Our appointment was for 2:00 P.M. I tapped a knuckle against the glass and heard a rustle of papers inside. A few seconds later, a woman with the look of a Chinese schoolgirl opened the door and tilted her head to one side. She stared at me that way for half a minute. I stared back. She had straight, dark hair of no particular style with a red plastic barrette plugged into a wad of it that would have otherwise flopped into her right eye. She wore no lipstick and no eye makeup and didn’t seem to know that she was pretty. Her dark brown eyes observed me speculatively.
“Are you the guy from Courtland Motors?” She stepped aside to let me in. She was wearing a blue pleated skirt that looked like a holdover from parochial school, and a white nondescript blouse, over which hung a shapeless navy blue cardigan with six generations of knubbies on it. She was clean, but not exactly a fashion statement. And she had great legs.
“Yes. I’m the guy from Courtland Motors. Are you Mr. Nolan’s secretary?”
“I’m Miranda Yee. I’m a lawyer. I’ve got the corner office. Suite 700. Wylie went downstairs to get us coffee, so I’m guarding the fort. I hope you drink coffee.”
She pointed to a brown, suede-covered chair. I sat. She sat. The office had a tiny reception area with two chairs separated by a small table and a blue lamp. Another panel of bubbly white glass divided the waiting area from a secretarial station with a desk, a typewriter, a stack of papers, and a red telephone. Beyond the desk was a solid wood door with a brass plaque engraved:
Miranda Yee observed me as I took my silent inventory.
She said, “Behind that door are another ten offices, staffed by over one hundred highly trained field personnel.”
She shrugged and said, “Only joking.”
Just then, we heard something kick at the door to the hall. Miranda pulled the door open, and I got my first look at Wylie Nolan.
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