Third Season Round Robin ~ Chapter 7

by Janet Rivenbark

 

“I was asking you,” he said without raising his head.

“Vincent, will you look at me?” she asked in an even voice.

He raised his head and blue eyes met blue eyes.

“No, it’s not preposterous,” she told him emphatically. “And to be truthful, I’ve been entertaining the thought for a while now myself, but I wonder . . . are you ready?”

He sighed and took the chair across from her.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said honestly. “There are times when I think of you, look at you and I feel an . . . attraction, but then I feel guilty.”

“I’m no shrink,” she said as she placed her other hand over the one she held on the table, “but I do know that everyone mourns differently. Some take longer; some need less time. Only you can be the judge; but that said, I think that I can also say that I feel as if I got to know Catherine somewhat during my investigation, and I know that she was selfless and she wouldn’t want you to spend your life alone. You have the right to love, and to be loved again,” she said, voicing the thought she’d had a few days before.

“I’m not alone; I have Jacob,” he told her.

“That’s not what I meant,” she said meaningfully. “Do you want to spend every night, for the rest of your life, here, in this chamber, at this table or in that bed alone? Or would you like to share those nights and the days, with someone?”

He looked at her, and the pain in his eyes cut like a knife.

“You don’t have to say anything,” she said as she rose and headed toward the door. “Just think about it. You know where I live.”

As Diana walked swiftly to the entrance closest to her loft, she silently berated herself.

Yes, he’d been the one to broach the subject, but did I push too hard? Will I ever see him again? she wondered as she walked along. Only time will tell.

* * * * *

Later, as she got ready for bed, she wondered if Devin had gotten any information out of Father. Strange how her gut told her that all of this, the arson, the possible connections to the Tunnels, Father’s periodic disappearances, and the sudden appearance of one Andrew Devin Wells were connected. She didn’t see how it was possible, but her gut had never failed her before.

As she was drinking her coffee the next morning, she wondered if Devin would contact her, but it didn’t take her long to decide that she wouldn’t give him the chance. She’d go to him. She might even get a look at the twin brother. She’d been curious since she’d learned of him.

Not wanting to look out of place in an upscale law office, she dressed in her best suit. The one that had been pushed to the back of the closet when she’d left the police department. She pulled her hair back and tamed it into a chignon, and chose a dark teal blouse and plain black pumps. She even swapped her large leather tote for a smaller black leather shoulder bag. If she didn’t break an ankle in the shoes she was unaccustomed to wearing, she’d pass.

She stepped off the elevator into the reception area of Allen, Galway and Wells.

“May I help you?” asked the receptionist as Diana stopped in front of her desk.

“Diana Bennett to see Bryan Sprague,” she said confidently.

“Do you have an appointment, Ms. Bennett?” the woman asked.

“No, but I’m sure if you tell Mr. Sprague that I’m here, he’ll see me.” Diana used her best cop stare.

“Just a moment.”

She picked up the phone and punched in three digits.

“Mr. Sprague, there’s a Diana Bennett here to see you. She doesn’t have an appointment.”

She listened a moment then looked up at Diana in surprise.

“Yes sir. I will.”

She hung up and pointed to the hall behind Diana.

“Mr. Sprague’s office is on the right at the end of that hall,” she said. “His name is on the door.”

“Thank you.”

Diana turned and walked down the hall. She walked just slow enough so that she could read the names on the doors that she passed. She reached the door with the name Bryan Sprague, but didn’t see any with the partners’ names. She knocked and Devin answered it and invited her in.

“I was just trying to call you,” he told her as she led her to a sitting area in the corner of the office. “You clean up nice, Bennett,” he added.

“Thanks… I guess. Were you able to talk to Father?” she asked as she sat.

“Yeah, but he didn’t have much to say. I confronted him with what I know; and he told me that he couldn’t tell me anything right now, but that we’d all know when the time was right.”  He sat across from her.

“What did you tell him?”

“I didn’t mention the official case you’re working on, just what I know about his brother.”

“Did you mention the realty company?”

“No, I didn’t want to muddy the waters.”

“It’s not that I don’t trust Father,” she assured him, “but if he or his brother are in any way involved in this arson thing, then I don’t want them to know that I’m investigating it.” She looked around the office. “This is nice for a junior lawyer.”

He gestured at the wall behind his desk. “No window,” he commented. All the juniors are stuck down here at the end of the hall, the more senior attorneys are closer to the reception area, and the Partners are all on the other hall and each of them has their own reception area.”

“So there’s not much chance of me seeing your uncle,” she stated.

“Not really. There’s a private parking garage under the building so that isn’t really likely unless you can get past the attendant. I haven’t even seen him since my first day.”

“Are all the partners that secretive?” she asked.

“No, Tom Allen leads the weekly staff meetings and Liam Galway makes an appearance most weeks.”

“How long have you been here?” she asked, curiously.

“About six weeks.”

“So you’ve been trying to figure this out for that long?”

He leaned back and stared up at the ceiling. He took a deep breath and slowly let it out.

“Actually, I came to New York for a completely different reason. Like I said, I needed a job that would pay me a decent salary. I’d met Bryan Sprague a while back and knew his story, so I looked him up. He thought it would be a great joke to play on the man to help me in my masquerade.”

“So he’s become a total rebel,” she said.

“He has that…” Devin looked at his watch. “Look it’s lunch time and I don’t have any appointments ‘till two. Why don’t we go eat?”

“Only if it’s not that place we went the other day,” she said as she rose and picked up her bag.

“You didn’t like it?” he asked as she guided her to the door with a hand at the small of her back.

“I didn’t say that,” she said with a grin. “I just wasn’t comfortable.”

“OK, then you pick.”

“There’s a Chinese place within walking distance. The food is fantastic,” she said as they walked down the hall.

Once they were seated in the restaurant and had placed their orders Devin changed the subject completely.

“I spoke to Vincent last night,” he began.

Diana looked up from the placemat where she’d been reading her Chinese horoscope.

“What about?” she asked.

“About Father, and you. What did you say to my brother?”

“Why?” She didn’t want to give away anything that Vincent didn’t want others to know.

“He asked me all kinds of questions. He even asked if I was interested in you… you know… romantically.”

“What did you tell him?”

“You fishin’, Bennett?” he asked with a grin.

“No! I used to be an officer of the law, I come from a long line of cops; you, my friend are a chronic breaker of the law. I can turn a blind eye, for Vincent’s and Father’s sakes, but no way in hell would I get involved with you.” She was very emphatic about that.

“And you’re in love with my brother,” he added for her.

“Am I that transparent?” she asked with a scowl.

“No, but you just confirmed it. From what he said last night, I have a feeling that he shares those feelings.”

“Maybe, but I don’t think he’s ready for them,” she said with a shake of her head. “He told me that there was an attraction, but that it made him feel guilty.”

“He told me the same thing, but I told him that I didn’t think that Catherine would expect him to mourn forever.”

“I said something similar, but I don’t know if he’s ready to hear anything like that yet. My dad died when my mom was only 48; she was still young, and she was an attractive woman. She put on black the day after he died and I swear I didn’t see her in anything but black or navy blue for the next five years. Men were interested in her. Men from church asked her out, but she always turned them down. She was invited to parties, but she’d never go. Then on the morning of her 53rd birthday she showed up in the kitchen in gray slacks and a pink sweater; clothes she hadn’t worn in years. All of us kids were home because it was her birthday. She breezed into the kitchen, smiled and told us she had an appointment to have her hair and nails done and that she’d see us for lunch. She changed totally and never looked back. She told me a few years later that she’d dreamed of Dad the night before and that he’d told her that she needed to quit mourning and live, and she did.”

“I hope it doesn’t take that to get Vincent back on the right track,” Devin said as their lunch was served.

As they were leaving the restaurant, Devin asked Diana if she could see that a package got Below to Vincent.

“I won’t have time to take it myself,” she told him, “but I can drop it with a Helper.”

They reached the reception area just as two other people entered from the opposite side.

Devin tugged her suit jacket and leaned closer.

“Speak of the devil,” he whispered.

She looked up just in time to meet familiar brown eyes. Their eyes held for a moment before the man turned away and spoke to his companion. The two men walked past them to the elevator as both Devin and Diana watched. The man known as Andrew Wells walked with a cane.

Devin and Diana didn’t speak until they reached Devin’s office. Once they were alone Diana turned to Devin.

“That was Father,” she stated.

“How . . . .” He hesitated.

“How do I know, or how is he doing it?” she asked.

“Both?”

“They may be twins, but I doubt that extends to injuries. As to the how, I have no idea, but I’m more interested in the why.”  

 

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