Chapter Four: Killian

Greta, of course, had been efficient as usual in my absence. I’, sure she probably questioned in her head why I was running so late, something I definitely didn’t make a habit of. A simple text message, that’s all it was. Yeah, a simple text message that had had me smiling like a fool as I got ready for the day, taking my time and ending up having to rush out the door. I just about remembered to feed my sphinxes, Jasper and Janessa thanks to their insisting meowing before I dashed out.

“Your messages sir, and I’ve amended your calendar, the meeting with Dylite Incorporated has been moved to next Tuesday. Mr Dylite has unfortunately come down with something, though his assistant has full faith he should be recovered by then.” All of this was delivered in a calm, cool and collected manner.

“Ah yes, very good Ms Gulack.” I remarked, still setting myself up at my desk as she put the notecards down.

“And your driver sir, I’ve ensured he’ll be here this evening as planned.”

“Good, good.” I murmured, the reminder of tonight caused me to drastically reach over and pick up the messages to distract myself.

Greta raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow, but said nothing over my unusual dramatic action. “If that’s all then sir?”

“Yes, I think that’s about it. Let’s crack on shall we?”

“Very good sir.”

     Greta strutted out of the room, leaving me to take a deep calming breath. I was in my office, no need to rush or think about tonight. There was work to be done, a company wouldn’t run itself. I’m looking forward to seeing you…Damn traitorous thoughts. I flipped through the message cards vigorously. The one about the Dylite meeting had been sorted, the next could wait, ah here was one I could action. Opening up my email system, my fingers hovered over the keyboard, ready to draft the message to the research department regarding their upcoming inspection. I’ve enclosed my email…The words of Nissa’s letter came back to me. A loud groan left my lips. It was going to be a long day.


Finally, the digits of the clock changed to signal the end of the day. Usually I’d stay later than five pm, but I didn’t want to be late tonight. I shut the computers down and rearranged the paperwork on my desk before grabbing my briefcase. I nodded to Greta as I darted past. She nodded back, returning to finish up her last task of the day almost instantly.

   I dived into the elevator, desperately wishing it would go faster. I never realised how slow these things were before. I made a mental note to have a word with maintenance about improving the speed as my foot tapped an impatient rhythm against the metal floor. After what felt like an age, a chirpy ding sounded and the doors slid open. I dashed out, heading across the reception area and out of the building.

   Of course, Maurice was already there, waiting in front of the building in a pristine car gleaming to perfection. Upon spotting me, he clambered out, walking around to open the back seat door for me. “Thank Maurice.” I uttered, settling in and putting my briefcase on the other seat.

“Anytime sir.” Maurice smiled, resuming his position at the wheel. “The instructions I received were to your home first and then the restaurant Italia.” Maurice asked, pulling away from the building and starting the journey into rush hour traffic.

“That’s correct Maurice.” I confirmed, brushing down my suit and leaning back in the seat. Would a shirt be suitable for tonight or should I wear another suit? Maybe not a full suit. Surely a shirt would be sufficient?

“…sir?” Maurice’s voice suddenly interrupted my thoughts. Shaking my head to clear it, I looked at the back of his seat, trying to give him my full attention.

“Sorry Maurice, I didn’t quite catch that. Would you care to repeat?” Maurice gave me a knowing glance in the rear view mirror.

“I asked if you would need collecting tonight sir, after the meal ends. That part wasn’t listed in the instructions I have.”

“I’m not sure Maurice, perhaps we’ll have to play that part by ear.” Truthfully, I was unsure where the evening would lead. Would it just be a simple meal or would we go out for drinks afterwards? With it being Friday night, nothing would stop us. That is, of course, if the evening went well. If it was unsuccessful…Well that didn’t bear thinking about. I really hoped it wouldn’t turn out that way. The nerves fluttered around my stomach again. I’d beaten them back throughout the day, quickly distracting myself with work (unrelated to anything Nissa had written in letter or text). It wasn’t enough to distract me for long, but at least I’d ended up with a somewhat productive work output.

“Very good sir.” Maurice nodded. “I’ll ensure that I am on standby then. Should you need me again this evening, please call.” 

“I’ll do that Maurice, thank you.” I responded gratefully.

     The car lurched along with the traffic, unfortunately leaving more time for my mind to drift. What would Nerissa look like now? From her messages to me, it seemed she hadn’t changed a bit. Would I have changed too much? That was the other thing I feared. Would I be unrecognisable to her? A stranger in place of the friend she was expecting? The sooner we were out of this traffic the better. My fingers latched onto the handle of my briefcase and I flipped it open, retrieving random papers from within. It was woefully apparent that I’d grabbed a bunch from different documents, but uncaring, I buried my nose in them, scoring over pages that made sense against ones that made no sense at all. Maurice shot me another knowing look from the rear view mirror. Clearing my throat, his gaze shot back to the snail like traffic at hand.

    The car finally sidled up to the large house I’d purchased. I liked my privacy, so a sizeable estate on the outskirts of town with secluded gardens had been the perfect choice. “I’ll wait here then sir.” Maurice uttered, pulling up the handbrake and reaching for a suspense novel hidden in the glove compartment.

“I shouldn’t be too long.” I tried for a reassuring tone.

“By all means sir, take as long as is necessary.” He’d already flipped to the page in his book as I shut the car door behind me. I stepped swiftly up the driveway, stuffing the papers still clutched in my hand back in to the briefcase. I didn’t need Jasper and Janessa getting hold of them and making a mockery of the work with their claws. Fumbling with the keys, I eventually managed to get the door open and stepped into the hallway.

    Immediately, the sound of scurrying footsteps reached my ears as my pets came rapidly into view, mewing and purring in greeting. Bending my knees, I gave both of them a quick scratch on the head before I wandered up the stairs, the pair of them avidly following. They ran in front of me as I opened the bedroom door, racing onto the bed. “Well my dears, are you going to help me get ready? I have a very important meeting tonight and I think your opinions will be invaluable. What do you say?” Janessa stared at me, then curled up into a ball by the pillow, closing her eyes. A smile graced my lips at her antics.

“How about you Jazz? Want to help me out?” He blinked his large eyes at me, cocking his head to the side as he watched me remove my jacket blazer. “I’ll take that as a yes then.”

    Shrugging out of my work attire, I flung open the wardrobe door. There were t-shirts swinging on coat hangers, jeans and other miscellaneous trousers neatly folded in a draw. Jumpers were in the “seasonal” section and fancier clothes for work or special occasions were in another. My thoughts during the car journey had led me to think another suit would mean I was overdressed. Besides, I was meeting an old friend, not a business acquaintance. Yeah, an old friend who you happened to have a big crush on back in the day. Shaking off the thought, I turned to Jasper, holding up the black jeans I’d selected. A chirping noise emanated from his mouth. “Correct choice then.” I lay them on the bed, next to the sleeping Janessa. “You know; I could really use a woman’s opinion on this.” She responded with a little snore. I turned back to Jasper. “Guess it’s just you and me on this mate.”

   As I leaned back, away from the bed, the digital clock resting on the bedside table caught my eye. Oh shit, was it already six? I had an hour, well less, to pick out a shirt, shower and look presentable. With renewed vigour, I rummaged through the wardrobe, eventually grabbing a belt, light blue shirt, some smart shoes and a non-suit like jacket, throwing them all on the bed. As I headed towards the door to the en suite bathroom, I saw Jasper creeping towards all the fresh clothes I’d just put down. “Don’t you dare go to sleep on them!” I called out, turning on the shower. 

    The warm water instantly soothed my nerves, the small amount steam it produced adding to the calm. I had been to a steam room once at the request of some investors, who preferred to discuss business there. The steam had been overwhelming to the point it had been difficult to breathe, but I’d struggled through with a smile on my face and a lot more money for the company. Thankfully, this was nothing compared to that horror and much more relaxing. 

    As the pleasant water poured over my skin, I prayed to whoever was listening that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself tonight. Nissa would see a well put together individual who had managed to achieve the dream he spoke about in that pavilion seven years ago.


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