I did some research on Katy’s dad, Martin Charleston. He had been a local businessman in ——shire where the family had lived. Mainly focused on a financial services firm, which handled money on behalf of clients. The website for his old company was still up, but the newsfeed was a couple of months out of date.
There had been a short news story in the local paper, filed by a girl named Penny. I called her one morning before going to work, I figured with the time difference it would be a civilised hour for her. Surprisingly she answered, I guessed she must have been quite junior at the paper.
“Hi, Penny, my name’s Cara, I’m just calling about the Martin Charleston affair,”
She perked up, maybe thinking I had a lead.
“I’m a friend of his daughter,” I said.
“Oh, the girl,” she said, as if trying to recall all the details,
“Yes, her name’s Katy.”
“Yes, that’s right, now I remember,”
“I was calling as a favour for her really, I wanted to ask, off-record, if there had been any further news,”
“Well, it kind of went cold. I mean he vanished, which I guess is common enough in bankruptcy scandals. And the mum is still in psychiatric care.”
“Was there any clue as to where he might have gone?”
“He did have business contacts in South Africa. But my boss said not to print that in case it looked slanderous,” said Penny.
I thanked her, and rushed off to work. I felt better, for Katy’s sake. My worst fear was that her father had thrown himself off some ledge, into a deep cold ocean. But Penny had sounded upbeat, it was far more likely that he was sunning himself and drinking cocktails somewhere with his fellow fraudsters.
It was a pretty average day at work, creepy Dean who does our IT had found a new lady on the internet, which Gina found endlessly amusing. And the deli down the road had a new line in stuffed olives. A pretty average day, apart from an exciting phone-call from Yasmin.
“Guess what??!!” she said, the energy vibrating through the receiver,
“I’ve got us onto the guest-list at Samsara,”
I felt like I was being sucked into Katy’s drama. But part of me didn’t mind. I told myself I was looking out for her. But a big part of me was just curious.