BioQuest: Why Even Ask

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As the song came to a close, Elizabeth worked out a plan to get Booker alone with that attendant. Something was going on with him and they would get more from him than Cohen directly… even if it was only a hint to Cohen’s network, it would be a place to start.

Clearing her throat, Elizabeth stood from the bench and played with her pinky… This time as an innocent ploy. “I apologize, Cohen, I didn’t get to warm up my voice first. Do you mind if I rest and restore my voice?”

“For the music, anything!” His voice cascaded, resonating in the auditorium-esque foyer of his apartment. With a wistful sigh and a broad gesture towards the ceiling, he continued, “An artist must be patient and insistent; it’s a delicate balance.”

She curtseyed and approached Booker, guiding him to a bold, bright mural of Cohen’s latest album cover. The artist himself started shouting at the pianist as she stood beside Booker, as if observing the mural together.

“Booker,” she started, speaking softly. “That attendant.”

“You saw it too, good.” He adjusted the guitar strap absently, his other arm resting on the shoulder of the guitar. “I’ll get him alone.”

“Now don’t beat him.” He shook his head, but she insisted. “We just need to talk to him. He might’ve seen something, he might already be scared–”

“Alright,” he cut her off. “I’ll pull him off to the storage area where he got the guitar. Then I wait for you?”

“No.” Elizabeth smoothed her hair, a smile coming to her face. Well, she was proud of him… He really wouldn’t interrogate the man military style, that was progress. “No, I’ll distract Cohen.”

“I’ll be down the hall,” he reminded her. “Shout and he’s as good as dead.”

“Okay, Dad,” she teased, and he coughed out an awkward laugh. “If he does anything, I’ll let you take care of him.”

“Uh, so…” Booker looked past her and settled his gaze on someone over her shoulder. “You there, with me,” he ordered and she turned in time to see the attendant jump to follow Booker.

“Little Songbird,” Cohen chimed, “where is your delectable muse off to?”

“Oh, he wants to practice. He’s aiming to impress today,” she answered and took a seat beside Fitzpatrick. “Shall we continue?”

Distracting Cohen was a simple task although a touch unproductive… At least Booker had the chance to gather information from the attendant. Songs came and went, Cohen flickering between his artist chic and potent, stewing rage… Usually at Fitzpatrick.

When a few songs passed, she caught herself wondering about Booker. She felt the need to check on him, but she held back. Cohen might see her as nervous and with his paranoia… No. They needed this lead. Finally, his voice came from down the hall.

“Elizabeth,” he beckoned, annoyance drawing out her name when he spoke. “Your muse is calling.”

Cohen stared down the hall, eyes wide with wonder, and Fitzpatrick stifled a laugh.

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

– – –

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