The lock clicked and I slipped easily into the office, immediately sensing that something was off. Perfume, the scent too strong to have been left over since quitting time. I remained still, but sensed no one. I crossed the room to the painting that concealed the safe, clicked the hidden button, but then my heart sank. The safe was unlocked. I opened it and shined my light inside to find it was mostly empty.
Before this set back could register, the lights came on. I swung around and was simultaneously relieved and annoyed when I saw who it was.
“Vespa,” I hissed. “What are you doing here?”
“Same as you apparently,” she said. “To no avail, I should add.”
“Gone is it? Any ideas?”
“My first guess was you, so now I don’t know.”
“You don’t look dressed for this work,” I said, taking in her gown, a black silk number with a swooping neckline. “Is it new?”
“Like it?” she asked.
“Very becoming, but the perfume is sloppy. I thought I taught you better than that?”
“What you taught me was ‘easy in, easy out’,” she said. “I got myself invited to a party two floors up. I can explain being here. ”
“And I can’t,” I said, heading for the door.
“Let me check.” She looked into the hall, and then said, “Okay, clear.”
“Thanks, Love,” I said, slipping past her.
“Anytime, Dad,” she said. “I’ll stop by tomorrow.”