“I’ll see what we can do about the cloud footage.” Ryan exclaimed as he and Tobias walked out of Tobias’ office. “I’m sorry about the glitch, it’s not acceptable.”
“These things happen.” Tobias replied. “I’ll have Ruby type these new clauses into the proposal and send a copy over as soon as possible.”
Ryan looked over at me and smiled before returning his attention to Tobias. “It’ll be a pleasure working with you Tobias.”
Ryan left the office without another word. Once he was gone Tobias handed me a piece of paper with notes on it. I frowned at him, annoyed he could be so blase about a security failure.
“These things happen?” I mused. “I think you were far too light on him. His company is supposed to provide you with a service and it failed.”
Or maybe it was just another ‘coincidence’. One orchestrated by the person behind it all. I looked at Tobias whose face was full of concern and frustration.
“Believe me, I’m annoyed. But I’m having the neighbouring complexes scouring their own footage from the day. It’s a long shot, but If someone else came back with Jimmy that day and they walked passed either of the complexes, we’ll find out.”
I felt a smile brush across my face and I stood up, despite wanting to believe it was all over and done with, Tobias was still delving deeper. I placed my hands in his, “You didn’t tell me you were doing that.”
He nodded as he gazed down at me, his icy eyes soft with love.
“I couldn’t sleep last night. As much as I want this to be over and for us to be safe… it’s not over. I called the owners and they agreed to have someone look into it.”
In spite of the situation my heart filled with love and appreciation. “Thank you.”
Tobias nodded and leaned down, he pressed his lips against mine. The room faded from existence as I lost myself in him.
“We need to contact the police about that email.” He murmured ruefully pulling back. “As much as I’d like to continue this.”
Tobias disappeared into his office, again leaving the door open. I sat down and tried to focus on adding the new clauses to the proposal between Echo Communication and Clarke Industries. But the words began to melt together on the paper in front of me making it impossible to collate the notes. I straightened the paper out and bit my lip. One of the board members were omitted from the new notes, and I wasn’t sure if it was an error or if that person had left so I picked up my phone and called the contact we had at Echo.
“Good morning, you’re speaking with Jenny. Echo management.”
“Morning Jenny. It’s Ruby Moritz here. Tobias Clarke from Clarke Industries Personal Assistant.” I stopped and glanced at the names. “I just wanted to check that leaving Jordan Tone out of the new proposal is correct.”
“Ah yes. Ms Moritz. Jordan Tone is no longer with the company. I must say. We’re all looking forward to working with Clarke Industries. Mr Hampton ensures us that the extra time Mr Clarke is taking in forming a final proposal will pay off in the long run.”
Time Mr Clarke was taking? I frowned. Ryan had been dragging out the process since the beginning. Of course I couldn’t let on that I knew different. I couldn’t risk Ryan finding out I was suspecting him, because if it was him… it was beginning to look like the guy might be a little psychopathic.
“Of course. Mr Clarke is the best in the business. Echo Communications will be in great hands. We look forward to working with you also.”
“Goodbye Ms Moritz.” Jenny replied.
Tobias walked out as I hung up the phone. He pointed at the phone and shrugged. “You called Echo?”
“I noticed that someone from the original draft was omitted. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a mistake.” I explained, leaving out everything else. Telling Tobias my theory now was pointless and quite frankly dangerous.
“Ah good thinking. I didn’t notice, I’ve been a little distracted.” He murmured. “I called the police. They asked me to forward the email, they’re not coming in. Ruby, I need you to go home. My apartment is safe, no one is going to get in there bar me. I’ll take you, I’ll come back here, finish my work and then come home.”
He sounded desperate, like a man at the end of his rope. I hated seeing him so conflicted, without much thought I nodded and stood up. I had all the time in the world to come back to work.
Tobias relaxed immediately, his eyebrows softened and he stepped forward until he was close enough to wrap me in his arms.
“I thought I was going to have a fight on my hands.” He whispered.
“Not today.” I murmured. “Let’s go.”
Tobias and I left the office without much thought for the work we were leaving behind. Fear had driven Tobias’ entire life. Fear about what other people could do to him, I couldn’t compound it by letting him fear what someone could do to me too.
Once we were home Tobias kissed me softly. His hands cupped my face, holding it in place so that his lips and mine continued to be aligned. I let out a soft mew, a sound that clearly affected him because his kiss deepened. With a great deal of reluctance he stepped back. “I’ll be back as soon as possible.” He exclaimed. “Stay Safe.”
I nodded as he left me and walked out the door.
But the truth was I felt anything but safe anymore. Simply staying inside our apartment would do little to change that. As much as I didn’t want Tobias to worry, I needed to figure this out, I needed to save Jimmy from being charged for something he didn’t do. I needed to know why someone could hate us this much.
Maybe the footage from the neighbouring apartments would be enough, but I couldn’t sit around and wait for that to happen. Tobias had the right idea, looking outside the box… Figuring out other ways to confirm jimmy’s movements, I picked up the phone and dialled the pizza parlor. It rang five times before an automated answering machine picked up the call.
“Hello there, you’ve reached Luis from Luis’ Pizza. Sorry you’ve called us outside of store hours. We’re open Monday through Sunday 1pm till late. If you’d like to leave a message, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”
I frowned and looked at the clock on the oven in the kitchen. It was 12:45pm. The pizza parlor wasn’t far away and if he had surveillance I could see it right away. I could figure out if it was worth bringing Tobias or the police into my suspicions. Right now my thoughts were my own and they were safe there.
I grabbed the keys for the apartment from the benchtop and scrawled a quick note on a piece of paper for Tobias. I knew he’d be angry at me, but if I was right, then this really could be all over.
I left the apartment complex and walked briskly through the streets. I’d promised to stay safe, and I intended on doing just that. The quicker I got to the parlor, the quicker I could get back home.
By the time I made it to the shop the store was open for business. I pushed one of the heavy doors open, the bell hanging over the door rang loudly. There was no one else in the store, and not even the smell of pizza wafted through the air yet.
Luis, the owner walked out from the kitchen. His uniform was crisp and clean and his smile wide.I felt at ease here, I felt safe.
“Oh, I recognise you.” Luis’ rich italian accent filled the restaurant and moved through me. He was kind, and friendly. Just like Jimmy. “What can I do for you sweety?”
“I’m kind of hoping you have security cameras.” I exclaimed. “See my friend is in trouble for something he didn’t do… and I think the person responsible followed him here and drugged him.”
Luis frowned and looked behind me. He nodded and pointed to a side door. “It’s through there.”
“Can I?” I murmured.
Luis nodded and lifted the benchtop of the counter before motioning me in. I followed him through the gateway and into the side ro
“Here it is.” Luis said pointing to the small television set. It was old, and the footage wasn’t extremely clear, but unlike cloud storage it was safe… uncorrupt.
“Thank you Luis.” I exclaimed. “Do you have the footage from three days ago?”
Luis walked to a big box in the corner and fished out a DVD case with the date from three days ago emblazoned on it in black marker.
“Thanks.” I said as I sat down on a small black stool in front of the screen. I inserted the DVD into the TV and skimmed through the footage until I saw Jimmy walk through the front doors of the shop. I hit play.
“Ah… Jimmy!” Luis exclaimed. “Of course. He was odd when he left the other day. A little clumsy on his feet. He’d only had the one beer.”
Luis’ observations backed up my theory, I couldn’t look away, afraid I would miss something. I watched a waitress bring Jimmy his beer and pizza. For five minutes he enjoyed the pizza slice and I found myself frowning. Something else had to have happened. Finally Jimmy lifted his beer up and took a sip, but it was overfilled, and he ended up spilling some onto his shirt. Jimmy stood up and walked to the counter.
“I don’t remember that.” Luis exclaimed, he sounded confused.
I tore my eyes from Jimmy standing at the counter on the screen and focused back on his table. A tall man was there now, in a suit standing beside Jimmy’s table. His hand hovered over Jimmy’s beer for a second. I hit pause and stared at the image, it wasn’t clear enough to decipher if the man had put anything into Jimmy’s drink. I sighed and hit play, then watched as the man turned. Suddenly it didn’t matter if I couldn’t see Jimmy being drugged. I could see the person clear as day. I had been right, it was Ryan… but I still had no idea why.