Killing Time OST – 23b – iBroker Souls

<< 23a – iBroker Souls

A week passed in arguments, deliveries and creation. I knew Lorelei wouldn’t change her mind and that, despite what she might say or think, she desperately needed support and approval; her father had spit on everything she was, after all. It tore me apart but I stood by her, ordering pieces of equipment and tuning, if not creating from scratch, what would go in her body. Gabriel, on the other hand, wouldn’t let it go.
At first, he tried to prevent me from getting the material I needed, something about the task force not willing to fund the making of a deadlier Most Wanted. I had laughed; they didn’t have the money anyway. Lorelei, however, had very very deep pockets.
When that failed, he turned to trying to stop her.
“Doing something drastically opposed to your persona is just as predictable!”
That was his main argument. He was wrong, of course, because the statement only worked if her father knew that someone would tell her she was predictable. And if we presumed that far, the only thing left to do was to sit on our thumbs. Lorelei made sure to yell that to him over and over again until he caved.
From that moment on, Gabriel became increasingly annoying. I had dealt with various suppliers to place the initial orders, thanks to the Internet and a handy-dandy delivery address controlled by the CIA. I had worked that out by omitting to tell Eliot why I would use it for exactly. Now that Lorelei had rallied him to our cause, Gabriel began nosing in everything and ‘taking charge.’ How insulting!
“It’s my job to supervise and help,” was how he put it.
Nosing. Plainly nosing. At first.
He got a team of specialists to work on a few pieces, keeping them in the dark about the purpose of their creation and even who bossed them around throughout the day. I felt having a remote team would both feel too similar to working at Merrilyn Tech while simultaneously be more complicated to manage and a general waste of time. Apparently, that team was used to this remote command thingy way more than I was and the dynamic was so different, it didn’t compare to my past.
The reinforcement allowed me to focus on my main challenge: the reboot chip. For an hour, I looked at the hologram, wondering how I could dive back into that project. Every time I stretched to type a line of code, my hands shook all over the keyboard. I feared I would never find the resolve to write the program that would allow the chip to be build; the damned thing was way too small for even my fingers to work on it properly.
I had just started a coffee pot when Gabriel walked in. “Lorelei’s in the gym,” I absentmindedly said. She trained like crazy and took a bunch of nutritional supplements to ensure her body would handle the surgery and be operational soon afterwards.
“I’m actually here to talk to you.” Gabriel closed the door in that suspicious ‘I’m going behind someone’s back’ way.
“It’ll be worst if I back out.”
“I know. I just liked her stubbornness better when it pissed off my bosses.”
I chuckled and turned around. He wore his shirt and dress pants but I hadn’t seen him with his jacket and necktie in three days. I almost felt pity for him but I crossed my arms nonetheless. Gabriel took a chair by the central table.
“My sensei used to say that there are battles even the best warrior can’t fight. And the best warrior becomes great by accepting that with peace of mind.” He shrugged. “I can’t fight her.”
“Thought you accepted that four days ago.”
“I did. Stopped fighting. Felt peaceful. Started working with you guys.” He looked straight at me. “I’m not blind.”
I cocked an eyebrow. Lorelei and I hadn’t been acting couple-y at all. If anything, she kept even more distance than usual between her and me, the one who would make her nightmares come true.  No wonder I couldn’t sleep.
“You’re shaking like a leaf. She’s punching like a demon.” Gabriel enumerated the fact like he would his grocery list. “You’re running analysis. She’s picking out songs. Idle chat during meals. No banter. No discussing the operation.” He walked up to me. “She’s already dead, isn’t she?”
I didn’t know what point he was trying to make but something definitely hit home. God, I hated his clinical tone! “Your asset would kill you if she knew you pity her.”
Gabriel’s fist hit my jaw and I stumbled backward.
“Stop treating me like the enemy.”
I punched his face. The shock reverberated all the way up my shoulder. “Stop playing cold strategist.”
Gabriel straightened his shirt with precise strokes. A perfectly trained little soldier.
“You let my punch through, didn’t you?”
He smiled. “Last time I play. Promise.”
“Why do this at all?” Gabriel opened his mouth to answer – “ and if you say ‘bonding purposes’ I’ll try to hit you again.”
“I’m worried sick.”
The coffee machine beeped the end of its cycle. I cocked an eyebrow. Gabriel nodded. I poured two cups and brought them over to the table.
“You’re both keeping me at arm’s length. It has to stop.”
“You should have thought of that before you toyed with her in front of your bosses. She’s been through enough.”
“Exactly. She deserves to belong to herself.” He glared at me.
He meant: “She deserves to not belong to you.” I could have punched him again.
But I agreed.
“I think you’re the reason she’s still standing. And I believe you’ll keep her alive.” That made one of us. Not that he needed to know that. “Scared of the tech?” My jaw dropped. “You’re my asset too.”
I mumbled and took my cup over to my computer. I hated this man. Partly because he was a better one than me.
“You keep her alive,” Gabriel said, standing one step behind me. “I’ll keep you sane. Thanks for the coffee.”
Then, he was gone.
“What the hell was that about?” I mumbled.
The answer hovered inches from my face; the five first lines of code for the reboot chip were neatly lined up.
I hated this man.

23c – iBroker Souls >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

6 responses to “Killing Time OST – 23b – iBroker Souls

  • Jenn

    Aw…the boys are bonding! lol I liked the way that they have figured each other out to a certain degree. It’s interesting that they think are jealous of each other to some degree.
    Oh I got confused by one line: “It’ll be worst if I back out.”
    Where does this fit in?

    • Aheïla

      *laughs* I’m glad you enjoy their relationship. I definitely didn’t expect them to punch each other but once all was written and done, it just worked.
      As for the line you find confusing, I wasn’t sure it would be clear so I’ll rework it in the eventual rewrite. Basically, Vexx assumed that the only reason Gabriel would want to talk to him behind Lorelei’s back was to tell him that he shouldn’t go through with the operation. So Vexx answered before Gabriel actually voiced why he was there.

  • ralfast

    Interesting way of setting the triangle, if it is a triangle. As for bonding, I don’t know, guardian angels and spurned unrequited loves rarely mix.

    😉

  • mish

    Love triangle ? Or is love too strong a word ? Well , some sort of triangle … that’s for sure … a triangle teetering on the brink of something but trying desperately to remain intact … ?

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