The police aren’t keen on hiring werewolves, which has never made much sense to Ruby; you’d think they’d want the nose on their side. And Mary – well, she has nowhere else to go.
No one wants to be caught crossing her stepmother.
But she’s an asset to the business; for one thing, her typing is a hell of a lot better than Ruby’s has ever been. And for another, she’s actually a pretty good investigator in her own right. Ruby’s glad to call her a partner.
(And if they occasionally end up in bed together after a long case, or a long night at the bar, or... really, without much provocation at all, Ruby can’t say she minds that, either.)
They’re minding their own business one afternoon when a guy comes in. Ruby’s eyes tell her he’s cute; her nose tells her he spends a lot of his time outdoors (her kind of man, then). He hesitates in front of Ruby’s desk for so long that she finally decides to lend him a hand.
“How can we help you?”
“I – I’ve heard you’re good at finding people?” he says, uncertain and maybe a touch hopeful.
“We do a pretty good job, I like to think. Who’ve you lost?”
“My wife. Well, my ex-wife – we were just finalizing the divorce.”
Mary raises an eyebrow. “We don’t see many exes looking for our help. They’re usually pretty upset to see us.”
The guy shrugs. “Well... I know Abigail. We weren’t splitting on bad terms, it’s just that our parents set us up in the first place and we never really clicked. She only has good things ahead of her. There’s no reason for her to disappear like this.”
“Okay.” Ruby pulls out a notebook. “Mr. Nolan, I presume?” Abigail Nolan, formerly Goldberg, has quite a reputation in political circles, which leaves Ruby inclined to take this guy at his word. Besides, he doesn’t smell like he’s lying.
Worried, definitely; lying, not so much.
He nods. “Please, call me James. I moved out of the house last month, so I can’t give you a full timeline, but I know she had a meeting with the mayor last night.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Ruby sees Mary blanch, but James glances her way before Ruby can mention it – and Mary puts on a brave face for him. Interesting.
“Wouldn’t be the first time someone got on Her Gracious Majesty’s bad side.” The nickname’s one Ruby’s picked up from one too many cases around the local criminal underworld, but despite its roots, there’s a ring of truth to it. Regina Mills hasn’t shown any sign of giving up office without one hell of a fight.
And with election season coming up, and Abigail Nolan having expressed some interest in the seat before? It’s starting to sound like a motive to her. Of course, whether it sticks is a question of evidence, not to mention who gets to Gold first; he’s known to play both sides of any given altercation like a fiddle, but it’s easier to talk him into seeing maximum benefit from your side if you get the first word.
“No, it wouldn’t.” James sighs. “That’s what has me worried. Just because I never loved Abigail doesn’t mean I wished any harm on her.”
“We’ll see what we can find out. Thanks for letting us know.”
James smiles, a little shakily. “Thank you both.”
After he leaves, Ruby turns to Mary. “You all right?”
“Yeah. I’ll be fine. It’s just – why does everything come down to tangling with my stepmother?”
“Probably because the police are too chicken to do it themselves.” Ruby pulls Mary into a hug. “Don’t worry. We’ve done this often enough that we know how to work around her – you’ll hardly know she’s a part of this. Worse comes to worst, I’ll let you go interview James some more.”
“Ruby! He’s married! Technically, anyway.” Mary’s blushing; Ruby can tell that without pulling away from the hug.
“All the more reason for us to find Abigail, then. If we can talk him into it, I don’t think he’d mind sharing us – I know I wouldn’t.”
Mary blushes even harder, and breaks the hug. “We should. Leads. Figure out which ones we have.”
Ruby laughs. “Yes, dear.”