Chapter 2 Part 1
by Skye Callahan
Warning! What follows has not been edited.
“Jonah Troyer,” he introduced himself and took a step back, ushering the girls into his office. “Please, join me in my office. We should have a talk.”
My office, the words still felt strange as they passed through his brain and out his mouth.
He’d only gotten his orders earlier this week, although he’d known for sometime—since being transferred to the Boston office—that Aicil had something planned for him. This wasn’t what he imagined.
He took a seat at his desk and looked the girls over once more. Nicole, at least, looked the part of an Aicil investigator, but Kaylyn…. He’d really hoped that things weren’t as out of hand here as the Council feared. But from the look of the bruise forming on Kaylyn’s face and the messages he’d received within hours of starting this morning, any positive attitude he’d held on to had vanished.
“Sorry no one was here to take your call this morning. The transition was sudden and we had assumed that there wouldn’t be any problems with a simple pick-up.” He watched them both squirm at his implication. “The council assigned me to this office because they felt that Carlisle was lax in his leadership, and from what I’ve heard and seen this morning. I have to agree.
“While the public may not be fully aware of what we do here, you have a duty to professionally represent Aicil on all assignments. Meaning you should act and dress accordingly.”
Jonah took his gaze off of Kaylyn for a moment, looking back just in time to see her roll her eyes. Realizing she was caught, her eyelids fell over her eyes as she straightened in her seat and chomped down on her lower lip.
“Something you’d like to say Kaylyn?” he asked, leaning away from the desk.
She paused, glaring up at him, and at first, he thought she’d bite her tongue, but she didn’t.
“How practical would it be for us to do our jobs dressed like junior prom attendees? We spend half of our time crawling around in places most people wouldn’t dream of going.”
Jonah felt the tendon in his neck pulse, but tried to hide his shock at her incorrigible behavior. He slid open the bottom desk drawer, it was full of small booklets summarizing the company policy. Carlisle probably hadn’t handed a single one out. “Regardless of your preference it’s policy,”—he tossed one of the books to her—”I encourage you to read up on the dress code.”
Kaylyn shifted in her seat, staring down at the booklet while shades of red splotched her face, meeting with the circle swelling around her eye.
“Kaylyn?” He prodded, still waiting on her to acknowledge his order.
“Yes, sir. I’ll study up.”
“The council wants this place run more professionally and there will be changes. Not everyone will be happy with those changes, but given your history and standing with the organization, I expect you to cooperate.” He sighed and leaned to the side. “Any questions?”
Both girls quietly stared down at the floor, until Nicole cleared her throat.
“Well, sir. I assume you want us to address you as Mr. Troyer?”
Jonah’s expression relaxed. “I may be strict, but I’m not a prude. Jonah is fine. However if members of the council are visiting, Mr. Troyer it is. Anything else?”
“Um,” Nicole inched forward in her seat, “On the topic of names, you called me Nicole. I prefer Cole”
Jonah had saw a mention of that in the files, but it was difficult to imagine calling a girl who looked like that, Cole. “Interesting choice. Mind if I ask why?”
“Well, Nicole isn’t exactly rare. When I was a kid there were two other girls named Nicole in my class,” she shrugged, “Nicole and Nikki were taken so I was Cole.”
“Cole it is then. If that’s all, you’ll find a list of paperwork in your personal mailboxes. I’ll need that addressed as soon as possible, as well as a full report on the artifact you were sent to receive this morning. It shouldn’t take more than a few hours, then you’ll be dismissed for the day.”
Jonah needed a few seconds to breathe before the next calamity struck, but as soon as he leaned back, the office phone rang. He pinched the bridge of his nose and picked up the receiver.
“Um… Yes…” The man on the other end seemed apprehensive—not uncommon for clients who were contacting Aicil for the first time—but it didn’t bode well with Jonah’s impatience. “I’m looking for Carlisle Palmer.”
“Sorry, he was transferred. I’ve taken over his position.”
“Oh, well….” There was another long silence before he continued. “My name is Alex Roarch, owner of the Teague Hotel.”
And I’m sure I’m supposed to know that place…. Without responding, Jonah flipped through some of the papers he’d pulled from the desk, hoping to find a clue to direct the conversation, but nothing mentioned either Roarch or the Teague.
“I spoke with Carlisle on Monday.”
Of course you did. “I’m sorry, the transfer was quite sudden and I haven’t been able to review all of his notes.”
“I was referred to your office under assurances that this would be handled quickly and quietly. I’m not even sure we have a problem, but two of my contractors claimed to have experienced something there and now the entire crew is refusing to return to work until the place is cleared. Carlisle said he’d assign two of his best to get this taken care of. I, frankly, don’t want to waste my time with it. They were supposed to meet me at the hotel at 5pm this evening for a walk through.”
Growing up in the business taught Jonah one thing, the skeptics and the gung-ho believers were equally difficult to deal with. Both required a finesse in drawing out the details needed to solve the case. Jonah’s thumb tapped against the arm of his chair, as he ticked off the options for handing over the case. “Of course. I will have a team together and make sure they’re ready to meet you. It would help if you could give me some details about the case.”
“Kaylyn and Cole Anderson.” Mr. Roarch replied without acknowledging Jonah’s request. “That’s who he promised.”
Shit. Jonah’s foot caught the edge of the desk as he jerked to attention. He hadn’t intended on sending them out on any big cases, and this client was already wearing on his nerves. “I’ll check to see if they’re available, but th—”
That’s it for now, if you’re excited to read more, please add the novella on Goodreads.
ARC copies will be available to those who are willing to write an honest review.
See you next week!
Fractured Legacy by Skye Callahan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.