The Study (cont.)

Two large couches framed a sturdy, ornate desk positioned just before a cathedral window at the back of the room, giving way to a breathtaking view of the gardens behind the house. The curtains were drawn, though, their imposing weight trapping the smell of stale incense and burning wax. On the desk, there appeared to be several weeks of mail and other correspondence. Some opened, many not. Some written, many barely started. Crumpled up balls and torn pages of early drafts strewn about. And there, sitting in a magnificent black leather executive chair was Mr. Leonard, his wild gray hair barely visible above the edges of a book.

Janie slapped her riding crop briskly, but gently between the pages he was reading and pushed the book down to look him in the eyes.

“We’re late.”