I checked with Chelsea when I got back, to be sure I didn't have anything I had to take care of, then went into my office. I needed to do some serious thinking before I went back to Things Past.
The first, big question—beyond the fact the goons had thought I had the necklace when they attacked me—was how they knew the mysterious man had taken it to Philips in the first place.
If someone had followed him, why didn't they just take it before he got that far? To me that said he hadn't been followed. Ergo, he'd taken it without the owner knowing until too late. The owner or someone else. Someone who had no more right to it than the man who brought it to Philips did.
"Damn. Stupid," I muttered, meaning me.
I booted up my computer and did what Philips should have done—and maybe had for all I knew—when he first came into possession of the necklace. I went to the two major stolen jewelry sites to see if it was listed on one or both of them.
I found a couple whose written descriptions sort of matched, but when I looked at the images, they weren't the necklace in question. So perhaps, if it was stolen, the owner didn't report it? That could mean several things. He'd gotten it illegally. He didn't know it was missing until just before mystery man took it to Philips. Or… Hell at this point I had no clue what the 'or' could be. But I intended to find out why and how the man had gotten his hands on it.
"Mr Philips, please," I said when someone answered the phone at Things Past. When Phillips got on the line I told him, "One thing I should have asked you, and didn't. What did the man who brought in the necklace look like? I know you said he was well-dressed and thirty-something but I need more of a description."
"He was… maybe five-ten, five-eleven. Dark brown hair, fairly well cut." He paused. "I think blue eyes but I wouldn't swear to it. Average face, dark eyebrows, oh yeah, and his ears stuck out a bit. Not pitcher handles, but not close to his head."
"By well-dressed you mean a suit?"
"No. Slacks and a dress shirt." Again he paused and I could picture him closing his eyes, trying to remember anything else. "One thing. The shirt collar was open and I saw a gold chain. There was something hanging from it. As best as I can recall it was square, gold too, and imprinted with a design. Something circular. Sorry, that's the best I can do."
"Anything helps. Thanks. I'll let you get back to work."
After we hung up, I kicked back in my chair, staring off into space. Before I could do more than wonder how to find the man, Chelsea told me Ricky was on the phone.
"You up for a late lunch?" he asked.
I chuckled. "You want to be sure I'm really in one piece?"
"Well… that too. But mainly I'm hungry and want some company. Your name came to mind."
"Uh-huh. It had better be the only name that came to mind," I replied, laughing. "Yeah, sure. Where?"
He suggested our favorite diner—which was close to my office—and ten minutes later I slid in beside him in a back booth. He looked me over, said, "Yeah, you're no beauty right now," and kissed me.
"I never am," I replied after returning the kiss. "But yeah, I'm a bit worse for wear at the moment."