Petra Deacon had been in the office for hours and it didn't seem she would be leaving any time soon. She had unlocked the offices around 7:30 that morning and proceeded to finish an investigative report for her last client. It was a textbook case of tracking down some stolen property and the writing went as smoothly as anticipated. Being a PI guaranteed that you'd end up having to write a multitude of reports over the years and it stood to reason that the majority of them all read the same. "I observed a white male entering the train station lockers/motel/restaurant" or some other close variation almost always started a tale of deception and subterfuge that would incense the client to no end until they finally handed over the final payment and left the office, clutching the paper close and either fighting back tears or a blood-chilling scream of rage. Being a good detective didn't always mean you would get deviant or otherwise enthralling cases to solve all of the time, and she accepted that reality. If a lot of people know you're one of the best, though, you're bound to get something juicy every once in awhile, which is why she put up with even the simplest of cases. Networking.
The first time she looked up from her work was when her partner came in at 9:00, looking a bit surprised to find the office open and lights on. Petra smiled and reminded her that there was nothing on the table so far today, and the pair waited for Colin to arrive at 10. She continued to type away on the report and spent the rest of the afternoon getting in touch with a handful of contacts to scope out any cases and hoping to make new acquaintances in higher places. From behind the shut door, she could still hear the muffled clanks of Colin as he performed housekeeping with the towering file cabinets stuffed with records. With afternoon sunlight finally streaming into her office, Petra was pleasantly surprised to hear the phone ring and she noted with a sense of relish that the caller ID couldn't identify the person on the other end. While the majority of clients went through Colin first, a few of them had gotten hold of her office telephone number directly from talking with one of her contacts.
She cleared her throat and grabbed the receiver promptly after the second ring, "Petra Deacon speaking."
"Is this the private eye's office? Is he in?"
"She is in. You're talking to the lead investigator here."
When the line went silent, she couldn't help but sigh. There were times when the twenty-first century still showed signs of the stone age and this was one of them. Most expected a private investigator to be a stocky, middle-aged man with a square jaw and a tendency to chew on cigars. A few decades ago, Chinatown came out and that seed of perception which was planted by Humphrey Bogart was solidified in the subconscious of nearly every American, unfortunately including a few of their would-be clients. Petra liked to tease Colin about this sometimes and claim that they had hired a male clerk in case someone came in one day and needed the Remington Steele treatment to feel more at ease.
Luckily, around 5 when she was beginning to think the slow day was reaching an unsatisfying conclusion, she glanced out through the frosted glass window and noticed two blurred figures. One was headed towards the desk and Petra assumed it was Colin. "Ladies, there's a potential client out here. You got a minute for a consult?" he asked over the speaker, and she replied over the receiver, "Send her in. We'll be waiting for her in the consultation office." She hung up and closed her door soundlessly behind her while she made her way to sit in the remaining armchair in the lounge, seeing as her partner had gotten there first. Determined not to lose this client due to first impressions, Petra made sure the lighting in the room was optimal, fixed her short black hair a bit and then glanced towards the entryway to anticipate the woman's arrival.
As she walked in, Petra returned the cautious smile with a broad grin of her own and gestured towards the love seat, "Please, sit down. How can we help you?" The blonde client looked rather young, only stood around five feet tall, and she was dressed as though she had just left work. Upon closer examination, Petra could tell that she was rather upset about something. Not that that's a surprise. No one walks in here happy, and normally women have it the worst, she ruminated, unfaithful husbands conducting affairs or jerks running off with their cars. She took the initiative in introducing herself, "I'm Petra. Would you like some coffee before we begin?"