|Subject:||Bloodlines - chapter one|
|Date:||Sun, 6 Feb 2000 01:04:46 -0500|
ready for a critique (or two).
August 5, 2060
I turned my attention away from the view of the balcony and toward the
speaker. The soft clicking of her heels had already alerted me to her
approach even before she had spoke. She was dressed in a form fitting
light grey suit jacket with a white blouse and knee length skirt. Her
eyes were a soft brown and her nose was upturned with a smattering of
freckles on her cheeks that would make any man define her as beautiful.
Her collar length dark hair was curled upward at the bottom, giving her a
corporate look. The image of a corporate executive was completed by the
half empty champagne glass that dangled loosely between her thumb and
forefinger of her well manicured right hand. She stopped in front of me
and tilted her head back slightly so she could look up into my eyes. Her
eyes held a concerned look as they met mine. "Is it the party?"
"No, it's not the party. I just needed some air." I put my hands on
her sides then leaned forward to kiss her reassuringly. "Would you like
to join me?"
"I'd be delighted." She agreed, passing off the champagne glass to one
of the four bodyguards that were between us and the ballroom. She
stepped over to the stone railing of the balcony and folded her arms in
front of her chest.
I stepped up behind her, putting my arms around her shoulders. She
leaned back against me as I hugged her close, resting her head against my
right shoulder. Not a difficult task because I was about a head taller
than her. I glanced down to see that she'd closed her eyes. We stood
together for a few moments in silence before she spoke again.
"Vultures," she half murmured.
"Hmm?" I inquired as I tilted my head forward, resting it next to hers
so I could hear better.
"The people inside." She explained quietly without opening her eyes.
"They're like a bunch of vultures, all fighting to get the best pieces."
"I was thinking of them as leeches, hon." I murmured into her ear.
She laughed softly in agreement, a smile touching her lips. "I like
"Fits better." I agreed as I kissed her right temple gently, just above
her flesh toned datajack.
"True." She conceded as she opened her eyes, turning her head so she
could look at me. "So handsome," she reached over with her left hand and
curled her fingers around the back of my neck. Her fingers drifted
upward long enough to caress my ear suggestively. Her forefinger paused
at the pointed tip before continuing. "What should we do after the
party?" She asked as she pulled my face over to hers.
"How about we spend the rest of the evening alone?" I suggested. "Just
you and me."
"Sounds good." She agreed as rubbed her nose against mine.
"The sooner we get away from the paralyses around here, the better I'll
feel." I added. "And the longer we'll have to be together."
I straightened up as she let go of my neck. She turned her head toward
one of the bodyguards nearby. "Frank, have the car brought around." She
told him, her voice having none of the warmth that it possessed only a
second before. "We'll be leaving now."
"Yes, ma'am." The ork who headed her bodyguard detachment tonight
acknowledged in a similarly professional sounding voice.
She slipped out of the circle of my arms and I turned to follow her back
into the drawing room where the party guests were currently assembled. I
caught up with her before she reached the balcony door and put my right
palm against the small of her back. As we entered the drawing room, one
of the other guests caught up with us.
"Ah, Mrs. Hunt, I was just looking for you." The gentleman, and I use
the term loosely, said.
We drew to a halt within polite conversation distance. "Well you found
me, Mr. Usinski." She acknowledged his existence politely. Privately I
detested him and so did she, but she was professional enough not to let
it show. I simply kept my mouth shut, lest I start an argument.
Or something worse.
"I wanted to speak with you about some of the -" he hesitated in a
manner that he probably thought was dramatic, but I thought made him look
stupid. "- changes that you've been making."
"Mr. Usinski," she began coldly. "Any changes that I might or might not
have been making are none of your concern." Her voice took on a warmth
that I would akin to that of a snake talking to it's next meal. "If you
continue to involve yourself in these affairs, you will force me to take
certain steps that should be unnecessary for someone in your position."
The politician paled as the implications of her words sank in. "I
understand, Mrs. Hunt."
"I'm glad you do." She said in the same tone of voice and I felt her
weight shift under my hand, indicating to me that this conversation was
concluded. Following her cue, I stayed at her side, not letting my own
opinion of him reflect in my face as we stepped around him to continue.
"Metafreak." I felt my wife's back stiffen under my hand, which was her
only sign of having heard the man's insult. She was too polite to tear
into him here, no matter how badly she wanted, being a better politician
than me. I wouldn't have ignored the insult if it had been directed at
me, but then again if it had, there'd be one less politician by tomorrow
We left the politician behind, her heels making a staccato clicking on
the floor as we smoothly dodged the other guests as we passed across the
ballroom. Several of the politicians made it a point to stay out of our
way, avoiding us even with their eyes, while others acknowledged us with
a nod of their heads when they glanced our way.
"Have our coats brought out," she instructed one of the servants
standing near the doorway leading from the drawing room to the hallway
which lead to the mansion's front foyer.
"At once, ma'am." The servant acknowledged as he held the door open for
us. I heard him head down the hall going in the other direction as we
headed for the foyer. We stopped to wait in the foyer for a moment until
the aforementioned coats appeared in the hands of several of the
governor's servants. In case I forgot to mention it, we were at a party
being given by the governor of Seattle for the senior politicians and
selected others, which happened to include my wife.
Two of the bodyguards disappeared out the door but we waited until Frank
was ready. "The car is ready, ma'am." Frank told us after a moment.
"Thank you, Frank." She slipped her arms into the sleeves of the
greatcoat that I was holding up for her, and buttoned it up when I
lowered it onto her shoulders.
The personal protection specialist nodded slightly by way of reply and
turned his attention to his duties as the other three members fell into
position around us for the short walk between the foyer and the
I finished buttoning up my own coat and put my hand back against the
small of her back. I exchanged a glance with her and the remaining two
bodyguards formed up around us as we headed for the door. The two
liveried doormen, actually one was female, opened the doors before we got
within their arcs and I saw the limousine waiting only feet from the
door, with the other two bodyguards standing on the far side.
Frank took up a position ahead of us while the other bodyguard took up a
position at our back. He waited until one of the bodyguards outside gave
an all clear nod before moving. He swiftly crossed the open space,
moving to open the back door of the Rolls Royce Phaeton and then stood
cover while the two of us ducked inside. The two bodyguards on the far
side of the limousine ducked inside then Frank and the remaining member
of the detachment likewise followed, closing the door securely behind
Once inside the limousine, we were safe from anything short of an
assault cannon. The Phaeton's normally thick armor plating had been
augmented so that it could ricochet a round from a fifty caliber sniper
rifle and could also withstand a direct hit from LAW rocket. Hopefully
it wouldn't have to,but this is 2060 and you never know what could
I settled down next to my wife as the car shifted into motion and she
leaned against me slightly as the only visible sign of her weariness.
Frank sat on my left with the other members of the bodyguard in front of
my wife and I with the remaining member on the far side of the seat. In
spite of the number of people in the back of the limousine, there was
still plenty of room to move around if the need arose.
"I hate those kind of parties, Greg." The woman I loved complained as
we swung out of the driveway. "Everyone there is so fake."
"I've been saying that for years, Ro." I put my arm around her
shoulders and hugged her. "But at least now there's someone that I
always want to talk to at the parties."
She smiled up at me. "So I've been reduced to polite conversation, have
I?" She teased, her eyes sparkling mischievously.
"Oh no," I smiled back at her. "You're useful for much more than
"Like you're a great kisser." I said, half-joking and half serious.
She laughed, music to my ears. "Well you just happen to be a great
kisser, too." She leaned against me, resting her head comfortably
against my shoulder and closed her eyes, a smile playing about her lips.
I put my arms around her shoulders and we rode the rest of the short trip
home in silence.
The drive home lasted roughly ten minutes, and we got out of the car in
the opposite order that we got in. A quick glance around assured me that
all the security was where it should be. The bodyguard detail escorted
us as far as the foyer before leaving us to our own devices. One of the
staff took our coats before we left the foyer for the living quarters of
"You're back early." A voice called to us as we entered the main living
"Oh, Uncle." Ro hugged the portly gentleman who bustled over to us.
"Always the worrier."
"Yes, Al." I agreed as I stood with them. "We're not twenty five."
Al smiled, his face showing his years. "But you'll always be that
little girl to me." He told my wife.
"Really uncle." Ro let go of him in mock protest and slipped an arm
through mine. "If you will excuse us, we are going to bed."
"Try not to keep him up late." Al called as she led me off. "You both
have to be up early."
"Yes, uncle." She agreed. "Good night."
She was silent on the way to the master bedroom, resting her head on my
left arm as we walked. I choose not to break the silence and contented
myself with being close to the woman I loved. And was loved by.
The house was practically deserted in spite of the hour. The only
people around were the security and the occasional servant, most likely
still available because we hadn't been expected home for several more
As we neared the bedroom, Ro removed her head from my arm and returned
to the image of the corporate executive. It wouldn't do for her to look
like she needed my support for anything, even in front of her own boys.
A pair of guards waited at the door leading into the bedroom, their
weapons concealed beneath their suit jackets. The one on the right was
an elf like myself and the other was an ork. Both of them were male and
their guns were concealed beneath their suit jackets. They made note of
our presence but didn't move to hinder us in any manner.
They didn't move at all and I knew that if we weren't supposed to be
here that they'd take any measures necessary, up to and including lethal
force, to remove us. Their presence outside our bedroom door was at my
insistence, as an additional safety precaution should something happen.
Ro let go of my arm as we got within a couple of steps of the door and I
opened it for her, then waited until she was inside the room before
following her and locking the door behind us. I headed for the bed,
seeing out of the corner of my eye that she was over at the closet
removing her shoes. I peeled off my jacket and tossed it into a
I'd decided against wearing a pistol to the party tonight, probably a
good thing because I'd have been tempted more that once to use it. I
plopped down on the bed and removed my shoes, deciding after a second to
leave them there at the side of the bed. I stretched out comfortably and
closed my eyes tiredly.
I heard the soft padding of Ro's feet as she crossed the room and then I
felt the mattress shift as she sat down next to me in the middle of the
bed. I felt the mattress shift again and the presence of her head on my
chest as she settled down next to me. I put my arms around her shoulders
and hugged her tightly for a moment before settling into a more relaxed
and natural posture for snuggling.
After a moment, I heard her breathing grow deeper and slower as she
drifted off to sleep, her breath like a gentle breeze on my chest. I
sighed sleepily and after a few moments I drifted off as well.
"A Shadowrunner's Corp."
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