The next morning, Bruce Wayne arrived at the offices of the Wayne Foundation at nine o’clock. He strolled in past the open office area of the clerks and receptionists who were the face of the Foundation to those who called looking for assistance and direction. The Wayne Foundation comprised dozens of operations, many of them unknown to the general public. Every day, hundreds of calls came in from people asking if the Foundation could help them find work, create memorials, start businesses, find missing persons, or any of a number of other requests. Chances were good the Foundation could help them. If it couldn’t, the request would be routed to Bruce Wayne and the Board of Directors. More times than not, such a request would result in the establishment of a new post or a new department to address the need.
At the back of the large office were six smaller offices. Four of these were reserved for Bruce and three active members of the Board of Directors, who were often there overseeing the Foundation’s day-to-day operations. The other two were available for Foundation officers use as needed. Today, and most of the time lately, one of those offices was occupied by Dick Grayson.
“Bruce! Got a moment?” Dick waved to him from inside the office, causing Bruce to change direction.
“Good morning, Dick. What’s up?”
“These reports from the City Clerk’s office. Most of the property that we’ve had our eye on for the Park Row redevelopment has been bought up. They got the requests to change the titles yesterday.”
“What? But most of that property has been sitting dead on the market for years. Who could be buying it now?“
“That information should be coming in about now.” Dick looked out the door and saw an attractive young woman hurrying toward his office. “In fact, I think it just arrived.”
“These just came over the fax machine for you, Mr. Grayson.” Bruce stepped back as the young blonde held out a sheaf of papers. “I looked through it. All the property has been bought by the same company. Exel Investments, working through a local company.”
“Ryder Industries.” Bruce shook his head. “Dammit, I should have expected something like this. Lucius told me that Ruby Ryder was back in Gotham.”
“Isn’t she the one that gave you all the trouble back when I was in college?” asked Dick. “As I recall, she was a real stone-cold bi–“
“Ah, yes, Dick.” Bruce cast a glance toward the young woman who was still standing with the faxed reports. “I’m sorry, miss, I don’t believe I’ve seen you around here before.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Bruce. This is my new personal assistant. Bruce Wayne, Cynthia Morningstar. Cynthia, this is our boss.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize.” Unlike most who met him for the first time, Bruce noted, she did not become terminally flustered. He made a note of that as he took her hand. “Please, call me Cindy. Everyone else does.”
“Glad to have you on the team, Cindy. I look forward to working with you.” Bruce gave her hand a light squeeze, then released it. She turned the papers over to Dick, then left. “Seems like a bright young lady, Dick.”
“Oh, don’t get started on that, Bruce. I’m still trying to sort things out in my head about Kory; I’m not about to start hitting on my assistant.”
Together, the two men laughed. “Anybody who can get past the first meeting with millionaire Bruce Wayne without so much as a blush, she’d be more than a match for you, my friend.”
Out at her desk, Cynthia Morningstar smiled. The operation with Pastor Payne might not have worked out, but Sister Cyn wasn’t finished in Gotham — not by a long shot.