Ms. Eleanor Rawson entered the library with a regal flair reserved for royals. She wore a
tight crown of white and silver hair—the mark of a woman who lived well, and the wrinkles
on her face showed she’d lived long. Her dress was all business as was her mannerisms.
She wore very little jewelry and her bifocals hung down from her neck on thin, burgundy
string, the same color as her dress.
Behind her stood her personal assistant, a younger, squeaky looking redhead wearing a
conservative scarlet dress cut just above the knees. She was, I guessed, in her forties, and
wore thick black framed glasses over green eyes and thick red hair up in a tight bun. By
squeaky I mean petite and geeky, but I must admit, as I look closer she isn’t unattractive at all. In fact, I’d guess when she removes her glasses and lets her hair down she’s probably the quintessential, fantasy librarian nymph with whips and chains in her closet. She looked more like a Miss Scarlet.
Ms. Rawson held out her right hand in a manner like I was to kneel and then kiss it, palm facing the ground.
“Good of you to come, Mr. Baines.”
I took it between both my hands and held on a moment as a warm gesture. “Hello Ms. Rawson. Thank you for having me.”
“This is my personal assistant, Ms. Avery. She’ll be joining us,” she stated judicially - precise with an economy of words.
“Ah, the infamous gatekeeper,” I replied and smiled.
“Call me Margaret, Mr. Baines,” she said, “it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
She too held out her hand. As I took it, her eyes went south on me in a discreet appraisal. I guess I was right.
She held onto my hand for just a split second too long, releasing only after our eyes met and then I knew I was right. It’s that extremely subtle thing that says, I’m interested.
“Likewise,” I said, hoping she wouldn’t confuse my meaning.
“Please, just call me Baines. It’s more of a nick name than a last name. And as they say, Mr. Baines is my father.”
She nodded with a pearly smile. I recognized the kind of smile she flashed. I wondered if she’d be flashing me anything else.