The elevator arrives at the 23rd floor. Before she steps out, a coffee mug floats in front of her with a chubby hand holding it. Marissa swirls to face her with a wry look.
Diane takes over the mug, eyes rolling.
“Stop doing this.” She scolds before taking a sip.
“Doing what? Being efficient?” Marissa joins her steps towards her office.
“With the janitor at the parking lot and the security guy at the ground floor, it’s like you are spying on me.”
“Well, I’m a natural investigator. It’s hard to NOT make you feel that way.” Marissa talks back. The corners of her mouth lift.
“Okay, Miss Gold, have you made my dinner reservation if being a natural investigator doesn’t take up too much of your time as my assistant?” Diane takes a pause at the doorway of her office, turning to face Marissa.
“The Gianni’s at 8.”
“And I give them the name McVeigh.” Marissa adds following her in the office.
“Why?” Diane shots the question with a drawl in her tone while setting her bag on the chair and the mug on the desk and beginning to slip off her coat.
“Wow, that’s a stunning dress. I don’t recall seeing you in this color. You look fabulous.” Marissa’s eyes widen and are fixed on Diane’s newly-bought two-piece royal blue dress, with a thin black satin sash perfectly outlining her waist with a bow ending at the front.
“Marissa.” Diane wakes her.
“Uh, yeah, right. I know Kurt’s flight won’t be here till 5, but let’s face it, he’ll still beat you anyway, like ALWAYS.”
“Who told you that?” Diane feels offended by such an accusation but has nothing to defend herself.
“Well, I’m a natural investigator, remember? Don’t worry about it. With this dress, he wouldn’t mind if you are an hour late.” Dropping her last comment, the young woman steps out with a snicker.
A grin creeps on Diane’s lips before seating herself on the chair and slightly shaking her head.
“Yeah, Eli Gold got his gene in her.” She thinks to herself.
Kurt was on a one-week trip to attend a commemoration event held in Kansas. Via a video call yesterday, they agreed on a dinner at her favorite Italian restaurant when he came back to Chicago. The moment he slides into the cab, he sends a text right away.
“Just got off the plane, head home now. Meet you at the restaurant. Love you.”
He then holds the phone in his right hand and braces it against his jaw. Taking in the view of Chicago before sunset through the side window, he misses Chicago. All those years’ dislike of the city life with his strong attachment to the country life could be changed after all. A vibration wakes him from his thought. A new message pops on the screen.
“Can’t wait to see you. Love you, too.”
He breathes in the flory scent, the moment stepping in the house. She has changed new lilies in the light green vase on the counter in their hallway. Never would he thought that he would miss or even be fond of the smell so much. Dropping his keys in an antique-look bowl beside the vase, he closes the door behind him. He’s got an hour to fresh up before heading out to the restaurant.
Entering their bedroom and turning on the light, a smile creeps on his face.
Lying on his side of the bed are one of his plaid shirts and a pair of dark jeans, both neatly folded.
Being in a dress suit for seven days straight has worn him out. Just save ten minutes from going through his tiny wardrobe and figuring out what to wear, he thinks to himself. Discarding his tie while walking in the bathroom, he spots his razor displayed right on the sink, lined up with the bottles of shaving cream and aftershave. “Well, just what I need.” Picturing how Diane in her robe gingerly replacing a new blade for the razor that morning makes him chuckle. Holding that image, he then steps in the shower.
The waiter refills his glass for the third time.
“Still expecting your company, sir?”
“Yeah, I think she’ll be here in a minute.”
“Tell me if you need anything.” The young man smiles at him.
“Thank you.” Kurt forces a polite and slightly embarrassed smile to the young man then checks his watch again. It’s nine o’clock. He picks up his phone and dials.
Again, he is transferred to the voicemail.
“Diane, call me when you get this, please. I think we need to tip the waiter really big this time.”
Hanging up, he presses his lips tightly and taps his fingers over the screen of the phone. After a pause, he picks up his phone again.
One beep, two beeps, three beeps…
“Hello?” She answers by raising her voice with a noisy music background like in a pub.
“Hi, Marissa, it’s Kurt McVeigh.”
“Oh, hi, Mr. McVeigh. How’s it going with your dinner? You saw that dress, right?”
“Actually, I didn’t. Sorry to bother you, but I’m still expecting Diane. Was she still in the office when you left?”
The noise on the other side of the line seems to being smothered.
“Wait a second.” Her voice becomes clearer. “You were saying?”
“Was Diane still in the office when you left?” He repeats.
“No, she left the office at 4:30 to meet a client and renew a contract. She said she would meet you at Gianni’s right after that. She didn’t show up? Have you called her? Oh, that’s a stupid question. Don’t answer that. Of course, you have, that’s why you’re calling me. Sorry, I’ve been drinking. Uh, has she contacted you today?”
“I got her text around five.” He answers with his usual steady voice, but his mind stirs up when he knows that Diane has left the office so early. The thought of the unwanted visitor to his office a week ago unnerves him.
“Let me think. Hey, watch out. You spilled your drink on me.” Marissa screams on the other side of the line.
“Who’s the client?”
“Who’s the client that Diane was supposed to meet.?” Kurt asks eagerly.
“Uh, Colin Sweeney.”
“The wife killer?” Kurt furrows.
“No, he’s proved not guilty.” Even not in her sober state, it’s like an instinct to defend a client. Talk about working in a law firm.
“Do you have the address?” Asks Kurt, rolling his eyes.
“Yeah, I’ll text it to you. Do you think…?”
“I don’t know. I’d better go check first.” Leaving a twenty-dollar bill on the table, Kurt stands up and prepares to leave.
“I’ll let you know if I find anything.” Hanging up the phone, he is encountered with the waiter.
“Do you need anything, sir?”
“I need to leave. And thanks for your service.” Making his way through the small gap between the young man the other tables, Kurt rushes out of the restaurant.