Seven – Ian
“… do here at Blue Moon Propulsion & Aerospace Systems is help small satellites to stay in space for longer amounts of time. We get them where people want them to be, and we help those satellites to maintain their locations.” I waved a hand at the people working away in the clean room jet propulsion laboratory. The people in the tour waved at the technicians in sterile white garb working away behind thick layers of glass on satellite guidance systems.
“Blue Moon chips are incredibly inexpensive in comparison to those manufactured in Silicon Valley and are wonderfully uncomplicated. We’ve deployed them in various arrays with remarkable results. They’re suitable for smallsats and cubesats, but if you’re looking for larger chips, we’re happy to oblige. We can scale up for satellites of any size. If you check inside InfoStars, Yellow Star, ADM, and Saturnus satellites, you’ll find Blue Moon chips. Thank you for your interest. Now, I have work waiting for me in my office, and I can’t hand it off to anyone else. Yes, it is rocket science.” They all chortled. That one got them every time. “Debbie here will conclude the tour and lead you to the cafeteria where you’ll find a buffet awaiting you.”
The small tour group applauded. I smiled and shook hands with the prospective investors, and then shuttled them off to one of the interns who would finish the tour. Butch lingered in an alcove, sipping coffee from a Blue Moon mug as I stalked past him.
“Rough night, boss?”
“Fuck you,” I countered, taking a sharp left at the newly opened flight propulsion lab two, and slammed into my outer office. Fiona met me at the door, strong coffee in hand and the morning’s informational readouts. “Fiona, I’ll be working through lunch, order me in something light. Also, I’m going to need a direct line to the mayor to discuss this rezoning bullshit he’s trying to stuff up my ass. Oh, tell marketing that the next time they peg me to lead the tours, they’re all fired.”
“Yes, Mr. McDougald.” I heard my personal assistant and Butch whispering as I sailed through the wide double doors to my inner sanctum. Let them gossip. I was too tired and too edgy to give one shit or even two. Fiona closed the doors after Butch sauntered in and took a seat in front of my desk. I walked to the window to look down over my kingdom.
“Seems you’d be in a better mood considering how long you spent with that pretty Asian gem last night. Oh, and for the record, I really had nothing better to do than sleep on a too small settee while you banged your brains out. No, it’s fine. Who needs a functional spine?”
“I never asked you to stay.” My gaze lingered on the people down below in the courtyard, my employees, technicians, and scientists, sitting outside in the late summer sun. Were any of them in relationships? Was that man trying to court that woman? How about that woman by the tree, reading as she ate? Did she have a lover at home? Or that man with the white hair. Was his husband waiting for him at their apartment? Did they have kids? Grandkids?
“I’m the head of your personal security. Where you go, I go. Be grateful I didn’t sit in a chair in the corner and watch you going at it.” He sipped loudly to make his point, I assumed. Brash fucker.
“Tell me why I hired you again?” I turned from the people to glare at Butch. He was nonplussed. Which was why I hired him, or one of the reasons. “Oh, yes, that’s right. Because you saved me from a kidnapping attempt in Tel Aviv twenty-some years ago.”
“I was being wasted as a common grunt for Black & White Security. You even said so. Then you offered me big money, told me I was one handsome bastard, and proceeded to beg me to watch your big Scottish ass,” he said.
“That would be Scottish arse, and my parents are Scottish, I’m American. Born right here in beautiful Colchester.” I dropped down into my chair, leaned back, and looked right into Butch’s hazel eyes. He was a handsome man in a typical TV cop kind of way. Stocky, crooked nose, penchant to punch first and ask questions later. Smart as a whip with a keen way of reading people as soon as he met them. He had been wasted as a security guard. His skills were put to much better use keeping me safe. Terrorists and oligarchs had quite the stiffy for what was inside my head. “I’m thinking of going back.”
He lowered his mug, his eyebrows beetled. “Going back where? To Tel-Aviv?”
“As your chief of security and your best friend, I strongly advise against that.”
“I have to see him again.” I tapped my brow. “He’s lodged in here.”
“More like he’s lodged in here,” Butch countered, grabbing his crotch. “Ian, let’s not make this into something more than it was. He’s a whore. You’re the fucking president and owner of Blue Moon Propulsion & Aerospace Systems. He was a way to work the divorce papers out of your soul. Move on. You two are worlds apart.”
I shook my head and spun in my chair, slowly, using my feet to spin me in torpid circles. My office was lovely, silver and chrome, big walls of glass, spiffy desk, images of space and satellites on the walls, dark blue carpeting, drapes, and furnishings. People were always impressed when they entered. They made grand fawning soliloquies about the beauty of the chrome and how it arched provocatively around the windows. People were blatting mutton chops. That flowing chrome was nothing in comparison to the arch of Opal’s instep or the curve of his lower lip or the supple bend of his spine.
“Hey, are you even listening to me?” Butch barked. I spun around to face him, fingers steepled and resting on my chin. I arched a brow. “Don’t be smug with me, okay? I walked you through too many damn things for you to sit there all rocket scientist snooty. I might not get little balls of tech into space but I’ve kept your stupid kilted arse safe, so slag off with that genius looking down his nose shit.”
“Sorry, you’re right.” I exhaled. My hands fell to my lap. “I can’t shake him from my thoughts. He’s just…” And there it was, the effect that one slim, stunning man had on me. He robbed me of my senses, stole my cold indifference.
“Yeah, I know, he’s pretty. I give you that. Every damn whore in that brothel is mouthwatering, that’s why they’re there. Parks doesn’t hire ugly whores.”
“I wish you’d use a different term.”
His face screamed ‘Eat Me McDougald’ which was humorous. “What would you like me to call them?”
“Sex workers is fine, although I prefer fallen angels.”
“Jesus fucking hairy ass Christ,” he sputtered then slapped his empty mug to my desk. The glass on glass strike made us both wince. “Ian, look, I know you’re in a bad place emotionally. Getting shit on by your spouse sucks, trust me I know. But you can’t run from a bad marriage into the arms of a fucking who…” I raised an eyebrow. “Fallen freaking angel.”
“Of course I can. I’m single, wealthy, and well over forty. If anyone can run into the arms of breathtakingly enchanting courtesan to fuck away his pain it should be me. We’re going back. Tonight.”
“Ian, this is a mistake. I get it, I do.” He leaned up to rest the elbows of his tacky brown suit jacket to the trousers of his tacky brown suit pants. “You’re feeling vulnerable and shaky. Divorces do that to us. But this kid is not real. He’s a painted up fantasy that’s been trained to appeal to lovesick men just like you.”
“Then he’s incredibly good at his job. We’re going back. Tonight.”
He huffed so hard I feared he might pass out. “Fine, but pick a different gem. That redheaded kid is hot, so is the black guy, Onyx. He’s beautiful.”
“I want Opal and I will bid for Opal. Now, go make sure no one with evil intent is lurking on my outer office. I have work to do.”
Butch pushed to his feet. “I’m telling Fiona about this.”
That made me smirk but only after he’d stalked out of my office to tattletale on me. It took four seconds, give or take, for Fiona to knock on my door, then stroll into my sanctum. Older than me by ten or so years, stern, tall, broad shouldered, brunette and silver hair, a jaw that could cut glass, and a temperament nearly as icy as mine. She was the perfect fit here in my small family, and the only one aside from Butch who dared to give me shit.
“Are you coming in here to work or are you coming in here to discuss my plans for this evening? If it’s the latter, turn back around and return to your desk and inform Mr. Hurley that the last time I checked, I signed both your paychecks so my word is final.”
She sighed theatrically. “Don’t let your heart lead your head again, Mr. McDougald.” With that, she spun on her tasteful flat heel and exited my office in a cloud of dark gray business suit and neatly applied French perfume. The door clicked shut and I was finally alone with my rapidly whirling thoughts. Closing my eyes, I willed the time to speed up. Perhaps that should be my next project. To hell with tech powered by charged particles that enabled tiny little chips to inform small satellites to accelerate to enormous speeds. I needed to work on a time machine.
“Ian, you stupid sock puppet, you are horribly smitten,” I told myself.
Ten o’clock could not come soon enough.