2010-05-25: Who Are They?

Starring:

Coli_V5icon.png

Guest Starring:

John Voorhees

Date: May 25th, 2010

Summary:

At the office of John Voorhees, Coli reaches out to the "cheating husband" of her client with an offer to help while investigating what his deal is, suspecting someone is in danger.


Previously: Cheating ... On Death

"Who Are They?"

Adgency Advertising

Downtown — New York City

"Do you have an appointment?" The narrow, sour-faced forty-something woman with slick black hair in a bun at the reception desk of John Voorhees and his associates at Adgency Advertising peers strictly upward. The lobby of the offices on this, the 27th floor, is small, steely blue-painted, signage for the firm everywhere. It's quiet; it's past suppertime, almost seven o'clock, and most everyone has gone home. John Voorhees is still burning the … seven o'clock oil, though, evidenced by the lights on in the nearby, tightly closed office.

"Tell him that I'm a friend of Sara's and it's very, very important." Coli leans slightly in the woman's face and flashes her a wide smile. Dressed in a pair of dark pants and a dark golden top along with a black belt in the middle. Her heels are practical, not to high today. She holds her big black purse to her side and looks towards the office.

A message for the other woman to get a move on. Coli doesn't have all the time in the world. Her manicured nails tap lightly against the surface of the purse.

Nearly every excuse in the book to see Mr. Voorhees wouldn't have gotten Coli past the sharp guard of the woman at the reception desk, but that one name — Sara — does the trick. Not without suspicion, however. The administrative assistant's eyes narrow shrewdly on the guest. She says nothing more to Coli, instead picking up the phone. "There's a woman here to see you… she says she's a friend of— " Skeptical eye to Coli. "…Sara. She says it's very, very important." Her professional tone takes a turn for the mocking.

There's a pause before the phone is put down and the door behind the desk, to left of reception, is opened a crack. John peeks out uncertainly, one hand behind his back, before waving Coli in.

"Thanks sweetie pie." She winks at the secretary and then enters the office of John, taking a seat in front of his desk. "So." She says with a bright smile, crossing her legs and ruffling the back of her short hair before staring at John. "We have some things to talk about." Coli says as she places her black purse firmly on her lap.

John shuts the door, but is hesitant to do so, shooting glances out the half-open blinds of the window between his office and reception. The businessman takes a wide berth around Coli, nervously moving to his desk across from her, though he doesn't sit. There is a panic about him which he tries to reign in. "Who are you? Are you with them? Everything is being taken care of— "

"I'm not with anyone John. Well.. I'm with your wife but not in that way. She thinks you're cheating on her." She lets that bombshell settle and then she continues, "But I have reason to believe after yesterday's events that you aren't." And then pictures are being slide over the desk towards John.

The few of Sara and he and then the last one.. of the playing card she found. "I overheard you.. you're in trouble and," she gets up and closes the blinds all the way. "I can help you, but you have to be upfront with me." Coli stares John down as she hopes he considers doing the right thing. "Who are they?"

The pictures set the man on edge far more than the news of his wife's suspicions. He sucks a quick breath in and pushes the photos away. "There's been a misunderstanding." Not really. He's sweating, glancing often from Coli to his desk. "Who are you? I think you should leave, Miss, this is personal business and it doesn't concern you."

"Either you can tell me.. or I call my friends down at NYPD." Coli shrugs, "And tell them that while I was on a case I uncovered what could be a murder investigation." Coli looks down at her nails and she crosses her ankles. "But it doesn't have to be like that." She says as she leans her hip against the desk. "I want to help you.. and Sara."

"Murder! What … no!" John is aghast. "You're not with— and you're— you're not with the police… oh come on, did my wife hire you? This is all Ellen's doing?" A hand drags across his face. "She wasn't supposed to find out. Not yet, not like this… look, Sara is someone very important to me and yes, she's in some trouble but I've got it under control. How much is my wife paying you? I'll give you double if you just leave it alone."

"That's not necessary. But you can tell me who Sara is.. or I make that phone call." Coli leaves it at that and she settles back into her chair. Crossing her legs. She tilts her head. "I don't think it'd be good for the company if homicide detectives were knocking on your office door, now would it?"

Then she pulls out, yes she just pulled out a nail file and she's filing underneath her nails. Ew, pesky dirt. "Start talking."

"H-Homicide! You're … you're crazy. No one's been hurt." The nervous ad man gets a more resolute look about him. "And no one will be."

Speaking of phone calls … a buzz on John's desk draws his attention away from the PI and he picks up the BlackBerry sitting there. A number flashes on the screen for a moment, 417-555-5671, no name. He picks it up and with a tight glance to Coli, it's obvious he doesn't want to answer it in her presence — but it's important to him. He weighs the odds until his thumb presses answer.

Eyeing Coli warily, John turns around to speak in hushed tones. "This isn't a good time— What? Now? No, you said the deadline wasn't until midnight!"

She looks up from filing her nails long enough to grab a piece of paper and write the number down before she forgets it. Then she waits, until John gets off the phone. Midnight deadline? Someone is working for someone, yeah? Hmmmm. The plot thickens. Coli thinks as she eyes John and puts her chin in her hands. Can you hurry the convo up? I kind of want to know who that is you're talking too, duh. She thinks, oh if she was a telepath.

"There's something I wanted to talk to you about anyway…" John says quietly into the phone. "Yeah. It's okay, it's okay. Alright." The call ends and he turns back to Coli, his phone disappearing into his pocket. It seems he didn't notice her write the number down. "Listen, I have some things to finish up here," he says firmly, though still edgy. "If you want to make an appointment in the morning, I'll … tell you then. Hell, I'll even invite Ellen! But if you don't leave right now, I'm gonna have to call security."

"Nyeah, we'll wait to telling the wife until after I get the facts." Coli says and she stands, gathering the photos and placing them into her purse. "Don't try to leave the country or go into hiding, I'll find you faster then the herp can find you from a stripper's whoha." Coli winks at John and makes her way to the door before turning her head to look at the man over her shoulder. "Are you gonna open the door for a lady or what?" she asks with a bright grin.

"I'm not going anywhere." Impatiently, Mr. Voorhees shuffles around his desk to the door to open it, stepping aside to make way, glad the woman is leaving at all. He'd roll out a red carpet to the exit, at this point, if it would help Coli leave faster.

Outside, the receptionist looks over and raises a single eyebrow.

"Thanks for the help sweetness." She says to the receptionist with a wink and then she's getting into the elevator that has just arrived. Mission partly accomplished, Coli thinks to herself as she comes to the outside of the building and she begins to walk towards her car. It's been a long two days, time for some pizza and Afterlife.

A sharply-dressed Japanese businessman passes by Coli — he on his way into the office building, she on her way out. He looks distinctly at her without missing a step, disappearing inside.

Parked outside the building is a red 1998 Camaro … Missouri plates. Sara's car. The passenger side door — facing the sidewalk — is ajar, but not quite enough to activate the light inside, leaving it in darkness.

Coli notices the man too but she doesn't stop walking out of the building and while she crosses the street she notices something.. is that Sara's car? And then she's walking over, curiosity getting the better of her. She looks at the door ajar and gently pulls it open, ready for anything. Even though her firearm is in her purse. "Sara?" she calls out.

No Sara.

The keys are still in the ignition; the radio is even on low, very quietly playing a Lady Gaga song on a top 40 station. A coffee cup, loose change, a purse and its contents (including a cell phone) are strewn all over the front seats and floor.

Coli leans in to turn the ignition off and then she looks puzzled. "What the hell.." she starts and then she's looking through Sara's things. Maybe a clue as to where the young woman went? Coli gets a sick feeling in her stomach though. She can't explain it.. something isn't sitting right with her.

A few bucks, that phone, lip gloss, a few menus from restaurants in Chinatown, including the Royal Rooster, a wallet with all her ID in it (Sara Grace Carson, from Missouri, age 23), John's business card very worn out around the edges, a can of pepper spray … it's wet. Recently used.

P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face (she's got to love nobody)~

It's not long before the man who entered the building and passed Coli earlier re-emerges, briskly but calmly leaving down the street again.

Coli looks up and then her eyebrows raise. "That was a fast visit.." she mutters to herself and then she's walking down the street after him. "Excuse me!" she says to the businessman as she jogs to keep up. She tries to catch up with the man.

The businessman almost doesn't even bother to pay Coli any mind this time. He does give her a curt, stern-faced look, the way someone glances at a fly which is bothering them. He keeps up his brisk pace, distancing himself, and Coli, further and further away from the office building. "Yes?"

"Did you see a girl by that red Camaro before you walked in?" Coli asks and then she's tilting her head. "She must have been there when you arrived." She describes Sara and looks at the man with hope. "If you remember seeing anything at all, that would help a lot."

"No, I'm sorry," comes the disinterested answer. "I wasn't looking." Typical New Yorker? "If you'll excuse me— " He lifts the briefcase he's carrying. "I have to get going." As if Coli slowed him down at all; his pace is brisk as ever. Work never ends for some people.

Including the police.

A common sound of the city wails not far off: sirens. The noise gets louder and louder and the source — two NYPD cruisers — speed past Coli and the businessman. They come to a halt right outside a particular office building, and not so far away from the abandoned Camaro. But it's not the car they're interested in. The officers who pour out are headed straight inside the building. Whatever happened in there … it happened fast.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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