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Episode 77: The Secretary Meets an Adversary

Beth Breath bristled.  

She’d been sitting at her desk, tending to regular Bolt Fastener business, when suddenly it felt as if her blood turned to ice. 

Before she could consider the source of this phenomenon, the elevator doors opened and it emerged.  Baffled, it took Beth a few seconds before she was able to speak: “What are you doing here?” she asked, with a level of contempt that surprised even her.

“Hello, Miss Breath,” Chastity Fate responded.

“What are you doing here?” Beth repeated.

“I need to speak to Steel.”

“I’m certain he doesn’t have time for you.”

“It’s important.”

“Mr. Bolt is a busy man.  If you’d like to make an appointment, we can get you in to see him late next week or early the following one.”

Chastity adopted a contemptuous tone of her own: “I can’t believe you still resent me.  It’s not like I love him anymore.  Or that he loves me.”  She stepped closer to Beth’s desk and lowered her voice:  “I recognize—probably better than anyone else—how difficult it was for you when I married Steel.  But that was ages ago.  I think it’s time you got over it.”

Beth listened impassively.  She certainly didn’t consider Chastity a rival when it came to Steel Bolt, her ultimate goal, but old habits die hard and she had trained herself impeccably to despise Chastity.  “I harbour no animosity for you,” Beth lied, “I’m telling the truth: Mr. Bolt is exceedingly busy.  If you’d like me to make an appointment for you, I will.”

“Bitch,” Chastity muttered.  She made a motion as if she were going to bypass Beth and storm into Steel’s office, but that turned out to be unnecessary.  

Evidently having heard the commotion, Steel opened the door: “Miss Breath, what’s going on—” He stopped as soon as he noticed Chastity.  “What are you doing here?” he asked anxiously.

“I need to speak to you, Steel.”

“I tried to explain how busy you are—” Beth interjected.

“No, no.  It’s all right.  Come in,” said Steel.  

As Chastity followed him into the office she resisted the temptation to shoot Beth a smug look.

“Is something wrong with the baby?” Steel asked the moment he’d closed the door.

“No.  Everything’s fine.  I saw Dr. Jess Station last Tuesday.  She said both the baby and I are doing well.”

“Thank god,” Steel said with relief.  Then his tone changed to one of business-like precision: “Well then, what are you doing here?  Beth was correct when she said I’m extraordinarily busy.”

“She came to my house yesterday.”

“Who?”

“Charity.”

“Is that right?  Well, I’m sorry she disturbed you.”

“I didn’t mind,” Chastity replied.  “You know, she’s in a terrible emotional state.”

“That is no concern of mine.”

“It should be.  The main source of her despair is grief—misguided though it may be—at the death of Daedalus.”  Chastity watched Steel closely to see how he’d react.  She should have known better than to expect his face to betray him at such a facile ploy.

“I have no idea where my brother is.  He disappeared shortly after I discovered him fornicating with my wife,” Steel answered flatly.  “Now then, you are free to do with Ms Hope whatever you please.  I will have nothing further to say on the matter.”  He walked toward the door, implying that Chastity was to follow.

“Steel wait.  There’s something you don’t know.”

“Oh what is it?” he asked, annoyed.

“She’s pregnant.”

Continue Reading: Episode 78: Chastity Secures Some More of Steel's Booty