Wednesday, March 12, 2014

what i wrote today: GH Scene 08

GH Monday: Day 02 Scene 08

Indigo Snow

Though the roads had been ploughed and salted, traffic was still slow as drivers texted and drank Dunkin donuts whilst slowly negotiating turns like the concept was a completely new one to them.

“It’s the pedal on the right!” Indigo muttered under her breath as she weaved around them, liberally using her horn to encourage the cars in front to get going through the junction before the lights changed. Jesus, was she the only one who didn’t have all day to get to work?

At least one of the perks of her job was that she got a pass to the parking garage next door to the office. The first space she found was on the fourth floor. She ignored the elevator and jogged down the concrete stairs to the ground level, crossing the glass-roofed walkway into the office building and using her pass to swipe herself in. She took the stairs again to the third floor, the whole of which belonged to KTI.

“Indigo,” Lauren gave her a warm smile from behind the reception desk.

“Lauren, how’s tricks?”

“Not bad.”

“What did you get up to this weekend?”

They chatted a little while, while Indigo shrugged off her coat, about their respective weekends. Lauren had spent much of hers buying furniture with her girlfriend. They were moving in together in a few weeks time.

“Big step,” Indigo told her.

“Yeah,” Lauren grinned, clearly unfazed.

“I’ve got to get to work, I’ll see you later,” Indigo laughed at the other woman’s infectious happiness as she used her pass to enter the office.

She shared a corner of the open-plan room with Megan and Robbie, both of whom were in the financial investigations unit of KTI. Their desks backed on to each other, with room for a fourth, divided by low grey barriers on which they’d all pinned up their own stuff - timesheets, photos of family and friends, post-it note reminders, jokes left for each other. She greeted them both, Megan giving her a brief nod before returning to her computer screen, while Robbie and Indigo caught up on their respective weekends.

Indigo hung her coat up on a hook on the wall, stuffing it close amongst all the other ski coats and puffa jackets. She kicked off her snow boots and retrieved a pair of orange nikes from the bottom drawer of her desk, slipping them on, not bothering to untie the laces.

“You did what?” Megan asked, picking up on what she was telling Robbie.

“I put a webcam in the gym.”

“Are you crazy? That’s not legal!”

“I ran it past Niall, he was fine with it,” Indigo shrugged, slipping her laptop out of her bag and opening it up.

“Yeah, I just bet he was,” Megan muttered, returning her attention to her own screen. Robbie and Indigo exchanged amused looks. Megan was some kind of genius, highly prized for her ability to follow money trails. But she was too morally sensitive for fieldwork, kept exclusively to the office, an arrangement which she seemed perfectly happy with. It would have driven Indigo crazy.

She logged in, checked her inbox, overflowing as usual, then picked up Robbie and Megan’s mugs and headed to the small kitchen for coffee.

“You’re in luck,” Niall greeted her. “I’ve just made a fresh pot.”

“Don’t you have people who do that for you, boss?”

“Don’t be cheeky,” he poured fresh coffee into the three mugs for her. She added milk to Robbie and Megan’s. “How was your weekend?”

“Okay,” she shrugged. “I put the bugs and webcams in Jackson’s office and gym. Let’s see if anything comes from that. Otherwise, it’s going to have to be a honey trap and you’re going to have to talk to the client about that. I’m mean, if he’s not actually committing adultery yet, she just wishes he did…”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself. Let’s see if we get anything from the surveillance. Maybe we should think of bugging the home as well. With Mrs Jackson’s cooperation, that should be simple enough.”

“She’s a stay-at-home mum, she’s convinced he can’t possibly be doing the nasty there. But after tailing him for a week, I’ve got to tell you, he only ever goes to the office, the gym, and the bar on a Friday night, with his mates. That’s not a good night for a honey trap, by the way. They were all sports and old stories and no eyes for the ladies.”

“That’ll depend on the lady,” Niall said.

Indigo shrugged. She’d done a few honey traps herself, but she hated them. She could flirt with the best of them, and she was good looking enough, but she couldn’t do the old-school helpless femininity that the role required. She was more likely to rescue the princess than be one.

“I take it you didn’t try to tail Jackson in a blizzard?” Niall was asking her, drily.

“Hell no,” she said, “I had someone better to be with.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Anyone I know?”

“No, but maybe I’ll show her the office one of these days.”

“She?” Niall’s mouth twitched as he turned away. “Jesus, Indigo. You can’t even stick to one gender, let alone one person.”

“I’m twenty five years old, why the hell would I stick to one person?”

“That’s a good point,” Niall carefully put the coffee pot back on its hot plate. “Well, I look forward to meeting her. I have to go back to work, now.”

“All right, but don’t think I noticed you didn’t tell me how your weekend went, which either means you were a sad sack working all weekend, or you’re hiding something.”

“Oh, Indigo,” he said, with mock sadness. “My weekends could never compare to yours.”

“Yeah, that’s the truth,” she muttered into her mug, watching him walk out. Was it wrong to fancy your boss? But then every woman in the office fancied Niall, and some of the men too. He was a tall man, with dark hair, going gray at the temples. He wore well-cut suits and dress shirts and today’s tie was blue, bringing out the color of his eyes. He’d started out as a hacker, but soon realised that there was more money to be earned on the right side of the law. He’d set up KTI to specialise in computer security and established a solid reputation with blue-chip companies floundering in a new world of the Internet, trolls, phishing and other phenomena.

In the fifteen years since then, he’d expanded the company into financial investigations and then finally into an all-round security firm. The general investigations division, where Indigo worked, was the smallest, but the one Niall was most personally involved in these days. He had a strong streak of boyish adventure in him that he’d never outgrown.

He also had an excellent relationship with many of Boston’s wealthy and influential people, the Brahmins and the up-and-comers, that meant his firm was the one they came to when they wanted a discreet form of help; a wayward teenage child found, a drug-addicted sibling sent to rehab, an adulterous spouse caught in the act, the money great-grandma hid under the metaphorical mattress found. He also had an excellent relationship with both the Boston and the Cambridge police commissioners, and an eagerness to bring his expertise into some of their messier cases, pro bono.

Indigo had started to work for him when she was eighteen and her talent for getting into fights (and emerging victorious) had already got her a juvenile record and dashed her hopes for a soccer scholarship to college. He’d recruited her to go undercover in a Chestnut Hill home, whose maid’s body had been discovered, nearly fifty miles away, in some woodland near Nashua, New Hampshire. She soon uncovered the fact that all the staff were illegals (including her, according to her cover story) and too frightened to report the family’s abuse of them. The cruelty that had gone on inside that pretty, yellow clapboard house, had been chilling and even now, she occasionally had nightmares of being back there again, suffocating in her own fear.

She’d almost been killed, when the father of the household discovered she wasn’t the Hispanic illegal she’d been posing as, but her evidence had put him in prison for a thirty year stretch. In return, Niall had paid her college tuition at U-Mass, as well as hiring her part-time at KTI until she graduated, with a major in journalism.

She’d nearly finished her coffee. She filled it up again from the pot and returned to her desk, handing Megan and Robbie their coffees. She returned to her laptop and started filling in her timesheets and typing up her reports for the last few days of activity, something she was always behind on. At the same time, she was keeping an eye on the footage she was getting from the webcams and bugs she’d placed around Jackson’s office and gym and if she was a corporate spy, she supposed she’d have hit the jackpot, but as Jackson firmly kept his clothes on in all his meetings, it was proving to be tedious stuff.

Megan stayed focused on her computer screen, headphones ostentatiously placed over her ears. She frequently complained about how much Indigo and Robbie chatted together, but how else could they stay in their seats long enough to fill in all the boring paperwork that came with the job?

“You should have cycled,” Robbie was smugly telling her, in response to her complaint about Massachusetts drivers, so impatient that they often ran red lights and yet so incapable of getting on with it that they would sit and stare aimlessly at a green light until someone’s horn startled them into action.

“How much have you lost now?” Indigo asked.

“15 pounds.”

“You look good for it.”

Robbie beamed. He had plump cheeks that made him look a good five to ten years younger than his actual thirty, but since taking up cycling, his teddy bear stomach had pretty much disappeared.

“Indigo?” Warren Davis, the head of general investigations and Indigo’s immediate boss, stuck his head out of his office and looked over at her. “Got a moment?”

“Sure,” she shut her laptop and headed his way, eager for something more exciting than timesheets and a husband who was stubbornly refusing to commit adultery.

© Essie Gilbey, 2014

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