I have been in a couple of houses (mansions, really) where the first thing you see when you enter is a wide staircase right in front of you. This was true here, with the only difference being that the staircase went down, not up.
We were, in essence, on a balcony that ran around three sides of a large central pit. About a dozen feet ahead of us was the staircase, leading down to what seemed to be a rather shabby but elegant basement living room, illuminated by large candles on tall poles.
My immediate thought was to wonder if this was all business as usual around here, or if were were expected and this was for our benefit.
"You can't come in," the girl said. She sounded rather forlorn, since, after all, we were already in.
A tall young man, also pale, also dressed in black (though somewhat more modestly), rose from one of the couches that were placed around the outer wall of the balcony we were on. "Mr. Ashford is working," he said, walking toward us. "He can't be–"
He made the mistake of reaching for my employer's arm. His hand didn't make it, though, because Christy grabbed his wrist, twisted it around behind his back and calmly said, "Miss Sleet? Shall I break it?"
My employer shook her head. "Of course not, at least not yet. I'm sure that when Mr. Ashford said that he was not to be disturbed, he was thinking of autograph seekers and gossip columnists, not–"