What if you could take a picture of your true soulmate in life before you ever met her?
It was an innocent roll of film she found on the street. But when Jolee Wiley had it developed, hoping she might be able to find its owner from the pictures on it, she came face-to-face with a shocking impossibility.
Mike Owensby was an Archivist. A Dreams Keeper. The roll of film belonged to him. And the woman who found it may be the lover he had been seeking all his life.
A familiar jangle interrupted their conversation. Jolee fumbled in her skirt pocket, looking for the cell phone while Ferra waved a fork in her direction. "Sixty gajillion ring tones and songs you could put on that thing, and you have it ring like a regular old phone. And you call yourself a marketing director?"
"Oh, hush. Ah, here it is." Jolee pulled out the phone, but at the same time the forgotten canister came out with it. A glance at the window told her the number was unknown. What the hell, she shrugged and decided to answer it anyway. "Hello?"
"Miss Wiley? Stu Dovinsky. I witnessed your presentation today." The voice was as polished as a freshly waxed car. Bet those two hundred dollar elocution lessons really paid off, didn't they?
"Yes, Mr. Dovinsky. I remember you. Was there something you needed to ask me about the promo?" Jolee turned sideways in her seat to avoid Ferra's inquisitive stare.
"Actually, yes, I do," Dovinsky answered. "But I would prefer to ask over dinner tomorrow. Would that be a problem?"
Her breath caught in her throat. Images of the man with the light brown hair and Jonas Babbino suit rolled around in her mind. How the hell did he get her number? For that matter, why was he even wasting his time asking her out?
"Uhh, fine! Yes! It's not a problem!"
"Excellent! Shall I pick you up around seven-ish?"
Already she could feel the hairs on her neck starting to rise. The man used terms like "seven-ish"? Not a good sign. Nuh-uh, not good at all. Put a tally mark in his negative column. "Works for me," she somehow replied. "Seven, it is."
"Excellent!" the man echoed. "Where shall I pick you up?"
She gave him the address of the little corner grocery at the end of her block. For some reason her instincts had begun flashing little warning lights, telling her not to give him her real address. The store was a five minute walk from her apartment and a safe place to rendezvous. Mr. Dovinsky hung up first, leaving Jolee to stare at the CALL ENDED.
Jolee stuffed the phone back into her pocket but the canister remained in her other hand. "Uhh, it was one of the guys from the presentation." Curiosity was getting the better of her again. She ignored Ferra's squeal of delight and demand for more information, and shook the can next to her ear again. Yep. It definitely rattled.
Her friend's attention was momentarily distracted. "What's that? Film?"
"The can, at least. Wonder what's in it?" She reached for the lid when another hand slapped hers down.
"You mean it's not yours?" Brown eyes stared her down. "What are you doing with a can of film that isn't yours?"
Jolee threw her a smile. "I found it on the street. I nearly broke my neck trying to avoid stepping on it." She started to open it again, but Ferra stopped her a second time.
"You don't know what's inside, and you're going to open it? What, are you? Senile?"
"What could be inside that's so dangerous?"
"It could have drugs in it!" Ferra protested.
"Maybe. It rattles."
"That's what I meant! Pills!"
"Ferra! Pills can only hurt me if I swallow them. And if it's drugs, I'll just flush them down the toilet."
Okay, but what if it's a bomb?"
"In this itty bitty thing? You've been reading too much Ian Fleming," Jolee protested, laughing, and quickly popped the lid. Inside was a metal roll of film, just as she'd suspected. Sliding it into her palm, she noticed one important thing. "It's been used."
Ferra leaned over the table so far that the blouse stretched across her breasts almost found the ranch dressing. "How can you tell?"
"A fresh roll has a tab sticking out so it hooks into the loader. This one doesn't have a tab."
"Where do you think it came from?"
Sliding the roll back into its container, Jolee shook her head. "Oh, anyone could have accidentally dropped it. Some tourist is probably looking for it right now."
"What are you going to do with it? Put out an ad in the paper's lost and found? Put one of the pictures on a milk carton?" Ferra smirked at her own joke.
"Nope. I'm going right over there to the drugstore and have them develop the photos. Maybe there's something on them that'll give me a clue as to who lost the roll."
"Yeah, and you'll probably end up paying a pretty penny for someone's bad shots of every tourist trap in town."
Jolee shrugged. "Maybe. Maybe not. But in case there's more here than I think, I might email one of the pictures to the newspaper. Somebody's bound to recognize their work."
"Ooo! What if they're dirty pictures? You know... porn shots?"
Jolee rolled her eyes. "Girl, you need to get laid. You've been lonely too long." Getting to her feet, the ghost of a twinge reminded Jolee of her earlier misstep. She winced. "Look, I'm heading back to the office. Same place, same time tomorrow?"
"Are you seeing that guy tonight?"
Oh, yeah. She had a date. "No, tomorrow night. Don't' worry. I'll give you all the juicy details over lunch Monday," Jolee promised before her friend had the chance to beg.
They exchanged quick hugs, and then Jolee crossed the street to drop off the mysterious roll at the nearby drugstore. The technician promised to have the pictures ready by the time Jolee got off work, which suited her just fine. A not-half-bad presentation, a mysterious roll of film, and a bonus date all in one day. She found an extra spring in her step as she started back to work.