Sunday, May 23, 2010

Private Eye

I’d worked for Spencer Ryan for almost a month before a client came to the office. I came in at 8:30 every morning and unlock the office door. Flipping on the light switch, the small room is bathed in a mixture of early morning and artificial light. The sight that greets me is very different from the stark, bare office that I first encountered. 

The furniture remained dusted and cleaned. Simple paintings hung on the beige walls and potted plants were strategically placed in the corners of the room. It’d only taken me about a week to get the office from bare to homey. Well as homey as you can make an office. 

Unfortunately, Spence doesn’t let me touch his office. His office looks as if a tornado has run through it. Or a herd of really messy cows.
 It was about 11:15 the first time that a client showed up at the office. Before the client showed up, I had spent most of my time twiddling my thumbs. There weren’t many phone calls to answer and not a lot of mail and, of  course, not clients. Thank goodness for the very new Mac that sat on my desk. I spent a good part of this first month learning how to use the new computer. I’d been raised on PCs so it was an adventure exploring this different technology.
This particular day I was writing up my letter of resignation. I’d been putting up with this lack of activity for three and half weeks and I was tired of it. I was focused on the wording of my letter when I heard the door open.

Glancing up, I was surprised to see a very pregnant woman standing in the doorway. Her bleached blonde hair was curled and hung around her neck in soft ringlets. She wore expensive maternity clothes and to my utmost surprise, she was wearing high heels. A pregnant woman wearing heels, not something you see everyday. She had a Gucci bag on her shoulder and her manicured fingers pushed the door closed behind her.

“Hello.” I said. I hadn’t ever dealt with anyone before. What was the protocol?

“How can I help you?” I asked after she ignored my greeting.

“I need to speak to Spencer Ryan.” Her clipped accent grated against my nerves.

“Okay. Let me see if he’s available.” I stood up and went to Mr. Ryan’s door. I licked my lips and straightened my spine. I knocked on the door.

“Come in.” Spence’s deep voice was muffled through the wood.

“Mr. Ryan?” I stuck my head into his cluttered office.

“How many times have I told you to call me Spence?” He asked me. I shrugged. I didn’t think it was professional to call my boss by his first name, out loud anyway.

Spence rolled his eyes at me, “What can I do for you Tessy?”

“It’s Tessa. Tess-UH.” I corrected for the umpteenth time. “And there’s a woman out here who would like to see you.”

“What’s her name?”

“Oh. Uh… I don’t know.” Why hadn’t I asked her name? Oh yeah, because I’ve never dealt with a client before.

Spence stared at me for a moment, probably wondering why he’d hired an incompetent assistant.

“Send her in.” He stated as he finished signing some papers.

I nodded, “Yes sir.” I moved the door open even further and turned to the woman who still stood in front of my desk.

“Mr. Ryan will see you now.”

The woman merely gave me a curt nod before passing me and entering the cluttered office. She closed the door behind her, making it impossible for me to hear the conversation going on inside. Darn it. Not that it was ethical for me to hear the going-ons of a Private Investigator and his client. I was just the assistant. Really just a glorified secretary.

I sat back down at my desk and resumed writing my letter. Just because one client showed up at the office didn’t mean that I was needed. The pay was pretty good, but I was going to go insane if I didn’t have something to do soon. As I finished wording my conclusion my mind wandered to when Spencer Ryan had hired me.

I was nervous for my job interview. I’d interviewed at three other places and none of them had seemed very interested. This was turning into a last resort. I showed up at an empty office and just when I thought I was going to break down and cry someone came up behind me.

Standing in the doorway, all broad shouldered and hot, was the most attractive man I had ever laid eyes on. His dark hair was tousled like he just ran his fingers through it; his square jaw was covered in dark stubble. He wore a pair of dark jeans and a dark gray tee shirt that showed off a very well built body. I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open like an idiot.

“Are you Tessa Holbrook?” He’d asked. Tingles filled my stomach with the sound of his deep voice.

I could only nod dumbly. He walked sat down on one of the waiting chairs and motioned for me to take the one next to him.

“I’m Spencer Ryan.”

“You’re Spencer Ryan?” I’d asked incredulously.  He seemed too attractive to be a PI. I’d been expecting an older Humphrey Bogart kind of man; someone with a receding hairline whose wife sent him with a packed lunch everyday. Not a male model.

“Yeah. So are you still interested in the job?” He asked, oblivious to my lack of coherence in his presence.

“I’m here aren’t I?” I gave a light chuckle and smiled, trying to act cool and collected.

He gave a slight smile, revealing a deep dimple in his right cheek. Tingles erupted again in my stomach. “Can you start on Monday?”

“Today’s Friday.” I reminded him. Maybe he was confused on days. Did he really want me to start right away?

“I know. So is Monday good?” He repeated, his dark brown eyes melting my knees. Good thing I was sitting down.

“O-okay.” I nodded nervously.

“Great.” He dug into his jean pocket and pulled out a single key. “Here’s the key to the office and I’ll grab the paperwork. Just fill it out and bring it back on Monday. Be here at 8:30. I like to have the office open at 9.”

I nodded, unable to speak. I took the key, which was warm from being in his pocket. I tried not to bounce my knee. This was not at all what I had expected. Where were the annoying questions about what I wanted to gain from working here? And what about my past work experience?

“Are you sure you don’t want to know about my experience in an office?” I asked hesitantly.

He chuckled a little as he stood up and looked down at me. “I’m an investigator. I know all about you.” He disappeared into an adjoining office for a few minutes and came back out with a small stack of papers in his hand. Mr. Ryan held the papers out for me to take.

“Thank you Mr. Ryan. I really appreciate this.” I stood up glad my knees hadn’t gone out on me.

“You can call me Spence.”


  1. I love it!

    Tell me more, tell me more (like does he have a car?).

  2. I've been reading a lot of detective novels lately, and this one reads very well. I like it so far. Only one thing seemed strange to me. Why does she always need to correct him on her name, if he got it correct at the time of her interview? Does he use a more affectionate "Tessy", but she prefers the formal Tessa?

  3. umm... I pretty much love this Nicole and would love to read more!

  4. This is ... oh, I don't know how to explain it. It makes me giddy like Dumbhead's hair! (hahaha!) You'd better keep going cuz I wanna hear more about this Spence Ryan guy! Love it! (of course)