“Please wait here, it wouldn’t be long.” He tells the cab driver before stepping out of the car.
Kurt breathes in the cold air and looks up at the big house, from which he can hear the jazz music and commotion of people laughing and talking. He steps closer and then the door is opened from inside. A young girl wearing heavy make-up in a black backless evening gown runs right into him. Kurt subconsciously braces his arm around her waist, keeping the girl from falling.
“Easy.” Kurt says and helps her stand straight.
The brunette girl raises her head and shots him a flirty smile. Her eye shadow is smudged by tears.
“And who are you with tonight, silver fox?” She is a little drunk apparently and plays her long fingers with the second button of his shirt, leaning her weight on him.
“What are you doing here?” Before he tries to push her away, a young man runs out of the door crying.
The girl now stands on her own feet and turns around to face the man.
“Does that concern you? What did that tramp’s tongue taste like?” She yells at him.
“It’s not what it looked like. I don’t even know her.” The man tries to take her arm but she throws his hand away.
“Oh, really? That made any difference. Then, what does this look like?” She suddenly turns and leans her face to Kurt, trying to kiss him.
“Okay, miss, I’m really in a hurry here.” Kurt stops her by holding her shoulders and then turns her into the young man’s arms. The girl clasps and starts crying the moment her face touches her date’s chest. The man soothes her by brushing her back.
“She was just playing the game ‘truth or dare’. I really don’t know her.” The man shoots Kurt a grateful look and mouths the words “Thank you.”
Kurt nods along and walks past them.
The inside of the house smells of the mixture of alcohol and weed. The light is okay but his sight is a little blurred by the smoke. He makes his way through the crowd while scanning their faces. Passing through the living room, he reaches the back chamber where he finds a group of men standing in a circle.
“And that’s why you should bury your second wife.” The group bursts into laughter. Kurt recognizes the voice and squeezes his way into the center of the circle.
“Who the hell…Wait, I think I know you.” Startled by Kurt’s sudden appearance at first, Sweeney soon finds him familiar.
“Did you once testify for me?”
“Kurt McVeigh. May I have a word with you, Mr. Sweeney?”
“With the man who saved me from being wrongly accused? Of course.” Sweeney stands up from the sofa and shots a wry look to the people around him.
“Excuse me, gentlemen. When I’m back, we will dive into the chapter of the thirteen ways to tie up your partner. Or partners.” Sweeney winks at his guests before following Kurt.
When they reach the corner of the room where they can be barely heard, he turns to face Sweeney.
“Where is Diane?” He asks with an eager look but in a cold tone.
“Oh, right! That reminds me. The ballistic expert and the law firm partner were an item. Don’t you just love a law firm with scandals and everybody’s sleeping with each other?” Sweeney says with a dirty smile.
“Where is Diane?” Ignoring his cheap remark, Kurt stresses his question again.
“That should be my question, too. I waited for her the whole afternoon. I was gonna call the RBL tomorrow, or whatever their name is right now. Is this their special way to impress a lucrative client?” Sweeney complains.
“You mean she didn’t come here? Are you sure?” Kurt furrows.
“Why would I lie about that?” Sweeney arches his eyebrow. “Sebastian!” Getting uncomfortable by Kurt’s questioning look, Sweeney turns his head and calls for his butler.
Within a few seconds, a black man in a tuxedo appears behind Sweeney. “Yes, sir.”
“Tell this noble gentleman that my lawyer didn’t show up this afternoon.” Without breaking his eye contact with Kurt, Sweeney orders his butler.
“Sir, I cannot.” The tall black man speaks steadily.
“See? He cannot. Wait, what?” Just realizes his answer, Sweeney turns to his butler with a surprising look.
“Ms. Lockhart was here this afternoon, and I showed her to your study.” The man answers his master in an emotionless tone.
“How come I never…” “Where is the study room?” Before Sweeney can raise his doubt, Kurt cuts in.
“The second floor.” Fathoming Kurt’s intention immediately, the butler turns and says “This way, please.”
Kurt catches the man’s heels, with Sweeney following him, wearing a confusing look.
“This is the study, sir.” The butler gestures to the room on their left hand. Kurt turns to stare at Sweeney, who just realizes he should take the lead and moves towards the door. Turning the handle, Sweeney looks back at Kurt. “You don’t talk much, do you?”
The room is lighted up. It is a typical layout of a study with two bookshelves on both sides, a set of sofa in the middle, and a huge desk beside the window, with a weirdly-shaped sculpture on the desk.
“You were here the whole time?” Kurt steps in while looking around the room.
“Yes, I was until my guests began to show up.” Sweeney is a little intimidated by his serious look.
Failing in finding anything suspicious, Kurt then turns.
“What’s that room for?” He points at the room opposite to the study.