Chapter One (Part One)
“Ms. Trip, uh, Trip Wire?” The man holds his hand out, an uncertain smile edging his lips. It wavers even further when the slim, Asian woman stares hard at him but doesn’t take the proffered hand. “Um, I’m Fenwick Harrington. You may call me Fenwick.” He leaves his hand hanging for a beat longer before letting it fall limply to his side. He is a thin man though quite tall, and his clothes look as if he bought them off the bargain rack at Target. His dead-white skin, badly-cut brown hair, and the nervous tic in his left eye do nothing to inspire confidence. Only the Rolex on his left wrist hints at the wealth he is rumored to have. He’s one of those nouveau riche who’d rather look like a street bum than flaunt his wealth.
“Won’t you, uh, please, sit down?” Even though they are meeting at his office, he feels at a disadvantage. Since his business with her is delicate as it always is, he thought it would put him one-up to make her meet him at his office, but that is not the case. The Asian woman stares at him for a minute longer, her lithe body showing the benefits of religiously working out with her sculpted muscles on proud display beneath a black tank top and black jeans. Her long black hair is pulled back in a no-nonsense ponytail, and there isn’t a trace of makeup on her round face.
“Ms. Wire, please.” He ushers to the seat opposite his desk. He can’t sit until she does—it’s now a matter of honor. She glances around the office with the slightest sneer on her rather-full lips, then focuses on him, narrowing her eyes. She has not spoken to him in the five minutes she’s been in his office, and he’s already sweating. His eyes slide away from hers, unable to engage in this duel of wills. Satisfied, she sits down, crossing her legs. She is wearing black boots, of course—it’s only fitting. She wears no jewelry except for a red thread around her neck with a gold pendant on it. It has some kind of Asian character on it, but Fenwick Harrington has no idea what it represents. One look into those flat eyes of hers, and he knows he’ll never ask. Expelling a breath he hadn’t known he was holding, Fenwick Harrington sits as well.
“Well, Ms. Wire,” he says, trying out a smile on her. Her face might as well be carved from granite for all the emotions she is showing. “I’m sure you’re wondering—”
“How did you get my name?” The voice is husky and deep, without a hint of accent. There is a smokiness that sounds whiskey-induced. The woman implacably watches Fenwick, following his every movement with her eyes. Otherwise, she is completely still—something which unnerves Fenwick.