At the very end of the hallway, stood a set of imposing black doors. The woman in front of her knocked sharply and opened one, waving her inside. “Miss MacLeary, Mr. Howe,” she said politely, closing the door as soon as Jasmine was inside.
The office she walked into was a good twenty by twenty feet. With windows covering two walls, it looked more like a corner office in a midtown highrise than in this old building. Most of the office was carpeting. In the far corner, between the two windows was a large, antique desk with two chairs in front of it. Behind the desk, seated in a tall, leather chair, sat Mr. Cornelius Howe, the man who had spoken with her on the phone. His voice had sounded middle-aged, but the man in front of her had to be seventy if he was a day. With a full head of silvery hair atop a tall, thin frame, she thought he rather looked like a Pez dispenser. Especially with his dark black suit. When he stood to greet her, she expected him to move strangely or to squeak as his mouth opened. He did neither.
Smiling pleasantly, he walked around the desk, holding out his hands to take the one she held out. “Miss Jasmine,” he said warmly. “You probably don’t remember me, but you knew me when you were a little girl. I recognized you instantly. Your hair has that beautiful bright red your grandmother’s had when she was younger.”
Fidgeting a little as she used to have the most flaming color on top of her head. The kids at school used to call her ‘torch’, a nickname she still hated. “I don’t remember you,” she admitted, “but it is a pleasure to meet you all the same.”