We both considered the problem while making inroads into our meals. Then I said, "Whoever Caiazzo sent thought they'd disarmed the system, and missed something. I'll have Philips call the company to see if I'm right. If the company is any good they undoubtedly set up a secondary backup system."
"So, the necklace is stolen from Caiazzo by one of his people. He figures out who, goes after the guy, but finds him too late to get the necklace from him. Tortures him, learns about Philips, and tries to steal the necklace from him." Ricky ticked each item on his fingers as he talked. "That still doesn't explain why they thought you had it."
"If his office is bugged, they would have overheard his discussion with his business manager about hiring me. He called my office and left a message around eight last night. If he did that from the store…" I took out my phone and called Chelsea. "Do you still have the message Mr Philips left last night?" I asked when she answered.
"No. I erased it."
"Do you remember what it said?"
"Umm, he left his phone number and he needed to talk to you about… an important item?"
"You're sure he put it that way?"
"I wouldn't swear to it but yeah, something like that. Sorry, I should have saved the message."
"Don't worry about it, doll," I replied in my best Sam Spade/Bogart imitation.
She chuckled, telling me my impersonation needed work, and we hung up. I told Ricky what she'd said.
My lover, being both smart and an accountant, got it immediately. "If he called you from his office at… what time?"
"Okay. And if his office is bugged, whoever was listening could have added one plus one and come up with two, meaning they figured you already had the 'item' in question. AKA the necklace."
"My thought exactly. So this all hinges on whether I'm right about the bugs. If not, we're back to square one."
"If you are right, they know who you are. How did they find you though?"
"Probably followed me. I didn't start staking out Mr Carmichael's business until ten, an hour after it closed."
"Since you weren't at the office, or you'd have gotten Philips' call, that means they know where you live," Ricky said with a trace of worry.
"Not hard to find out if they have any computer skills at all. Considering what Caiazzo reputedly does, I'm sure he's got people who do."
By then, we'd finished lunch and it was time for Ricky to get back to work. "You be careful," he said seriously. "And call me when you leave the appraiser's building, and when you get home, and…"
I stopped him with a kiss and a promise that I would. "I've been doing what I do for a long time," I pointed out. "I know the ropes."
"I can see that," he muttered, touching my cheek with one finger.
"Okay, so they got the drop on me because I wasn't expecting them. Now I am and I promise I'll be ready."
He smiled then. "I'm holding you to that." After another kiss and a hug, he took off and I headed back to the office.