Strictly Business

Aidan's Office


Characters

aidanboyle08.jpg kimdae.jpg ds01.jpg
Aidan Kim (npc) Corrie

Business as usual, and it's the worst sort of business. Requisitions and purchases, and inventory. Fortunately, Kim has it all under control, and has quite a capable management staff reporting to her, so all that's required is Aidan's signature. Plenty of copies of Aidan's signature as Kim feels the need to explain each and every piece of paper to him.

"This is for -"

Aidan pauses with the pen over the signature line and looks up at her, "Could you stop that? I have this amazing skill called 'reading.' "

"Yes, but you aren't reading."

"Yes, I'm trusting you that you're not embezzling or robbing the restuarant under the guise of getting me to order -" Aidan looks down at the paper, "Coffee beans." He scrawls his signature across the paper, and then holding up a hand to silence her, he rapidly begins flipping up through the rest of the papers, leaving his signature there.

"Don't you have some place to be Kimmy? I really can handle this."

-

With Amber Bardot out at her family's estate in Tuscany, Corrie is… unusually free this evening. Which is actually a good thing, if she wanted to be dealing with her other client. At the moment, she'd rather not be dealing with him at all. However, the potential for working on Celia Collins' European account is quite lucrative, and she really needs to prove her worth via this book signing plan. In order to do that, Corrie needs to gain Aidan's permission to use the restaurant. Which means speaking with him.

Knocking at the office door, she fiddles with the hem of her jacket and takes a deep breath.

-

Aidan looks up at the knock, but not because it's unexpected. He heard the approach before the knock sounded. Kim, however, frowns a bit as Aidan calls out, "Come in."

His attention immediately drops back down to the dwindling papers on the desk in front of him, figuring that Kim can handle whatever crisis has arisen.

-

"Miss Dae," Corrie says in an oddly cool voice. One that remains cool as she adds, "Mr. Boyle." She glances between the two and then back to the door. "I can leave is this really isn't a good time, it's only that I need to finalize some details." In other words, get permission for her massive promotion of Celia Collins' new book.

-

The vampire lifts his head again at Corrie's entrance, his face schooled to perfect neutrality, despite the fact that he is amused by the coolness of her greeting. Really, Aidan expected nothing less; he didn't glamour that away from her because it's really better to leave her to work it out initially.

"No please, Miss Kavanaugh," Aidan beckons her in with a raised hand. Mimicking her attitude, he's warmly professional. "Do come in. This can wait." Aidan lays the pen atop the pile of unsigned papers and pushes them to the side.

Kim divides her attention between the pair, her mouth curling up in a slow smirk. However, she says nothing, simply gathers up the signed forms and tucks them into a folder before depositing them on the other desk in the room. "I think I have some place to be." Beat. "Don't forget the rest of the pile, Aidan."

Brushing past Corrie, Kim is cordial, if coolly so, "Good evening, Miss Kavanaugh."

As the other woman exits, Aidan motions to the chair across from his desk, "Please, have a seat."

-

"Miss Dae," Corrie replies in an extremely cool voice.

She stands to the side of the doorway until Kim makes her departure, and the door is closed. Once that is done, she slides off the jacket and slings it over the back of the chair. Then she moves toward the desk, and sets her folder atop it.

"While you were away on business, Miss Collins and I were discussing the possibility of promoting her new book here at the restaurant. Decorating it like the French Quarter, serving Creole and Cajun food, giving people an experience that would both promote the book and the culinary skills that the chefs here at the restaurant possess. Before I can set anything in stone, however, I'll need you to sign off on it and select a date that suits you and your clientele."

Only after getting out that spiel does she bother to sit in the chare that was motioned to.

"It would be a good first step to inviting in a different clientele. Those that wouldn't normally come to your restaurant. We could set up a prix fixe menu at about forty or fifty pounds a plate, and offer three choices for each course." Beat. "Perhaps run a contest where a lucky winner could sit at Miss Collins' table, and have their meal taken care of."

-

While she's distracted with removing her jacket, Aidan allows his gaze to roam admiringly over the woman's body. It's a brief moment, and there's no hint of his appreciative thoughts on his face by the time she's facing him again and -

Information dump.

It's truly a fairly impressive information dump as far as dumps go. Aidan doesn't even consider interrupting her until she's done and seated on the edge of the chair on the other side of his desk. In fact, as she speaks, he simply props his elbow up and props his chin on his fist, listening to - and watching her intently.

Once Corrie concludes, Aidan nods, "Celia might have mentioned something about that."

Aidan shifts, raking his hands through his hair and leaning forward with his arms resting on the desk. There's nothing in his demeanor that says he's annoyed with her - an important fact that since the before when she pulling the Mr. Boyle professionalism crap on him, he turned her over to deal with Kim. "You're really good at this." It's not an idle compliment.

There's no hint of coolness to his voice, though he hasn't crossed over from the casual professionalism yet either. Playing it Corrie's way certainly didn't hurt him before, so he's willing to follow her lead. "I like it." Beat. "Let's start with the date. Did Celia give you any ideas of what would work for her?" Aidan knows the answer before he asks; Celia would have begged off, and will be happy to accomodate whatever Corrie comes up with. She's here on holiday, of course, so she doesn't have anything else planned.

-

"It's my job, Aidan." Beat. "I take my job very seriously, and seeing that my clients do far better than they were previously is the goal of what I do."

Reaching over the desk, she opens the folder. Three pages are flipped over before she points to the calendar that's attached. "Any time in the next two weeks works best for her, though I'd like at least three days for the planning and menu change. I really would rather not stress out your kitchen staff with the menu, but I can take care of the decorating myself, provided your front-of-house doesn't take offense to it. If there is anyone prominent that you'd like to invite please let me know, and I can have formal invitations created as well as the informal plugs on your new social media sites, and the radio."

Taking a deep breath, Corrie smiles at him. "If it doesn't work for you, though, I do have several other venues in mind that are willing to accommodate such an event on short notice."

-

Aidan holds up his hands in surrender. "That was a compliment," Aidan feels the need to point out.

His attention shifts as she opens the folder and points out the calendar. Aidan doesn't have to think long to pick a date; it's a Thursday night, more than a week out which will provide plenty of time for preparation. "Thursday," Aidan points to the date. "Not quite the weekend, but leading into it and the kitchen will be fully staffed."

He meets her smile with one of his own, genuine and broad enough to flash his dimple. "I can be perfectly accomodating on short notice, Corrie." There's a beat as he holds her gaze, "Is that enough time for you to handle the decorations, the invitations and the promotion? You don't have to worry about the menu, I can handle that end of things." That actually sounds fun; it's been a while since he's done a completely new menu from scratch, and it will be different from anything that Flare typically serves.

-

"More than if you provide me with your list by tomorrow morning." She can have it at the printers first thing, and set the general event info on the media sites early in the AM. "Are you certain about the menu? I've done a bit of research. Menus around Mardi Gras time and all. They're all in the folder."

Then Corrie realizes who she's talking to and clears her throat. "Just ensure you have at least one vegetarian option for each course." She'll have to find the proper decorations and such but with more than a week out, she'll have enough time.

"I've gotten the promotional images ready, it's just a matter of putting them out everywhere."

-

He's trying to decide whether the shy nervousness is endearing, amusing or both. Aidan is also trying to work his brain around the source for it. Again, he left her natural reactions in place, but he was expecting awkwardness, and while this is awkward, at least for Corrie, it's not exactly what he imagined. Then again, you'd think that he'd figure out by now to stop trying and second guess the little witch.

Aidan flips through the folder to the menus. "I wouldn't want to waste your time and research. I'll need to find out what Owen, Marc and Sola think their top strengths are, but there's enough of a selection here that it shouldn't be difficult to put together a menu." Beat. "They're good and if there's a place where they're not, I can fill in the gaps."

He looks up at her again, and then reaches out and lightly nudges her hand with his, hoping to get her to at least look at him. "I'll get you the list of invitees by morning. Also, with the short notice, there are staffers here who can help you, do leg work, make phone calls. I can give you their names. This is promoting the restaurant as much as it's promoting Celia."

-

The nudge causes her to look up for the first time since entering the room.

For a moment, Corrie freezes completely.

"It's not a waste of my time. It's what you hired me to do. If you don't wind up using it, I'll file it away for use later." It really is that simple for her. Though when she catches sight of his eyes, her cheeks turn crimson almost immediately.

"That would be wonderful, but as for the rest of the work, I don't mind doing it myself. If I'm in need of assistance, I'll ask Miss Dae to recommend someone."

Clearing her throat, she looks away finally.

"I was considering a masquerade, with dancing after the dinner. It really wouldn't be Mardi Gras without one…"

-

There's a moment when Aidan wonders what he can possibly do to snap her out of this. He's seriously tempted to reach across the desk, grab her and kiss her. It's only nixed because while it has the potential of pissing her off and getting her angry, it also has the potential of going the other way. Evidently Aidan is simply going to have to ride this one out until the witch figures it out and comes around on her own, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later. Unfortunately he's no way to gauge which part of the glamour took, so Aidan's only watching and waiting. It is an amusing contrast though; for someone who was so … firey in bed, the shyness is truly unexpected.

"Like you said, this is what I hired you to do. I'll leave it all in your very capable hands." Beat. "Whatever you need, whatever you want. If you need anything from me or Kim, just let us know."

Aidan leans back in his chair, and with the mention of the masquearade laces his fingers behind his head, a fond and nostalgic smile turning up the corners of his mouth. "Oh, wow. I haven't been to a Mardi Gras Masquerade in years. I haven't been to Mardi Gras in years. That's always such a good time." The hunting, the feeding, the sex. Oh, this will bring back such fond memories for Celeste, he's sure. He tilts his head, blue eyes sparkling, "Have you? Ever been to Mardi Gras, I mean?"

-

Corrie shakes her head slowly.

"No, though I've gone with Dumnonia once to Carnivale." Solely to ensure the marketing for them was in place, and the tabloids knew where they were giving a free concert.

"Everything I know about Mardi Gras has come in the form of research. I hope that I can do it justice. Miss Collins will help, of course, though if you have any insight, I'm more than willing to listen." A smile is flashed at him before she looks away again.

"I'll ensure that I note it's a masquerade, and I'll have masks on hand for those that don't wish to come in costume."

-

"Oh Carnival," Aidan looses a low whistle. "That's even better than Mardi Gras. And there is just something about Rio. They know how to throw a party down there. I swear, I didn't want to leave."

Swinging back forward, Aidan leans on his desk again, "I'll be happy to help however I can. Though, Celia is going to be your best source. She tries to get to Mardi Gras every year." Now that she no longer lives in New Orleans, and aside from those years when she has to disappear and reinvent herself elsewhere for a while.

"I could pull out my jester's costume." Beat. Sly grin. "Joking. I don't have a jester's costume."

Getting back on track, Aidan continues, "It all sounds good. How about … I stay out of your way and let you work your magic, and show up at the Masquerade being devilishly handsome?"

-

"I wouldn't know, I was working through it all." Corrie shrugs, and then nods. "I'll speak with Miss Collins in regards to what she expects to see, and I'll try to implement it all. The parades will have to go forgotten, I doubt you want something like that traipsing through the restaurant."

Her eyes shift to him, curiously when he mentions the jester's costume, and then fall back to the desk when he mentions showing up devilishly handsome.

"I doubt that would be difficult for you."

Beat.

"Is there anyone in particular that you think would require a personal invitation as opposed to a printed one?"

-

"Working at Carnival? That just won't do. You really have to see about rectifying that someday." Aidan taps his fingers on the desk and gives her a wink. He considers the rest and nods, "I think we can skip the parade. I'm quite certain that that's a touch of authenticity that no one will miss."

"I'll make a note on the invitation list that I get you. There will only be a handful, I think most everyone else will be fine with printed invitations."

Beat.

"I have to ask. Will you be coming in costume?"

-

"When I have the time and the money," Corrie points out. Which means 'it's not bloody likely to happen'.

Glancing at him, she nods.

"Of course I'll be coming in costume. What's the point of a Mardi Gras party if one doesn't come in costume? I know it's a bit crass perhaps, to show up in something slinky, but it will help promote the event and that's what my function is."

-

"I think that you can pull off slinky without it being crass," Aidan says with a sincere half-smile. He can't help the glint in his eyes, or the undertones to his words, although it's not nearly as bad as it could have been coming from Aidan.

Leaning back in his seat again, Aidan poses, "Did you have any ideas for the contest? A drawing?" Beat. "Just idle curiosity asking."

-

"Random selection via social media entries. Email, Facebook, Twitter and the like." Corrie points to the folder. "It would be either your selection or that of Miss Collins."

It would seem that the witch really does have almost everything planned out.

Beat.

"Of course, as the owner of the restaurant, you would be seated at the main table as well." A pause and then a sweep of her hair over her right shoulder. "Along with any guests you specify."

Her eyes lift to peer into his again. For a moment it looks like she wants to say something more. Then she bites her lip and looks down. "I have an outfit in mind. No worse than any club outfit."

-

"No question, we'd have to let Celia choose the winner." It's just the sort of showmanship/spotlight thing that his child will enjoy.

Aidan's gaze watches her hand as she brushes the hair away, lingering unintentionally on her throat for a heartbeat before drawing back up to her eyes, or at the very least her face when she's not looking at him. "Of course," Aidan acknowledges, quietly. There's a pause while he studies her for several heartbeats. "I assume that includes whomever I'm escorting for the evening?"

The lowering of her head and biting of her lip can't help but get his attention. "Now, you do know that when you say it like that, I can't help but be curious?"

-

"Miss Collins' choice it is then." Corrie takes a piece of paper from the folder and quickly writes upon it to note that whomever is in the top ten will be chosen specifically by the author to dine with her.

"Did you have someone in mind, Aidan?" Corrie looks upward, poised to write down their name and contact information so that she could get the invitation out first thing come morning.

A slight grin appears upon her face and she shakes her head. "You will have to wait along with everyone else. Needless to say it will be a traditional Mardi Gras outfit, complete with mask."

-

She's certainly efficient. Aidan is seeing that he hadn't made a mistake at all hiring her. Whatever his ulterior motives, she's a good addition to his staff and the livelihood of Flare.

"Tease," Aidan accuses with the reference to her costume, a smile on his face, and laughter in his eyes.

"Maybe," Aidan answers slowly, carefully. He's leaning forward again, his fingers laced together, chin resting on his hands. "Would you be interested in accompanying me, Corrie?"

Beat.

"You are allowed to say 'no,' by the way. It's not a job requirement. It's … a personal request."

-

Corrie is nothing if not efficient. She's good at what she does, and she absolutely loves her job. She lives for getting her clients out in the public eye, yes, but she lives more for getting them involved with putting them in that position.

When Aidan calls her a tease, she laughs and shrugs. "I can hardly show you the planned outfit, as I don't currently have it on my person." She watches him a moment, then has to fight with running from the room when he asks her to accompany him.

There is much staring. Much contemplation.

In the end, the fact that Celia Collins is one of her favored authors wins out.

Still…

"I'd be honored to sit at Miss Collins' table, provided you cannot find a more suitable escort…" Beat. "Yes of course I'd be interested, Aidan…"

-

Aidan waits. He can be surprisingly patient at times and this is one of those times. With his chin still resting on his hands, the vampire simply holds her gaze, watching her and waiting. He can see the thoughts flickering behind her eyes, and almost considers telling her that he doesn't have any ulterior motives, but decides against it. He'll just let her figure out what she wants to do all on her own.

He grins when she finally answers, "Good, then. That's settled." A very slight tilt of his head is given, his tongue unconsciously moistening his lips, "Thank you."

Then before she can locate the cloak of post-hookup awkwardness again, he refers to the folder, flipping through, "What else do we need to cover?"

-

Corrie fully believes that he'll find a more suitable escort, but she doesn't actually voice that. Instead she simply turns her gaze away from him, trying to figure out what it is he's playing at. Silence falls over the office, and she blinks when he starts flipping through the folder.

"I had thought, perhaps, that since the meal won't actually cost the fifty pounds per plate, and the decorating will be done in house…" A hand reaches for the folder to flip several pages past where he is to a page of prices and costs.

"The only extraneous cost, really will be additional carnival masks and a bit of advertising in the paper. You'd still be making a profit, albeit a smaller one, if you donated half the proceeds from each plate to charity."

Beat.

"There's a list in the back of the folder. If you don't mind a suggestion though, because it's a book signing, it'd be best to donate to the National Literacy Trust."

-

Aidan listens idly while Corrie explains further, though he's far more focused on simply observing her. He thinks that he admires the fact that she's managing to be so professional, if a bit to the shy side, in what she has clearly made into an awkward situation in her mind.

He makes a point of looking down at the page that she's flipped to and then looking at the pages she refers to as she concludes. "I think that a charity donation is a good idea. I don't have any problems with any of your other suggestions and the National Literacy Trust sounds to be most appropriate. You can bill it as such and I'll have my account take care of all the necessary paperwork and filings."

-

"Wonderful. I'll set everything in motion first thing in the morning then." Pulling out her cellular, she types a few things into it — notes for the next morning. "If anything changes, you'll have Kim notify me immediately? I'd hate to get things to the printers, only to find out that dates and times have changed."

When she finishes with the phone, she slips it back into the jacket pocket, and waits for any additional comments from Aidan.

-

Aidan nods in agreement. "I don't see any big, unexpected changes, but I'll make certain to have Kim get word to you if something should happen."

Beat.

"Now that that's taken care of," Aidan doesn't move from his position, though there is a subtle shift in his voice from casual to something more personal. "You seem a little … out of sorts. Running the risk of sounding like a insecure girl, did we need to talk or something?"

-

If she were being honest, Corrie really doesn't want to deal with Kim, it's simply a necessity as Aidan is unavailable during the day. "Perfect. That's everything then. I should leave you to get on with your even — "

Pausing, she sets the jacket back on the chair, and then blinks at him.

"What on earth would we need to talk about?"

-

Aidan arches an eyebrow at her words. If that's where Corrie wants to go, there's really no reason to not allow her to hide in whatever little of corner of her mind she's hiding in. He almost does. Almost.

"Nothing really." Now he leans back in his seat, folding his hands across his chest, blue eyes peeled on her. "Except that we slept together and you're acting rather … out of sorts."

-

"I believe the term you're looking for is… 'professional'." Corrie raises her brow, giving him a curious look. "Which is hardly any different than I was acting previous to our…" There's a pause as she tries to find a word that's not vulgar. "… engagement… of the other evening."

Flicking her tongue quickly over her lips to moisten them, she offers a smile.

"Am I honestly out of sorts?"

-

"Oh, you are the epitome of professionalism, I won't deny that." Aidan can't help the flicker of amusement that turns up his mouth, or flashes through his eyes at her turn of phrase. "The presentation for the book signing was bloody brilliant. You are good at what you do."

He uses his foot to twist the chair a bit back and forth, his gaze briefly darting to her lips before returning to her eyes. "But. You've hardly looked at me, you're flustered and blushing, your heart sounds like you've just run a few flights of stairs and I don't think that you've been this anxious around me. Ever. And that's including when we had our first … showdown." The word is capped with a light smile, his tones equally as pleasant. Aidan is not being accusatory, simply pointing out what is very obvious to him.

-

It takes every fiber of her being to not argue with him about it. It would be pointless anyhow, considering that he can detect even the most minute of changes in her.

A sigh is expelled as she shakes her head. "I'm not anxious." Beat. "It's simply that I'm dealing with a change in the game." Previously, she had the upperhand, being that he wanted something from her.

"Beyond which, I'm trying to suss out why you've not simply lost interest by now." Corrie tucks her hair behind her ears and then shrugs.

-

Aidan grins and sits up, pointing a finger at her and tapping the desk. "Now, there's the Corrie Kavanaugh that I'm more familiar with. I was beginning to get worried that I wasn't going to see her anymore."

"Is that what that was all about, then?" Aidan folds his arms across his chest and studies her, "Give him what he wants so he'll lose interest and go away?" Beat. "You completely underestimate yourself in that case."

Another beat.

"There's no game, Corrie. Nothing's changed. We had a spot of fun, yeah? That's what it was supposed to be. No reason to think that I've always got an ulterior motive."

-

"Partially," Corrie admits honestly. Because deep down, there was that thought. Give him what he wants, and he'll simply go away.

Rolling her eyes at him, she snorts. "Not bloodly likely that you'd be seeing the last of attitude. I've got more than enough to go around."

Her gaze turns a tad more critical at the last bit, and she grins. "There's every reason to think that you've always got an ulterior motive. You are what you are, remember?" He's a vampire, and always up to something, which is why she can't trust him.

-

Aidan mock winces, "Ow. Here I thought that my charisma and sexiness had simply finally melted through that cold, icy exterior. When really you were just giving me a treat and a pat on the head. That smarts." Not really, because honestly Aidan suspected that was part of her motivation. That and the alcohol, at least until she sobered up. It doesn't change the outcome, but it isn't as though he didn't know where he stood with her going in.

"Oh good, because I'd miss it if you weren't giving me attitude. It just wouldn't be you without it." The smile is quite genuine now, brightening his eyes.

"I suppose you're right, though my calendar of big evil plans and ulterior motives is clear at the moment. I'm still recovering from my business trip."

Beat.

"And a firey red head."

Another beat.

He reaches for the pile of papers he still needs to sign, smirking in a way that can't be remotely mistaken for innocent. "Paperwork to catch up on. No time for devious machinations right now."

-

"Nope." Corrie pops the 'p', and then grins at him. "Complete ice queen." It's a lie, and she well knows it. He, however, doesn't need to know that.

"Oh, don't tell me that you like the attitude. That may make me change things, and become a perfectly docile and boring human being." Folding her hands together, she sets them atop her knee and leans in toward the desk.

"You flatter me far too much, Aidan."

Beat.

"I should let you get back to your paperwork then."

-

"My mistake then."

Beat.

"You wouldn't last a week being boring and docile. It's just not you," Aidan points out, and even if she chooses to deny it, they both know that it's true. He glances down at the papers, makes a face and then looks back up at Corrie. "Flatterer is one of the services I deliver free of charge. It's also only one of the things that I'm very, very good at." His old salacious flirtation comes through in the words, sparking in his eyes and gracing his smile. It lingers a moment when he wets his lips, and then is gone when he dips his attention back to the paperwork.

"Have a good evening and try to stay out of trouble, Corrie." Though he's no longer looking at her, there's a tone in which he says her name, making it sound like something completely sensual and dirty and utterly illicit.

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