From the rooftop across Broom, the watcher grins. She has been observing the installation of the new security features as darkness gathers. The typical bolting of the stable door long after the horse has reached the neighbouring county. She knows the company, knows their systems and can bypass them blindfolded. Not that she intends to do a repeat performance, she's just curious.
The curtains to the sitting room have not yet been drawn closed and when the workmen have left, she can observe the interaction of father and daughter through her binoculars. She's not a peeping tom, but even when it's time for her to leave, she can't resist watching the two of them on the couch, snuggling up together whilst they watch something on the TV. He gets up and she follows him with the glasses, waiting for him to appear in the kitchen window. She can make him out as he opens the fridge door, pulls some stuff out and places it out of sight, probably on the kitchen island she'd noticed the other night. Then he's closing the fridge door and heading back to the couch, placing a large bowl of something on the coffee table and straightening up.
With a gasp she ducks down, biting her lip, trying to get her breathing under control. She knows it's stupid, there is no way she would be visible to him from her observation point, but for a second, as he stood straight, she could have sworn he was staring right at her, the blue eyes piercing straight to her soul.
With a half gasping laugh she dismisses the fanciful idea and makes her way to the fire escape before dropping down to street level and walking over to where she left her bike. It takes her less than ten minutes to get home tonight, the streets are quiet and she feels like a phantom riding down deserted streets. Reaching her apartment she prepares a quick meal of beef strips in oyster sauce, enjoys a glass of wine as she watches the Late Night Show and soon after finds herself in bed, her mind going over the last couple of days and trying to figure out for the hundredth time what it all means.
The alarm wakes her and she slaps the snooze button, giving herself a few more minutes to pull herself together, to enjoy a few moments of warmth and to recapture the sensation of a pleasant dream which unfortunately she can't recall, but has left her feeling warm and fuzzy. When the alarm goes off the second time she opens her eyes to a steely dawn and the reality of work. She turns the alarm off, gets out of bed and heads for the bathroom, the need for a pee uppermost in her mind.
By six o'clock she's astride her Harley and heading for work, the autumn day looking to be cold and miserable, the pinched faces of early morning pedestrians a reminder that summer is no longer with them. Six-fifteen and she's parking the bike outside University Messenger Services at nº 46, University Place, waving to Corrine behind reception and with fifteen minutes still to go before she has to sign in heading for Bagel Bob's and a morning coffee.
By mid-day she's done a dozen runs, mostly small packages or legal documents being sent to and from law firms, financial companies or businesses dealing with these. She tells Corrine that she's just going to grab something to eat and pops into the Epicurean, a small bistro a few doors down and orders an onion soup followed by a dish of couscous.
She's hardly stepped back inside the office when Corrine calls her over "Special delivery, you need to wait for them to be signed and then take them on to the second address"
Kate nods, checks the first address she has to reach as she heads out to her bike, slips on her helmet, turns the key and moves into the traffic heading towards the Bowery. Reaching the first of the destinations she looks around her. The building is tall and narrow, a new construction that has probably recently replaced one of the older ones, its neighbour on the corner is an old brownstone, one floor higher than the one she is heading for, on the other side is a large nineties built office block, in turn one floor less than the new build. Access from either side would not be difficult, other considerations aside.
There's a security guard in reception and he calls up before allowing her further inside. With permission granted he accompanies her as far as the lift doors ogling her and making no attempt to hide it. She ignores him completely, punches the button to the topmost floor and watches as the numbers climb until the lift pings on reaching the seventh floor. The doors slide open onto an elegant vestibule, all marble and antique furniture where a maid is waiting for her and indicates she should follow.
Kate follows the maid past a Jacobean cabinet holding a display of silver pieces, from small nutmeg graters and vesta boxes to teapots and trays. The maid opens the second door on the right and ushers her in before closing the door behind her. The room she is in is elegant, modern furniture, coffee coloured walls, beige hangings, thick wall to wall carpeting, expensive modern art on the walls, a display cabinet containing what looks from where she is standing like a collection of jade figures. The windows are casement, double glazed and what looks like security glass through which she can see the sign for Bertoni's Bakery across the street. The windows are wired and movement sensors are in each corner …
"I believe you have something for me?"
She turns, finds an elderly man sitting at a desk near the back wall, a look of expectation on his face, she nods, "I'm sorry sir, I thought the room so lovely, it distracted me" as she moves towards the desk, her best smile in place.
He gives a sort of ducking nod, pleased with her reaction, "My wife's touch" holding his hand out to take the envelope from her. He opens the flap, pulls out the three sheets of paper it contains and spends the next few minutes reading through them. Kate meanwhile turns her body slightly away, offering him privacy and allowing her eyes to check out the rest of the security installation. She's worked out the location of the junction box by the time she hears the scratching of a fountain pen on paper, turning back as he sets the pen down, carefully folds the sheets and places them back inside the envelope before peeling the protective strip off and pressing the flap down to seal it. He hands the envelope back to her and with a nod of her head she turns back to the door which swings open just as she's about to reach out for the door knob.
The maid ushers her through, closes the door and leads her back to the lift, giving her a chance to check out the security installation on the way. The maid waits till she has stepped in and the doors have closed, obviously visitors are not to be allowed to wonder around on their own. Makes it all the more interesting, she smiles to herself.