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DB walked up the stairs and along the corridor, past the dentist's office and the lawyer's office, until he hit the door reading Black's Private Investigations.
Turning the door knob, he was brought up short by the fact that it was locked. Right. He'd had to let Ginny go and her last day had been Friday. He was on his own for phones, bills, filing, everything. Happy Monday to him.
A new outfit had rolled into town six weeks ago, all shiny and new with all the latest gadgetry and about fifty fucking employees. He knew he wasn't the only PI hurting a little. He'd manage, though, he always did.
Digging through his pockets, he found his keys and let himself in.
The place looked the same as it always did: secretary's desk at the end of the room next to the door to his office, a half dozen chairs that actually matched. It had been eight, but he'd had to throw out two. One had a bum leg and the other had been destroyed by the kid of one of his clients. Little brat had sat there and picked at the pleather covering the seat until it finally gave way. He'd have added the cost to the mother's bill, but he felt bad for her--asshole husband not only cheated but hid all their assets, leaving her high and dry.
The one plant the office boasted looked kind of droopy, and God only knew how old the magazines were, but there was a little water cooler with a paper cup dispenser, and tissue boxes here and there. The place didn't look as near to the bone as it was.
Activating the door ringer, DB grabbed the appointment book off Ginny's desk and headed into his office, leaving the connecting door open.
His office was nicer--he had windows and a bigmahogany desk, an oak chair for clients and a comfy one behind the desk for himself. The filing cabinets had a fake wood finish, but they blended well enough they didn't overpower the room.
He turned on his computer and sat, flipping through the appointment book as he tugged a Camel out of his shirt pocket.
"You're late," a voice behind him said. "And you shouldn't smoke in the office."
He tried very hard not to jump at the voice. "What? No good morning? No how are you today?" He lit up, taking a long drag. Better than fucking coffee, that was. "Besides, it's my office."
"So you say." There was a long pause and the voice turned a little whiney. "Seriously, don't do that. It's rude."
Rude. Right. DB rolled his eyes and sat back. He took another drag and started to blow smoke rings.
"Show off." There was a long-suffering sigh and then, "Good morning. How are you today? Where the hell is Ginny? Why isn't there any coffee? Are we going to work today?"
God, he hated it when Jesse only half followed along. "I have a headache. Ginny doesn't work here anymore, which is why there's no coffee--you don't drink coffee anyway so why are you complaining? We sure as hell had better be working today or we won't have an office anymore, either. Why the hell am I saying we? I. I better be working or I won't have an office. And stop hovering over my shoulder--you know I hate that!"
"And I hate you flaunting your lovely nicotine at me! Can't smoke, either." Jesse came out from behind him and moved to the client chair, sitting down with the same careful precision he always used when he was acting normal. He looked pretty solid today, too, instead of half-there. "I liked the smell of Ginny's coffee, is all," he said, eyeing the latest smoke ring as it floated above his head.
"I'm not flaunting, I'm smoking. There's a difference." Okay, so maybe the smoke rings had been showing off. But it just wasn't right for a ghost to nag you over your bad habits. "And you're going to have to get used to the smell of just Starbucks again 'cause Ginny's gone until business picks up." He tapped the appointment book. "We've--I--have a lady coming in today at eleven." Which gave him--he glanced at his watch--about five minutes to smoke his cigarette and spray the air freshener around.