Elaine pressed against the brick wall behind the magazine stand. She closed her eyes praying that he didn’t spot her. She heard footsteps crunch on the gravel nearby.
“Excuse me sir.” Jose’s deep voice carried on the wind. Elaine peeked through the slats of the stand. Jose motioned toward the elderly man who was rearranging the magazines and newspapers. The man looked up expectantly at Jose. “Hello there, my name is Officer Jose Sanchez and I am looking for someone in the area who might have come by this way. Do you think you can help me?” Jose held out a picture of Elaine that he must have gotten from the case file on Nick. The elderly man leaned in squinting his eyes at the picture. “I am looking for a woman in her late 20’s about 5 foot 5, dark curly hair, light eyes and olive skin. Have you happened to see anyone fitting this description?”
“I’m sorry Officer; I would remember a pretty girl like her if I saw her but so many folks pass by it’s hard for an old man like myself to keep track of who walks by. I wish I could help you but I don’t recognize that woman.” He hunched his shoulders in regret and Jose gave him a stiff smile.
“I understand but thank you for your help anyway. If you happen to see her could you please give me a call immediately? She could be in danger and need our help.” Jose handed over his card and the man took it and nodded his head, placing the card in his back pocket.
“I will keep an eye out sir, you have a good evening.” Jose tipped his head toward the man and made his way across the street. He rapped on the back door of the building and when it opened he slid inside with one last backward glance.
“Miss?” Elaine jumped as she came face to face with elderly man. He was hunched over, making him slightly shorter than herself but his eyes twinkled behind his bushy grey eyebrows. “It’s ok miss, he’s gone.”
Elaine nervously stood to her full height. “I’m not sure what you mean.” She faltered.
The man’s wrinkled face broke into a knowing grin. “I saw you hide behind my stand and I watched you stare at him from behind here. I figured there was a reason for a pretty girl like you to be hiding. Are you trying to get away from your boyfriend?”
Elaine laughed. “No he’s not my boyfriend.” The man’s bushy eyebrows rose into his ruffled grey hair. “No, no I’m not in any trouble, it’s just…well…it’s complicated.” The man continued to give her a look that made her feel like he was reading her mind. “Look, it’s just he thinks he can help me but he can’t so he is just being unnecessarily overprotective and I just needed some air…ya know what I mean?”
The man took Elaine’s hand in his leathery one and patted it. “Don’t worry miss, I won’t rat you out to your boyfriend.” Before Elaine could protest, he handed her the day’s newspaper. “This will help you out if you need another place to hide and my stand isn’t around to help.” He chuckled to himself before shuffling back to his stand.
Elaine smiled, amused by the old man. She looked at the paper and flipped through it. She noticed an article with the name of a familiar building on it, Scorpion Tower. She looked across the street at the back of Scorpion Tower. She couldn’t believe her luck. A charity gala was being held there tomorrow night. If she could score a ticket she could sneak around and find where Nick’s hideout was. It was her best chance to get as close to Nick as possible without blowing her cover. But how would she get in? Elaine smiled to herself as a plan formed in her mind.
To Be Continued…