Missing Heiress (Chapter 6, page 1 of 15)

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The six-story Fireside Retirement Home had the definite odor of cleaning solutions, mixed with musty belongings that some of the old people weren't willing to part with. Other than that, the state funded facility was clean, and looked like a pleasant place for the elderly to spend their last days. The foyer led to a reception area where an older woman sat behind a desk knitting a baby blanket.

"I would like to see Adelaide Bertrand. Is she home?" Jackie asked.

"Oh goody," said the receptionist. "She gets very few visitors. Let me call up to her room and see."

"I would rather surprise her."

"It's against the rules, I'm afraid. We have to have the resident's permission before we let anyone up."

"I see." Jackie gave her name and then prayed she wouldn't be denied when the receptionist called for permission. She became further apprehensive when the receptionist repeated her name three times over the phone.

At last, the woman hung up and smiled. "She's coming down. Have a seat."

"Thank you." Jackie sat in a chair and waited until she heard the elevator whine its way down to the bottom floor. She stood up as soon as the door opened.

With a hint of a French accent, Adelaide asked, "Are you Jackie?" She looked to be in her late sixties or early seventies, with gray hair that was close to turning pure white. She was thin, but not overly so, and her shoulders were slightly bent forward.

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