"Miss Blair, do you know anything about this man?" her attorney had asked. The blinds were partially drawn against the bright sunshine. Wisps of pollution drifted up through the open windows from the early morning traffic. Book shelves lined three walls of his office.
Monte twisted her kleenex. "Apparenty nothing I'm finding out."
"How long had you known him?"
"I met the man a year ago."
"Did he leave anything behind that could help, letters, papers anything?"
She had sat up suddenly. "Yes he did," she replied, "in my basement!" And she left then determined and hopeful.
Now back home, she studied the boxes down there with a mixture of feelings. There were four of them stacked on a shelf in a corner.
A rumble of thunder began. Would she find something that could help her? Her emotions teetered between heartbreak and panic.
Monte Blair was in her forties and lived in Minneapolis. She had inherited some money when her parents had passed on. And she had fallen in love with Jon Saunders. He was a few years younger then her, and his charm and easy approach to life had fasinated her. He traveled in his business and lived with her when he was in town, and she excitedly planned special meals and cozy times when they had been together.
Now, he had been gone a long time, to long. Three weeks without a telephone call and she hurt like hell as she stood there in the cold damp basement.
Where is he? She agonized, as she had lost many hours of sleep worrying. The raw ache of rejection consumed her and she would lie awake at night going over what she might have done, or said that could have brought about his sudden absence and silence.
And an alarm shook her insides as she thought of their business venture.
The four boxes had stood there all this time, undisturbed and out of the way. He had said they contained his deceased mother's belongings and had asked if he could leave them there for safe keeping.
A clap of thunder shook the house and Monte pulled her sweater closer around her shulders. A tinge of guilt swept through her thoughts. Maybe he's sick and alone somewhere, she thought remorsefully, again trying to find a logical reason for his actions.
However, determined now to find some answers, she reached up for the first box and it landed on the floor with a plop. Small clouds of cement dust flew up in her face and she opened it to find it full of law books. And, inside of each book the initials J.C was written.
Who was JC?
Jon Saunders had said once he had gone to law school, she recalled now, but had to quit for lack of money. Why she wondered now really.
She opened another box and here she found clothes, dirty and wrinkled, tossed in along with bathroom and desk supplies. Just junk! None of this was his mothers'. But why would he leave all this here? Monte questioned. Then the frown on her face softened suddenly at how absent minded the man could be sometimes, even careless about things. She stood up and stretched her back.
She remembered it had been December and his birthday--