Stone said his goodbyes to Ann over a second cup of coffee and was back in his home office in New York in time for a sandwich at his desk, while he went through mail and phone messages. Joan stuck her head in. “Herbie Fisher wants to come by after lunch to catch up.”

“Sure. He’s been keeping an eye on my clients.”

“You’re starting to get phone calls from people that sound like they want your ear, because you know our new president.”

Stone sighed. “I suppose that’s inevitable.”

“Especially when your name is on the Lees’ guest list for the White House on election night. Did you really sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom?”

“I did, and quite well.”

“What’s it like?”

“Very Victorian. Lincoln never slept there, but he used it as an office.”

“Any ghosts?”

“I was sleeping too soundly to notice.”

“How’s our Kate looking?”

“Just great. Didn’t you watch her on TV?”

“Sure, I did.” The phone rang and she went to answer it.

Stone found four letters in his mail that alluded to his friendship with the Lees, and he dictated perfunctory replies.

Herbert Fisher turned up at two o’clock, with a catalog case full of files to return. He accepted a cup of coffee and settled into the sofa.

“Thanks for riding herd on my clients while I was gone, Herb,” Stone said.

“Don’t mention it. Just vote for my partnership tomorrow.”

“Is it tomorrow? I’ve lost track. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about, you know. You’ve brought more business into the firm than a lot of the partners.”

“I still feel a chill here and there.”

“That’s envy, not doubt.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“You’ll be the youngest partner.”

“That’s what I hear.”

“And you’ve set a record for going from new associate to senior associate to partnership.”

“I hear that, too. I think it was too fast for some of the partners.”

“Has Bill Eggers offered you a better office?”

“I’m happy where I am. I did ask for another associate and another secretary, though.”

“If the workload demands it, he’s not going to turn you down.”

“Do you think you’ll get new business because of your relationship with Kate Lee?”

“I never got any because of my relationship with Will, and I’d decline anything I thought was nakedly political—or refer it to you.”

“Referrals are appreciated.”

“Herb, you seem a little down at a time when you should be elated.”

Herbie shrugged. “I’m just not sure how I’ll like being a big boy in the firm. Being the kid was fun.”

“You’ll like it at bonus time.”

“I already like it at bonus time.”

“Bonuses get bigger when you’re a partner.”

“I guess.”

“Herb, is there anything wrong? Anything I can help with?”

He was about to answer when Joan buzzed Stone.

“Yes?”

“Eduardo Bianchi on one.”

Bianchi was a kind of mentor to Stone. He knew everybody in town, served on the most prestigious boards, and had his fingers in many pies. He had also been long rumored to have been a power in the mob as a young man and an adviser to it in his maturity, but nobody had ever proved anything.

Stone picked up the phone. “Eduardo, how are you?”

“Better than I have any right to be, Stone.” Bianchi was well into his eighties. “Will you come to lunch tomorrow?”

“I’d love to.” He had an idea. “May I bring a friend? A young attorney?”

“Of course. I’m always happy to meet your friends. Twelve-thirty?”

“See you then.” He hung up. “Herb, I have a lunch invitation for you tomorrow.”

“Sorry, I’ve got a date—new business prospect.”

“Reschedule,” Stone said.

“Who’s lunch with?”

“Eduardo Bianchi.”

“I’ll reschedule.”

Insatiable Appetites (Stone Barrington Series #32)