Reeve Stockwell sat at his crappy desk in the dark, cramped space, and considered washing the windows. The office was depressing, and that was being kind, but if the truth were to be told, he loved the little office, no matter what it looked like.
He loved it because it was his.
It beat the hell of that prison cell at Tommy's.
He had a phone, a fax he assumed worked, and he'd test if anyone ever sent him a fax, and a drawer full of bite-sized Snickers. He also had his laptop, which was loaded with cat videos.
Compliments of Kitty Richardson.
And he had a partner.
And an assistant.
Who was late.
"Dammit!" he heard roared from the front room. Stockwell smiled. "Stop putting crap in front of the door!" Daisy Cates yelled.
"You're late!" Stockwell yelled through his office door which was cracked just enough that he could hear Daisy mumbling.
"The cops came by last night for Longworth again," Daisy said.
"Do they have any work for us?" Stockwell asked hopefully.
"Why would they hire us?" Daisy asked, sticking her head through the office door. Stockwell said nothing, but he rolled his eyes. "What?" Daisy asked.
"You're wearing overalls. Do you think that's impressive to clients?" Stockwell asked. He wore a suit, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but the rat trap office didn't have any AC and sweat was trickling down his sides.
"We have no clients. I milked goats this morning. Sorry my Prada was dirty. I'll wear it tomorrow, oh and I might be late then, too. Mani/pedi appointment in the morning, sugar," Daisy said, waving hands that knew more of hard work than pampering.
"I should fire you," Stockwell said, reaching for a Snickers.
"Break my heart!" Daisy yelled.
"Did Miles call?" Stockwell asked.
"Evidently he used his one phone call to call someone other than you," Daisy said.
"Did they arrest him?" Stockwell asked, emerging from the office, looking like a man who just took a sauna in a Men's Warehouse suit.
"You're soaked," Daisy said, fanning herself with a Best Buy ad, the only piece of mail in the mailbox.
"I know. Daisy, what am I doing?" Stockwell said, sounding wistful.
"It wasn't a yes or no question," Stockwell said, frowning.
"No, I am not going to be your employment counselor today or your psychotherapist."
"Thanks for the compliment," Daisy said.
"I can't run a detective agency," Stockwell said.
"Clearly," Daisy said.
"You're cruel," Stockwell whined.
"I'm cheap. What do you pay me?"
"Nothing," Stockwell mumbled.
The phone rang and Stockwell and Daisy both damn near jumped out of their skin. It wasn't an everyday occurrence.
"Hello," Daisy barked.
"Stockwell and Longworth Agency," Stockwell chastised loudly.
Daisy stuck her tongue out.
"Wow. Really? That is absolutely amazing. I'll discuss it with the boss, see what he thinks, and we'll probably call you back," Daisy said, and Stockwell felt his heart begin to race.
Maybe they had a client.
Daisy hung up.
"Well?" Stockwell asked expectantly.
"What? What?" Stockwell begged.
Dickie's Quickie Pizza has a buy one get one half price today. Interested? Twenty minutes to the door or it's free," Daisy said, smiling broadly, thoroughly enjoying the exchange.
"I hate you," Stockwell moaned, walking sluggishly back to his office. He was a madman. He couldn't run a detective agency. He was a retail manager. It was all he knew. He knew where to put the hammers and nails. He could hire and occasionally fire, when he had to. He could figure things out.
"I can figure things out," Stockwell said out loud.
The door slammed and Stockwell figured Daisy had bailed. She'd worked thirty minutes, for free, of course. As far as he was concerned, it was a good day. He figured this was a good chance for her to use his Internet to watch baby goat videos and whatever else she did out there, and if by chance anyone ever did call, other than Quickie Dickie, he'd have someone to answer the phone.
Someone rapped lightly against the door, and Stockwell sighed.
"You don't have to knock," he said softly.
"I think I do," a familiar voice said, and Stockwell sat up straighter in his chair. He had some unresolved issues with the woman attached to that voice, and he hadn't seen her in six months.
JJ Patricks walked into the office, toting a tiny baby in a carrier.
"Hi," Stockwell said sheepishly.
"Things didn't end well with us," JJ stated.
"Every woman in my life could say that," Stockwell said with a slight smile.
"We need to talk," JJ said.
The baby began to fuss, and she reached down and pulled it tenderly and gently from its carrier. It was the tiniest thing Stockwell had ever seen, and he was somewhat frightened of it.
"What is it?" he asked.
"It's a baby. Your dad never had the talk with you?" JJ asked, fumbling with her sweater.
Stockwell started to sweat.
"Boy or girl?"
"Boy," JJ said. "Henry."
"Hi, Henry," Stockwell whispered, before shooting out of his chair to his feet. "What are you doing?" he nearly yelled.
"Henry's hungry," JJ said matter of fact, pulling at her enormous chest.
"Do NOT whip that thing out in here," Stockwell commanded.
"I'll go in the other room," JJ said. "You stay here. We need to talk about what happened at Tommy's that last night, and then......., I have a job for you."
JJ left the office with baby in tow. Stockwell sat back down, grateful that a solid wall separated him from JJ's gigantic breasts. Those things were so big he couldn't believe the otherwise little woman didn't fall flat on her face.
He reached into his desk drawer and retrieved a Snickers.
Then another one.
JJ had a job for him.
It was going to be a damn good day.