The firm in London had booked her on an overnight flight so that she arrived first thing in their morning. As it was barely eight a.m. for her, she walked off the plane bleary eyed and unsure what to do. Customs didn’t take as long as it might have due to the fact she had dual citizenship so was essentially waved through. After leaving customs, she followed the line of people and as she headed for an exit to find a taxi, she spotted several men standing around holding signs. As Jasmine walked by she startled as she saw the name MacLeary printed on one of them. Pausing, she looked at it.
“Miss MacLeary?” the man said in a thick accent.
“This way, Miss.”
Having a driver meet her at the airport was a godsend. She was so tired, she barely kept her eyes open as he drove her to the offices of Xoope and Howe, her grandmother’s lawyers. In an old building that looked as though it needed a major overhaul with crumbling brick on the corners and a few windows boarded up, Jasmine wasn’t sure this boded well. Of course, Broderick had insisted more than once that his mother was a miser with her money. So maybe she had found cheap ones.
Stepping inside the building, Jasmine received her second startle of the morning. From the outside she expected crowded rooms with faded wallpaper, cheap rickety desks, and carpeting that needed mending. Instead, the entire floor was one large room with travertine tile floors, an ornate curved staircase heading toward an open second floor, and the furniture was definitely not old. Or rickety.
“Can I help you?” A middle-aged woman with a pleasant smile, dressed in dress slacks and a blouse Jasmine could never afford, walked up. Her coiffure of dark blonde hair looked as though it had been put up professionally. Not one hair was out of place. Jasmine self-consciously pushed her airplane-mussed hair behind her ears.
“Yes, my name’s Jasmine MacLeary and I—” Jasmine cut off as the woman’s expression changed to compassion.
“I’m so sorry for your loss, Miss MacLeary,” she said in a solemn tone, her smile gone. “Please come with me. Mr. Howe is awaiting your visit.” Turning, she strode to the staircase and began to climb, the click-click of her heels tapping lightly. Not wanting to be left standing in the large room, Jasmine quickly followed her, her tennis shoes squeaking with each step loudly.
Whereas the first floor had tile, the second was covered in wall-to-wall plush maroon carpeting. Jasmine was amazed as her shoes sunk each time she stepped down. The carpeting must be new. There was no way it would stay this cushy for very long with people walking on it all day. At the top of the stairs they turned left and walked by numerous offices, all with their doors closed. With each step down the long hall, Jasmine’s stomach clenched more and more. Maybe she should have listened to her father. After all, Beatrice had been known for some crazy ideas. Why had she had to come to England, anyway?