Rain pounded against my window, but it would clear up in a minute and the humidity would be higher than a Swedish sauna. I was on my second glass of whiskey, contemplating how long I could sleep at my office before the landlord got wise that my office was now a residence. I could not make my apartment rent for the third month in row and there was a suspicious red envelop on my front door which I had avoided like a sinner avoids church. That is when she walked through my door. She was a brunette with long legs and a face that would have made John Smith question his love for the beautiful Disney Pocahontas, not the 12 year old from history. My front door was open, and she sauntered in like she owned the place. For an hour of staring into those big brown eyes I might give her the keys.
“Are you Miles Mitchell, the private investigator?” she asked in voice that could easily be confused for an angel, but gave the hint of knowledge that could make a demon blush.
“That’s what it says on the door, but my friends just call me Miles” She smiled with ruby red lips but not with her eyes. “Have a seat, Mrs.?”
She sat down in the seat in front of my desk with the smooth motion of a ballet dancer. I envied the arms of the chair as she placed her dainty hands on them.
“It’s Miss Fowler. Miss Felicity Fowler. I understand you specialize in cases concerning people involved with Disney World.”
I chuckled. “Specialize might be too strong a word, but I’ve had some success in Walt’s backyard.”
She nodded thoughtfully. “I want you to find someone, my younger sister, Fiona.”
I nodded and she continued. “She came down here for an Internship, but she had been talking about taking a job with Disney afterward.”
“The internship was over five weeks ago and she has not called or communicated with anyone in the family since. It’s very important that I contact her soon, as our mother is a very sick woman and wants to see her.” Her voice had the telltale quiver that comes right before a crying jag, so I grabbed a box of tissues and walked around the desk and offered her one. I did not return to my seat but leaned against the edge of my desk till she got herself under control.
“You say she has not communicated with anyone in your family. How about her friends, have they heard from her?”
Felicity looked up with a sad look on her face. “Fiona and I are not what you call close. She was away at school for the last four years and we’ve drifted even further apart. I don’t know any of her friends and she has not used any of her credit cards, I had our accountant check.”
I nodded knowingly. Not that I ever had an accountant; I had taken my tax returns to H&R Block last year and they felt such pity for me they took up a collection.
“The police, Orange County Sheriff’s Department?” I asked, though I knew the answer before she gave it.
She waved her finely manicured hand dismissively. “They said that since no foul play was suspected, and it was not a crime for a girl to not call her family it was not their concern.”
“Do you have her local address, where she was staying?”
Felicity pulled out a small notebook from her purse and handed it to me, gently brushing her fingers, which were warm to the touch, against me in the process. “Your hands are very cold Mitch,” she said.
“Well you know what the say, cold hands, warm heart,” I said, smiling. I took a few minutes looking over the notebook. It was all laid out for me there: Fiona’s information, the accountant’s name and number. It even listed the kid’s shoe size, a narrow size five. I was not sure how that would help, but you never know when even the most seemingly meaningless details may prove themselves crucial. I looked up from the notebook, quoted my billing price and my initial retainer, and she agreed to it without batting a pretty little eyelash, taking five crisp one hundred dollar bills out of her purse. She got up to leave and I saw her to the door of my meager little office.
“I am staying at the Gaylord Hotel. Do you know it?”
I nodded. I knew it. I had been there a couple of months ago simply to use the bathroom and I swear security followed me around like they knew I was up to no good. They were technically right; I was a looking for a boss who had stepped out with his secretary, but the staff at that fancy hotel had no way of knowing that. “Please if you have any questions or you make any progress, please do not hesitate to drop by.”
I informed her I would be by with regular updates. She shook my hand in that fantastic ladylike way where I was unsure if I should shake her hand or kiss it. I stuck with the shake and she turned, walking away in that red dress which made me glad I was a man.
After the elevator door was closed, I walked to the hallway window that looked out onto the parking lot just in time to see a large flunky shut the door to a black town car, undoubtedly with Miss Felicity Fowler in the back.
The rest of the story can be found at Smashwords – The Miles Mitchell Mysteries – a book by A.A. Forringer