Things had been frantic around the complex since the eclipse occurred only hours before, it was almost as if the moment had created a shift in the air of Lassiters. A worried call from Kate had informed him that Lucas and Vanessa’s son was missing, something else was off in her tone though, and he was certain it wasn’t missing child causing it. He didn’t think it could be because of Mason as she’d seemed just as impressed as he was with him landing a sale of one of the new appartements, they’d seemed fine when he’d left them to enjoy the eclipse at least. She’d tell him later, or at least she would work through whatever it was on her own. In the mean time, he had a hotel to run and with some staff excused to help the search, that hotel needed his watchful eye more than ever.
The Eclipse appartements seemed to finally be taking off, proving to both Lucy and his new manager that the construction needed for them was only a short term loss for the hotel. In turn they would create a reliable stream of revenue that would only add to the appeal of the Lassiters brand in the long run, but clearly only he could see that currently. Almost as if he had the power of manifestation through thought, said manager exited Harolds across the complex. Paul was almost sure from his vantage point that she couldn’t see him so chose to observe her from afar. It appeared already that Terese had fast become a part of Ramsey street, armed with what looked to be leaflets aiding the search and, was that her husband? Paul couldn’t be sure as he hadn’t seen Brad in years but it had to be likely considering how close the two appeared to be in conversation.
Even from here he could see her body language was much more open with him than it was in the meeting they had shared earlier that week, much less closed off and guarded. That guard frustrated him to no end; in their meeting she had been fairly obtuse and virtually impossible to read, only becoming ever so slightly vulnerable by the surprise call from her child. Even then the professional mask slipped ever so slightly for a moment, carefully put back into place by the time she had hung up the call. He had to hide his own surprise at the age gap between her two youngest children, although he did hope to use any guilt she had for not being there for the seven year old to his own advantage. Without a good read on her, he had to use any information he did actually have to outmanoeuvre her and gain the upper hand.
All he had was that currently since any mention of their previous meeting years ago put himself in a more vulnerable position as it would indicate to her that he did remember their evening together. Business could be mixed with pleasure, but only in ways that benefitted himself and the game they were playing. Indicating to her that he remembered sharing drinks, flirtatious glances, a night of pleasure would not do – especially since he also remembered waking up alone with her scent and scratch marks on his back acting as the only indication that the events hadn’t been a dream. No. He would stir up drama between her and Lauren and win the game he was starting against her. Neither task involving stirring up any feelings he had harboured for her in the past.
Pulled out of his thoughts, he shook his head frowning at an irritating hand waving a flyer in front of his face.
“Excuse me sir. Scuse me, have you seen this lady and this baby?” She seemed oddly familiar, even though Paul was sure he had never met the child before.
“No, I haven’t and if I had I would go to the police. Not a little girl.” He frowned, taking the leaflet from her hand so she’d stop holding it in his face. “Shouldn’t you be with your parents anyway? There’s already one missing child, we don’t need another in the area.”
“They know I’m here, and they are too.” She replied as if there couldn’t be a more obvious statement. “I’m not lost cos they’re at that café, they can see me I think.”
“Emily Helen Willis!” Paul sighed at the voice that rang out across the complex. That was why the girl looked so familiar, coming quickly into view were his new manager and Brad Willis. “What do you think you were doing walking off like that young lady!”
“I wasn’t far, you and dad were doing boring adult things.” She tried to argue, looking for any way she might not end up in trouble. “I was just trying to help find the baby, and I wasn’t alone. I had an adult with me like you say to have.” Gesturing to Paul, waving her arms to make her indication clear.
“Okay, I know this place is new and you want to explore, but you can’t walk off like that.” Brad’s tone was testing Paul’s ability to refrain form rolling his eyes, he wasn’t going to even discipline the child?
“No, no Brad. We can’t let this slide.” Terese sighed, glaring at her husband.
“When we say that Emily, you know we mean for you to be with an adult you know and not just a random person you have found on the street. It’s not safe.” Her tone gave no room for arguments, unlike her husband’s. “I know you want to help, but you can’t just walk off like that. Wait for us. Now we will continue this when we get home.”
Paul had to smirk slightly at the scene, now they were together there was no denying who the little girl’s mum was. She was a carbon copy of Terese, right from the light brown locks to the fiery temperament. He loathed to admit that Lucy’s choice for the new manager was a perfect fit, but in the interview she was determined to prove she could bring Lassiter’s back up to standard and Emily coming over to him to ask him about the missing child only mirrored that attitude.
“Now apologise to Mr Robinson for disturbing him as I am sure he is very busy.” He could tell the dig of her comment was aimed both towards her daughter and him, clearly she thought he should be doing more.
“Sorry Mr Robinson, next time I won’t try to find a missing baby by giving you a poster.” Her tone held some sincerity, even if she did seem to use the statement to argue with her parents once more. Smart kid.
“It’s fine.” He cleared his throat, sensing that Brad was itching to get away from him, or more likely Matt Turner who was currently glaring at him as he walked across the complex and back to the police station.
“See you on Monday Terese, bye.” He nodded once more, turning to head back into the hotel.
“See you then Paul.” Terese replied, taking her daughter’s hand.
“Bye Paul, see you soon.” Emily’s voice mimicked her mother’s, clearly not phased by the telling off she would no doubt receive when she got home.
Waiting for the elevator, Paul shook his head once more, trying to make some sense of the interaction he’d just had. Not one to have anything to do with most of the Ramsey street residents, Paul had little to do with the families, especially their children. The interaction he’d had with the younger Willis had been amusing though, clearly she was a child who caused much grief and mischief for her parents. It was uncanny how much she was like Terese, favouring her much more than any passing resemblance she had to Brad. Some of the mannerisms too reminded him of his own daughter, even if he hadn’t been around much at all when the triplets were her age. Maybe he’d see if she was free later for a call after he’d spoken to Lucy to let her know about Terese’s arrival.