Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 9

Castle has had a somewhat frustrating day. He'd expected a bit more collaboration from his fellow burglary victims, but several have refused to even talk to him saying only that they've already told the police everything. Two of them are away and he will have to go back another day if he wants to talk to them. From the other five victims he has been unable to gain any further insight, only confirmation of what was in the police reports.

Now, back in the loft, he's taking his frustration out on eggs he's whisking for an omelette. As Martha comes down the steps she shakes her head, "Richard darling, when you've done murdering those eggs, could you find me some paper clips?"

Castle pauses with the whisking and scowls at his mother "Have you lost your keys again?"

"Really, Richard, kill someone once and you're a murderer for life! As it happens, no, I have some paperwork I need to organise"

Resuming with his whisking he nods towards the study, "Top, left-hand drawer in the desk"

A few minutes later and Martha is walking out of the study, a puzzled look on her face as she studies her son. "Tell me kiddo, what are you doing with a picture of that messenger in your office?"

It is several heartbeats before his mother's words filter through the clicking of the whisk in the bowl and when they do he almost drops the whole lot. Martha, seeing the startled look on his face shakes her head again "Close your mouth, dear"

"What did you just say? ... not now ... earlier, about the messenger?"

An exasperated Martha sighs, sits on the edge of the stool by the kitchen island and says "I asked you what were you doing with the picture of that lovely messenger"

Castle, butterflies playing havoc with his insides, brain still not quite grasping how his mother could know their intruder, moves round the island grabs her arm and almost marches her into the study, "Do you mean to tell me you know who that is?" he asks pointing to the police sketch on the easel.

"Well, not exactly, I mean I don't know her name, but she bears an extraordinary resemblance to the messenger who brought the contract round last week for the studio lease"

"The studio lease, do you know what company she works for?"

"Um, no, the contract was sent by the owner's lawyers for me to look at and discuss with my own lawyer before we meet next week ... why?"

"Do you know what the lawyers are called, the ones who sent you the contract?"

"Richard dear, how am I supposed to remember that, I probably have some paper somewhere with their name on it ... but ... oh just a minute I remember now ... it was Jacobs and Millets ... no, no ... Jacobs and Millens! That's it!"

"Mother, you're a genius!" and with that he pulls his phone from his pocket and heads for his bedroom, leaving a somewhat bewildered Martha staring after him.

Information supplies him with the number for Jacobs & Millens, Attorneys at Law and he's soon speaking to a secretary.

"Yes hello, I was wondering if you could help me, last week you're office sent a document to my mother, Martha Rodgers, it was a contract for the lease on a property. The paperwork was delivered by messenger service and I was wondering if you could give me the name and address of the company?"

"Was there a problem with the service Mister Rodgers?"

"Oh, no ... no, it was excellent, she was very satisfied with it and I was thinking of using them myself!"

"Well I'm glad to hear that Mister Rodgers, hold on a moment, let's see … that would have been UMS … that is University Messenger Services, their offices are at 46, University Place, would you like their phone number as well?"

Profusely thanking her, Rick eventually hangs up, it's too late for anything today, but tomorrow he hopes he will have the first tangible evidence of her existence. Now with something concrete to get his teeth into, he sits at his desk, turns on the laptop and within minutes is adding to the basic outline of the story, the new information giving him a new angle to work on. Minutes become hours, his mind jumping from idea to idea, from possible to impossible, from a beginning to an ending. He is unaware of his mother and daughter dumping the thoroughly defeated eggs down the sink and starting anew, he does not hear the door to his study opening and silently closing again as Alexis, aware of how difficult he has found it to write over the last months is glad that he suddenly seems to have found inspiration.

It is almost three in the morning when, stiff from prolonged sitting in the same position, hands tired from the sudden burst of recently forgotten exercise, Castle saves his work, turns off the computer and with a stretch of creaking muscles, stumbles into the bedroom and crawls into bed.

He spends a restless night, his imagination playing out a hundred different scenarios for the following day. Yet by eight o'clock he's wide awake, excitement building as he shaves, showers and gets himself some breakfast.

Grabbing a cab he directs it to the address supplied by the lawyers' secretary the day before, but as a precaution he gives the address as number forty, not wanting to find himself stepping out of the cab and straight into his mystery messenger. Some fifteen minutes later he finds himself at the address, but unfortunately the street is limited parking. He tells the taxi driver to continue to the next block, and as they drive past he locates the UMS premises. They're located between Bagel Bob's and the Zeeman Wine & Liqueurs. Right on the corner of the next block is Amorino's Coffee Shop, and he reckons he can get a good view of the University Messenger Services from there. He pays off the taxi, walks in to the coffee shop and chooses a table by the window. His view of the UMS offices is occasionally obstructed by passing trucks and vans, but otherwise he has a good position.

He's three coffees and a muffin down and is getting some strange looks from the staff, but still no sign of his mysterious woman. He's thinking of going to the toilets when the rumble of a Harley passing the window draws his attention. The Harley turns onto University Place and pulls up outside the UMS offices. He's about to get up when the rider removes her helmet and turns her head to look at something on the bike. He freezes, hands on the table, elbows bent, body half standing ... it's her, there is no doubt ... a van trundles past the window, obscuring his view, he drops back into his seat and waits for it to move on once the traffic lights change. By the time he can see the offices again, the bike is standing on its own, the rider nowhere in sight. He pulls his phone and takes a snap of the bike for future identification.

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