Not Buying What You're Selling

by Aidan Boyle
1299619900|%e %b %Y, %H:%M %Z|agohover (updated 1299624150|%e %b %Y, %H:%M %Z|agohover) | 0 comment(s)

IC Date: March 7, 2011 — Early Evening
This scene takes place following the log entry Who Is This Woman, Anyway?

Kim is waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Aidan didn’t react as she expected to her news regarding Ms Westlake. In fact, he’d been oddly unresponsive. No, perhaps unresponsive wasn’t the proper term — but he hadn’t grilled her with questions, as she anticipated. There was no pressing for details, no instructions of how she should respond when she next spoke to Ms Westlake. It had been “business as usual” and that response was just as alarming.

Leaning against the desk while Aidan composes a completely professional, courteous and business email to the woman in question, Kim replays the scene in her head and wonders what she missed:

Kim arrives at Aidan’s shortly after sunset on Sunday evening. She held off telling him when the spoke on the telephone on Saturday evening, mostly in a rare streak of passive-aggressive annoyance. He didn’t bother to come into work for the fourth day in a row, therefore — in Kim’s mind — he could wait.

She knows his routine, and knows that he’ll be in the shower. Kim settles herself on the foot of his bed, legs crossed, flipping through a restaurant magazine. She’d been surprised when she found out Aidan actually reads the damned things and that they didn’t just lie around his home and office for decoration. Since then, she’s grown to accept the Vampire’s interest in his human facade, his somber attitude when it comes to his business and livelihood. It’s just another one of those things that is a part of the complicated dichotomy that makes up Aidan Boyle.

Kim hears the shower turn off, and with one ear peeled in the direction of the bathroom she also hears when Aidan steps into the bedroom proper. He gives a snort of greeting, Kim lifts her hand in a wiggly-finger wave but her eyes don’t leave the magazine.

“You didn’t trust me to come into work today?” Aidan’s voice is light, the words teasing and playful. It’s indicative that he’s in a good mood. Kim wonders how long that will last after she shares her news with him.

“I trust you completely.” Kim looks up now, tossing the magazine onto the nightstand. It’s only years of careful practice that stop her gaze from lingering appreciatively over Aidan’s bare torso. The Vampire is good looking and he bloody well knows it. Kim doesn’t see any reason to stroke his ego at every turn, and there’s no way she’d be where she is today if she wasn’t able to at least feign disinterest and keep a professional detachment. “You don’t trust anyone to do as good a job as you if you don’t peek in and meddle from time to time. Where have you been, by the way?”

“Around.” The short answer is tossed out with a smile, and if her lack of appreciative scrutiny bothers him, Aidan doesn’t show it. At least not until he drops the towel from his waist as he makes his way to the wardrobe.

Kim heaves a long-suffering sigh and averting her gaze, she rolls her eyes skyward at the childish antics of escalation. “Is anyone dead?”

“If they are, they were no one important.” Which coming from Aidan is neither a confirmation nor a denial.

She leans back on her hands, following his movements as he roots around in the wardrobe. Her eyes stay — mostly — focused on his head and shoulders. “You were down there again?” Down there referring to the Undercity of London, a place most humans don’t know exist; majority of those that do are smart enough to stay away. Kim’s only been there a handful of times, and all of them with Aidan by her side. She’s not stupid enough to play with that much fire, and she knows beyond the shadow of a doubt it was only the fact that she was so clearly marked as belonging to the Vampire that kept her safe.

“Maybe.” Kim hears the smirk in his voice before her eyes lock with his in the mirror. It’s reflected there as well, bright dancing blue eyes and that upward half-twist of his lips that tell her he’s having fun at her expense.

The conversation is going nowhere and Kim doesn’t want to play that game. She shifts on the bed, crossing and recrossing her legs. There’s a hint of detached boredom in her next words. “We received a request for a catering order.”

“Really?” Aidan pulls a face as he pulls on a pair of boxer shorts. “That’s why you’re here? I figured we had someone quit.” A pause and he looks back at her, his face mockingly and comically striken. “Or die.”

Kim’s far too happy to throw a smirk of her own back in his direction. “It was Jacintha Westlake. She wanted to know if we would cater a fund-raiser for her organization, Alexander Foundation.”

Reading Aidan Boyle is an acquired skill requiring endless hours of scrutiny and observation. Kim is able to do it, but she knows that there is still so much he can slip past her; there’s so much she just doesn’t or can’t see because she’s human and he isn’t. If she hadn’t been watching him so closely, she would have missed the reaction; part of her thinks that she didn’t see anything at all and that it’s simply her imagination. For a fleeting moment, the human mask falls away and Aidan’s face is unreadable and flat, but in the blinking of an eye the moment is gone as if it never happened.

“You make it sound like that’s a bad thing.” Aidan slips his arms into a charcoal gray shirt. “Catering is good for business and I like things that are good for business.”

The woman watches him, looking for any sign of discomfiture. Finding none, she frowns internally. “She’s waiting for pricing. I agreed to send it via email no later than Wednesday, but I thought you might like to handle it? You’re always so hands on with the catering.”

Aidan’s face is a study in nonchalance and neutrality. This could be just another business agreement for all that he has reacted. “I’ll take care of it then.” He pauses as he buttons the cuffs of the sleeves, “Though this really probably could have waited until I was in the office.”

She watches now, a day later, as Aidan drags the mouse cursor to the ‘send’ button and fires the email through cyberspace. Kim is still waiting for a reaction, any reaction and she’s partly beginning to think that he’s not reacting simply to mess with her.

Aidan looks up at her, chin resting on his fist. “Kim. What is it?”

“That’s it then?”

“Until she contacts us to firm up a contract, yes.” Leaning back in his chair, Aidan’s blue eyes widen giving the deceptive appearance of guilelessness and innocence. Nothing would ever convince Kim that Aidan had been at all innocent beyond the age of four.

“You’re so convinced of that?”

“‘Course I’m convinced. You’ve already sold her on us and I know that because I know how good you are at what you do.”

“And?” Kim nudges.

“And what?”

“You really don’t care at all beyond arranging a business contract?”

Aidan shrugs. “Why should I? Business is just that. Business. Why should this time be any different?”

She doesn’t normally do this. Kim is more than willing to let Aidan’s business and priorities be his own — excepting those occasions when they affect her. Learning when to pry and when not to pry is as much a part of their relationship as is any other aspect. Kim doesn’t expect him to confide in her or explain anything to her; he does, sometimes, but it’s always at Aidan’s particular whim. Kim folds her arms across her breasts, crossing her legs at the ankles. “Aidan, you’ve been a little obsessed with this woman for weeks. You sent her flowers, and now, just like that, it’s business as usual?”

The Vampire watches her, listens to her, with a clear air of obvious boredom. When she’s done, he gives another disinterested shrug. “I was interested in her. A little. But …” Aidan pauses and pulls a face of mingled disdain and frustration, “She’s work. A lot of work, and you know how I feel when I have to work that hard. Also, I got a little bored.”

“Really?” Kim raises her brows, staring the demon down.

Aidan pushes out of the chair and stands. “Yes, really.” He shoves his hands in his trouser pockets and rocks on his heels, that carefully created and projected air of boyish charm radiating off of him. “Anything else?”

A beat passes and then another before Kim finally shakes her head. She hasn’t given up, it’s strictly a tactical retreat. “No, nothing else.”

“Good.” And then he’s slipping past her and out of the office.

Kim watches Aidan’s retreating back and chews thoughtfully on the inside of her jaw. I’m just not buying what you’re selling.


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