“No. Yes. I did, but it slipped my mind. I’ve been busy.”
“With the big, arrogant guy from the other day. Is he gone now?”
I grimace. “He’s not arrogant. And no, he’s not gone.”
“But he’s not here now.”
“No. He’s not here now.”
He motions to his briefcase. “I’m headed to a place around the corner to drink a beer and get some work done. Want to join me?”
“Oh, ah, no. Thanks. I have some work of my own to do. I just came by to grab a file.”
He stares at me, his brown eyes probing a bit too deeply, and I think maybe Liam is right.
Maybe Jared is interested. I am so not equipped to handle two men of their caliber in the same day. “You want me to walk you down?”
“To the street.”
“Yes. Sorry. The key guy rattled me. No. Go on without me. Thanks for, well, keeping me from doing who knows what.”
His eyes dance with mischief, and a definite glint of warm brown heat. “At your service anytime.”
He turns and saunters toward the elevator, all loose-legged confidence in jeans, that bad-boy sexiness oozing off of him. I’m not sure why I think the “bad boy” label fits him. It’s a feeling, like the familiar one I normally have with him but I don’t today, and that bothers me almost as much as when I do. I’m also not sure why I’m still staring after him when he stops at elevator and turns to catch me watching him. He grins at me and disappears inside the car.
I walk to the properties on my list I’m to visually inspect and report on, and they all seem occupied and well maintained. Everything seems as it should be, but my gut says it is not. At the final house on the list I find an elderly lady sitting in a rocking chair on her porch, and I approach her.
“Hi,” I say. “I’m the property owner’s assistant and he just wanted me to make sure everything is fine with the property.”
“Howard!” the woman calls.
An elderly man appears at the door. “What, Bella?” He smiles at me. “Well hello, young lady.”
“Did you hire a management company or something?” Bella asks.
He frowns. “No. Why would I do that? Been owning this place for ten years and done just fine by myself.”
My heart sinks. “I’m sorry. I must have the wrong address. I’ll correct my records.”
It’s official in my book. Everything is not as it should be. I walk away and make a beeline to the realtor’s office, or rather, the law office, and even that is weird. It really is past due I find answers. My steps quicken and it hits me that there is a positive note to today. I don’t have that “being followed” sensation. Answers, however do not seem to be in my immediate future. When I arrive at the Evernight office location, I find a sign that says “out to lunch.” I glance at the time on my phone. How has it gotten to be 3:00? And how is 3:00 lunchtime?
I dial Meg again and leave a message and exchange another text with Liam before I decide I’m heading to the library. In the time I worked at the Central Branch in New York, I’d never used its resources beyond looking through some books. I’d been paranoid about bringing attention to myself. But then I took the job at the museum. I think I’m an extremist. I sure have been with my willingness to let Liam in my life and no one else.
I start walking toward a library I spotted a few blocks away when Meg calls back. “Sorry I missed you. Luke being out of town is killing me. I have to keep running out to deal with tenants.”
I prepare to turn around and go back to Evernight. “Are you heading back to the office?”
“I have another customer to deal with. You want to do happy hour? There’s a restaurant/bar joint called Earl’s right around the corner from your apartment. One of our customers took me there once. Looks like a great happy-hour spot.”
I’ll do whatever I have to in order to find the answers I need. “I’ll find it. What time?”
“I’ll see you then.”
We end the call and I continue on to the library, still remarkably without the sensation of being followed. I’m not sure if that means I’m without prying eyes or if I’m calmer now, and not conjuring demons where they might not be. Am I calmer now?
Once I’m at the library, I sit down at a long wooden table and consider where to dig into research, and as always when I’m thinking about the past, my mind radiates toward the tattoo on my handler’s wrist. If I find a link to him, I find a link to whatever, or whomever, I’m running from. I consider what I’ve already considered in the past. I’ve always been certain the triangle shape relates to the pyramids, since my father had done much of his work in Egypt, but I have nothing that makes the exact image of the tattoo connect to anything that confirms this.
I shut my eyes and picture Liam’s tattoo. The numbers beneath it form a triangle. I don’t like where my mind is going, and I pull my computer out of the small leather briefcase Liam bought me while shopping, and Google the “pi” sign. Nowhere is there a similar image with numbers forming an inverted triangle. And the symbol on my handler’s arm was a triangle with words inside, words that I’d thought to be another language, but had since decided was some sort of coded message. It isn’t like Liam’s tattoo at all. Not even close. My stomach knots. Except for the triangle. I draw in a heavy breath. Liam’s interest in pyramids is a coincidence that’s hard to ignore. But lots of people are intrigued by pyramids, I remind myself he’s an architect, looking for an answer as to how they were created. Perhaps solving the mystery is a personal challenge.