‘Whatever you do,’ Lesley said, announcing her presence in Evelyn’s office doorway, ‘don’t touch Jesper’s sample jars. He damn near tore my ears off.’
‘So that’s what the racket was about.’ Evelyn looked up from her desk for the first time in what felt like hours, and was possibly even longer. She had to blink a few times before Lesley came into focus.
‘What a mess.’
Was she talking about Jesper? The mutating moth corpses? The undercurrent of tension? The political fallout from their open day disaster?
Maybe it was just the state of her desk.
Lesley cleared a space amongst the scattered papers and receipts, and gently plonked a steaming mug of coffee down in it.
‘You need a fuel break,’ she said. ‘Did you even go home last night?’
‘Vale is putting us through the ringer over this,’ Evelyn said, neatly sidestepping the fact that yeah okay, she slept in her office. ‘He wants to get us shut down. He might even succeed.’
‘Pfff,’ Lesley snorted. ‘He’s tried before.’
‘Yeah well, the mysterious disappearance of our guy full of moths might just cinch it for him. They don’t believe he even existed. Without a body…’
She ducked too late as Lesley cuffed her cheek with a gentle hand.
‘Chin up Evie. Henry Vale might be holding your soul hostage, but we’ve got his balls in a vice. If he gets us shut down, he’s got to foot the bill for his own occult special unit. And that means less money to slip into his own pocket.’
From upstairs came the sound of raised voices. Lesley rolled her eyes.
‘Damage control to the first floor,’ she said into an imaginary walkie-talkie. ‘Seriously, love. We’ll be okay.’
Evelyn hoped she was right.