“You should read the end,” I said. “It says I’m an ‘interesting young lady’.” Yes, I’ve had that memorized for the past four years.
“Oh really?” He flipped the pages back to the last one. “Ah, ‘Thank you again for the referral of this interesting young lady.’ So it does.” He laughed without moving his mouth.
“But seriously, though,” I said, “that report was over four pages long. Only one paragraph mentions psychopath. Believe me, that’s the least fucked-up shit in that file.”
“Oh, I believe you,” he said. “But even if I didn’t have the doctor’s report, I still have unequivocal proof that you are of the psychopathic persuasion.”
“And what might that be?” I challenged.
Mr. Wilhelm smiled, teeth hot-white against infinitely black eyes.
“The fact that there’s a dead girl just inches from your feet,” he said, “and you didn’t scream once.”
“That’s just circumstantial,” I retorted. I hoped I’d used the term correctly. “It doesn’t prove anything.”
He did that infuriating laugh again. “Now, Tess, you know you’re in no position to argue a legal issue if you don’t have a law degree.”
I scowled. Yes, I knew that.
“But we might be able to do something about that,” he went on. “Would you like to go to law school, Tess?”
“Yes,” I said, immediately suspicious. “Why do you ask?”
“Oh, law school can be expensive. It helps if you work for an established law firm with the resources to foot the bill – that is, if you wouldn’t mind working for said firm for the rest of the foreseeable future.”
“I see. And would ‘said firm’ be this firm, by any chance?”
He almost-smiled, and narrowed his eyes. “It could be, provided you accept the job offer – and sign the necessary nondisclosure agreements.”
“So…” I ventured, “does that mean…?”
“Yes. You’re hired.”
Just like that, the worries flew away. I would’ve thanked God if I wasn’t certain I was going to Hell.
“Great,” I said when I caught my breath.
Standing up from his chair, he said, “Welcome aboard, Miss VanBrandt.”
I rose from my seat and we shook hands as a formality. My grip might have been stronger the second time.
“Now let me get your paperwork,” he said. “I’d have Chantal get it, but she seems to be…absent at the moment.”
“Of course,” I said, settling back into the chair. I assumed it was a game now: ignoring the reality of a dead girl in the room.
Mr. Wilhelm stepped out into the hallway and shut the door. I doubted a nondisclosure agreement could legally cover murder, but what the fuck did I care. I got the job.
Then my phone rang. Luhrman-Rothstein, probably Zoe.