“Welcome back, Bea. Long time, no see.” Antoinette greeted me with a smirk on her face, her usual expression. She fluttered her hand at me so I would notice the rock sitting on her finger. It was a large garnet and looked like it’d be a bitch to wear.
“Nice ring,” I said offhandedly.
“Oh, this?” Antoinette touched it, a pleased smile on her face. “It was a little gift from me to me. I’ve been so sad, you know, what with the deaths and all. I thought it would cheer me up. The garnet is my birthstone. That’s January, you know. Anyway….” She flicked her hair back to show off the matching earrings. Where the hell did she get that kind of money? As far as I knew, she’s not a debutante or the inheritor of a trust fund. I knew there was no way she could afford a ring like that on a salary like ours—unless Eddie was giving her one hell of a perk.
“Where’d you get the money?” I asked, not able to think of a way to put it delicately.
“Ooooh, Phillip was nice enough to loan it to me. Eddie left me a little something in his will, which should be probated in the upcoming weeks. Isn’t Phillip just the sweetest man?” She fluttered her fingers at me again, looking like the proverbial cat with the canary. She hadn’t even asked how I was. Bitch. “By the way, Phillip would like to see you in his office ASAP.” It figured that she would wait before giving me the message. I sighed and got up to see Phillip. Anything to prolong putting on that damned head. I noticed that Maisie was back and ready for action, so I assumed that I would be returning to my old identity.
“Antoinette said you wanted to see me?” I said, poking my head into the office.
“Bea! Come in! Sit down!” Phillip jumped up from his chair and ushered me into the office. As it was about the size of my bedroom, there wasn’t much room for ushering. He gently deposited me into the chair across from his desk as if I were eight months pregnant before scurrying back to his side. I didn’t know him very well, but it seemed to me that he was uneasy about something. Before he sat down, I noticed that the zipper on his fly wasn’t quite zipped. I wondered if I should point it out or just wait until he went to the bathroom and discovered it for himself. I decided on the latter as I had a hunch that it would embarrass him terribly if I were to call attention to it.
“How are you?” Phillip asked, his eyes blinking rapidly. Even though he was as good-looking as ever, there was something vaguely ferret-like about him. It diminished his appeal greatly. “I mean, how are you really doing? How’s the shoulder?”
“Fine,” I said briefly, not wanting to talk about my injury. It was much better and didn’t hurt nearly as much, but I still had to take at least one pain pill a day to survive.
“Are you sure you didn’t catch sight of who did this to you?” Phillip asked, leaning forward. He tapped his pen on the desk, drawing attention to the journal sitting the top of the desk, half hidden. He was unaware of what he was doing as he focused on my face. I glanced at the papers and glimpsed something that puzzled me. I didn’t read well upside down, but it looked somewhat familiar.