Catching the Wind(4)

By: Melanie Dobson

A breeze blew through the park below her flat, curling the fog into strange shapes over the pond’s surface. Then a ray of light pierced through it, a spotlight on nature’s stage.

Cue the actors—otherwise known as mallards—along with the pods of water lilies that had tucked themselves away for the night. In another half hour, she figured, the curtain would rise on them all, and she’d have to make her way to the office for her own performance during their team’s Friday morning editorial meeting.

Right now, she had about as much clarity as the foggy park below. Without the help of Lady Ricker’s descendants, there would be no story. And Chandler might unravel in front of the whole team if Quenby didn’t have at least a lead.

Her mobile phone rang, and she glanced down to check the number, but there was no ID. Perhaps Mrs. McMann wanted to talk after all.

Quenby rotated her mug so it aligned perfectly along the table’s dark oak before answering the call. “Hello?”

“My name is Lucas Hough,” the caller explained. “I’m looking for Miss Vaughn.”

Standing, she stepped toward the window. “How can I help you, Mr. Hough?”

“Is this Quenby Vaughn?”

“It is.”

“I’m a solicitor in London.”

Her heart felt as if it skipped a beat or two. Had Louise already contacted her lawyer?

“I have a client who would like to meet with you.”

She leaned against the table, the fog-infused shapes over the park shifting below her. “Why does your client want to meet?”

He chuckled, a low, amused sound that startled her. Was he laughing at her?

“I don’t find any humor in that question.”

“My apologies,” he replied. “Most people would inquire as to who wanted to meet with them before they asked about details.”

She glanced at the microwave clock. The editorial meeting started in an hour. “I believe I can decipher both the who and why in one shot.”

“Indeed,” Mr. Hough said. “My client is Daniel Knight.”

He said Daniel Knight like she should know the name, but she didn’t recall contacting anyone with the last name of Knight for any of her recent articles.

“You still haven’t explained why your client wants to meet with me.”

“Mr. Knight would like to hire you.”

She reached for her mug but didn’t take a sip. “He wants me to write a story?”

“No,” Mr. Hough said. “He wants you to find someone.”

She sighed. “Then your client should hire a detective.”

“He already has, but none of the investigators were able to find this person for him.”

Her mug clasped in her hand, she moved down the narrow hallway, into her bedroom. A stray pair of jeans hung off the side of a woven basket at the end of her bed, and she stuffed them back inside. Laundry would be the first order of business over the weekend. “I’m a writer, Mr. Hough. I find people so I can tell their stories.”

“This story is quite remarkable, but Mr. Knight wants to hire you as a researcher instead of a reporter.”

She set her mug on top of a book on her nightstand and pulled a pair of clean jeans and a white blouse from the wardrobe, spreading her clothes across the end of the bed. Then she arranged her slippers neatly underneath.

Mr. Hough’s secrecy was maddening, but she couldn’t resist a good story and had a feeling this man knew it.

“Who exactly is Mr. Knight looking for?” she asked.

“Someone he lost.”

Maddening, intriguing, and irritating—she mentally added the word to the list. “A child?”

“No.” He paused. “His best friend.”

Quenby sat down on the bed and leaned back against the headboard. Her floor trembled as the Tube ran its morning course underground. “When did he lose this friend?”

“Seventy-five years ago.”

She groaned. “This is crazy.”

“Not crazy,” he clipped. “Perhaps unusual, but not crazy.”

Her head was beginning to ache. If only she could go back to bed and start this day again.

“I’m simply the messenger, Miss Vaughn. My client has done his homework, and he’s decided that you are the person he wants to locate his friend.”