Brittney didn’t wait until she had completed her training at the police academy before she started stalking her first victim.
She couldn’t put her finger on what it was about him that made her single him out. He didn’t look anything like her father. But there was something about the way he carried himself, the way he walked, that reminded her of him. It made her blood boil, but this time she chose not to go to the gym to burn it off.
This time she chose to follow him.
It was the lunch rush and he was headed to an office with a sign that had a string of names and ended in “LLC”. Brittney entered the building a few steps behind him and watched him walk past a receptionist and into a corner office.
Brittney looked at the name on the office door behind which her victim had disappeared. Then she decided to take a chance.
She walked up to the receptionist, smiled her most endearing smile, and said, “Hi, Amelia DuPre to see Mr. Kelpers,” she said in her best southern accent.
The receptionist, whose name was Melanie, if the name plate on her desk was to be believed, was in the middle of eating her own lunch at her desk. She looked a little flustered as she put down her sandwich and turned to her computer. “To see Mr. Kelpers? Today?”
“What time was your appointment?”
“One o’clock. I know I’m a little early, but traffic was light and I thought I might as well let him know I’m here.”
“Can you spell your last name for me, please?”
Brittney spelled out “DuPre” and Melanie dutifully entered it into her computer.
“I’m sorry, Ms. DuPre, but I don’t have you on the schedule for today.”
“What’s going on here?” The man Brittney had followed here reappeared in the doorway.
Brittney answered before Melanie could. “I’m terribly sorry, Mr. Kelpers, I could have sworn I had an appointment with you today, but apparently I was mistaken. I have some legal troubles I was hoping you could help me with.”
“Is that so?” He checked his watch. “I have a few minutes before my next appointment, why don’t you come on in?”
Brittney did so, and as she entered his office, she took a good look at his bookshelf. In addition to the usual, generic law books that lined every law office, she noticed a number of titles that focused on business law.
“How can I help you, Ms. …”
“DuPre. Amelia DuPre,” Brittney said as she shook his hand. “I’m so sorry, I guess I really should have introduced myself back there, huh? I just got so flustered when I realized I didn’t have an appointment. I really could have sworn I made one. I suppose I just thought about making the appointment so much that I convinced myself I had gone ahead and done it. Silly me.”
“That’s quite all right. Like I said, I have a few minutes to spare. How can I help you?”
“I had started this business with my boyfriend to make deliveries to people’s homes. Kind of like GrubHub, but it could be anything you could grab quickly: a meal, a bottle of wine, a pack of cigarettes. Anything people might want in that moment, but were too lazy to go out and get themselves. They would place the order on our website and we would go get it and deliver it for a fee. It wasn’t a very high fee, and we were using our own car, but the business was just starting to grow and we were getting some real traction with investors when … well, we broke up. Next thing I know, he’s cleaned out the bank account we had set up for the business and disappeared.”
Mr. Kelper was taking notes. “Did you sign a business contract?”
“No. I never thought he would do something like this.”
“Few people do, but things like this happen more often than you might think. You said he took the money and disappeared. Any idea where he went?”
“He probably moved back in with his parents in Kansas.”
Mr. Kelper’s brows came together and formed a deep line up the center of his forehead. “That’s tricky. If he’s left the state, it’ll be hard to bring any action against him, especially if we’re not sure he’s in that state. And the lack of a contract doesn’t help anything either. Tell you what, why don’t you leave me your information and I’ll see what I can do.”
“I’d really appreciate it.”
“Well, that’s what I’m here for.”
Brittney wrote down her false name with an email to go with it and a random series of seven numbers. Then she took one of Mr. Kelper’s business cards, thanked him, and left his office almost feeling sorry for him. He had really seemed to want to help her.
To be continued…