"My name is Leni Zane, I'm a private detective." the woman said, she began digging in her satchel for some sort of ID at that point.
"For whom?" I asked, getting to my feet. She held out her identification to me and I walked over to glance at it but wasn't too concerned with it.
"I was hired by the family of Felicia Gianni." Leni said. "To investigate her disappearance."
Hearing her name stung like always. I had talked to George Ortega obsessively when I first left the Bureau but each passing week, I came closer to accepting the fact that she was gone. I never said dead though, that was something I couldn't accept or acknowledge. "Not sure you'll find much out here." I said before walking in the small house and closing the door behind me. I took my phone and and shot off a quick two word text to a friend on the island before looking through the kitchen window to see what she was doing.
Leni stood in the sand looking dumbfounded. After a moment to collect herself, she came to the door and knocked.
I opened the door and leaned against the frame. "Look Ms. Zane, I'm not sure how you found me, why you found me or what service you think I can be of but I left everything I had on Felicia's disappearance, what little there was, back in the states."
"I'd still like to ask you some questions Agent Geirson." she said. "You were on the team assigned to her disappearance and the only one I have gotten in touch with...."
"I told you I'm not an agent anymore." I said. "How did you find me?"
"That's my job Nick...is Nick alright?" Leni asked.
"No." I replied. My phone jingled on the counter and I snatched it up and turned away from Leni, still standing in the doorway. "Mmhmm...okay, thanks." I said to the person on the other end. "Sorry I can't invite you in, I've got business to attend to." I grabbed the shirt hanging over the nearest chair and pulled it over my head. With her still watching, I shoved my phone in my pocket and pulled a handgun from the drawer in the side table and stowed it. "Nice meeting you Miss Zane, enjoy your stay on Oz." I said pushing past her and closing the door behind me. She was forced to move back as I locked the door and left.
"But! We still need to talk!" she called after me. I didn't turn back to acknowledge her.
"She's from Pennsylvania, been a PI for a couple years now seems. Mostly does the divorce racket - ya know, spying on spouses for something to use against them in court later." Robert reported. "She's got a partner of sorts in the business but they usually work their own stuff."
"She ever work a missing person's case before?" I asked, looking over the quickly scrawled notes Robert had handed me. The fruits of his speedy labors.
"Nope, not even sure how the family found her; no time to really find a connection." Robert shrugged. "She arrived on a flight yesterday, has a return ticket for Monday. Guess she figured you'd be easy work eh?" he smirked.
I shrugged. "Thanks R." I slipped him some money, more than his usual fee. "Let me know if you find anything else."
My phone buzzed as I was walking away from him; I had a text message from John - although I was ninety-nine percent sure that was not his real name. "The Bum @ 1". "Brilliant" I muttered, tucking the phone and R's notes in my pocket.
John had already ordered himself a large plate of food by the time I arrived at the small beach-side diner, of course being an island there wasn't much that wasn't beach-side around here. I sat down across from him and tried not to show interest in the file he had open on the table.
His mouth full of food, he pushed the file at me and kept eating while I flipped through the contents. There was an arrest photograph of a dark haired, dark eyed man and several pages concerning the activities that led to said arrest. "Significance?" I asked when John stopped eating finally.
John tapped the photograph. "Look at his name." he said, wiping his mouth.
I looked down at the file. "Luna, Victor Luna....luna....moon!" I looked up at him, my eyes wide and he was smiling arrogantly.
"How do you know?" I asked eagerly. I started scouring the file; there was no mention of charges of murder or even violent crime.
"He was one of the Family enforcers." John said. He was going on about details of his mob activities when I cut him off.
"John, according to this he was killed in a prison riot five years ago." I said thrusting a particular piece of paper in his face.
"I saw that too, but they assumed it was him due to circumstantial evidence, no medical autopsy was ever filed." John said.
I flipped through the file again and realized he was right. "So he escaped?" John just shrugged. According to the file and John's word; Luna was suspected in multiple murders as an enforcer but no evidence could ever be found. They even had testimony from someone who had turned states' evidence describing the moon statues and Luna's M.O. but not enough to convict him of murder. Eventually he'd been gotten on fraud of some sort. "Thanks John." I said, sliding payment across the table to him. He quickly took it and put it away without even counting it.
He knew I was good for it. And I knew better than to short him.
"Be careful with this one Niko." he said. He left without elaborating further. I paid the bill for his meal and tucked all the contents of the file together to leave. On the way out I nearly collided with a tourist going in for a meal.
"Good luck" I muttered to myself; John was the only local I knew who willingly ate at The Bum. But the tourists flocked there for some reason I could never understand. Then they spent the next day balled up in a fetal position wishing they could never eat anything again.
The sun was starting to set so the Bar was getting busy with college kids looking for a good night with music and alcohol. The legal drink age on Oz was eighteen so college kids flocked to the Bar every night. I spun a bottle in my hand and poured several shots in a row for a giggling batch of girls. As I handed them each their shots, I winked in their direction before moving on.
"So this is what you do now?" Leni asked with a smirked on her face. "Get college girls drunk?"
"A man's gotta live on something." I said with a grin. "And it's not just college girls." I added with a wink. I surveyed her change of attire appreciatively. "I see you abandoned the heeled boots."
Leni nodded. "When in Rome." she said. She glanced around the Bar for a bit while I served a few more customers. "So can we talk now?" she asked over the den of music when I finally got back to her side of the bar.
"You see the people here? Kinda busy doing my job." I said.
"Your job? This isn't your job! You're decorated former military! You're still an agent with the..." she was getting loud so I leaned in close to her, placing a drink before her.
"I'd appreciate it, Ms. Zane, if you wouldn't try telling me...." I glanced around. "Or the rest of the world" I added with a piercing look, "what my job was." I stood back and motioned to the drink. "Now drink up and have a good time." I left her looking dumbfounded again, it was a cute look on her I noted.
Either she had to much to drink or took my advice to heart because after swaying unsteadily in her bar stool to several songs, she got up and walked awkwardly toward the stereo. While I had my attention elsewhere, she started swaying to the music.
Her dance induced several college guys to swarm to her side, all wanting a chance and all bearing more drinks for her. I watched, mildly bemused, from the bar as the night wore on. I tried to keep an eye on her so no one swept her off in her drunken state and at the end of the night I found her passed out on a lounger on the beach. Careful not to disturb her too much, I picked her up and carried her back to my car. I noticed her clothes were soaked and I wondered if she'd gone out for a swim while I wasn't watching; I shuddered to think of the possibilities given her state. Her eyes fluttered open for a fraction of a second and she wound her fingers through my hair with a gentle, albeit drunken, stroke.
After situating her in the car, I pulled out the notes from Robert and tried to decipher his scrawl for a hotel name.
I woke up sore and with a mild headache. I looked at my watch and moaned at the early hour, it was before seven in the morning. Once upon a time, I was always up at that time but I hadn't worked until after three in the morning then - well not usually. Once I felt the morning sun streaming through the windows, I knew I'd have to give up on the prospect of sleep.
I got up and stumbled my way toward the coffee maker and started coffee brewing. It would be one of those coffee-required days, that much I knew for sure.
With a fresh, hot cup of black coffee, I opened the satchel I'd thrown aside so carelessly the night before and pulled out the files inside.
I heard the creaks of the floor boards above me thirty minutes later. She moaned loud enough for it to carry downstairs and I smirked. I stood up and made sure there would coffee ready and then returned to my reading material at the table.
She tripped over the slightly bowed board at the top of the stairs and cursed loudly. A moan followed immediately and I imagined her holding her head. For a second, I wondered if I had any aspirin for her - she would be needing it. Then she came down the stairs and I forgot about the aspirin.