A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
“I’m fine,” Beth Breath replied, her tone completely belying that assertion.
Viveka looked at Beth sympathetically. She could sense Beth’s broken heart (its pain pervaded the entire room, so it was hard to miss) and she empathized. “How are you ... coping?” she asked.
“I’m fine," Beth repeated. "You’d like to see your brother?” she added in a manner meant to indicate that her state of mind was not a matter for discussion.
“Viv,” Steel said tersely, after his sister had entered his office, “you haven’t been around Bolt Fasteners in ages.”
“No, I haven’t.”
“Then I’ll assume there's an important reason for your visit. I don’t mean to rush you, but I'm quite busy trying to nail down a contract with a Japanese consortium. If you could get to the point, I’d appreciate it.”
“Certainly, Steel. There are two things, actually. First of all, I went to see Burl Hard today.”
“What did you do that for?” Steel shot back.
“Because I wanted to see if he’s starting Hard Hinges to get me back. I thought maybe I could talk him out of it.”
“I see. Well, I certainly don’t need my sister looking after my business affairs, but I would be interested to hear what you learned. Is his company some elaborate form of foreplay?”
“No. He said it has nothing to do with me and I think I believe him.”
“Hmm, that’s what I was afraid of. If he were trying to win you back, at least we’d understand his motivation. As it is now, I have no clue why he’s doing this.”
“Nor do I, Steel. It’s completely out of character for him. So much so that I wonder if someone else is behind it. Some other person must be pulling the strings, merely using Burl for his money and as a figurehead.”
Steel nodded grimly. “I’ve been thinking the same thing.”
“If you like, I could talk to him again, see if I can get to the bottom of this,” Viv said eagerly, although whether she was eager to help or eager to talk to Burl again was not apparent.
“No, that won’t be necessary. There hasn’t been an adversary yet I couldn’t handle. Thanks anyway.”
“Now then, you said you had two things you wanted to discuss. What’s the other?”
At this prompting, Viveka hesitated for a moment. For such an emotionally repressed person, Steel was enormously capricious when it came to his family; there was no telling how he might react. Finally she swallowed and said with only the slightest tremor in her voice, “Steel, I want to get married.”
Read More: Episode 43: Who is Hugh