It was late in the afternoon and I was leaving my internship when a man in a dark suit approached me, an earpiece in one ear. It was so surreal, like I’d stepped into a movie. “Miss Foster?” The man asked, removing his sunglasses and tucking them into his pocket.
“Yes?” I said, hitching my purse higher on my shoulder.
“My name is Jonas Abbott,” He pulled out his identification, showing he worked for a company called Carnus Investigations. “My boss would like to speak to you regarding your brother’s work. If you could come with me, that’d be great.” He flashed his pearly whites at me and I sighed.
“Uh, sure…” There were a lot of things I wanted to ask and to say, but I just followed the Jonas to a black sedan. I half expected there to be other men in the car, dressed like Jonas, but there wasn’t. He held open the passenger door for me, and I got inside, then he went around and got into the driver’s seat. “So, where are we going?” I asked, expecting him to tell me it was top secret.
“To Carnus Headquarters. It’s not far, just fifteen minutes, roughly. When Boss is done with you, I’ll take you back to your car.” Jonas says, replacing his sunglasses to his face while keeping his eyes on the road.
I nodded, even though Jonas couldn’t see me. What could this have to do with my dead brother, and what do they want with me? I haven’t even heard of Carnus Investigations before.
Olger and Jacobs nod, both following the story so far. “Please continue, Miss Foster.”
I take another sip of my coffee, running my thumb slowly along the sides of the cup.
I started to feel a little nervous when Jonas turned onto a dirt road. “Headquarters is this way,” Jonas said, as if sensing my tension. “It’s quite out-of-the-way.” I swallowed thickly as we drove along the bumpy road. After nearly a mile, I saw a huge farm house up ahead. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting- even though I wasn’t sure what I should be expecting.
Jonas parked alongside two other identical black sedans and we stepped out. “Right this way, Miss Foster.” He lead me toward the front door of the house. My heart was pounding in my chest at this point because I didn’t know what I was about to walk into. In my head, I imagined a living room, kitchen, and whatever else you’d find in a typical house, but it looked more like an elegant doctor’s office.
The wine red carpeting was the first thing I noticed, then I took in the rest of the room. It was vast, with leather furniture and antique end and coffee tables. There were three rich mahogany colored doors attached to the navy blue walls, leading to adjoining rooms, plus a staircase to the far left of the room.
“Have a seat anywhere, I’ll come get you when the boss is ready.” Jonas smiled warmly at me and disappeared through the middle door. I sat down stiffly in one of the leather armchairs and set my purse in my lap, fiddling with the tassels.
About five minutes later, Jonas reappeared and beckoned me to the door. “The boss will see you now. Just walk right down this hallway. It’s the last door on the left.” He gave me another warm smile as he held the door open for me.
I did as he said, walking slowly down the hall. It was decorated similarly to the room I’d just been in, antiques lining each side. A few of the tables held vases of beautiful flowers, and the walls had gorgeous paintings hanging on them.
I paused outside the door for a moment before raising my hand to knock. “Come in,” I heard a woman call from inside. I quirked an eyebrow, having been expecting a man. I opened the door and stepped inside as a woman rose from behind a giant wooden desk that was polished to a high shine. “Penelope Foster?” I nodded. “Pleasure to finally make your acquaintance. I’m Holly Carnus, head of Carnus Investigations.” She smiled brightly at me, her eyes shining from behind her glasses, reaching out to shake my hand. “Please, take a seat.”
I sat down in one of the soft chairs on the other side of the desk and observed the woman before me. She was tall and thin, wearing a pressed lilac pant suit and a white button down shirt. Her hair was black, hanging down past her shoulders. She had silver wire framed glasses perched on her nose, face done up nicely with makeup. She was beautiful.
“I’m not sure if you know this or not, but your brother worked for us.” Holly said, clasping her hands together. She still had a warm smile on her face, which made me feel really comfortable around her.
“My brother worked in the military…” I said, my brows furrowed.
“Yes, and by way of that, he worked for us too. It’s… complicated. We’re deeply sorry for your loss, by the way.” Her lips curled down, and it really did feel like she was sad for me.
“Thank you, but I don’t understand why I’m here.” I twisted my hands together, beginning to feel anxious again.
“I understand that you wish to have a career in criminal justice?” Holly said and I nodded, a little perplexed as to how she knew that.
“Well, I’d like to recruit you. We aren’t criminal justice, per say, but we’re similar.” Holly said vaguely. “Should you accept, my team and I will train you to be an agent for Carnus Investigations. You’ll be given certain tasks and missions, and eventually, you’ll work up to finishing the task your brother started.”
My mouth opened and shut a few times. I was stunned, unsure of what to say.
“Please, Miss Foster, think on it. I don’t need an answer now, but I think you could become a crucial part of our team.” I must have looked a little skeptical, because she rushed to reassure me. “Don’t worry, this isn’t anything sketchy or shady. We are an up and up company, branching from the government. You probably haven’t heard of us before now, right?” I affirmed. “See, it’s meant to be that way. We’re, to be cliche, secret. I guess, if you join us, you could call yourself a secret agent. Usually, we just prefer ‘agent’.” She smiled brightly and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling back.
“I… I’ll think about it.” I said, although I already knew my answer. I wanted to be sure.
“Great!” Holly beamed. She opened a drawer to her desk and pulled something out. She outstretched her hand to me and I saw a business card. “Give me a call, when you decide. I’ll have Jonas give you a ride.” She picked up the receiver on her desk and hit a few buttons. Seconds later, she was telling Jonas we were finished. “Thank you again for coming.” She shook my hand one more time before Jonas appeared in the doorway and I followed him out to the sedan.
“Wait,” Olger says. “That’s all she said to you? At your first meeting?”
“That’s the thing about Holly,” I shrug. “She’s vague. She tells you enough, leaving you thinking you’ve got all the details, but you’re always in the dark in some way. If Holly doesn’t think you need to know, you don’t.”
Olger’s eyes darken a bit, most likely because she thinks I’m lying, and scribbles a couple notes. “Go on.” She says as she sets her pen down.
Read the next part!: Let Me Explain: Part Four