“Oh, sweetheart, any day I can do something behind the bimbo-nazi’s back is a day of celebration.”
Still, Tod cast a cautious look right and left before he opened the door to what had once been Malory’s office and was now Pamela’s domain.
“Oh, God, what has she done to my space?”
“Hideous, isn’t it?” Tod actually shuddered. “It’s like the walls vomited Louis XIV. My only satisfaction is that she actually has to look at this when she comes in.”
The room was jammed full. The curvy desk, the tables, the chairs, and two tasseled ottomans all vied for space on a rug that screamed with red and gold. The walls were covered with paintings overpowered by thick, ornate gold frames, and statuary, ornamental bowls and boxes, glassware and whatnots crowded every flat surface.
Each piece, Malory noted, was a small treasure in itself. But packing it all together in this limited space made it look like someone’s very expensive garage sale.
“How does she manage to get anything done?”
“She has her slaves and minions—meaning me, Ernestine, Julia, and Franco. Simone Legree sits up here on her throne and gives orders. You had a lucky escape, Mal.”
“Maybe I did.” But still, it had been a wrench to come through the front door again, knowing she no longer belonged.
Not knowing where she belonged.
“Where is she now?”
“Lunch at the club.” Tod checked his watch. “You’ve got two hours.”
“I won’t need that much. I need the client list,” she said as she headed for the computer on the desk.
“Oooh, are you going to steal clients from under her rhinoplasty?”
“No. Hmm, happy thought, but no. I’m trying to pin down the artist on a particular painting. I need to see who we have that buys in that style. Then I need our files on paintings with mythological themes. Damn it, she’s changed the password.”
“She uses your password?”
“No—M-I-N-E.” He shook his head. “She wrote it down so she wouldn’t forget it—after she forgot two other passwords. I happened to, ah, come across the note.”
“I love you, Tod,” Malory exclaimed as she keyed it in.
“Enough to tell me what this is all about?”
“More than enough, but I’m in kind of a bind about that. A couple of people I’d have to talk to first.” She worked fast, locating the detailed client list, copying it to the disk she’d brought with her. “I swear I’m not using this for anything illegal or unethical.”
“That’s a damn shame.”
She chuckled at that, then opened her bag to offer him a look at the printout she’d made from the digital photo. “Do you recognize this painting?”
“Hmm, no. But something about the style.”
“Exactly. Something about the style. I can’t quite place it, but it’s nagging at me. I’ve seen this artist’s work before, somewhere.” When the file was copied, she switched to another, put in a fresh disk. “If you remember, give me a call. Day or night.”
“If I’m not having a psychotic episode, it may very well be.”
“Does this have anything to do with M. F. Hennessy? Are you working on a story for the paper?”
She goggled. “Where did that come from?”
“You were seen having dinner with him the other night. I hear everything,” Tod added.