Enough - Chapter 2

Perry stood on the balcony of his office, staring out at the city, but not really seeing. When he had finally gotten rid of Laura, it had been to discover that Della had disappeared.

Gertie could only tell him that Della was extremely upset and said she was taking a vacation. She had given no indication where she was going or how long she'd be gone. His first thought had been her Aunt Mae. But each time he called, Mae had told him she wasn't there.

He had then called her family with the same results. And even her friend, Janet Brent, hadn't heard from her. He had even called Harvey Sayers to see if she had gone to his cabin.

Having run out of options, he turned to Paul Drake, hoping the private investigator would have better luck. But explaining to Paul why he thought Della had disappeared had been far worse than Della leaving. Paul disliked Laura even more than Della. After a few very choice words about Perry's lack of judgement when it came to women, which included Perry thinking with a certain part of his anatomy instead of his head, Paul had agreed to find Della. But so far, Paul hadn't come up with any news.

Perry knew Paul's comments were right. This mess was his fault. And of course Laura's. Perry had always had a blind spot when it came to his former…girlfriend…lover. Perry was unsure what to call her. He thought when Laura had moved to Denver to join her father's law firm, he was well rid of her.

That had been shortly after Della had come to work for him. The two women had taken an instant dislike for each other, mostly due to Laura's condescending attitude toward Della.

Della, for all her sweet nature, had always smiled and been overly polite to Laura. But Laura had insisted Perry fire Della, believing that it was the secretary that was keeping Perry from following her to Denver. Perry had done his best to convince Laura there was nothing between him and Della. But the animosity between the two women continued, even though Laura had moved to Denver.

Then a year and a half later, things had changed between the lawyer and his secretary. He knew that his practice would probably fall apart without Della's presence. She brought order and calm into his life. And the late dinners and slow dances had stirred something in Perry. Now as far as Perry was concerned, Della Street was everything a woman should be in one beautiful, delicate package.

Paul's coded knock on the door broke into his reverie. Perry stepped back into the office as Paul entered, flinging himself into his usual chair and lighting a cigarette.

Perry sat on the corner of his desk, staring at his best friend. "Well?"

"Hello to you too."

"Paul!"

"Okay, pal. Keep your shirt on. She's at Mae's."

"But Mae told me…"

"Perry, think about it. She's angry and upset. You're the last person she wants to see or talk to."

"Then how did you…?"

"Mae told me in a roundabout way. She's worried about Della and she knows why Della ran away."

"Paul! You told her? Now Mae's never going to speak to me. And she'll probably shoot me on sight."

"Easy, Perry. I'm sure Mae wouldn't have told me if she didn't want you to see Della. Now my suggestion is to man up and go get your secretary back."

"Thanks Paul."

Paul stood up to leave. "Hey, I didn't do it for you. I did it for me." Paul headed for the door. "You make lousy coffee."

Perry chuckled and watched his friend leave.