Verity exited the lift at the lobby level, immediately dazzled by the massive, blown-glass chandelier that sparkled in brilliant copper and teal over the circular reception desk. Huge photos of various aspects of their business were artfully arranged on the walls, providing some of the history and the family behind the company. The same portrait of the Carne family found on their website was featured front and center.
“Welcome to Carnemore, miss,” a voice chirped from somewhere near Verity’s left elbow. “May I help you?”
Verity started. “Forgive me,” she said to the petite blonde with bright blue eyes smiling up at her. The nameplate on the desk read “Amanda Kirkpatrick, Reception”. “Such a lovely space to work in, Amanda.”
Amanda beamed. “It truly is, miss. Is this your first time visiting with us?”
“Yes, it is,” Verity confirmed, setting her parcels down. “My name is Verity Poldark and I have an appointment with Demelza Carne.”
“Oh!” Amanda checked her computer screen. “Poldark, did you say?” Verity nodded, confused at the tone of curiosity teasing the girl’s voice. “Ms Carne’s assistant told me to expect you. Please sign and print your vehicle’s number plate at the bottom,” Amanda said, handing Verity a document that titled “Carnmore Residence Access”, “and I’ll need a copy of your identification, thanks.” Moments later, Amanda handed Verity a cardkey. “Go to the lifts to the left. When you get inside, hold the cardkey on the reader and press “R” to go up to the residence.”
Verity tucked the card in her pocket and picked up her bags. “Thank you very much, Amanda.”
“Oh!” the receptionist said as Verity turned to leave. Amanda was peering over the edge of her desk, her eyes sparkling with intrigue. “Do you need any help?”
“No,” Verity said, continuing on her way. “I shall do just fine.“ She could feel the young woman’s eyes following her as she crossed the lobby to the lift. The doors couldn’t have closed fast enough.
The doors were whisper-soft when they slid open on the residence floor, revealing a lovely foyer filled with the sound of jazz piano. A beautiful Waterford crystal vase sat on a pedestal table directly in the center of the space. Verity only had a moment to appreciate the shimmering light reflecting through its facets before Demelza came around the light-washed stone privacy wall to greet her.
“Verity! I’m so glad you’re here,” she sighed, tension easing from her shoulders. “We’ve just got the last of the kitchen things from my car.”
We? Who’s ‘we’? Verity wondered to herself.“I can’t wait to see what you bought! I love going to the kitchen shops but don’t dare to very often. There’s not enough room in the cottage for everything I’d want!”
Demelza giggled. “I didn’t wipe them out, but it was a near thing.” She noticed the grocery bags. “Oh dear, those look ridiculously heavy. Andrew?” she called over her shoulder, “can you come out here and give us a hand?”