Harry hurried up the steps on the main house, mentally ticking off the many things he still had to do before the arrival of the Island's next guests. Since the arrival of Roarke's new assistant, Ariel, Harry had made it a point of personally ensuring every detail of the island's day-to-day working. "There is no point in giving Roarke any reason to think he can dispense with our services," he thought to himself, walking up to his employer's office door with some trepidation. "Who knows what he would do with us if he thought he could run this place without us?"
"Looking for the boss?" Cal called out, emerging from behind a chair.
"Where have you been?" Harry fretted, glancing around worriedly. "Roarke will have our heads if everything isn't in place when the plane arrives."
"You worry too much," Cal replied, slouching comfortably against the wall.
"Someone has to worry," Harry retorted, pushing the office door open and moving swiftly to the desk. "Now let's see, where is that schedule." He rummaged gingerly through the items lying on the desk, his eyes darting from one object to another at a progressively more frantic pace.
"What are you looking for?" Cal asked, idly examining the other items in the private office. He leaned closer to look at a portrait of a small man in a white suit that sat on a table beside the window. As he looked closely at the picture, trying to identify its subject, he noticed the corner of something else sticking out from behind a stack of books. He gingerly pulled the object free and found himself looking at another portrait. "Wow, who's the babe?" he asked, eyeing the photo appreciatively.
"What have you got there?" Harry asked, glancing furtively at the door.
"Take a look," Cal replied, handing the photo to his friend.
The woman in the photo was mid-twenties at the most, with golden skin, long, wavy dark hair and slightly slanted gray eyes that stared somberly out from the print. She was dressed simply in a dark shirt and pants, and held what appeared to be a crossbow in one hand. On the back, in a masculine hand, was one word — Magdalena.
"So, who was Magdalena?" Cal asked, reaching to take the photo back.
"She was born on my cousin's island," Roarke's cold voice replied, as he stepped into the office with Ariel at his back. He held out his hand for the photo, then moved to sit back at his desk, his brilliant blue eyes emotionless. "Don't you both have somewhere else to be?" The implication was clear and both Cal and Harry took advantage of the moment to make hurried exits. Only Ariel stayed, her curiosity stronger than her caution.
"Where is she now?" she asked, moving to stand beside the desk.
"Very far away from here," Roarke replied, laying the photo facedown on the desk. He turned away from the shape-shifter's gaze.
"Did you know her?" Ariel asked, reaching for the photo.
Roarke turned swiftly in his chair and pinned her hand to the desk. "Some subjects, my dear, are best left unresolved. This is one of them. I'm sure you have something you need to be doing in connection with our new guest's Regency Romance fantasy. I suggest you get to it." The tone of his voice was pleasant, but the look in his eyes was not. Ariel pulled her hand free and left the office, wondering about her employer's strange behavior.
Roarke watched his employee's exit unemotionally, then looked down at the errant photo. He turned it face-up and stared for a while at the somber eyes that looked back at him. He remembered once telling Magdalena's mother, Akiko, that the eyes were the windows to the soul. Her daughter had Akikio's inscrutable eyes and her father' Eduardo's high cheekbones, a perfect mix of Chinese and Spanish blood. Her daughter had the gaze of an old soul looking out of a new form. Roarke stared for a few more moments, letting the feelings wash over him like a spring rain. Then he laid the photo in his desk drawer, shutting it and his memories away in the darkness once again.