Dorian had to admit: it was the perfect excuse to keep him busy.
Forensics had sent the disk up to his office 4 hours ago. Under Deputy Director Dorson’s orders, she “needed her best pair of eyes on this”. The explosion had rocked the city, spiking the security measure levels to ORANGE, highest it had been in over a year. The agency was buzzing with agents being assigned to the investigation into the 23rd Street explosion. Even the POTUS had made a statement about his prayers for the families of those injured and hurt, along with his reassurance that the FBI would handle the situation swiftly.
He scrubbed the video to the moment where Evan Morris was seen entering the station, eyes glued to his phone, clutching the bag that held the explosive. He disappeared next to the stairs, out of sight from the cameras for 8 minutes before he was seen boarding the train. Dorian’s eyes drifted from the screen to the invitation next to him. On the eggshell card stock, written in gold was his invitation to the Mayor’s Auction Gala: an annual celebration of the philanthropic endeavor of an individual or a group. Funds from this year’s auction of precious valuables and art were to be donated to the Clearwater College of Fine and Performing Arts, all hosted by Davis Shaw. It was a prestigious honor to be invited and the one reason a federal agent would be on the guest list is to stand at the side of his father.
Dorian had nearly called him 100 times when he received the invite. He hadn’t spoken to his father in several months, but the moment he saw the invitation, he knew this was the key to solving his case. Dorian found himself on his feet and at the elevator, pressing the lobby button when he saw Dorson heading out of her office and toward his. He ducked out of sight as the doors closed between them.
He needed a drink. Badly. He had been sober since the incident at the jeweler. However, the thought of facing his father after all this time made his mouth thick with spit. The manor was still massive, looming down on the rest of the houses on the hill. They had always been well-to-do; Dorian, as an only child, never wanted for anything, but his father’s business pursuits left him emotionally neglected. His life was one of wealth and, inevitably, boredom. Searching for the adventure of a lifetime, he stumbled into the training programs at Quantico. Davis constantly reminded his son that being a member of law enforcement was a debasement on the Shaw family name, which forced a larger rift between father and son.
The woman who opened the door was aged but familiar. Marjorie was the woman of the house: maid, chef, confidante and former nanny. Dorian remembered her as large and formidable when he was a child; standing in front of her now made him feel like a giant. “Chère!” she squealed, snatching him into a hug in her bosom. Memories flowed through Dorian as he embraced her, breathing in her scent. She reminded him of home, of a simpler time before thieves, explosions and death. “How are you?” she said, her southern drawl still thick and clear. He had learned how to decipher her words long ago, especially when she was angry and things tended to runalltogether. After he released her, she bopped him in the side of the head. “Ow! What was that for?”
“You ain’t brought yo’ ass ’round here in a month of Sundays! I oughta bop you again!”
“I’m sorry. I’ve been busy.”
“Too busy to see your father? Come by and see yo’ ole Margie?” Dorian stepped into the cool house and kissed her on the top of her graying head. “I apologize, Margie. I’ll be sure to come by more.” Marjorie smiled before her face sank as she looked at him. “But how are you, chère? Honestly…” His eyes gave away his pain, even though he grinned at her. He had seen too much death in his life to be so young. “I’m fine. Really…back to work.” She knew that Dorian was stubborn and that forcing a conversation was the fastest way to get him to clam up. “Is Dad here?”
“He’s in his study, working. Are you staying for dinner? I’m making your favorite,” Marjorie said, running her hand up his arm. “Let me talk to Dad first. I may need a to-go plate,” he said, smiling again.
Marjorie disappeared into the house, humming some no-name song she always hummed. Dorian took another deep breath before heading up the stairs. He could navigate its walls with his eyes closed (a talent he developed as a bored child). At the top of the stairs, make a right, 22 paces and his father’s study was on the left. His gait had elongated since he was 10, placing him at the end of the hall sooner than he remembered. He knocked on the partially ajar door and pushed it open. Davis Shaw didn’t look his 60 years old, nor behave that way. He laughed into the phone he held, his shaved head gleaming in the light around the room. He looked up and saw Dorian and his face lit up, a reaction Dorian hadn’t been expecting. “Joseph, I’ll call you back. My boy just walked in the room…ok…goodbye.”
Before Dorian could speak, his father had him pulled him into a hug and clutched him tightly. “Dorian…it’s so good to see you,” he said with sincerity in his voice. “Good to see you too, Dad.”
“Let me look at you,” his father said, extending his arms to push away from his son. “You look just like your mother. I ever tell you that?”
“Only everyday when I was a kid.”
“You’re beautiful, kid. How are you?”
“I’m…I’m good. How are you?”
“Still kicking ass, taking names,” he said. Dorian couldn’t help but chuckle at his father and the way he spoke sometimes. “I take it this visit means you got my invitation to the gala?” Davis said, sitting behind his desk. “Yes, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Don’t tell me you’re not coming…”
“No, no. Nothing like that…I sort of need a favor.”
“Name it. Anything for my boy.”
“I need to… steal something from the auction.”