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    Andr0gene
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Colorado Game - 26. Chapter 26

CHAPTER *26*

Ross was a lying bastard, uch! He had assured me it would just be a few people, twenty at the most, twenty of the closest colleagues I had been working with. But when the elevator arrived at the foyer of the FG building, and the doors opened (and me carefully plastering a surprised look on my face), I didn't have to fake a second of it; the whole company was downstairs, waiting for me. The second they yelled ‘surprise', I almost jumped a foot in the air, sheez. In the grand foyer, sound carries; the sound of a few hundred voices was enough to almost blow me right back into the elevator.

I'm going to kill him. Slowly, very slowly I thought as I was pulled into the crowd and pushed toward a raised dais, which had been set up near the doors. I eyed those doors, opting for a run but Ross, who was standing on the dais waiting for me, slowly shook his head, knowingly grinning. In his left hand a set of keys dangled and I knew he had anticipated that. Definitely killing him now.

There was a short speech from Ross and another from Joey, the latter regularly interrupted by applause and as I looked into the crowd, I saw many faces smiling up to me. Eric was there, still sulking, and Janice and, to my surprise, Sofia and my mom! I glared at mom for a moment, who simply replied with a stuck out tongue and a wink. Then the moment came for me to say a few words and, since I'm not very good at speaking at crowds, I kept it as short as possible. I thanked them all in general but Eric and Joey I singled out, recalling a few anecdotes which got a few laughs. Then I turned to Ross, thanking him for the opportunity and that was about it. The crowd started to applaud again, and cheer and then there was champagne, music, the sound of laughter
and the murmur of a few hundred voices. I managed to work my way through the crowd, to the place my mom and Sofia were standing, receiving a kiss and hug from the both of them.

"That was a nice speech, Mark," Sofia said, sipping from the champagne. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say all you did here was play around with those two scoundrels, Eric and Joey."
I sent her a grin and accepted another glass of champagne from a passing waiter.

"Thanks. I'm not good at giving speeches."

"Obviously," she winked, "but you did fine. So... what's next for you?"
I raised an eyebrow at her.

"Wait... Sofia Forrester doesn't know my next assignment? Somebody call the newspaper, now!" I replied dryly.

If there was one thing I had found out in the past few weeks, it was that Sofia Forester knew pretty much anything and everything that was going on around her. Keeping a secret from her was virtually impossible, Ross had told me, especially if it concerned family. She hadn't made it a secret that, now that he and I were together (and she approved), I fell into that category, and the effects of it were pretty much instant. These days, I received invitations to functions of hers, parties where she felt both Ross and I should attend and what not more.

At first I'd been annoyed by it, especially because it seemed I had no control over my own social life anymore (those invitations pretty much demanded us to come), but Ross had advised me to keep my mouth shut (after receiving the first two, I'd been all set to pick up the phone and give her a suggestion as to what to do with those invites) and just go with it; it made life a lot easier, he claimed. He would select those he felt we should indeed attend, which in the end was about two or three. But we were invited to dozens of those and in the beginning I certainly balked at it. It wasn't until after the first few functions we went to, and I had actual fun at each of them, that I relaxed and started to enjoy myself. Surprisingly, Sofia wasn't even there at some of them.

"Yes, quite annoying, actually," Sofia replied, equally dry. "But Ross refuses to tell me, Andrew claims he doesn't know, your mother told me to ask you myself and my connections simply don't know you that well yet. Is it a secret?"
I grinned and shook my head.

"Not at all. My next job is at Warner Gaming."
Wow... it's difficult to write the exact expression she made; her lips pursed together into a thin line and her eyes spit fire.

"You can't. Absolutely not, I won't allow it."
She almost spat out those words to me and I was just too flabbergasted to respond. Just then, Ross stepped up beside me and took her glass before she would shatter it in her hand; her fingers were almost white.

"I see you told mother your next place of work," he said, a sardonic grin on his face. "Breath mother, breath. In and out."
She angrily glared at him, keeping her voice down because of the crowd around us.

"You knew about this and you're letting him?" She said. "You can't possibly..."

"Yes, I knew. And I can and I will, mother. It is not my choice and I'm also not happy with it but Mark can do whatever he wants."

"But..."

"Not now mother, and not here."
That seemed to shake her out of her state; people were starting to notice that something was going on in our corner. Sofia sighed and then took her glass from her son.

"Fine. Tonight, at the house."

"We can't, we have other...," I started, but then I quickly backtracked on it when Ross's fingers squeezed the blood flow in my elbow to a sudden halt. I yelped softly, sending him a pained glance which he answered with a ‘yes, we have to' look. "Right, I hear we can."
At that, Ross pulled me with him and away from the two women and toward the elevator.

"We need to talk. Now," he said softly, sending a forced smile left and right to employees watching us. We got into the elevator and he pressed the button for the top floor repeatedly, impatiently, until the doors closed. As soon as they were, he leaned back against the wall and raked his finger through his hair.

"I should've told you not to tell mother," he sighed.

"What the hell is going on?" I asked, "she was practically forbidding me to..."

"Yes, I know. I'm sorry; I should have told you this sooner." We arrived at the top floor and I followed him to his office, where he gestured to a chair for me to go sit down. "Okay, Mark... there's something I need to tell you."

"You bet you do," I answered.

"The company you're going to, Warner Gaming..."

"Ross, gimme a break, okay?" I sighed. "We've had this discussion. You wanna bring all of that up again?"
He held up his hands.

"Just listen for a minute, okay? No, you've made it pretty clear and it's not about that. What I should have told you a long time ago, when I found out you were going there after this job, is that Walter Warner, the CEO... okay, there's no easy way to say this; Walter is the guy I caught Kyle with, that night in the apartment."
He walked toward the window, keeping his back turned to me as I digested this information.
"At the time, he was a client of mine, one of the biggest," he continued. "He had owned the company that built the engine for our first games and it was rapidly growing, the same as mine really, and we were talking about becoming partners, or perhaps a merger."

I could tell that it pained him to talk about it and I rose my chair and went over to where he stood, wrapping my arms around him. He put his hands over mine and leaned back against me.

"I'm sorry, had I known..." I began.

"There's something else," he interrupted softly.
I waited for him to continue and when he didn't, I pulled away and walked around him so I could look at his face.

"Ross, come on, what is it? I can't get any worse than this. Me working for that man..."
A corner of his mouth lifted up for a second in an ironic grin.

"Oh, you have no idea but it can. You see, the sound supervisor of Warner Gaming... the man you'll be working closely with..." I thought for a moment.
I hadn't directly spoken to him yet, instead preparing stuff with the engineers, Warner's own Eric and Joey, basically, who I would work with directly.

"Ehm... what's his name.... Garcia... Mr. Garcia you mean? What about him?"
Ross nodded and sighed deeply before he locked his eyes with mine and held the stare.

"His first name is Kyle. Kyle Garcia."

andr0gene 2004-Present; All Rights Reserved
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Oh dear , and there’s the cat among the pigeons ! Can’t wait for the scene Sofia’s going to throw. Mark had best be prepared to temper his responses, I fear this is a topic Sofia has an extensive opinion on. 

Edited by deville
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Oh no you didn't.... HA I have a feeling Mr. Kyle Garcia is about to meet someone he wish he'd never met.

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