2.26 – Chloe's Ways are Interesting
Minor language ahead! Considered yourself warned!
We took a few days for ourselves. Thomas made a few calls every once in a while, but it was the weekend and no one was answering. Donovan and Lucy had already run off to some haunted mansion or something. Preposterous.
Medea had gone into the backyard of the bed and breakfast and hadn’t come back in for hours. She looked extraordinarily calm, so I wasn’t going to disturb her.
That left Shaye and myself in the house. Thomas as well, but when he wasn’t looking up phone numbers he was practicing what he would say in the mirror.
So…just Shaye and I. We’d never really talked. She was just so…different
. At least Lucy and Medea were passionate about certain things. Shaye just wanted to go with the flow. Or leap in a river. Same thing.
“We’re in France,” I mentioned to Shaye. “Is there anything you want to do?”
She pondered this, scratching her head.
“Maybe the nectary? That’d be cool.”
I wasn’t exactly thrilled, but I had
asked. And I still needed to figure out what charities to donate the money to. Looked like I was spending time with Shaye at the nectary.
The Champ Les Sims Nectary was fascinating! We’d joined a tour, but Shaye had ran off to the garden soon after our arrival. I was curious about the technology they used and so stuck around.
I sampled a few different nectars. A few were too strange for me. But I really did like the blackberry nectar. It was very refreshing and sweet. I had a few glasses.
At some point, Shaye turned up and we tried a few other nectars together. I talked her into trying out making nectar, and she declared it her new favorite hobby.
Shaye did mention a few charities she remembered donating to. And, as it seemed nectar was a good way to jog her memory, I let her drink as much as she wanted. We ended up splitting a bottle and not getting back until after dark.
It was a good day.
“Yes. Thank you for your time, ma’am.” I ended the call. I stared at the receiver for a moment. I had a week before the official landed. One week to plan my argument. One week to prepare any counter-arguments. One week to set up a backup plan. One week.
I went to shove my hands in my pockets and grumbled when I just felt smooth cloth. I took a deep breath, smoothed my vest and exited the building.
“How did it go?” Chloe asked immediately. She’d been waiting outside the entire call, fiddling with her vest.
I sat down and ran a hand through my hair, trying to find the right words. I couldn’t. “Okay. It was okay. Things are moving.”
“But.” I took a breath. “It’s not a hundred percent that this’ll work.” I looked across the table at Chloe. She was chewing her lower lip. “I need you to do me a favor.”
The effect was instant. She sat up taller, folded her hands neatly on the table and stared right at me. “What do you need?”
Good ‘ol Chloe
. I took a breath, then leaned forward. “You’ve got access to…information
She looked confused, but nodded. “What kind?”
“I got a name.” I passed her the slip of paper I’d been crumpling for the past ten minutes. “Find anything you can. I just wanna know who I’m dealing with.” We’d agreed that’d I’d be the one talking. Chloe’d sit in the van and do tech stuff.
Chloe sighed and grinned. “That’s easy. What else?”
“Well, maybe look into…a backup plan? Maybe a way to force them into releasing rights to Donovan? Or a distraction for escape. Anything.”
A grim look crossed her face. She nodded once.
“Well, I could blackmail them.” She pulled out a pad of paper and started to flip through it. “Blackmail. Extortion. I could sell Landgraab Institute secrets to their competitors. I could bankrupt them directly, but that could set the world back a generation in terms of scientific progress. I could collapse the European economy. I could—” She glanced up at me.
I couldn’t breathe. It’s a weird feeling, knowing your sister could collapse countries. “Um…” I tried to smile.
Chloe reached over and steadied me. “Should I not tell you?” She handed me her water bottle.
“Yeah,” I wheezed. “That’d probably be best. In fact, don’t tell anyone. Ever. That’s all we need. Heh.” I gulped down some water.
We settled into a silence. Her staring out into space before making furious scribbles. Me just sitting, focusing on not focusing on her. I had told her to pull out all the stops, no holds barred. I might’ve opened Pandora’s box.
But this was a last ditch effort. All or nothing. If I succeeded, we could settle down. If I failed…well, then it’d be Chloe’s turn. My goal was to not let it get to that. Collapse the European economy. Holy shit.
Thanks for reading! ^_^