brett_icon.gif colette_icon.gif

Scene Title Favors
Synopsis Colette finally follows up with her only lead on finding Nicole, and it takes her to an unlikely accomplice.
Date October 2, 2008

Bright and Reinhold Detective Agency

It's a particularly slow day… at least in the lobby of the two office Detective's suite. Behind the desk is a beautiful young woman, obviously at least partially hired for her disarming appearance. She sits at her computer, looking up some information for a client she speaks with on the phone. "And where exactly did you last see the ring, ma'am?"

The front door to the agency swings open, letting in the sussurus of the crowd outside. This motion is punctuated by the tinny ring of a small bell disturbed by the door opening. Looking up to the sound of the ringing, a young girl clearly in her mid teens sheepishly slides through the door, as if nervous about opening it too far. Hearing the sounds of conversation, she purses her lips and closes the door slowly, disturbing the bell again with that same small chime sound as she does.

Looking around the office, Colette's mis-matched eyes scanning the room as she hugs her messenger bag close to one side by the straps, peering around through the golden-hued afternoon sunlight spilling through the venetian blinds. She doesn't say anything, doesn't speak up, only watches the woman at the desk on the phone with a remarkably nervous expression as she begins edging to the desk.

"I don't see a problem with that, no. You have an appointment at three fifteen tomorrow. We'll see you then, Mr. Burton. Have a nice day." Then, the receptionist hangs up and looks at the young girl who has just stepped in with a warm and reassuring smile. "Hello dear, is there something we can do for you?"

The office itself is in a 'Y' configuration. It enters immediately into a reception area, and back and towards the left is 'Private Detective Reinhold's office, towards the right is 'Private Detective Bright's office. Off to the right directly is a bathroom, and to the other side is a closed and unmarked door.

With her focus drawn towards one of the upholstered couches in the waiting room, the sound of the secretary addressing Colette causes the girl to let out a startled gasp before nervously nodding her head and shuffling over towards the desk. "I um," Her eyes dart back and forth across the room, drawing her lower lip between her teeth briefly. "I was…" One hand shoots down to one of her back pockets, retrieving a somewhat wrinkled business card that she lays face-up on the desktop, then slides across with two fingers. "I'm looking for, um," She finally notices the name on the left door, "Oh! That's the one!" Her fingers slide off of the card, hands folding behind her back as she rocks back and forth on her heels.

"I'm looking for, uh, Detective Reinhold? He… kind've gave me his card, told me to come talk to him 'bout something? Is… um," It's clearly evident she's nervous, mis-matched eyes never quite making eye contact. "Is he available?"

The young woman nods her head as he eyes widen and a grin forms on her features, "Ah! You must be Ms. Nichols." She lifts the receiver of the phone taps at a button on it before speaking, "Mr. Reinhold? The young girl you said may be showing up is here. Should I send her in?" A muffled response is heard and she nods. "Go right on in, Ms. Nichols." She nods with an again reassuring smile to the youth.

For a moment Colette just stands there gaping, it doesn't look like she expected the detective to remember her name, let alone invite her to his office. She blinks a few times, managing to close her mouth enough to turn that confused expression into a nervous and awkward smile, "O-oh he… I…" Stumbling over her sentences, Colette's smile shifts to a grimace, and she takes a few fumbling steps towards the desk, snatching the card she had laid down back, "T-thank you!" The girl chirps, shuffling away from the desk before eyeing the office door. Her confidence wavers for a moment, staring down that labeled entrance, before she finally musters up the courage to walk towards the door, knocking lightly on the frame before cracking it open.

"D-Detective?" Her voice is meek and understated, peeking in through the door as if she's still not entirely certain that she's welcome inside. After a moment, she straightens up, opening the door more and stepping through, all the while keeping one hand tightly gripped on the strap of her messenger bag.

Within the office, the calm and organization of the lobby has something to be contrasted to. Stacks of papers of various origins are everywhere, a discarded pizza box is on the floor next to the trash can on the side of Brett's desk. That desk, an antique classic solid oak affair, has a sweating glass of what appears to be an iced soda upon it with no cup holder. Brett himself sits before a window with the full-blacked curtains drawn tightly closed, behind a computer at his desk, illuminated by the fluorescent lighting in the ceiling. He looks up from some items on his desk he was intently reading and offers only, "One second," before returning his attention back down to whatever he is studying.

Colette ducks her head and bites down gently on her lower lip when Brett speaks up, nodding repeatedly before gently urging the door closed with her shoulder. Creeping through the office, Colette's eyes dart down to the empty pizza box, then over to the desk, following the countour of stacked papers and the glass. As she walks, her shoulders shift, trying to settle the black strap of the bag slung over her shoulders more comfortable. She ends her meandering approach in front of the desk, for all her worth looking like a highschool student called down to the principal's office; sheepish and anxious.

On the desk, what Brett studies so intently, is just a closed file folder… atop which rests a single photograph of a couple at their wedding before the preacher. Brett continues to run his finger over the left side as he takes in every detail of the image. It seems after a short eternity of silence, that he finally looks up to the young girl. After a deep breath through his nose, and clearing his throat behind a closed right hand, Brett offers, "Colette. I had a feeling I'd see you again. …hasn't turned up yet?"

Wrinkling her nose, Colette offers Brett a hesitant smile, shaking her head as she does. "No, um, not really… I kind've don't expect it, but…" Tensing her brows, Colette moves around to the side of the desk, pulling open the front flap of her messenger bag, and retrieves a burned photograph from within. It looks like it's seen better days, browned and crisped on the edges, creased from constant folding and re-folding. What's left of the photo depicts a dark-haired woman in her twenties seated at what presumably is a restaurant. Her expression is one of mixed amusement and frustration, like she's either trying to restrain a laugh or a grimace. Either way, it's clearly a candid. Partly visible on the left side of the picture is a man with white hair, though it's too burned out to make out who it is.

Colette lays the photograph down on the desk, giving Brett another small smile, "That's all I've got. Um, I… I don't have anything else." Closing the flap on her bag, Colette seems nervous to have the photo out of her immediate posession, "I… I can't pay you." She finally admits, looking to be a part of the cause for her nervousness. "I just — I've tried everything. Judah, the um, guy… well, you know him," She's stumbling over her words now, clearly afraid of being turned around this far in. "He put up a bulletin, but, you know, there's a lot of missing people." At least at the end, she does manage to form a small smile. "He didn't have anything bad to say about you. And, for Judah, that's a lot."

Brett gives a grimace of his own as the photo is placed on his desk, then looks up at the mention of Judah. "I'll have to thank him for the lack of compliments, then." He speaks this in dead-pan tone. Brett doesn't reach out to touch the photo, but he does look it over, where it is placed, and nods. "Can I hold on to the picture?"

She can't help but laugh at Brett's comment, and the smile mixed with laughter lightens up her otherwise dour expression. Her brows come together as he asks about the picture though, and there's some hesitance there. Her eyes wander the burned and crisped edges of the photograph, then slowly raise to look up at Brett, the first eye-contact the girl has given him. Her half-blinded gaze lingers for a moment, before she nods her head slowly, "Just be careful with it," she swallows, anxiously, "It's all of her I've got left."

Brett looks up to Colette, back to the photo, and repeats this again before nodding. "Understood. Don't worry about the pay." Detective Reinhold taps at his keyboard, looks at his monitor, then taps another few keys. "I've got a little time to set aside for some pro bono." A pause, then looking directly at Colette, "Though. I need a favor in return."

"Oh, I — " Colette blinks, looking back up at Brett from where her gaze had wandered to her feet. "W-wait, really?" The term pro-bono just flies right over her head, and it's clear by the somewhat muddled expression she has for a moment. When the question of a favor comes up, she takes a few steps over to the desk, resting her hands down on the edges and leaning up onto her toes, peering at the monitor, then Brett, a determined look now dominating her once uncertain expression. "Whatever you need," She says without hesitation, "I owe you big-time for this!"

On the monitor is just a calendar, pretty well decked out with appointments of some sort for almost every day on it, weekends included. Brett sets to typing in only, 'Nichols Case' in a handful of those empty spots that are left. That finished, he grabs a notepad and scribbles something down on it. Ripping off the top sheet he just wrote on, Brett slides it over towards Colette. On it, are the words: "Pepperoni, Ham, Bacon, Mushroom, Onion. Crispy." On the sheet, this is followed by an address and a business name: 'Pizza My Heart'. Sliding over a twenty-dollar bill as well, Brett requests, "Track this down for me, yeah?"

When the piece of paper is slid over, Colette wrinkles her nose and then breaks out into a giggling laugh punctuated by an embarassing snort. She covers her mouth and turns bright red, reaching down to take the slip of paper as her laughter continues to come despite her protests against it, "T-that's it?" She finally manages to say, grinning briadly as she takes the twenty dollar bill and the note, "You can count on me, Detective!" One brow raises as she wags the money and piece of paper in the air, "Do I get a fedora?" She asks in an impish tone, already testing her luck now that her spirits have been lifted some.

Brett looks back at the kid from his monitor and squints his eyes towards the youth. "You're still here?" He only asks, simply.

With a yelp, Colette cracks a smile and stuffs the money and the order in her pocket with a crinkling sound, hopping back a few paces from the desk before hustling towards the door. She swings it open, holding onto the doorknob as she part-way slides out of the door, then leans back in, "You won't regret this!" She exclaims cheerily before stepping outside and closing the door firmly, her footsteps thumping off towards the front of the office coming just as loud as her voice. One dingling bell and a hastily slammed door later, and she's halfway down the street, like a little hyperactive whirlwind.

After a few minutes of the girl having left, Brett finally picks up the picture she left behind. He looks at it closely. Pushing the speaker button on his phone Brett offers to the receptionist. "Get Bright to finish up the Burton case." "Yes, sir." Brett then sighs, and says only for himself to hear… "I already regret it."

October 1st: All You Have To Do Is Ask
October 2nd: Unmistakable Identity
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