Elena and Rose sat in the conference room, a study in contrast. Rose's navy blue business casual outfit provided the sombre backdrop for Elena's white skirt-and-jacket combination. Both sat at the head of the table; several chairs, more than enough for all of the agencies investigators to sit around during the weekly staff meetings, lined the remaining sides. Tyler entered with Sexton following. "Here they are, sir. Coffee should be ready shortly." The admin assistant left, closing the door behind her.
Rose stood up. "Ray, thank you for coming. I'm sorry for making you wait, but the extra services we provide are through word of mouth."
"I understand," Sexton said. He looked over at Elena. "I don't believe we met."
"Ray Sexton, this is my partner, Elena Gshalaevna. Elena is also works on the special services Velasco Investigations offers."
Elena offered her hand. "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Sexton."
Ray took her hand into his. "The pleasure is mine, and, please, call me Ray."
"Ray," Rose began, "before we even talk about the job, we have to bring up payment. The services you are asking for involves high risk for us. Not only could our licenses be revoked, we, Elena and myself, could be risking jail terms. The compensation must reflect the risks."
Elena presented a sheet of paper. "This is a history of the work we've done and the associated fees. Naturally, names have been omitted and everything is listed in general terms." She slid the paper over to Sexton.
Sexton sat down and read the figures. "This is steep."
"Of course, the figure is adjustable depending on what you want done. The less risk to us, the less you have to pay us."
Rose added, "Perhaps if you told us what you wanted, we can give you a more accurate estimate."
Sexton set his briefcase on the table. "I have the details in here." He opened the case and pulled out a file folder full of paper. "The target is here." Sexton slid a map over to Rose and Elena. "A warehouse along the river. It's unmarked except for its address. The objective is somewhere in there."
"Somewhere?" Rose asked. "No specifics?"
"If I had specifics, would I need you?"
"Excellent point," Elena said. "What is the objective?"
"A set of floor plans."
Rose snorted. "Held at a warehouse in an industrial park?"
Sexton held his hands up in surrender. "I didn't put it there. From what we can tell, that's where the plans are. All we need are photographs. I'll even supply the camera."
Elena scratched some figures on a pad, then slid it over to Sexton. "Plus expenses, of course."
Sexton read the number. His eyes went wide. "I wasn't expecting this much. I'll have to get approval."
"Understandable," Rose said.
"I'll call to let you know what the decision is." Sexton stood up. "Even if I don't get the approval, it has been good doing business with you."
Elena stood up and started walking around the table. "Thank you for thinking of us."
Rose remained seated. "And thank you for coming this morning. Ask Tyler to get you a cup of coffee before you leave."
Sexton nodded, then left the conference room. Elena looked over at Rose. "What do you think?"
Rose shrugged. "Not sure."
"Maria's rubbing off on you."
Rose glared. "Just because I spend time with my daughter--"
"It's cute, I'll give you that. However, that doesn't answer my question. What's your impression of 'Ray'."
"I think we should get the payment up front."
Elena nodded. "My impression, too. I want to take a drive out to the warehouse."
"Wouldn't hurt. Take Amber with you, just in case."
"Wouldn't think of leaving her behind." Elena left the conference room.