“Who’s this?”

The group of prospective buyers being led through the suite stopped as Jenkins pointed at an oil painting on the wall, depicting a smiling middle-aged man.

Backtracking, the realtor made a dismissive gesture. “Leftovers,” she said. “FG&C left a few things here when they moved out. They’ll be back to collect or dispose of anything major before we close; they’re liquidating most of their assets to pay off outstanding debt as it is.”

“Who is it?” Jenkins asked again. “He’s smiling. These old skinflints never smile in their leering boardroom portraits.”

“Don’t let that smile fool you.” Cunningham, the senior realtor, stepped in from an adjoining room with Carey, one of Jenkins’ associates. “That’s old Florin himself, founder and CEO of Floring Greene and Company and CEO until his death about ten years ago. From what I hear, he was a right cold bastard and a workaholic to boot. The stories I’ve heard, let me tell you…”

“Like what?” said Jenkins, his interest piqued. “Tell us the worst story you heard.”

“Well, there was the time that he performed a hostile takeover on a company owned by his brother, and the time he gutted a company that made drugs for orphaned diseases,” said Cunningham. “But the worst…well, rumor has it that he let his kid, his only kid, be adopted by the friend of the family that was practically raising him anyway. Too much bother, I guess.”

Jenkins nodded. “That’s cold. So it’s a smile, but it’s a cold smile. An evil smile.”

“A lonely smile,” Carey volunteered.

“Most likely,” Cunningham said. He began to herd the group into the nearby hall, trying to move conversation to a happier topic for his soon-to-be-tenants.

“You coming, Carey?” Jenkins said as he was led out.

“Just a moment.”

Carey stood before the portrait and quietly laid his hand on its surface.

“Glad to see you’re still smiling, Dad,” he said. “Just like you were the last time I saw you.”

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