Chapter 10: Another side to Magnifique

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The house was like a celebrity compound. There were cameras everywhere, on every roof, next to each window and hovering high up on poles. No one could possibly enter this property without being seen. There were no black spots, nor any hidden corners, escaping attention.

It seemed excessive, considering the house was only mediocre in appearance. These cameras were not protecting some giant mansion or expensive loot, only a one story walk up, not even worthy of a second look. The neighborhood was not a slum, nor were its occupants threatening. It seemed like a quaint suburb, where nothing interesting ever happened.

Max took a second look at the address, wondering if he had made a mistake. This place looked fit for a war veteran or nut-bag conspiracy theorist, but it was definitely not suitable for a person like Magnifique. He had cheekily expected some quirkiness in her abode, similar to her personality, maybe a large castle, a tree fort or building made of glass, but this house was far from that. If not for the cameras this house screamed of modernity. It was plain, somewhat normal with its only eccentricity being that it was protected like Fort Knox.

Both men stopped dead in their tracks, after a door swung open from a van in the drive way. An Italic print logo immediately grabbed their attention, spelling out the words Assured Security. A short man appeared seconds later with a barreled stomach and dressed in a uniform.

"What can I do for you men?" he asked.

"My name is Max Crawford. I'm here to see Magnifique. Is this her place?"

"Yes, it is. What's this concerning?"

Max eyed the man up and down, before responding in an uppity tone.

"I'm sorry, but that's private information," he stated arrogantly, "I'm sure she doesn't want her security firm knowing her business."

The man's inflamed nostrils met his words.

"I'm her partner, so I'll ask again. What's this about?"

A redness colored Max's cheeks. He rarely was embarrassed, but his judgment in this instance had been very wrong. His tone softened when he spoke next.

"I apologize. I'm the DA that your partner has been speaking with of late. Sorry, I didn't catch your name?"

"It's Gerrard," a prickly voice responded, with the man's fiery eyes yet to simmer down. They had definitely gotten off on the wrong foot.

"I'm very sorry," Max apologized to him, presenting his hand like a white flag, ""I didn't expect such a normal person. Your partner is quite extravagant."

This apology did nothing to ease the tension, feeling like the words were physically slapping Gerrard in the face.

"What did you expect a knight or gnome or something?" he hissed.

Grant finally interrupted them, trying to lift the mood. He had a burning question scorching his brain.

"What's with all the cameras?"

Gerrard shifted his head backwards, viewing the house with a look of contentment on his face.

"I own a security company," he revealed, expressing pride, "we use our house as a display home. I have every new gadget rigged up to his place to show potential customers what we can do for them. There are motion cameras, infrared domes, pan tilt zoom, varifocal and pro box cameras, even hidden ones. Some are wireless, whilst others are high resolution, all depending on what the customer wants. This place is a mecca of the latest in home security."

His work was obviously a hobby as well, so Grant kept him talking, trying to thaw his frosty behaviour. They needed him on side as well, if they wanted to press Magnifique for more information.

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