“Prostitution is illegal.”
“Oh, for God’s sake. Those women are not hookers.”
“You’re sure of that?”
“How? Because Quentin told you? I know for a fact that they’re not coworkers of his.”
She crossed her arms and stared back at him. “I really don’t have to tell you anything.”
“No, you really don’t.” He pointed to the cops and detectives. “But those guys you do. And I’d have a better story prepared than the bullshit you just tried to feed me.”
Myers rose. “I need to attend to some things.”
“I’m sure. Calling a really good lawyer should be first on the list.”
She hurried from the room and disappeared down the hall to her office.
On a hunch Puller went over to the bar where one of the waiters was sitting looking exhausted. He held up his set of keys and said, “Ms. Myers asked me to get something from her car, but she was so distraught she forgot to tell me what make and model.”
The man said, “Oh, it’s the blue BMW 750. License plate says ‘Grunt.’ She parks it in the back lot.”
He went outside and got into his car and positioned it so that he could see the big Beemer.
Fifteen minutes passed and then he saw Myers rush out from the back of the bar, climb into the BMW, and fire it up. She drove out of the lot and hit the street.
Puller moved in behind her but kept well back. There was enough early morning traffic that he had some cover behind other cars.
The drive was not a lon
g one. But it was surprising for Puller.
Myers drove into Fort Monroe and made her way along the waterfront before cutting a sharp left away from the channel. A few minutes later she pulled up to the gate at Building Q.
Puller stopped, got out his camera, and snapped some shots of Myers, who after being vetted by the guards was waved through. She parked in a free space.
Before she even got out of the car one of the exterior doors of the building opened and there appeared Josh Quentin. He was still dressed in the same suit and still looked shaken by the night’s events. He and Myers hugged and then he led her inside.
Puller managed to get shots of all this. Then he sat in his car thinking about what to do next.
He had no authority to gain access to Building Q. If he tried he’d either be thrown out on his ass or arrested. Or both.
Two hours passed and he had decided to drive back to his hotel and try a different tack in solving this case when Myers came out of the building. Quentin was not with her.
She drove out of the parking lot and Puller fell in behind her. She apparently was so focused on where she was going that she never once looked back.
He followed her onto Interstate 64 heading west. She got off at the exit for historic Williamsburg.
Puller checked his watch. It was now after eight in the morning.
Puller followed her to the Williamsburg Inn, a stately building a short walk from the downtown shopping area. She opted against the valet and parked her Beemer in the lot on the right side of the hotel’s entrance.
Puller did likewise and pulled out a ball cap and sunglasses and exchanged his jacket for a blue windbreaker he kept in his duffel. He put those on just in case she turned around and spotted him.
She walked past the top-hatted front doorman and into the lobby of the inn.
Puller flitted in after her.
She must have called someone from her car, because Puller watched as she walked straight through the elegant lobby and out through a set of French doors on the other side that emptied into the rear grounds of the inn. There was wrought iron furniture set up there with aged brick underneath forming the patio.
A man rose from one of the chairs. He was tall and thin, with longish graying hair, and dressed elegantly in a dark suit and red tie with a matching pocket handkerchief.
Myers immediately started talking but the man held up his hand, apparently to calm her. He took her by the arm and they walked off together down a brick path. Before they were out of sight Puller followed.
He saw a sign that read Spa. He followed about fifty feet behind.
Then he saw them turn into what looked to be a private garden enclosed by a high brick wall.
He did a turkey peek through the opening and saw them settle on a bench about halfway down the garden. There was no one else there. He hurried down the path until he was right on the other side of the brick wall from them.
Puller listened as closely as he could, but they were whispering, so he couldn’t make out what they were saying. Frustrated, he rushed back down the path to the entrance into the garden. He poked his head around the brick column in time to see Myers reach into her pocket and take something out. He snapped several pictures as she handed it across to the man.
The man pocketed it and they both stood and headed toward where Puller was hiding. Puller nipped around a large holly tree just before the pair appeared at the garden entrance.
They passed by him and reentered the inn’s lobby. Puller followed and saw the man head up the stairs while Myers left by the front entrance, no doubt headed back to her car.
Puller debated what to do next. Follow the man or follow Myers?
He finally concluded that he knew where Myers had come from. He figured he needed to find out more about the man.
Puller sat in the lobby and waited until the man came back down rolling a small suitcase and carrying a leather briefcase over his shoulder. He headed to the front desk. Puller got up and went out to his car. He watched a minute later as the man came out and said something to the doorman. The doorman waved at a waiting cab. It pulled up and the man got in.
Puller followed the cab to the Amtrak train station. The man got out of the cab and Puller quickly parked. He followed the man inside the small station and took a seat two down from him.
The man opened his briefcase and took out a laptop computer. He slid the device Myers had given him out of his pocket. Puller could see that it was a flash drive. The man inserted it into the USB port in the laptop and clicked some keys.
Puller rose and went around behind the man, standing about fifteen feet away. He took out his camera and shifted slightly to the right so that he could see the man’s screen. He adjusted the lens, zooming in as much as he could, and started taking photos as the man flicked through several screens.
The man then pulled out his phone and keyed in a number. Puller returned to his seat to see if he could overhear the conversation.
He couldn’t make out the words, not because he couldn’t hear them but because they were in another language that he recognized but couldn’t speak.
He glanced over when he heard the train coming in. A voice on the PA said it was destined for Washington, D.C.
He looked over. He had no authority to arrest the man, or even detain him. And if he did try to stop him he would give away that he had been following him. And Myers.
He kept himself from leaping up and tackling the man and instead watched him board the train. As it pulled from the station, Puller headed to his car. There, he checked out the pictures he’d taken of the man’s laptop screen.
They were technical drawings and formulas that were too advanced for him to make much sense of. Still, it looked like Myers was passing secrets to this gent. And it was also clear to Puller that Josh Quentin had been passing those same secrets to Myers. That explained the room at the Grunt.
It was ironic that Puller had used a story of possible espionage at Atalanta Group to enlist Anne Shepard’s help, only to find out that the espionage was apparently all too real.
Now the questions were many.
What were these secrets?
Where and what was Paul the bouncer?
And what the hell, if anything, did my mother’s disappearance have to do with any of this?