I got back to my office fully intending to get right down to work, but that’s not what happened. Instead, I got a surprise. Rebecca was waiting for me.
Except it wasn’t Rebecca. It was like seeing Rebecca through some kind of crazy mirror. The face was the same, and the long lean body, but everything else was different — somehow tougher, more hard edged — the hair, the clothes, the attitude. Especially the attitude.
“You must be Louisa,” I said, looking her up and down, not at all minding what I saw.
“I see you’ve been hanging out with my sister,” she laughed. She sounded nothing at all like her sister. The voice was the same, but minus the posh British accent. I was starting to get the picture. One sister grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth, private schools, everything Daddy’s money could by, and the other one on her own, getting the kind of education they don’t teach you at St. Mary’s.
“You can call me Lulu,” she said, tossing her dark hair and looking at me they way an elephant likes to be looked at.
“Why’d you give your sister the slip?”
She laughed. “You don’t waste time do you? The usual reasons. I found out my dad’s trying to have me killed.”
I hadn’t figured that, but it fit. Winthrop was one cold bastard, and he didn’t like surprises. “And your sister would’ve led you right to him.”
“Rebecca’s a dear, but there’s a lot she doesn’t know about the world. Got a light?” I was starting to like this dame. I lit a cigarette for her, and another one for me. I’d quit a few months back, but right now a cigarette felt just about right.
She was looking around the office. “So this is where the famous Smellephant hangs out.”
“You like it?”
“Depends. Where do you keep the booze?”
From the bottom drawer I pulled out two glasses, and one bottle of JD Single Barrel I’d been saving for a special occasion.
She looked at the bottle appraisingly while I poured. “Tennessee Whiskey? I figured you more for the Macallan type.”
I shrugged. “Used to be.”
“Yeah,” she said, “I get it.” She took a long slow sip, never taking her eyes off mine. “Then you got your heart broken.”
That surprised me. This dame was sharp. I didn’t say anything — what was there to say?
“She must’ve been something,” she said.
“Mind if we change the subject?” I said.
“Oh, I can think of one or two things to keep us occupied.” She came close, took my whiskey drink and put it down on the desk. I didn’t mind.
Then she came a lot closer, and I didn’t mind that either.