I could tell as soon as Dani showed her in that this dame was trouble. No, not that she was trouble, but that she was bringing me a world of trouble that wasn't of her doing. Just a feeling I had as I looked up and saw her in the door.
"Hello, Mr. Carter?" She asked nervously. I could tell she was married, as most of my clients were.
"Nick Carter, ma'am." I nodded. No, not like that punk kid singer, but I sometimes get mail for him. One of the hazards of being a P.I. with a famous name that lives in L.A. My dad actually named me after a secret agent in a set of dime store spy novels by Jove Publishing. We had the last name already, but my dad just named me Nick. Not Nicholas. Nick. Go fuckin' figure.
I rose as I spoke and shook her hand. "What can I do for you, ma'am?"
"Your assistant said that you could help me. I was referred by one of your previous clients." She smiled a bit more, still nervous, though.
"I see. Ok, Mrs..."
"I'm Janine Linder. My husband is Dennis Linder, and he's a psychologist. I have reason to believe he's cheating on me, and I want proof before I file for Divorce." She said, handing me a picture of him. I raised my eyebrow as I regarded the picture. He looked to be about 40, with a square jaw and dark hair going gray at the temples. He had bright green eyes that would probably tempt most women.
"Ok, ma'am. You know how this works?" I asked, and she nodded. "Good. Give me two weeks tops, and I'll have the evidence you need. For those two weeks, I charge $5000 dollars. Is that acceptable to you?"
"Yes, and half up front, correct?" She asked.
"Do you have your own account that your husband doesn't know of, or have access to, in order to check your finances?" I asked.
"Yes." She said. "I set it up a couple months ago so he wouldn't know if I hired someone to track him. Your former client says that you are the best." She smiled, then handed me a cashier's check for $2500.
"Thank you, ma'am. Give me an idea of how he's been acting suspicious, if you would? The more information I get now, the easier it will be to track his movements."
"Well, it's a bit strange that I even caught on that he was cheating. He spends every night with me, and the weekends too. But sometimes when I call his office for a lunch date, his phone is turned off." She said.
"Well, he could have a client run over during a session." I shrugged.
"Normally, you would be right. But then there's the distance at home. He used to be all over me, but now he hardly touches me. Then I noticed the perfume smell on his clothes. At first, I thought I was imagining it, but it wasn't my brand of perfume." She said.
"Some of his clients could have hugged him, and how old is he?" I asked.
"He's 44." She said, and I nodded.
"Well, I heard that men that age have lower sex drives than they did before hitting 40. Could that be the reason for his distance emotionally?"
"You sound like you think it's just me being stupid!" She said angrily.
"No, ma'am. I am just trying to figure out why you would think he's cheating. I admit, the perfume is a pretty heavy indicator, but it could just be circumstantial. I'm going to take this case, but I also need to know everything you can think of. How is he acting suspicious besides turning his phone off?"
"Well, it's always just before lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays. Other times, he answers right away. But on those days, it goes straight to his voicemail."
"Ok, I think I get the picture. Tomorrow is Wednesday, so I'll start my investigation then. I will be in touch as soon as I have anything concrete for you." I nodded and rose from my chair as she did, and shook her hand.
"Thank you, Mr. Carter. I hope it's nothing, to be honest. But I need peace of mind on this." She smiled warmly. She really was a knockout, and if I hadn't been married, I would maybe consider consoling her.
"Anytime, Mrs. Linder. If I don't find anything at the end of two weeks, you will not have to pay me the remainder of my fee." I told her. It's my guarantee.
"Thank you again, Mr. Carter." She said.
"Ma'am, call me Nick. Mr. Carter was my dad." I smiled, and she smiled back.
"Ok, Nick. I'm Janine. Ma'am is too formal."
"Ok, Janine. I'll be in touch as soon as I have anything for you. Dani, my assistant, should have your information, so I'll get your number from her." I showed her out, and promised again to be in touch.
As soon as Janine had left, Dani came in and plopped down on the overstuffed chair in front of my desk.
Daniela Velasquez has been my assistant for 6 years. I would honestly be lost without her, and I think she knows it. She's single, dates some, but not often, and has the most gorgeous jet black hair, doe brown eyes, and a great tan that comes from her Mexican heritage. She's built like J-Lo, but with more junk in the trunk and WAY more of a rack. Yeah, if I wasn't married to the woman of my dreams, Dani would be in trouble! I might be married, but I'm not dead, and I never touch. Well, except for hugs when Dani presses her D-Cups against my chest.
"Ok, jefe. This is what I got for you right now." She handed me the file she'd put together online about our target. Dani is a pretty good P.I. in her own right, and I was proud to be the one who taught her. She's a quick study, that's for sure.
Dennis Linder, Psychologist Extraordinaire. I looked at the file, and a warning bell went off in my head. It seemed that a former patient had filed a malpractice claim against him a couple years back, but the claim had been dropped mysteriously, with some stock cliché answer given as to why. This was getting more and more interesting. The former patient was female, and her husband had divorced her soon after the malpractice claim had been dropped. That was the warning bell. I had a bad feeling about Dr. David Linder, and my gut is usually right.
"Dani, dig a bit deeper on this asshole, will ya? I got a bad feeling about him." I said, and Dani giggled at my phraseology. "Ha ha. Yeah, I know. I opened the door for that one, and thanks for not stepping through it."
"Anytime, boss man." She winked at me prettily, then stepped back out to her desk to do some more Bing searches on Dr. Dickhead.
Daniela is worth twice her weight in gold, and I know that I don't pay her enough, even though I pay her VERY well. We're more partners than boss and assistant. We split each case take 60/40, including retainer fees. Those retainer fees, when added up between multiple clients, equal over 200K a year. After expenses, I usually clear 150K and Dani clears 110K easily. And that's after taxes. We share a lawyer, who gives us legal help quid pro quo since we kind of work for him too. Wesley Quentin is his name, and divorce disputes and other domestic issues are his game.
Then there's my wife Samantha. Yes, Samantha Carter, formerly Samantha Stern. So no relation to Colonel Carter on Stargate SG-1. She goes by Sammie for short.
I met Sammie 7 years ago when I had quit the ... Company I was working for in Langley, Virginia, and moved back to L.A. I was an ... insurance investigator for that Company. It was a decent living, but after a ... client in Paris turned out to be a real asshole, I decided I'd had enough and put my investigative skills to good use back home. I had enough saved up to start my own P.I. business. There, now nothing can be redacted.
Sammie is a complete knockout. Tall at 5'8", which puts her even with me in height when she wears her 4" fuck-me heels. Fiery red hair, sparkling blue eyes, 34C-24-36 measurements and legs that go all the way up to Heaven. Her Angelina Jolie lips and sexy smile can melt the hearts and raise the erections of any man within 50 feet, and she has it ALL packed in the right places.
I first met Sammie back when I had solved my first case for my first client. He threw a bash to celebrate me finding and returning his property. I was his guest of honor, and Sammie was the daughter of one of his friends. She saw me, and I saw her, and it was as if the magnetic force of the Earth drew us together. We talked and danced, and talked some more. I met her father, who is a good man, and he bought my usual line about being a former Insurance Investigator that decided to go into the private sector as a P.I. I had prospects, and during the shindig, I managed to score some more clients. That was seven years ago, and after dating for six months and living together for six months, we were married in a small ceremony with just her family and a few of our friends.
My parents had died a few years back in a car wreck when I was out of the country, and had left me their paid off house in their will.
Me? I spent three years in the Army as an MI Interrogator, then got recruited by the aforementioned Company to ... investigate possible insurance fraud. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Anyway, I became a damn good investigator, and realized I could make some damn good money at it as a P.I. So I bid the Company adieu, and headed back home to L.A. Getting a Concealed Carry License was like pulling teeth, but it was worth it to carry my Dad's old Colt M1911A1 pistol. The big .45 ACP ammo pretty much guaranteed a kill if fired with accuracy. That was one thing I've always been good at. Shooting.
So I went out to where Dani was picking out bits and pieces of Dennis Linder's life and printing them out for me.
"Hey, Dani. Go ahead and knock off for the day when you're done with the searches. I'm heading home." I smiled at her.
"No problem, jefe." She smiled back at me with more than professional respect. "You know, I hope Sammie knows what she got at home."
.... There is more of this story ...