Hiroki was squaring away the data he had collected when Camen returned to the office with Mrs. Wallace in tow. Hiroki wasn’t sure where Camen had stashed her after the events of the other night, but she looked diminished outside of her palatial home, scared and insubstantial.
Camen let Hiroki do all the talking on this one. Hiroki appreciated it, well in his element working with numbers and data. This was one of the main reasons Camen had brought him on board, and he had the decency to know when to let him take the reigns.
“Mrs. Wallace,” Hiroki said. “I assume Benjamin told you that we recovered some information from your husband’s office yesterday.”
“Yes,” she said quietly. “You’re doing better than the police. They’re still having trouble getting a warrant.”
“Well, we beat them to the punch,” Camen said. “And we’re not exactly following proper procedure.”
"Anyway,” Hiroki said, “the data we found was pretty unimportant on the whole. However, of note is that your husband kept his personal budget and finances on that computer. And there were plenty of interesting things in there.”
Mrs. Wallace sat forward in her chair, her eyes wide. “Interesting how?”
“Well, to start with, you were aware that he was giving money to Victoria Falchi?”
“I … no.” She shook her head, her brow furrowing. “I mean, I figured he might. A man like Sam doesn’t keep a woman like that through personality alone. But he never told me the specifics.”
“Well, there’s money here that is earmarked for Miss Falchi. What’s more interesting, though, is that there’s another amount of the exact same amount that is going to someone else.”
Camen spoke up. “Are you aware of any other people that your husband might have been paying under the table? Blackmailer? Drug dealer? … another woman, maybe?”
“Another woman?" Mrs. Wallace looked bewildered. “Why would he keep another woman?”
“Two might not be enough,” Hiroki helpfully chimed in. Camen shot him a look, and he withered in his chair.
“We don’t know for sure what’s going on, but the only clue we’ve got is that he was paying someone a pretty decent amount for something.” Camen moved closer to her, kneeling down by her chair. “Look, if you know something about what that might be, I need to know now. We’re getting to the point where the police are going to sweep in and all the clues are going to disappear.”
Mrs. Wallace’s eyes went wide, but she shook her head slowly. “I’m sorry, I don’t know anything. He never mentioned paying that much to anybody else. I’m afraid I can’t be much help.”
Camen sighed but nodded. “All right. We’ll keep looking, but without some hint as to where your husband’s disappeared to or who this mysterious person is, we’re kind of stuck. We’ll keep you updated, but in the meantime I hope you’ll agree to stay out of sight.”
“Of course,” she said. “The last thing I want is to end up like poor Miss Falchi.”
Camen escorted her out, taking her home while he left Hiroki in the office. Hiroki was fine with that, with some more time to think and work he could potentially dig through the information they had gathered. There had to be a clue somewhere, there just had to be. Without some direction to who they were looking for, this whole case could end up a wash. A missing man, a dead body, and the police already starting to poke around. A recipe for disaster.
Hiroki was lost in his work when the door opened. He didn’t even look up, just kept digging. “She’s no help, Ben,” Hiroki said. “I think we might be at a dead end.”
“I certainly hope that isn’t the case,” an unknown voice said.
Hiroki looked up, eyes wide. In the doorway were three people. They were all dressed in nice suits but none of them particularly looked business-like. There were two in the back, a mountain of a man and a short, thin man, who looked dangerously thuggish. In front of them was the man who was obviously in charge.
“Can I … help you?” Hiroki eyed them nervously. Sometimes Camen had some shady characters show up, but these guys looked more serious than the usual person who came through that door.
“You’re Ben Camen’s tech boy, aren’t you?” The man in front stepped forward. “You can certainly help me, then. You see, I’m looking for information about where Samuel Wallace has got to, and I hear you might have some idea.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Hiroki said. “But Mr. Camen will be here before too long, and he can sort this out.” Hiroki moved to stand up, suddenly wanting nothing more than to step outside and call Ben and get him there as soon as possible.
The two men who were standing at the door stepped forward. The big one shifted just a little, expertly flashing the holster under his suit jacket. “I’m sure you can help me,” the man said as he sat down in the chair across from the desk. “So sit tight, kid.”
Hiroki sat back down, staring at the two men. They were on either side of the chair, immobile but obviously standing in the way of Hiroki and the door. There was no easy way out of this one. He only hoped Benjamin came back quickly.
“That’s right,” the man said when Hiroki settled in, defeated, into his seat. “Now, you’re going to tell me everything you two have found out so far.”
The man laughed. “Or what? Come on kid, this isn’t the movies. You’re going to tell us. We can just do it slow or you can just volunteer the information and save us all a whole lot of work. Now, why don’t you show us all that information on that computer of yours.”
Hiroki stared at the screen, the information they had stolen from Wallace’s computer right there on the screen. There wasn’t time to get rid of it before they’d stop him. There wasn’t room to run. Hiroki hesitated a moment, unsure.
The two men behind the chair advancing on Hiroki sitting at the desk.