered a little. “You don’t seem to be the sort who usually visits him at home.”
“He’s the kind of man who only conducts certain business at home.” Chris produced a twenty from where she’d palmed it. “You’d be smart to keep this little visit quiet. I’d just break your jaw. He’d make your job vanish as easily as this bill.” She made it disappear and reappear in a blink.
Marty, so said his name badge, took the bill before it went away again. “Strange how I’m riding up in this elevator all by myself.” He glued his eyes to the arrow showing what floors they passed.
The doors shut behind her and she stood in front of the doors to the penthouse suite. Producing her lock picks, she had the door unlocked in a few seconds. It was a good lock, but she’d yet to meet the tumblers she couldn’t trip. With that, she eased off her jacket and draped it over her left arm and unsnapped the strap that held her pistol in place. Then she pushed open the door, using her jacket covered hand.
It eased open into the palatial living room and the smell of brandy and expensive cigar smoke tickled her nose. With no yells at her intrusion, she stepped in and closed the door behind her. The distant sound of running water let her know someone was at home. She passed through the dining room and soon stood at the door to the master suite. She knew it was, thanks to the now discernible sound of the shower running.
The next door to her left would probably be the office away from office. Still using her jacket clad hand, she opened this door and saw quite the tidy working space. A phone, a ticker tape, and several shelves of books as well as quite an impressive globe were as functional as they were ostentatious. She scanned the desk but this man was a beat freak. Not so much as a pen or scrap of paper marred the expanse of wood and leather.
Her ears picked up on the sound of the water ceasing. She could leave or she could wait him out and get a look in the bedroom. Of course, the third option was to go see him now while he was certainly unarmed and unaware. The idea of seeing what he looked like right out of the shower appealed to a part of her but now wasn’t the time. She braved it out this far. If he had anything incriminating it would be in his bedroom. She rifled quickly through his drawers while keeping an ear out.
Her search was rewarded with the hollow sound of a secret compartment. She pulled out her switchblade and with the tip, pried up the false bottom of the drawer. Hidden under the wood paneling was a notebook, a leger of some kind. She grabbed it and tucked it into the waistband at the small of her back. Now to get out of here and see if it was relevant to her case. If not, it could probably give her some leverage.
She snuck to the door and listened. The rustle of cloth preceded the opening of the bedroom door. Footsteps padded away from her thank goodness. Once she could no longer hear them, she opened the door and peered out. No one there. She eased out of the office and into the bedroom. Where neatness had reigned in the office, chaos was lord of the bedclothes. She could smell recent sex coming from the sheets and kidded herself that she could tell to whom the female fragrance belonged.
A brief examination of the closets and dressers revealed no female presence. There were toiletries in the still steamy bathroom that only made sense if there were an occasional female occupant. The eau de toilette did belong to her reluctant guest. So it wasn’t just a one-time occurrence. She made a habit of coming over here. But not enough so she needed a change of clothes.
A thorough search of his bedside tables revealed another hidden compartment. This one would have held a gun of some sort, its shape still evident in the recessed pillow. She returned everything as it had been and started back towards the door. When she heard steps approaching, she stood behind the door. There was a fifty-fifty chance he’d choose the office. Luck was with her this morning. Once she heard the door close, she moved with quiet speed out of the bedroom and towards the door.
With every step she expected a bullet or a shout to follow her. Only once she was in the corridor outside did she let out her breath. She didn’t stop moving through and in seconds she was in the stairwell. The handle only let persons into the long, winding spiral down without a key. Once she was on a level where it might be possible to blend in with a crowd did she let herself out, using her trusty picks again.
Once she was street side, she hailed a taxi and then and only then did she take a moment to look at the fruits of her labor. It was a business ledger of some sort, but without a knowledge of accounting and perhaps some sort of code, she would be out of luck. Thankfully she knew a few people who could help her with this. First, she’d go back to her office and have a little chat with the troublemaker chained to her couch.