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The Oldest Fires Read 11524 times

Beau

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2014, 10:03:04 pm »
“I gave him the folder like you asked,” Marcy said as she brought in more post for Jason to read.  She smirked and added, “He was reading it when I left.”

Jason lifted an eyebrow.  Apparently his brother hadn’t propositioned his assistant.  Points in his favor.  “Sael does read…from time to time.”

The silence stretched between them.  Jason could tell she was waiting for his confidence over the mysterious folder, or perhaps the flowers, but Jason wasn’t one to gossip.  He waited out her curiosity.  Soon enough she left.

When Sael ultimately came to interrupt him, the small flutter of panic in his gut never reached his eyes.  After all Em was smart enough to see through disguise.  Hadn’t she seen though his, and rejected it?  No reason to fear that she’d find Sael better.

And yet there was a pause in the conversation, as Jason’s brow furrowed and he considered his brother as a woman might.  Handsome.  Funny.  Far less inhibited.  Sael didn’t have the word danger tattooed on him, but it might be there simmering below the surface – a sort of vibe that held its own allure. 

Jason looked down at his desk as though searching for the restaurant name on the blotter.

Maybe I should come with you…

But he knew he shouldn’t give in to the temptation to play the third wheel or the impulse to view from some potted palm in the lobby. No, he’d delegated the task.  Sael was better suited to ferreting out the truth by fair means or foul.

“I can recommend the Marquis Bistro on Fifth,” he said.  “Atmosphere is quiet.  The spinach salad should appeal to…” he stopped himself just in time from admitting prior knowledge, “most palates.”  He found a piece of paper and wrote down the name before handing the scrap over to Sael.  He debated about advising against alcohol but figured his big brother influence wouldn’t be tolerated.  It wasn’t like the big boss was susceptible to a random drug test anyway.  With a sigh, Jason leaned back in his chair.  Decided to torture himself. “Let me know how it goes.”

And then he remembered the newest letter that had arrived today.  “The shipment on Friday maybe in jeopardy.”  He handed the latest hint of scandal to Sael before he could leave.  “Be interesting to see what happens.  Expensive, but interesting.”

Ara

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2014, 05:28:46 pm »
It took longer to get down the hall and to her office than was reasonable. Stopped every three feet it seemed. When she was finally inside she resisted the urge to slam the door. She left it open and walked casually to her desk, looking over papers she had been handed on her way in. They had three mergers in the works, one was going to pan out and the other two were mostly pandering to egos in endless negotiations. One of them had gone on long enough that she was ready to shut them down at the next meeting.

She secretly looked forward to that.

She sat down in her chair, the big stiff one that was somehow a chair of old perched on wheels and a swiveling post. She had inherited her father's office. It was old and stiff like the chair. Everything was custome made, she was told. A panel of clean windows on one side to show her the city below and a panel of frosted windows on the other to give people the illusion she was watching them at all times while in truth, it let her know when someone was coming.

Clark followed her in, taking her newly empty coffee cup off the desk where she'd placed it and throwing it away. Her phone chimed but Clark did not seem to notice since she made no move to answer it infront of him. He asked if she wanted another cup of coffee instead but she shook her head, flipping the page on the report in her hands. Her assistant nodded quickly. “You have a few phone calls to return before lunch.” He said while placing the phone slips on her desk and then casually reaching down to open her desk drawer before standing straight again. “No meetings until this afternoon though.” He said and then walked away, softly closing the door behind himself.

Emmeline leaned to the side, away from her papers, to look down at the drawer he'd opened. It had a small bakery box inside and she tried not to smile even with no one there to catch her. She casually opened the box and pulled out a cookie. She hadn't told Clark of her love of all things baked, but somehow he'd figured it out. She considered giving him a raise but she was already paying him an obscene amount. Really, he owed her cookies and cleverness.

Lemon cookie in one hand, she took her phone up with the other and thumbed it to life. She put her phone down and pretended she might not be interested in lunch. Maybe cookies and paperwork were enough. Maybe she wasn't charmed. Maybe she was too smart to put herself further in Jason's line of sight. And maybe she wouldn't eat another cookie, one of the ones that looked like they might have white chocolate in them.

She realized that she hadn't been paying attention to what she was reading and sighed before starting over again. Her hand dipped into the drawer to have long fingers tug out that second cookie.

Verse

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2014, 12:48:09 am »
He nodded along with what Jason said. He'd heard about that bistro. Not entirely over hyped, but well enough talked about to be worth the trip. Sael liked to think he knew his way around the higher scale things, but it so happened that he knew nothing of how to impress those that may not end up between his sheets, or on his drinking list. The bistro would be a good reference point from now on. He picked up his phone and dance away the message as he read it.

"Marquis on fifth, right." he narrated. "See you there. Need a two wheel pick up?" he continued before sending. "I'll tell you all about it." he assured. Good defuse material for later. With a quick snap to his right pocket, the phone was put away and his hands were free to receive the letter. He raised a brow at the paper and unfolded it. It had been long since he'd read a physical letter that wasn't automated. His transient nature had a part to play in that.

A copy of the shipping manifest, well documented, alphabetized, computer printed. Another one, copy of a handwritten check from the same docs. One crate was highlighted, the serial number not to be found in the official manifest, which meant they'd missed to process it. Or someone had deliberately seen to that it hadn't been. Sael looked over the edge of the paper at his brother before flipping to another document. Inventory list of said crate. Computer chips.

"Aren't robotics and hardware mostly Nathaniel's field?" Sael asked before he rolled a breath from cheek to cheek. He flared his lips when he exhaled, troubled. "Whoever checks things out for you is pretty good, Jaz." he mumbled. "He or she even checked out the history of the chips. Turns out they've not been tested. How many of those would be in a crate that size?" he asked, but knew it was moot. Either way this was fifty shades of shady.

Sael leaned over Jason's desk and placed the letter back, just by the keyboard. "Guessing these are prints because we don't want an e-trail." he said and sucked his lower lip, mercury in his eyes swirling with thought as he fiddled with the button of his jacket. When he'd chewed enough on the implications for now, he clucked his tongue and nodded, even though he hadn't concluded something Jason would not have. "Alright. Maybe I could be some kind of bridge here. I'll see if I can get closer to this."

He would like to get down the docs. He'd always been more for the hands-on approach. Shake hands, get the lay-out of the kingdom. Perhaps that was his place in his father's company. He could be its feet. That made for an even more acute need of someone to hold the papers for him. "How would dad handle something like this?" he asked and thumbed the knot on his tie. Somehow he was sure that method would require more poise and patience than he possessed, but at least that'd be a reference. Jason should know.

The phone came out again, telling the reception he'd need his jacket ready when he came down.



Beau

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2014, 08:47:29 pm »
Jason expected Sael to trot away with his new toy and his hot date, but he paused for a round of intelligent conversation.  The executive leaned back in his chair and radiated a false aura of calm.  That his brother implied he had spies checking things irritated him.  He believed business should run on trust. 

“Our source is unknown to me.” Jason clarified.  “I’m not quite sure why we are being given this information but all things come with a cost.  I’m waiting to see who will be required to pay.  My first suspicion was Nathanial – revenge or malice.  If that’s not it then extortion might be next.  I doubt our informant will wait for us to tip them with gratitude.”

When did he get so cynical?  Jason leaned his neck against the soft leather headrest of the chair.  One foot tipped toe to heel, pushing the chair slightly into a rocking motion.  The gentle rhythm should have relaxed him, but he remained tense.  He didn’t like how easily Sael dictated texts into his phone.  Obviously she’s given him her number on short acquaintance.  He could count on his hand the minutes they’d spent together at the funeral.  Envy ate at him as he recalled the effort he’d gone to for the same priviledge.

He sighed, “You should go.  Women don’t like to be kept waiting.”


Ara

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2014, 01:44:42 pm »
She resisted laughing when she read his reply. A two-wheeled pick up. She was beginning to suspect that he had sculpted the image of a rebellious son for himself rather than fallen into it. It would have been too much of a coincidence that he managed to check every box if it hadn't been a choice.

Emmeline stood and took her jacket from the closet built into the wall behind her desk. Her father's desk. It had been full of suit jackets and coats when she arrived. Now it housed hat boxes, a few dresses and an assortment of jackets. She took the leather one today, soft tan, a color she liked in the company of her navy pinstripe. Her thumb tapped a reply into her phone on her way out of her office. 'It's close. I'll see you there.' Was her reply.

Clark was on his feet as soon as he saw her coming, looking surprised and grabbing up a notebook in case she had a request. One hand waved him off. "I'm going out. I'll be back after lunch."

Her assistant looked alarmed, as did his assistants sitting across from him. "Lunch?" He was flipping through notes to see if he had somehow forgotten a lunch date, his helpers shaking their heads with certainty that she didn't have anything on the books.

"It's impromptu." She eased their panic but offered nothing else on her way to the elevator.

"I'll have the car at the front." Clark said quickly, waving at one of the others who quickly grabbed up a phone.

"No, thank you." Emmeline said simply, jabbing the button inside the elevator. The doors closed before he could gather himself to follow her.

Verse

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2014, 07:22:14 pm »
Sael thought Jason looked like a version of father then. Their old man would not have been so troubled, perhaps, as Jason was, but who knew? Maybe father had just saved his worried musings for exactly this reason, making his sons feel safe under his care. Sael’s idolization of the man would have gone a good way toward that goal, anyway. Without, the image of his brother rocking and thinking seemed more human than the master Orville had. “I’ll be careful.” Sael promised and went for the door.

“And don’t worry,” he Said as his pocket vibrated. “I’ll be a gentleman and be back in time for the rest of the school day.” Another promise, not as deeply chiseled in stone. With the challenge of the plot of the crate, he’d probably stay true to it, too. Sael walked away from his brother, waving over his shoulder. Today, so far, had been important. He knew that he didn’t have to get along with Jason in order to do his part. It lent some light to the future of this company. The elevator was fast and the stop at the entrance floor was smooth. Shouldn't people with time as precious as the ceo’s of this place have their offices closer to the ground? Something to talk to Jason perhaps.

He replied to her text during the descent. ‘You’re being so cool and detached. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.’ He was provided with his jacket and his helmet on the way out. Sael saw the bike brought to him. Apparently there were more important vehicles that needed the front space. His feathers were ruffled but he took flight nonetheless. The gps took him all the way and he parked quickly, leaving his helmet locked to the wheel. If it rained, well, then it would pour.

He sat by the table. Jason had booked it under Mr Orville. A good compromise. The staff had been a little surprised to see Sael instead of Jason, he’d noticed, and that was a testament to his brother’s patronage of this establishment. Better remember to tip well, then. Sael didn’t know much about the corporate world, but he did pride himself in understanding the relationship between a guest and his eatery. Naming this place was an act of trust from Jason's side. For that reason Sael did not comment on how pleasant the hostess’ shape was.

He tugged the tie, still all those dreary stripes, though they were colors, ontop of his well fitted white shirt and black jacket around it. He unbuttoned the top button and lowered the knot. Well tailored or not, he couldn’t bare to have her see him completely proper. He ruffled his hair to one side, as well. Thank you helmet, as always.

Every now and then he looked to the doors and fought the impulse to play with his cellphone. He already wore the smile he’d designated for her; relaxed and with a joke on each corner, he thought.

Ara

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #36 on: October 27, 2014, 01:23:10 pm »
She was a block away when her phone chimed. She tugged it from her jacket pocket and read his message. She smiled and then stopped walking. What was she doing? Her smile drained away. Sael wasn't just some charming guy she could have lunch with. He was Jason's brother. He was an Orville. She hadn't come all this way to this awful city to have fun or dredge up the past. She had come here to bury it, to do her father's job, uphold his empire and pay whatever debt she owed his blood.

She stood there on the sidewalk like a fool, caught between who she was and who she was supposed to be today. When she came to this city, she had told herself she would keep her head down. She would be all business, make no friends, and leave when it was done.

Seeing Jason had rattled her. Reminding her that there had been a time when she had been someone else, when she had made choices and chosen her road from others. He reminded her that people got hurt when she made choices, that people would always want something she couldn't give them.

A man walking by looked at her strangely and she realized that she had been standing still for too long. Her phone slipped back into her pocket and she started forward again. She wouldn't run away. She was going to have lunch with an Orville because Orvilles were princes in this city just like Nathaniels. Business. It was business.

She walked through the large revolving doors into the restaurant. She was still a new face to this city but her tailoring and the confidence beneath it always had her greeted with smiled and eager service. “Orville.” She gave the name and the woman looked to be surprised and then excited, leading her to the table where Sael sat.

Emmeline smiled, a polite mask of amusement to greet his own. “I have to say, I expected you to pick out a bar. Something with pool tables and darts.” She said while shrugging out of her jacket.

Beau

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2014, 02:27:03 pm »
When Marcy returned to his office, Jason was standing by the window. The view before him was of the water.  Somewhere on the horizon was another town and more lights and people, but Jason’s focus was blurred.  He wasn’t really thinking about anything in particular but his mind wasn’t on business.  Marcy had to clear her throat to get his attention.

“I considered ordering lunch for you, but I figured the sandwich would wind up in the trash.”

Jason’s lips twitched, but the smile never fully formed.  He appreciated that his assistant cared enough to notice he wasn’t eating much these days.  People handled grief differently.  At the same time he disliked wasting food.  If he considered lunch he’d be on his way to a certain restaurant against his better judgment. “Make a donation to Save the Children for me instead.”

“How about a cookie.”  Marcy placed a couple of lemon cookies on his desk.  The plate was barren of nutrition.  She inched the white china a bit closer with one finger, like she was tempting a stray cat with a can of tuna.  “A shot of sugar should keep you going until your non-dinner. Can’t have you fainting before your 1 p.m. with Legal.”

“The Thompson merger,” Jason sighed and leaned his forehead against the glass.  All thoughts of escape buried themselves on the cool barrier.

Marcy shrugged.  “There are a few other matters as well.  I got a call to extend the meeting by thirty minutes.”

Jason almost groaned.  He straightened and let his eyes focus on the horizon.

Marcy read off the rest of his schedule.  The spiral notepad in her hand appeared to be working overtime.  “I had to push your two o’clock to five.  Morrison wasn’t pleased but he said if you’re willing to golf with him on Friday he’ll stay late.  Something about making a good impression on the sales force at Warrington.  I didn’t know you golfed.”

“Everybody golfs.”  Didn’t mean he liked it or was good at it.  His tone implied at least one of those realities was true.

“Don’t forget you’re three-thirty conference call.  I’m going to be working with Admin on finding Sael an assistant then.  I promised to bring up a couple of resumes for him to review before he left today.  Thanks again for not volunteering me for the lion’s den.”

Jason turned to his desk and absently collected a cookie.  “I promise to keep my strength up long enough to protect my best asset.”  The sweet treat was passed between his hands but he didn’t bite into it as he sat down.  He liked the bakery and Marcy often brought him a cookie.  He sniffed and enjoyed the fragrance then set the cookie back on the plate like he knew it was bad for him.  “Maybe you can bring me a salad before the conference call.  I could chew while the R&D group talks.  Save me from falling asleep.”

Marcy smiled and nodded.  She added the note to her steno book then left Jason to his papers and thoughts.

Verse

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2014, 09:47:11 pm »
He enjoyed good needling. Hers was an expert example. He wasn't sure there was soul in the tailoring or if Emmeline herself was that good at picking out garment intricately laced with the times. She wore it as though she owned it, and that claim was bleeding off the stripes of her pants to flood the room. People with personalities like that could be taken for sharp dressers by just tossing their aura around. He would have to keep a keen eye to see through it. A vest. Good thing he wasn't sporting one today.

He stood when she came and swiftly beat the staff member to Emmeline's chair, pulling it out and excusing the waitress with a tap on her shoulder. "Emmeline Nathaniel." he said before he listened to her. His smile turned stale in a well over-acted expression as he nodded along to her confession of her assumption. He pulled his phone up. "Hello, Alfred" Butlers are always Alfred. "We have to re-plan the second date. She's on to us." He ended the call by taping the black screen. "Sorry, he's a little--" his smile cracked his mask, finally. "imaginary."

He sat down opposite of her. If she had her eyes with her she would be able to see the symmetry of ratio to colors in the background and the way the hues of his tie cut the black and white of his ensemble. There was a reason he felt comfortable, even though he had not noticed why yet. Sael watched the waitress flip a bright menu open. Jason words came spilling out his mouth before she could give the choices to Emmeline. "Spinach's good here." The waitress smiled and nodded, brushing what he had to assume was the dish for Emmeline to read.

He chose the sandwich. It said something with bourbon. He didn't know how, but most food cooked with booze tasted better. He'd usually shy away from the redwine meats, though, for some reason. How would a sandwich look in a place like this one? Suddenly the word 'deconstructed' flourished in different contexts. It was a slow and uneventful train of thought at best.

He instead wondered about what would sway her into conversation while he gave the menu back. Then he counted the buttons on her blouse and vest. "Emmeline." he bid, his attention appropriately rising. "Do you think you're attracted to me because we're so similar in fate, or because of how differently we face it?" the boy with the crusted blood tear asked. There was a smile was a mirthful smile buried in that vanity. "or is this." thumb to himself, index finger toward her. "just instinct?"

Silver spoon and silver tongue.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 09:51:08 pm by Verse »

Ara

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #39 on: October 29, 2014, 02:47:52 pm »
She sat when the chair was offered and tried not to smile beyond the gesture she'd started with, that is, until he started talking to an imaginary butler. Her attention fell on the menu. She looked at all of her options even though he suggested the spinach. Some part of her wanted to pick something else but it would have been just for the sake of going against his suggestion. The spinach salad was exactly what she wanted. She smiled and folded the menu, giving it back to the waitress and asking for a balsamic vinegar dressing to go with it.

For a moment their meeting was awkward. It lasted just long enough to be noticeable and then he spoke. All charm and whit, this Orville. It had a strange effect. She relaxed though a part of her felt certain he was hunting her. She picked up her water and took a drink while he speculated about her reasons for liking him. She was smiling when she put the glass back down. "Now, Sael, I think our families have put enough money into our educations to have us far beyond following instincts." She said it was a tone to mock that snobbish truth and watched him, always wondering what portion, if any, of his pretty words were honest. There was something comfortable about sitting with Sael even if she was still choosing her words carefully. She supposed the reason might be as simple as that he was the first person she'd sat down with in months that didn't want something from her or a way to ruin her. A little voice in the back of her head warned her that that might not be true either.

"Do you really think we face our fates so differently? We're both here, aren't we? Dress up like tailored fools, eating expensive leaves and holding up a legacy that will never really be ours. Well, I suppose your brother might share it with you. " Emmeline smiled. "What if this," She imitated his gesture, green eyes looking back at him. "is just a reflection smiling at itself?"

Peregrine

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2014, 06:15:25 pm »
Her black Louis Vuitton pumps made a soft thud against the carpet as she came hurriedly into the conference room, the red soles peaking out as she took the corner of the table. Attached to the shoes were long slim legs that slipped under the charcoal back-slit knee-length pencil skirt that rolled over well maintained curves to the scarlet silk button up blouse, slightly open at the top. Her black hair was pulled up into a tight french twist, but for the keen observer there were streaks of violet carefully combed into hiding.

"I'm so sorry to keep you all waiting. I'm Elizabeth Montgomery, Mr. Lewis's assistant. I'll be presenting for Mr. Lewis, as he's been called away for a personal emergency." Something she'd set int he works months ago, so that she would be the one giving this presentation to Jason Orville.

She set a black cased tablet and a leather folder down on the glass topped conference table and looked up at the other legal team members and then her emerald eyes landed on their CEO. She swallowed and pressed on a slightly flustered, yet charming smile. She pushed the thin black rimmed glasses up a little on her nose. "Shall we begin?"

She allowed a small nervous look to pass over her face, she couldn't look too confident, but she also couldn't look terrified either. She picked up the click control, synced it to her tablet and brought up the documents on the screen behind her and launched into the presentation.

She allowed herself to check her notes five times through the meeting, not because she needed to, but because she knew the other men in the room needed to feel as if they were smarter than her, like they knew more than she did. She smirked internally at the idea.

She was the one that had prepared the entire legal brief for the merger, Mr. Lewis of course taking credit, but as his assistant - a job which she had carefully maneuvered herself into four months ago from a lower level executive- she was expected to know the in's and outs of his office, so her presenting the information wouldn't be strange. It would however hopefully catch the young new bosses eye. There had been rumors that his brother was going to need an assistant. Today rumor had become fact, when the request was sent down the line for in house applicants.

Elizabeth's was in the pile, but she knew if she had done her job right these last months and she put out the right vibe here and now, there would be no interviews, the job would be offered to her and she would accept. She had other plans in motion if this didn't work out, but one way or another, she was going to be on the top floor. And sooner rather than later.

She set the clicker down at the end of a well run and clear presentation, ending at the original time, another step in her plan, now there was an empty half hour of time that could be filled for her purposes. She looked around the table of men and crossed her arms over her chest, her perfectly manicured nails tapping on one arm for a moment before uncrossing and her fingers resting spread on the table top. From her look and the presentation it would be clear she was a smart and detail oriented woman who knew what she was talking about. "So you can see gentleman, Mr. Lewis clearly recommends few changes or concessions to the current merger contract. He recommends  you be ready to sign today if they agree to our current version of the  contract." The slight tone to her voice and a quirk of her face that only Jason was in line to see, would say she didn't agree with that assessment.

She was almost sure she'd played her cards right, and if she had, the CEO was about to come and ask her what her recommendation was, and that conversation would lead to her quiet but subtle dissatisfaction with her current position, which in turn would lead to the job offer, and if she really did things right, an offer of drinks after work.

Despite what she was really at Orville Industries to do, she had to admit the man in front of her was appealing and her employer hadn't set any restrictions, other than their scheduled meets for her to give updates, and to be given her further instructions on her purpose here.

The other men around the table nodded and started to gather their things to leave, one or two coming up to ask her questions that she answered clearly and quickly. The room was nearly empty, except for one or two stragglers asking Jason questions, or pretending to talk so they could eye her.

She leaned over the table to start gathering files, a simple silver locket slipping out of the top of her unbuttoned blouse, one heel going up as she reached for a file that had slid just a little too far out of reach.

Beau

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2014, 06:41:35 am »

The Thomson merger was something Jason’s father had set in motion and delegated his way months ago.  Acquisitions were a training ground.  Boring. Something Jason couldn’t mess up since ultimately he wouldn’t be signing.   He’d recommended to his father three times that they scrap the plan.  The deal wasn’t favorable given the anticipated market change, but he’d been overruled.  Given how much time and resources were invested, Jason was loathe to cancel the merger in the final hours.  He still felt in his gut that the extra manufacturing capacity wasn’t needed, but given how his father liked to play things close to the vest he also suspected there might be some component of the deal he wasn’t completely aware of.  He entered the conference room with every intention of ‘letting it ride’ so that he could move on to other things.

Elizabeth was a surprise.  He’d heard her voice a time or two, but never locked gazes with her before.  She’d entered the room and immediately drawn attention of all the other occupants.  Maybe it was the scarlet blouse.  Maybe it was the legs that were now hidden from view behind the conference room table.  In any case, Jason found himself leaning forward as she spoke, like a butterfly collector intrigued by a new species in his midst.

She had an air of confidence.  He liked that.  At the same time the hint of vulnerability hit the mark.  He sensed a kindred soul about all the Corp speak as the presentation drew to a close.  Knowledge was power. His own reservations about the path forward returned as the meeting ended.  Curiosity kept him in the room.

He stood as the others did.  His next appointment wasn’t until two.  Apparently word had gotten out that he’d agreed to the golf outing on Friday.  One executive offered to make the meeting a foursome.  Jason stopped just in time from rolling his eyes.

Elizabeth reached forward for a file on his side of the table.  Jason took the excuse to pick up the document himself.  Rather than extend it to her across the grand expanse of glass, he walked to where she stood and offered it. 

“Nice presentation.  Do you regularly do Mr. Lewis’s work for him?”  He’d wait and see the reaction to that statement.  Both denial and acceptance would say something about her character.  She’d glanced at her notes, but it was clear she knew the material more than someone who was stepping in at the last moment.  And she’d dressed to impress.  Right or wrong, women here didn’t wear power colors unless they planned to be on display.

“You don’t think the merger is a good idea?  Why?”  He kept his tone neutral.  His hands rested at his sides.  He refused to put them in his pockets or fidget with pen and notepad he held.  Elizabeth was tall.  He was taller but he liked that she at least came close to looking him in the eye.

At some point their conversation shifted, away from the merger and to personal aspirations – hers not his.  Jason listened but he didn’t commit to knowing who she was or if she’d suit Sael’s needs.  He could see the match, but honestly would have preferred that Sael take on a male assistant just so he had a chance of getting some work done.

Then again, if Montgomery is willing to do the work maybe it won’t matter.  But something about his sense of justice made that a bitter pill to swallow.

Marcy found them there.  She hurried into the room with a, “There you are,” before noticing Elizabeth.
“Oh, hello,” she said with a smile.  Marcy told Jason, “Elizabeth and I went to college together. We both had Professor Phillips for Psychology.”

Jason turned to Elizabeth.  For the first time he smiled and the golden eyes almost glowed with the mirth of a hidden joke.  But then the moment was gone and he focused again on Marcy. “Let’s see that Sael has the opportunity to meet Ms. Montgomery.  Be sure to add her to the list of interviewees.”  And then with a final nod he was gone.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 05:28:52 pm by Beau »

Peregrine

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2014, 08:20:44 pm »
Elizabeth's hand slipped back and she stood with a languid motion, her foot dropping quietly to the floor while taking the offered file with a slight smile. Her tongue twisted in her mouth and her eyes slid up to Jason's at his first question.

She gave him a coy smile, "It's the job of an assistant or subordinate to get done whatever needs doing for her employer, isn't it?" Her brow quirked slightly at the end of her question- truer words for her had never been said. But to Jason, it was not an admittance, but not a denial either. 

Then the question she knew would come, slipped from his lips. She looked down at the files on the table and stacked them back into her folder and closed it. She stacked the tablet on the folder and then picked them both up and held them to her side. "It's an acquisition for acquisitions sake." She gently lifted both shoulders subtly and dropped them, not a fully committed shrug. "Can you afford to do it? Yes. Will it really benefit your company? Not really, in my opinion. The money and effort could have been better spent on distribution rather than further manufacturing. Our shipping and packaging have needed updates for at least a year and if you look at the numbers, they have been slowly slipping and current market research points to the packaging design we haven't changed in three years." She took a breath and let her cheeks flush, as if realizing she'd said to much, when she'd really said precisely what she'd meant to and not a word more.

She flexed her fingers tighter around her bundle, "I apologize, it's not my place to tell you or Mr. Lewis or anyone for that matter, what is or is not best for this company." She swallowed as if she wanted to say more and then licked her lips and said it, "It's just, a large and increasing share of our consumers are women and no offense, but your company doesn't have many of us in positions of real influence."

She flushed again and turned back to the table glancing at her watch, as if she needed to be somewhere else or as if looking for something else she could pick up. Then she steadied herself and looked back at him with an abashed smile, "I'm sorry, again. I'm just passionate about this company. I wrote my legal dissertation on it. Your father did some amazing things in the last twenty years with this company, but in the last five the progression had stalled, despite continued growth." She shifted her weight from one foot to another, her hip popping out slightly as they continued to talk, her telling she'd worked in sales when she was in secondary school at a local branch near her home town, how she'd studied the company and wanted to be a part of it. How she admired his choice to keep the business in the family.

She looked up with a look of surprise as Marcy came in, even though she knew they were a good few minutes past the extra half hour meeting mark. She smiled, a flush to her cheeks as if she just realized again who she was talking to and that she'd let her mouth get away from her as Marcy mentioned the fabricated connection they had.

There had been an Elizabeth in Professor Philip's Psychology class, but it hadn't been her. She'd exploited it in the break room and now she and Marcy were fairly good work friends, moving to after work drink friends once in awhile.

When Jason looked back and smiled at her, she flushed deeper until his concentration returned and he then he was gone with a mention to let Sael interview her.

She turned to Marcy who was shaking her head.

"What was that about?" As if she hadn't expected him to offer her the job, she was slightly disappointed it wasn't given to her out right, but she knew she'd get it now.

Marcy shrugged, "He wasn't expecting you, but he must have liked you. He hasn't smiled it weeks."

She saw Marcy write her name down on a list with four other women. "Really?" Her eyes looked toward the glass doors as if she was amazed, when she really wasn't.

"It could have been what I said about us being in a psychology class together, but with him it could have been anything really. Jason wasn't ever cut out for corporate life. He should be touring the world playing the violin with an orchestra somewhere, but he's here."

Elizabeth turned and looked at her but didn't comment. She knew his background of course, but there is only so much that research can tell you about a person.

Marcy touched her arm and they started to walk out, "This is a good thing Liz. You've wanted a position of influence and if Sael likes you and you can hold your own against him, you'll have it." She looked down a the schedule, "I've already scheduled the other women, so you'll have to go last. Four o'clock good for you? We could go get drinks after work too. I wanna know what you said to Jason, but I've got to run now. Good luck."

Of course the time was fine, but Elizabeth simply nodded as if dumb struck at her luck. "Sounds great. Text me when you're done for the day." Marcy nodded as she walked away.

When she was back in the elevator alone, slipping silently back down to the 30th floor, she smiled. Not a happy smile, but a triumphant smile. She knew the other women on Marcy's list, and none of them had the same... visual appeal as her. Sael was as easy as a book to read when it came to women.

She'd have to play into his ego, pretend to be flattered by his smutty attention, but be in charge enough to pique his boyhood notions of being dominated, while mailable enough to let him feel in control. She had to be a seductive challenge, leaving him wondering how long it would take before he could convince her to sleep with him, while all the while still being an assistant his brother would approve of.

So in other words, a walk in the park. Her smile spread for a brief moment, and then disappeared as the doors slid open and she went back to her 'job'.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 05:59:26 am by Peregrine »

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #43 on: November 02, 2014, 11:43:24 am »
He always felt slightly violated when presented with truths this way. It wasn't hard for someone like Sael to roll the right way with violations. At times he'd taken strange risks for exotic reasons. Between the sheets and clad in inward weapons held in place by cowhide it wasn't conducive to react with panic, even when sensory input was overflowing and overwhelming. He rearranged some of his first impulses at her presented clarity and smirked, held his glass up as though the water was something else as he drank it.

"I like all of that." Like it to happen to him, liked the idea of Jason taking all the money and leaving him in some kind of picturesque poverty. It was a prettier grit then his continued, unchecked splendor. Better for the soul. He didn't know he would be able to bear it, though. He could draw up a character, but that didn't mean he had any. "If we're alike then we're not alone." he offered and put the glass back. Claws of water reached for the upper ring before they settled. Maybe it had landed harder than he thought. Had the sound of impact been harsh? "And you used tailoring and reflection in the same breath. That's always nice." He couldn't very well not draw a line over every truth he presented, could he? She was getting the real Sael, after all. And there was nothing real with that person.

He wondered about how much truth she'd offered herself in that. It felt solid, most of it, and she did seem to build out her wit mostly when he did, but how would he know if she'd refined the same kind of armor as he nurtured? Sael enjoyed her for this uncertainty. Not so much for the sparring, which would be there anyway, but because of the companionship. A few bohemian girls with their heads in the earth and their noses in the snow filled the same function. He'd not done it with high society, though. Sael let her see that he was looking, really looking.

"I do mostly nothing because I make sure nothing is all I have to do. Social things I design, usually with adventurous people. I leave them, they linger on my persona and then forget me." he said and rested one finger on the side of the glass. He was offering her payment before he posed the question, so she'd know how honest he hoped she'd be. And how honest she should not be. "But what about you? You're like Jason in some sense, but not as--" he thought on the man and then looked at the woman. "statue-like in your expression. Or is it just my crush on you that's talking?" He frowned and smiled at the same time, a small face that suggested he'd let something slip that shouldn't have been said. He wouldn't be so careless with such a secret, though. Then again, this was just the kind of hiding in plain sight he preferred for secrets like that. He supposed he didn't know either, at this point. "Question, since I'm being winded and long, what do you do when you do nothing? You don't strike me as a knitter."

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #44 on: November 03, 2014, 12:17:58 pm »
She was listening to Sael, wondering again how she ended up at a table with him. There was something about him that she couldn't put her finger on. Many men were charming and cunning and she had met her share of wealthy responsibility-duckers. Maybe Sael was interesting because he should be abandoning his responsibilities and yet she had managed to meet him when he wasn't. And then he mentioned Jason. She didn't want to think that Jason had anything to do with her attention to Sael and she certainly didn't want to think that his genetics were what drew him to her.

Her smile thinned at mention of his brother. "How long do your crushes usually last?" She asked to steer the topic, amusement pulling at her lips. "So, that I can schedule accordingly." Emmeline laughed a little and leaned back into her seat. "What makes you think I ever do nothing?" Her hands lifted casually to display herself. "Don't I look like someone that works twenty-four hours a day? That's what the sales clerk told me." She trailed. There was no sales clerk. She had a tailer and internet and since she stepped foot into this city, no time or desire to go into any boutiques.

The waitress came with their food, setting out the square porcelain plates in front of them. She picked up the cloth napkin when the waitress left, dropping it in her lap before taking up her fork. "I run." She admitted to her salad. "Usually at the gym but sometimes through the park near the house. I take roads that I haven't seen before and try to get lost." She stabbed a piece of spinach and captured a chunk of pear, looking up at Sael across the table. She had never said that out loud before. She smiled, a tired but honest gesture. "I promise, I'm a different person outside your city." His city. Because even if she was a Nathaniel, this wasn't her home. She was imported to defend the throne, not to contest it.

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2014, 02:45:20 am »
click

You and me, we made a vow
For better or for worse

Jason returned to his office and noticed the salad box on his desk.  The logo of the Marquis Bistro showed on the sticker seal.  If Marcy planned to entice him into eating she’d missed the mark.  Seeing the food only made his stomach churn.  After the meeting with legal he’d made the detour from the elevator and noted that Sael was not in his office.  No telling how lunch had gone with Em, but he knew how appealing his brother could be if he tried. The fact that he hadn’t returned from lunch could mean they’d gone somewhere for dessert.

I can't believe you let me down
But the proof's in a way it hurts

Setting the salad box aside on the blotter, Jason settled into his desk chair.  He flipped his notebook to a fresh page and gathered a couple pencils.  He put the headset on and dialed into the conference call, but his focus wasn’t on the Research and Development portfolio.  He was thinking back to his escape from Paris.  He’d sent an investigator to find out about Em and what might have happened to keep her from meeting him.  Could there have been someone else…

For months on end I've had my doubts
Denying every tear

Now it seemed maybe the reports were true – she hadn’t been what she seemed – only using him to get ahead.  But he’d wanted to believe otherwise. The investigator had been vague.  He’d seen her with a couple of men and noted the exchange of money with them.  Business associates perhaps?  They’d provided him with pictures…

Only later had he learned that his father had been involved in the reports he’d gotten.  Combine that with the fact that she hadn’t married and perhaps Jason held out some hope that maybe she’d come to her senses and find him.  Yet, one look at Sael and he was forgotten.

He sighed.  This caused those on the phone call to pause and ask if he was troubled by something they’d said.

“No, it’s not you,” but Jason didn’t explain why he was staring out the window and not thinking about the contents of the call.

I wish this would be over now
But I know that I still need you here

~A couple hours earlier~

Marcy entered the restaurant and spoke to the hostess.  A bright white bag with the called in order of take-out was produced and Marcy gave over her credit card for payment.  She was rather proud of herself.   She’d heard Jason mention the name of the place earlier in the day and hoped to entice him into eating, but as she was leaving she noticed Sael seated at the table with a woman.

You say I'm crazy
'Cause you don't think I know what you've done

Marcy couldn’t resist walking over, drawn like a moth to the flame.  She stood three feet from the table, seeing them both in profile.  Why did she feel like the other woman viewing a scene she shouldn’t? 

“Hello Sael,” she said.  Surprisingly her voice sounded more like a croak than her usual sassy and self-assured melodic tone. Marcy shook her head as though it needed to be cleared.  “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”  Her smile was a touch forced as she looked at the woman she didn’t recognize but somehow figured she should.  Her gaze flickered down to what they were eating. For some reason the spinach salad on the woman’s plate caused her to look between the two trying to figure out what she missed.

Marcy covered her discomfiture by saying, “I’ve lined up some assistant interviews for you, Mr. Osborn.  They start at 2:30.” But something in the air warned her she should reschedule and that Sael had every intention of not returning to the office. 


But when you call me baby
I know I'm not the only one

Her perfect teeth chewed her lower lip as she looked towards the door and the first opportunity of escape. She didn’t wait to be introduced, but for some reason she said, “Nice to meet you,” before hurrying out with her package.

You've been so unavailable
Now sadly I know why

Jason wasn’t sure how it happened.  At some point during the phone call he’d started to sketch.  A perfect nose.  Soft hair.  A face in profile.  She wasn’t looking at him.  It seemed the only way he could imagine Em these days was looking off into the distance at other things.  In the end she hadn’t bothered to tell him herself why she couldn’t come.  Silence spoke volumes. He could only think that she’d gotten a better offer.  Seeing her yesterday at the beck and call of Nathanial made him think he knew why.

She was just as weak as he was.  So, why was he suddenly hung up on could have beens?
He got up and walked over to the window.  Voices continued to drone in his head as he stared out at the landscape.  The hands in his pockets felt heavy.

Your heart is unobtainable
Even though Lord knows you have mine

Marcy entered Jason’s office.  She’d knocked first, but it seemed the headset in his ears had masked her arrival.  His back was to her, so she approached the desk planning to leave the file for his five pm appointment on the edge for him to find after the call.

It was impossible to miss the other item on the desk, or for her to fail to recognize the face she’d just seen.  Jason’s ability at art was almost as good as his skill at music.

Her heart thudded hard. Was she adding two plus two and getting five?  As quietly as she entered, Marcy backed up towards the office door and back into her adjoining suite.


You say I'm crazy
'Cause you don't think I know what you've done
But when you call me baby
I know I'm not the only one
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 06:09:52 am by Beau »

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #46 on: November 04, 2014, 08:23:23 pm »
They tended to last for as long as you were a novelty. He didn't claim to have the most original of hearts. His eye was caught by the same tricks as any other, held for as long. He made an act out of looking at a wrist watch that wasn't there and then shrugged, pinning his eyes to her and then dragging them up and down. It was a simple way of saying she should entertain him soon or loose his interest. His display alone, though, suggested she already had it.

He joined in the image of her running. He'd seen most of this city. There were riverside paths that lent themselves well to escape and exercise. In the rain. The lightest rain, more like a wet breath than downpour. She wouldn't be wearing a mask of wit then. She'd be immersed in something she believed in. Exhaustion makes honesty. He chewed on his lip when he wondered what gear she'd be wearing. The best. What was the best to her?

And then, as he was keeping her pace, splashing young puddles and sending them outward, examining her expression while her headphones kept up a one-way conversation, someone else came along, the third person on the path. Jason. He liked to run too, didn't he? Good ol' big brother was diligent with things like that. Crowded. They were both silent. What would Jason have in his headphones? Sael left them on that road just like he'd left them to speak on the funeral, in the house that was fast becoming a mausoleum. Emmeline Nathaniel had something in common with Jason. Sael didn't know why that carried the weight that it did.

Both his hands came up to start assembling the deconstructed sandwich into what it should be. The chief would have a fit if he or she saw. Perhaps that was part of the point. Fingers pinched the ingredients together. Fancy place trying to make him act civil. He sneered inwardly. "What a coincidence" That you run. "Because I chase." The lift of one corner of the mouth that eventually opened wide said 'comon, that was a pretty good line'. He bit into the food and bit down, chewing as one hand found the napkin.

"Can I see her sometime, this outer-city Emmeline?" he asked as he wiped crumbs off his chin and picked up a strip off meat. He held the beef up and then decided to pack it inside the hold of the bread again, dabbing his fingerprints onto the napkin by his glass. "How do you know my brother, by the way?" he asked. Sael was surprised about his lack of finery at that curiosity, and quickly picked the food up again, taking another rude bite to keep his face from giving away too much.

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2014, 11:49:41 am »
She had been momentarily honest and he had been resiliently charming. He was good at it- talking- but she wished that he wouldn't be. Sael had pretty shields but the more they gleamed, the more obvious they became. She had taken another bite when he asked to see her sometime, the Emmeline that didn't belong to London. She smiled, not sure if it was a line and what exactly he thought he was requesting. She was about to put her fork down and ask what it was he really wanted from her. She liked to be direct. It had served her well because she had learned long ago that silent wondering hurt more. She was about to ask- and then Sael asked how she knew his brother.

Her eyes turned up from her half eaten plate, hand on a path to her glass of water. She caught his expression before he hid it in his sandwich. "Your brother?" She stalled casually. Was she going to lie? Was she going to tell him the truth? Both options seemed absurd so she settled for something in the middle. "I met him when I was in university." She said simply, taking a sip of cold to wash down that understatement. Before he could pry further, if he would, a woman came up to their table.

She obviously knew Sael well and Emmeline felt certain she had seen the woman's face somewhere. She offered a cheery apology for interrupting and Emmeline smiled and shook her head a little. "Not at all." She took the opportunity to take out her phone, offering them some vague sense of privacy, thumbing over the new lists of emails and texts. She only read the ones from her assistant Clark. A frown tugged at her lips. 'Mr. Holt is in your office. He won't leave until he sees you. Do I call security?' She almost laughed, almost. Having one of the cheif legal officer of their Nathaniel Inc removed from the building did tickle her fancy but she doubted it would amuse her father or the rest of the share holders.

The woman that had come to their table had left and Emmeline put her napkin beside her plate. "I'm sorry, Sael, I really have to get back." She stood and pulled a few bills from the pocket of her jacket before tucking them under the side of her plate. She paused to look at him for a minute longer. What did she want to say to him? Goodbye? Let's try this again another time? Maybe reflections shouldn't be friends?




When she got back to her office she was all business. She rolled her shoulders out of her jacket and marched down that long hall from the elevator to her office. Clark was standing down there at her office door, looking uncomfortable. She understood his expression. He didn't want to leave an enemy in her office alone but he didn't want to be inside with him either. One flick of her hand and Clark took a step back, catching her jacket. She walked in and despite all of Mr. Holt's glaring, she pretended not to notice him until she was behind her desk.

There was a vase of flowers there among the polished wood and stacks of papers. It was beautiful and the only thing in the office she had not expected. A mix of tulips in color and size, some feathered and some streaked with white. She pointed at it and raised an eyebrow at the stiffly standing Mr. Holt. "From you?"

He sputtered in contempt. "No, Miss Nathaniel. It must be from one of your admirers."

"Well, I do have so many. I'm just one of those personalities that men can't help but fawn over." She grinned and watched all those words he couldn't say trying to pry open his mouth.

"I came up here to give you the reports you wanted myself, since you don't want to have to come downstairs." He sneered churlishly and put the stack of papers on her desk. She resisted rolling her eyes at his tantrum.

"You could have left them with Clark." She said, sitting down in her chair and ignoring his papers for others.

"I wouldn't want the acting president of Nathaniel Inc to think she isn't being paid all of the respect her father earned." He jabbed again before turning toward the door. He paused there, perhaps because his barbs so far had not achieved what he was hoping they would. "If you're going to sleep around to get deals made, then you should probably aim a little higher than Sael Orville. That kid won't stick around from long. But then again, neither will you." Mr. Holt remarked before storming out, leaving Clark to fill the space of her doorway. He was looking stricken, as though those words had been aimed at him.

Emmeline took a breath and then let it out slowly. Was Mr. Holt having her followed? How else could he know where she had been? Not even Clark had known. She reached out and pulled the vase of tulips closer to her, turning it until she saw the card. Fingers plucked it free and opened it. 'Forgive me.'

"Who sent these?" She asked quietly. She knew what name she wanted to hear but she wouldn't say it. She would barely let herself think it.

Clark shook his head, still looking anxious. "The florist didn't say."

She put the card back amongst the petals. "Find out." Before he could leave she added, "And get me another cookie."

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #48 on: November 06, 2014, 06:17:56 am »
Mr. Lewis wasn't back yet from finding out his son's wrist was sprained not broken, so Elizabeth went back to "work as usual" sitting in her small space outside of his office. She made clean copies of the most recent draft of the agreement for the acquisition meeting and filed several things, checked messages. Her eyes narrowed slightly at one from "unknown sender" and she pulled a smart phone out from a small hidden holder on the underside of the desk.

She powered it on and let it sit in her lap while she went back to replying to a legal aid who was helping an assistant Attorney, all the while trying not to roll her eyes as his stupid question.

The phone vibrated quietly against her thigh and she swiped in a complicated pattern that unlocked it. She tapped on the messages and scanned the newest one quickly before erasing it and powering the phone off again, then putting it back where it came from. She finished the email and then stood up. She walked out, letting the office secretary know she'd be back in twenty-minutes, she was grabbing a late lunch since she'd missed one before the legal meeting.

She slipped her leather jacket over her red silk blouse and dropped her purse over her shoulder as she went down to the lobby and out the front doors. She ignored several cat calls as she quickly made it to the industrial park a four blocks away and picked up a sandwich and an iced latte of some sort from a lunch cart, then she sat down on the corner of a cement planter and pretended to enjoy the other cement raised plant life in the joke of a park. It was supposed to make the office workers feel like they were somewhere natural, peaceful, sedate.

If any of them got out of their carpet wall lined cubicles or high glass towered offices, ever, they would know nature wasn't so tame. It didn't conform so easily. As she looked she could see weeds and untamed bushes trying to break free of the careful landscaping. Someone was a crappy grounds keeper.

"It's really rather drab here. The park on third is better," a voice said over her shoulder. She didn't turn.

"I prefer the waterway on Centennial more." Scripted lines, so her contact would know they were talking with the right woman. She wiped her hands on a napkin and set her drink and sandwich down.

"You have something for me?"

She pushed her hand down into the purse and pulled out an unaddressed Orville Industries envelope and held it out behind her, between her arm and body. "Tell the boss it isn't a sure thing yet, but it will be."

She heard the paper crinkle again as it went into a pocket and the man walked away. She picked up her drink and took a drag from the straw, the sickly sweet latte rolling over her tongue and she wrinkled her nose. She really had wanted lunch, but she hadn't wanted the food she'd gotten. This 'park' didn't have any other options, so she'd settled. She figured she'd dance it off at a club later, though she didn't like the artificial aftertaste in her mouth.

She let her feet swing back and forth for a moment and then she picked up the sandwich and drink and headed back to the office.

From half a block away she saw a motorcycle pulling up to the building and she smiled, picking up her pace. She timed it just right and put on the perfect hurried and distracted look of a busy Orville employee trying to get everything done and not starve in the process. She pulled out her phone for good measure, balancing the drink in her other hand and the sandwich in the crook of her arm.

This might mean a ruined shirt, but if it worked, it would be worth it. Sael was just about to enter the building when she almost ran right into him, but narrowly missed. She felt her shoulder brush his and the latte slosh a little as the lid came off. She looked up from her phone an apology was instantly on her lips as she looked up and pretended she didn't know who she'd almost run into, but wanted to be polite.

Her apology got caught in her throat as her eyes came to his face. She cleared her throat and gave him an apologetic smile, "Mr. Orville. I'm so sorry." She threw the half empty latte and smashed sandwich in the trash next to the door. Her jacket had taken the brunt of the spill, but there were a few stray dots of moisture on the front of her blouse, but nothing irreparable. She reached into her purse and pulled out a handkerchief. She dabbed at her shirt and shook her head and then looked up at him again, a look of curiosity, rather than embarrassment on her face like most would have. "I didn't get anything on you did I?" She held out a second kerchief, just in case.

She shook her head at the small stains as she kept heading for the elevators. When they were both in she punched his floor and looked up at him again, unabashed, "So much for first impressions. I was actually on my way to an interview with you that your brother arranged. Interesting how the universe works." Her shoulders straightened even more and she held out her hand, "Elizabeth Montgomery."

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #49 on: November 06, 2014, 08:52:23 pm »
Two ladies and he still ended up finishing his meal alone. At least he had the company of Emmeline's plate to stave off some of the sadness that came with the scene. When they came to collect he of course extended his card so they could take her archaic payment for tips. It had been a decadent sandwich without much taste. He wondered if there were any bigger gastronomical crimes. He was determined to try this place again. His palled was pliable. If Jason liked it here, then there must be a gem or two on the menu.

The way home was exiting. Not because of the torque or the two instances of cars aiming to wedge themselves into his lane before seeing him, but because he was going to his office to do a job her knew. Picking out good people was almost the same thing as picking out the trajectory of your career. He of course had a few montages of competent, staunch ladies running over the inside of his visor, but soon convinced himself that he'd best look at credentials before he looked at hip to bust ratio. London offered enough Belles that he wouldn't be hard off even without one under his thumb at the office.

The bike took its halt as he knew it to. He swung his leg off and tossed keys to another person who left the building but certainly wasn't the valet. Jogged homeward, helmet in hand. While in the process of combing his hair back into place, his way was eclipsed by another body. He stopped dead and grimaced as a dark wave left its container and lashed toward its owner's clothes. His hand came out, useless to catch the rampant coffee. In the end the only thing the reaching fingers received was a paper napkin, as though he was the one in sartorial distress.

"Not a problem, Belle." he said to her apology and automatically joined her in the elevator. It wasn't as though he had the desire to climb all the way to the top, even though the option of another elevator had been available. She seemed more alive than his judging assistant fantasies, and a noticeably more emotionally available. He was leaned against the rail as he watched her explain who she was. Her colors were warm, but still well within the somber map of hues usually found in the corporate sphere. Like his tie. Perhaps that was who she was, colorful for her kind, but not colorful. His hand around hers as he pushed himself off the railing. A slow shake before he released her.

"Good for you that I have yet to add 'walking' to the list of requirements that comes with the position you're gunning for, Ms Montgomery." His head tilted, some of the hair on his head askew to that side as he unzipped his jacket. "I like your glasses." he offered as the elevator gaped to let them both off. He dropped the leather coat and the matching carbon fiber headgear with the closest passer by. He should really learn the names of the people here. The outside of his office was lined with applicants. or so he had to assume judging by their threads. Some of them were high corp, and some of them imitated it. He smirked back at Elizabeth.

"Let's see if any of these guys makes a good first impression, eh?" He said and gestured for an empty chair. "See you soon."

There were a few good candidates flowing through. He'd say he liked initiative before good marks. Some of them had both. Eventually the warm woman was let in. He made sure it was ahead of her time. He'd read her concise folder twice. Obviously she knew how to dumb things down to make it easier for him. Point in her favor. Sael had lost his tie trying to get comfortable being authoritative in a subject he didn't really know. "Second round." he offered as he sat down. Something about her was a deer. The precision of the shroud, though, was Lion-like.
 
"Look like you've got all the boasting rights." he said and place five fingers in a cage on top of her folder and slid it from his side of the desk to hers. "That was true for a lot of people today though." A lie. She was by far the most qualified. Marcy had even given her own note that suggested but didn't promise Elizabeth was of good character. "Tell me something about yourself, please." His eyebrow lifted as he reminded himself of something from before.

"What do you do when you do nothing?" He supposed she could be a runner as well. Somehow that wasn't the answer he wanted now. He stood up from the chair and half sat against the desk, arms folded lightly over the chest of his shirt. He would have said that he thought looking down at her put him in a dominant position, but he simply wanted less of the desk to separate them. "And how do you suppose you'll help me run this behemoth of a company?"

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2014, 12:11:55 am »
Elizabeth smirked at his comment about walking. She wanted to say that she had managed not to run into him, which should have given her marks, but really, it was a sign in her favor that he thought her a bit ditzy. She saw him eye all the other applicants after handing off his helmet and jacket. She flicked a brow, "Certainly."

She turned to the awkward cubical worker holding his things and rolled her eyes, taking them from him. She walked over to the closet next to the empty secretaries desk and pushed on a panel that popped open to a small closet. She set the helmet on the shelf turning it so it was precisely straight and hung the jacket on a heavy wooden hanger. She slipped her own leather off and hung it next to his. Her's was a more petite version, but similar none the less.

She closed the closet and then went and took a seat and watched the applicants dwindle. There had only been four she'd seen above her name on Marcy's list, but maybe those were simply the ones she was recommending herself.

She dropped her pursed down next to her stiletto wrapped toes and sat patiently after slipping a necklace over her scarlet shirt that hid the small spots from the latte. She didn't fidget or mess with a smart phone like so many others. She simply watched them, and occasionally Sael and the current interviewee through the glass in the walls of his office.

It wasn't long before it was her turn, sooner than was scheduled. Sael must be underwhelmed with his choices. She smoothed her skirt down as she sat in the offered chair and smiled subtly as he fingers caged over her resume. Her eyes slid up to his after he pushed it over.

She didn't need to look at it. She raised her shoulders gingerly, "But I doubt any of them made such a memorable first impression."

She watched him come around the desk and she looked up at him, but didn't lean. She'd be submissive, but only so far. One side of her mouth quirked up as she folded her hands comfortably in her lap and shifted ever so slightly making her posture casual, but straight.

She chose to answer the second question first, "What I can do to help you? First of all, I want the job, but I don't need it, but I'm passionate about my work. I'm a perfectionist.  I've worked for or studied this company since I was sixteen. I know it well enough to know that, no offense, but you are a little in over your head. But I can help you with that. You've seen my resume, you know I have the legal background as well as practical experience."

She crossed her legs in the opposite direction. "I can make doing this job easy for you, but still enough of a challenge to keep you interested and engaged. I'm not one to pester, but I will keep you on task. Don't get me wrong, you're the boss, and I respect your position of authority, but I also know I'm the most qualified applicant in the lot. Not to mention, I've made a good impression on your brother and it will make things around the office easier if he's comfortable with who you pick."

She relaxed her shoulders ever so slightly and then stood up and looked ever so slightly down at his seated position. maintaing eye contact, "We could be great together." She plucked her bag from where it was hanging on the chair's arm and slid it over her shoulder then she turned back to him."I go dancing. Or go to the street races." honesty. "I like high paced things." She ran her perfect nails across the side of her hair, thinking of the purple streaked in the black. "You should come some time." She smiled, "I suppose I should have said something more generic, but that wouldn't have been honest. And I honestly believe we loose something important when we can't let our corporate guards down at the end of the day."

She pinched his loose collar between her thumb and finger, and smiled at him,her voice silk, seduction and seriousness, "Your helmet and jacket are in the closet, Mr. Orville. You have my number, I look forward to hearing from you."

She let his collar slip through fingers and headed for the door.

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2014, 11:47:13 pm »

Marcy fidgeted.  She sat at her desk and watched the seconds tick past. Her fingers trailed over the cellphone in her lap.
Quote
Did you have your meeting yet?


No response from Elizabeth.  Not that Marcy was surprised, it was barely past four, but she had stuff to say and needed an ear to listen.
At 4:15 she sent another note.

Quote
Did you get it?


Again nothing.  Twitchy fingers lead to twitchy legs.  Marcy stood and paced.  She noticed that Jason was still in his office, and hadn’t come out.  Her computer hummed, but she didn’t want to read more email.

Quote
Horatio’s.  I’ll be there by 4:30.  I’m buying.


Hortatio’s was a small bar with a sports theme.  Marcy liked Soccer and she could occupy herself with a margarita and the Liverpool game if Elizabeth stood her up.  She was itching to talk, so she arrived at the bar ahead of schedule.  The first drink was delivered and she downed the contents of the salty rim glass without conscious thought.  She ordered a second and a plate of potato skins and tried not to watch the door.

~*~
Just before Jason’s five pm meeting the phone rang.  Marcy was likely gone for the day, so Jason intercepted the call without waiting.  “Yes,” he said.

On the phone was the florist.  Apparently someone had inquired about the flowers he’d sent.  “I didn’t reveal your name, Mr. Orville.” The florist spoke in a rushed tone.  His voice was lowered in a whisper like he protected some great secret.  “You didn’t sign the card so I figured this should be confidential.”

A rather long pause followed.  Jason wondered if the man expected to be tipped for his discretion.  At the same time, one side of his own mouth twitched up.  Emmeline had cared enough to inquire who sent the flowers which was likely a sign they hadn’t wound up in the trash.

His first impulse was to send a second bouquet.  Something twice as large to capture her attention.  Then he resisted the impulse.  He wasn’t one for showy gifts.  He had no intention of buying Emmeline.   He sighed and considered ditching his next meeting, but knew he couldn’t.  He’d have to delegate.

“I’d like you to package one long stem red rose in a white box. And if you deliver it in the next hour I’ll be sure your store provides the decorations at our company Christmas banquet.”

A gasp over the thousands of dollars now in play.  “Yes sir.  No problem sir.  What would you like the card to read?”

Jason sat back in his chair.  Was it competition or folly that egged him on? His pencil tapped as he dictated.  “I hope there aren’t many who need to grovel before you.  I like to be unique.”  He considered ending it there but then he noticed again the sketch before him.  Art was no substitute for the real thing.  Against his better judgment he said, “And on the back write – ‘dinner tomorrow’ with a question mark.  And below that add, ‘I’d like to demonstrate decent table manners to make up for my lack of tact.’ “ 

Jason bit his lip. That was stupid and shallow.  “No wait,” he said.  “Under the dinner tomorrow, simply write -  ‘I miss you.’”

Because that was what was true.  That was the sentiment that went with the simple flower.  Maybe if they couldn’t be lovers they could at least be friends? 

Yeah.  Right.

He needed to clear the air so he could breathe.

But what if she want’s Sael? Said that irritating voice in his head.

Funny how that was the sentiment, when he could have justified his reservations with business.  Jason hung up the phone before he could change his mind.


Verse

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #52 on: November 08, 2014, 03:40:20 pm »
She was right. None of them had threatened him with a dark burn to boil his skin. None of them had had the flare of bodily harm with them on their interview. He assumed her pointing it out was ambiguous whether it was a good or bad thing, which made it a humorous thing. He appreciated humor. It took a lot of intelligence to be funny without the big tricks and usual ins. He pretended to be present for the show of power. It was important that she underline the things on the paper, he supposed. Yes to all of that. She said it in a way that made him think she was reminding him, but not boasting. She'd spent a lot of time acquiring those things, after all, since she was sixteen, and it would be a waste if he just skimmer it over.

The rest was also a display of virtues needed for this glass, steel and high tower world. He knew it without learning it first. His brow raised at the mention of Jason, as though Marcy's vouching wasn't good enough. In a way she was still presenting her cv. Staying quiet seemed like a good way of getting information. He needed to remember this for the future. Silence wasn't a card he'd been known to play well, though. He did like her interests. And he would love to go to the races with her. He'd dabbled in that kind of  gambling.

An image grew. She was the finished product that he should want to be, given his current position. It was a solid plan. "I'll come to the races." he assured her with a nod, cementing it for himself as he tapped a sole into the floor, trying out the idea in his head. How did the London scene look? He'd not ventured into the automotive social circuit for some time. Testosterone and enthusiasm usually made for a combustible evening. He'd like to see her in the streetlights.

Her fingers close to his throat was a nice touch. And then she was on her way. It was the last line of ink on an elegant autograph. Exit of a feat well performed. He knew her now, by knowing the person she wanted to present. He'd used his honed prowess as a sheet-hopeful to measure her. He had enough of what she brought to the table, but also what seemed to be lacking. Sael followed Elizabeth, reaching for her hand to hold and pull, wanting her eyes back at the end of that spin. She'd touched him, he should be able to repay the familiarity.

"Do you look forward to hearing from me, though, Ms Montgomery?" he posed. "Do you look forward to hearing from anyone?" Teasing words from a well assembled face, jesting and grave at the same time. "Seems like I hire you and I swell the coffers of Orville. You keep me entertained, I let you run things to the stars." He gave her hand back. "Good offer." he admitted and put his own hands into his jacket pocket, tightening the waist of the already perfect tailoring.

"Maybe I can just hire you and then an extra someone to talk to me about sentimental things of this company, like my father's spirit and my integration into what is literally his legacy." It was a bit harsher than she deserved, but he wouldn't be fair if he didn't scrutinize all of them, and make them feel it. "But since you deem this meeting over, I guess it is. I guess I'll have to imagine the answers to my other questions based on what I've got." He took a step back, hands still hard in his pockets. There was plastic in his smile that would leave anyone in doubt as to whether it was real but made to look pretend, or simply that, a polite facade. He pointed with his chin toward the door she'd been aiming at. "Either way, I'll call."

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #53 on: November 08, 2014, 05:17:07 pm »
Emmeline spent two hours and twelve minutes in a meeting that could have been summed up in an email but people needed to be heard, even if they were all saying the same thing, and then another hour in three twenty minute meetings. In her first months here she had promoted a few enthusiastic and promising employees, fired a handful of dead-weight suits and hired some new blood. The mix was doing well and she could see that in the meetings that were desired to check up on their progress and projects and see where they were in negotiations, acquisitions and reports.

When she came back to her office there was a new cup of coffee and a box of rice cakes on her desk. She frowned at it and jabbed one of the buttons on her phone to page Clark. It was dark outside, the city a different sight from her windows now. She was in her seat and drinking her coffee before her assistant came into the room. She looked up and saw the white box in Clark's arms. "I hope that's some kind of new packaging for chinese food."

He smiled. "No, this is another delivery for you from your secret admirer." Clark was sounding too excited and she wondered just how many coffees he was running on himself.

"Is it chinese food?" She asked, tone pointedly critical.

He frowned a little and put the box down on her desk for her. "You made me promise not to give you any more junk food after that chocolate croissant I got you after Mr. Holt invaded the office."

She nodded and leaned back into the rigid frame of her chair. That did sound like something she would say and she remembered the croissant. Her attention turned to the box. "Same florist?"

Clark nodded, cheer returning to his young face. "I couldn't get a name though. I tried earlier and they refused."

She looked equal parts skeptical and surprised. "Did you pay them?"

"I tried."

"Did you threaten them?" She asked, hiding a smile and keeping a serious tone.

His eyes widened. "No... They're a floral shop... Who threatens a floral shop?"

She smiled and waved him out. "Alright. Go."

He left and she opened the box. The rose was beautiful and simple, laying beneath the watch of tulips. She picked up the card from the bed of tissue paper and opened it.

She buzzed for Clark again and when he came in she asked what her schedule looked like tomorrow night before sending him to find her Jason Orville's number. She couldn't imagine actually calling him. Or him actually meaning any of this. He had been so cold the other day, still angry at her choice. She sighed and was thinking twice by the time Clark brought her the number. He had written it down on a sticky note and put it on her desk beside her desk phone. She looked at it, pressing her lips before looking away.

"Do you want me to call him before I go?" Clark offered, eyeing the clock.

Emmeline shook her head and waved him off. "No. Go home. Thanks for today." She said, though a little distantly. He nodded and ducked back out of her office, leaving her alone with her flowers and numbers. Her finger tapped the post-it, maybe tomorrow. She could have Clark call Jason's secretary in the morning and find out what restaurant.

She rolled her eyes at herself before picking up a rice cake and taking the first report off of a stack.


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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #54 on: November 08, 2014, 08:04:25 pm »
Elizabeth pretended not to hear him coming up behind her and when he grabbed her hand she tensed ever so slightly, but relaxed once they were looking at each other again. He was standing very close.

She allowed her cheeks to flush slightly at his question, as if he'd hit a nerve, as if he'd touched on a wound when he really hadn't. "There are always exceptions," she said casually, but with an edge. She didn't pull her hand away still. She could feel him needing to assert his power and dominance, and then his words confirmed it as he pulled his hand away.

She let a troubled look enter her eyes at his reprimand of her lack of sentimentality, but really it had been on purpose. An ever so slight furrow wrinkled the smooth skin between her brows as he smiled. He was clearly trying to dismiss her. She took a deep breath and looked away and then back at him, a sadness in her eyes. "I miss him too, which is why I thought it would be better, easier, not to mention him so soon. I want the job on my merits, not if I can convince you how much I admired your father."

She took a breath and straightened her shoulders, pulling a blank mask back over her face as if it was too much to talk about the former Mr. Orville. "Race's at Southend tonight at 9," her undertones said 'I know when I'm being dismissed. She gave him one last nod of her head and walked out the door. Forgetting her jacket hung up next to his in the closed office closet. Another sign at just how upset she was at the prospect of not getting the job, at his reprimand. She supposed he could read it that she really had meant she was looking forward to his call, to seeing him again, and had left it on purpose so she'd have an excuse to see him, either interpretation worked.

Now it was a toss up if Sael chose to be a logical or an emotional creature, or a mix. She didn't look back through the glass to see if he was watching her, she just slipped out of the office as if she was heading for the elevators.

She pulled her phone out and saw all of Marcy's texts and smiled. This was proving to be a very fruitful asset to have developed. She powered the phone off and dropped it back in her purse and walked toward Jason's offices. She looked around, no one else was left on a Saturday evening, Marcy was really gone like she said she would be, but Jason was still in his office.

Time for back-up plans.

She walked over to his open door and knocked on the door frame and waited until he looked up. "Sorry to bother you Mr. Orville, do you happen to know where Marcy is?  I thought she might still be here, but she's not and I was supposed to meet her after my interview but my phone died." She made sure to make her voice sound a little upset while mentioning the interview, like she was holding it together, but with a dead phone and a missing friend, it was difficult to keep herself together.

She flushed as if she'd said to much again, like she had earlier during their meeting and she shook her head, "I must have lost my mind today. I'm so sorry, it is certainly not your job to keep track of your assistant. Sorry to have disturbed you." She put a hand to her forehead as she turned to leave and pretended to mutter reprimands to herself for being such a complete idiot and too informal around people of power.

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #55 on: November 15, 2014, 07:17:28 am »
Jason was staring at the phone wondering if somehow the machine was possessed. Something had caused him to pick up and dial the florist and place the crazy order for more flowers.  Was it magic in the air?  Some impulse driven mania that fed on hunger of another sort? His stomach growled.  He put a hand over the offending organ as though the flesh could be silenced.

“I really need to eat,” he mumbled to himself.   The salad box was still there but the greens would be soggy now, left to soak in dressing far too long. 

He pulled the box forward anyway, hoping he might manage a bite or two before the last meeting of the day.  Instead he wrinkled his nose over the contents, the vinegar smell far from appealing.

Jason’s look was a touch guilty as he looked up at the knock.  The door was open and he furrowed his brow as he saw Elizabeth there.  He didn’t expect to see her, but he remembered her name and why she should be interested in her presence.  He sat back in his chair and pushed aside the salad box.

“You’re not interrupting,” he managed to say before she rushed on with her explanations.  The furrow between his brows deepened as he considered Marcy’s whereabouts.  He didn’t think it odd to be asked.  His mind went straight to the solution rather than ponder his role.  “The soccer game started at 4.  Marcy’s a Liverpool fan.  I suspect she went to Horatios.”

The sports bar was close enough that many employees haunted the place on game night.  Jason stood and gathered his coat.  “I’ll walk you there if you’ve a mind to chase her.”  Already he was picking up his phone and sending a text to his next appointment.  He’d probably get suckered into another golf outing for the fifteen minute delay but he figured food would be worth it.   Jason walked to the office door, snagging his coat on the way.

“How did the interview go?” he asked.  He wouldn’t intervene on her behalf if she thought it went poorly, but he was interested all the same.  The open ended question and its answer would fill the silence of the short walk to the bar.

Marcy wasn’t hard to spot.  She’d taken a spot near the door and hopped out of her bar stool as Jason entered.  He offered her a smile and an “Oh, potato skins,” along with another rare smile.

Jason took one of the appetizers off the plate and popped it in his mouth.  It wasn’t exactly what he was thinking of procuring, but they were there and they were hot.  He waved the bartender over.  “Box these up for me, will you?”  He then turned to Marcy and offered her his credit card.  “Order yourself another batch and start a tab on me.  You deserve a break.  Bring the card back in the morning.”  He didn’t need to caution her to take care with his card.  He knew she wouldn’t stop at the jewelers on the way home.

Marcy did seem surprised at the action, however.  The two spoke briefly and Jason offered her some praise for a recent report she’d put together.  She blushed over the compliment and he smiled again before taking his leave.  If he hurried, he might make it back to the office before he was missed.  With luck he’d be done for day in an hour, and on his way home before the Liverpool match was done.


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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #56 on: November 17, 2014, 02:15:42 am »
Elizabeth stopped when he mentioned she wasn't interrupting. He seemed to want to be distracted. She paused and waited for him to collect his phone and jacket before she started heading for the elevators.

"I knew that about her actually. The merger papers have just kept me busier than usual." Then he asked about her interview with his brother as they slipped down the elevator.

She shrugged slightly. "Honestly? I under estimated his sentimentality. From all I'd heard around the office and had seen for myself, he wasn't around much, or really wanted to be. I presented the literal reasons he should hire me, rather than the emotional and I'm fairly certain it bothered him." The elevator came to stop and slid open.

She gave a nod to the familiar doorman, who tipped his hat as he opened the door and she and Jason stepped out. He was one of the younger ones, and also someone she'd dragged along to a few clubs with her a time or two. It was always a good idea to have a doorman in your pocket. 

He would also be able to tell Sael the direction she'd gone if he came looking to return her jacket. Her heels made light clicks as they hit the pavement outside, "I don't want to sound cocky, but I know my skills, and I think he could benefit from them.  Now it's up to him how successful he does or does not want to be here. I'll keep doing whatever job I'm lucky enough to call mine at Orville Industries. Even if that means staying in Mr. Lewis's office for awhile longer."

Horatio's was just up ahead. "Thank you for the recommendation, how ever things turn out." She was about to tell him that she could find Marcy from here, but he was already opening the door. A gentleman, in appearance, and according to the file she'd been given on him, though files had been wrong.

She smiled at Marcy, coming up behind Jason. She didn't hug her in front of her boss, but watched the exchange of food and plastic and smiles with a perked brow.

She watched him leave and then turned to Marcy crossing her arms over her chest, "Hasn't smiled in weeks, eh?" She waggled a finger above her arm, "Or is there more to this assistant-boss relationship than you've been letting on? Seems you do a pretty good job of it Marc." She winked, teasing and ordered a drink while listening to the answer.

Beau

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #57 on: December 09, 2014, 09:10:46 pm »
The walk to Horatio’s was pleasant, and the walk back equally the same.  Jason felt he could breathe again as he crossed the street and enjoyed the crisp outside air.  He finished the last potato skin before reentering the building and he made it to his office just as his last appointment arrived.  It felt good to say, “No, you didn’t keep me waiting,” and have it be the truth.  The smile was a touch more genuine rather than strained, but his eyes occasionally went to the phone as he talked sales.  The hoped for interruption never came.  Ultimately Jason stayed at the office later than he wanted, and it was almost seven before he gathered his coat and started for home.

Maybe she didn’t get the flowers, was the first thought, although it was quickly dismissed.  The limo was waiting downstairs in the garage, and Jason felt a momentary twinge of guilt for keeping his driver late when he’d been making himself available to the silent phone.  Maybe she doesn’t want to talk to you.  Heaven knows she didn’t before.  What makes you think that’s changed?

Jason tried not to let his ego get the best of him on the silent ride home.  All the same he spent most of the drive looking out the window, rather than reading the evening paper.  His fingers drummed silently on his thigh as the night lights twinkled and faded as they left town.

The front driveway at the house was empty.  Jason chose not to check the garage or Sael’s room to see if he was home.  He wasn’t eager to hear about his lunch date.  Instead he went into the kitchen and found the plate of chicken and vegetables in the warming drawer waiting.  Maybe he'd eat and watch some television instead of ignoring the food as he’d done most nights this week.  Anything to avoid more time with his own thoughts.

He carried the plate into the rec-room and set the food on the bar while he went to look for the television remote.  He stopped as he saw the envelope with his name on it, left in what he considered his father’s chair.  The leather recliner was pushed back as though the old man had been sitting, reading the mail with his feet up.  Jason looked over his shoulder and wondered who had come into the house to play this particular joke.  Uneasy he turned on the television, to find the station set to the news which his father would watch, and Jason avoided.  He could read the paper, but the glorious recounting with dramatic pictures annoyed him.  His father liked the drama and the ultra conservative views that slanted the story.  His paranoia about the government and taxes echoed in the voices that Jason silenced with a push of his thumb.

Reluctantly he walked forward and gathered the envelope. The paper inside said only, “DON’T IGNORE ME.”

~*~

Marcy heard what Elizabeth said, but she wondered if she should admit too much.  Maybe if she’d had another drink her drool over her boss would be more obvious; as it was she was able to control her embarrassment at being caught admiring his departing ass with a faint blush.  “Don’t be ridiculous.”

To add credibility with deflection she shared, “He’s hung up on some other woman.  Sent her flowers today which is out of character.  I’ve never known him to bring his personal life in with him.  Thing is,” she paused and took a sip of her drink as though needing false courage to get the words out.  “I think it’s someone Sael is seeing.  I saw her with him today at lunch, while poor Jason was back at the office sketching her portrait on his note pad.” 

She sighed over the romance of unrequited love.  “Of course if you get the job, you’ll learn more about the drama I suppose.”  Another smile as another plate of appetizers appeared and Jason’s credit card was offered to assuage the pain of being ignored.  “Tell me about the interview.  I want to hear everything.”  Although the distant look in her eyes as she turned back to the soccer game indicated that she didn't care as much as she said.


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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #58 on: December 10, 2014, 08:46:49 am »
She didn't remember the last two reports. Her fingers pushed at her temple and finally she rolled back from her desk and stood, stretching because there was no one to see and judge. She'd like to think that it was the day taking it's tole. It was late for office work but early for the night. Her eye went to the post it with his number again and she knew it wasn't the day that had cost her focus.

Emmeline pulled on her jacket before grabbing up her phone and that number. The office floor outside her door was quiet and dark but for a few humming lights near the exits. It was something she'd never let herself think of as eerie until she was walking that long corridor to the elevator that night and felt the nerves in her spine prickling even before she heard the creak of a chair somewhere in the large room of cubicals and office doors. She stopped walked, stopped breathing, her head turning to the side to look at the shadows as though she could see through them. She waited but no follow up sound came.

The muscles in her legs wanted to run to the open and waiting elevator but stubborn resolve would not allow it. Emmeline only ran from emotions, not monsters. She looked foward again and walked. Her fingers were curled around her phone and that slip of paper. She walked into the elevator and turned casually, pressing the button and exhaling when the doors closed and the lift began its descent. She picked up the emergency phone and dialed 1. The security guard in charge for the evening answered after only one ring, giving her his name quickly. Camera survaliance would have told him who had called. There shouldn't be any others in the office at this hour. "Sorry to bother you so late, Greg. I let the hours get away from me today." She smiled casually. "Could you send the boys up to do another sweep of the floors before you settle into the cameras for the night?" He obliged her easily and she hung the phone back up on the wall just before the elevator doors opened and she stepped out into the lobby.

The man behind the desk stood when he saw her, smiling and saying goodnight. She waved and made her way to the back of the building, toward the stairwell that fed into the parking garage beneath. It would have been a nussance to have someone bring her car around at this hour. She wished she'd caused a nussance when she pushed the door open and stepped out into the concrete canal of empty spaces and shabby lighting and saw one man standing there beside her car. He was smoking. She saw the orange glow first.

She could have turned back and gone upstairs to get someone to walk her to her car. She could have but it was what they wanted. She walked across the parking garage, cutting a straight line toward him and her car. Several of the executive board members and share holders had taken to playing what she now imagined to be a game of chicken with her. It had started with undermining comments, "helpful" tips, and a general dismissal of her abilities to do anything but tie her shoes. It had evolved into nasty rumors, shouting matches, and mild scare tactics. At what point was a scare tactic no longer mild? She found herself wondering that when she approached the man beside her car. He might have leaned against it if the alarms wouldn't have set this grave on fire.

When she got close enough she could see his face in the glow of his cigarette. "Mr. Grange. You didn't strike me as one to work late." She kept a steady voice.

"I'm not." He smiled. He was young for his position in the company but had worked hard to get to it. From what she could tell by his records, he had done just about everything short of murder to climb that ladder. He worked with Mr. Holt though, since her arrival, they'd been trying to pretend to be enemies. Mr. Grange had tried on more than one occassion to befriend her. She wondered now if he had given up on that tactic. "You're all alone." He noticed casually and dropped his cigarette, stubbing it out. "Shouldn't you have bodyguards? I mean, it's not very smart to go wandering around by yourself."

Emmeline raised and eyebrow. He took a step forward and she had to look up at him, his height looming over her. "I'm never by myself, Mr. Grange." She lifted one hand to point a finger in the direction of a camera. It was watching them.

He smiled and she wondered if it would look charming to someone that couldn't hear him. "Then I hope, for your sake, there's never a blackout." He leaned closer and she resisted the stronge impulse to push him away. "Or a guard too busy to keep watch over you." She glared at his mouth when it twisted into a grin before he stepped aside. "Good night, Miss Nathaniel."

She stepped past him and reached into her pocket. She tapped the button that unlocked her car and got in, closing the door stiffly and turning on the engine. He stayed there, watching her drive away, and she repressed the desire to back over him. "Get a tazer." She told herself stiffly before looking down at her phone in her lap and that now wrinkled piece of paper.

She pulled out onto the street and put her phone in the craddle that connected it to the car. She had resisted so many impulses in the last handful of minutes that she finally gave into the one that was nagging her all afternoon. His number went into her phone, lodged there for eternity now, and her car called. Her thumb tapped the steering wheel while it rang.

If Jason didn't answer she would leave a message. She would tell herself it was spontaneous but really a part of her had been practicing for hours. If he answered, she'd ask if he had a restaurant in mind.

Verse

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Re: The Oldest Fires
« Reply #59 on: December 11, 2014, 08:30:28 pm »
The day had been productive. Sael did not care very much about production, but as he advanced it, he didn't have to worry about it either. As the scripture on his skin could attest, he obsessed well. The chrome eyed boy was known to obsess until unwell, actually. There was a lot of reading on the screen for him, but he strapped himself and took it all in, his mind setting root outward whenever the nutrients were there. His suspicion grew heavy magnificent, some of the branches fantastical, useless, while others were well fed on real things. Things even Jason might believe or consider.

By the end of it, taking notes on his pad and switching back to documents he'd start on his big screen, he had an orchard of possibilities, the strongest of nests waiting for whatever groundwork would provided them with nutrients. To his own mortification he'd even made a list on his phone. Come Friday, he'd be a grand adversary, worthy of whatever smart attire he'd choose for the occasion. Perhaps fighting to grow father's life's work wouldn't be such a chore after all. Sael Orville went from the office pleased with himself, and with more than a little, strange urge to tell his older brother.

With the adrenaline of accomplishment fast turning into hubris, he went to shower. Those scents and that heat made it worse, of course. The narcissist doesn't become less so in an environment with mirrors and flexible clay. In his towel and all the art snaking in valleys on him, he received the last bit of firewood to render his ego an inferno. There would be a gathering of neon fitted grease monkeys. Some of the blogs he followed coincided in the innuendo, and he connected it back to what that pretty would-be assistant had said.

He put products in his hair that would mature underneath his helmet. The jacket was hard leather, tailored. And the bike he chose was understated to draw hate from the aesthetic followers of the grit grid, while singing volumes of his know-how to the real gear heads. Sael possessed no such know, of course, but trusted his spent money would get him into conversations, at least. He was always an enthusiast, but rarely someone who stuck around when the impulse did not.

The London scene did not have the crackling, saturated palette of LA. He also noted there were less youth around, at least if he judged by their appearance. Perhaps this rainy climate made for a harder life on those that wanted to melt rubber with velocity. The gathering was appropriately close to the water, a few blocks, but not so close that he'd have to suck in all its natural pungence. The helmet hung off his bike, and he flexed his hand in his glove as he looked around. Placing a bet on whoever was going next would be a good in, but first he needed to take in the crowd. They weren't so few his entrance had caused a scene, but they weren't so unpolished that his machine didn't.

Some of them, even with their attention directed elsewere, were gravitating toward him. He tried to let go of his posture, the one he'd learned in grand hall meetings and short obsession with ballet, and put some strength into his upper back. Whether you meant to war or not, you're always bidding for alpha in a crowd with booted and pierced wolves. Some of them were like him, to his surprise, heavy coffers with light lids comming down from towers, and others lived in this moment when their otherwise dreary lives ended at a shift.

He realised he was looking for somone, hoping for someone.