The beautiful artwork that lined the hall leading to Golkon’s office was a blur as I hurried to perform whatever noxious tasks my employer had planned for me. At least I wouldn’t be alone in his office with him. Last time he had cornered me in seclusion, he’d been all hands and slobbering kisses. I had barely managed to push him away from me. Well that wasn’t true, Sala Chrystal had barely pushed him away. Selina Moonfire would’ve had him curled up on the expensive carpet, whimpering like a wounded canine within thirty seconds.
Growling to myself about elaborate ways to inflict pain on the annoyance known as Karyl Golkon. I was completely oblivious to the trio coming towards me until I literally ran into one of the members of their party.
I caught a glimpse of startled blue eyes, dark hair, and broad shoulders before I tumbled backwards. He reached out for me, trying to steady me before I fell, but too late. Instinctively I caught hold of his arms, causing him to tumble down on top of me.
I let out a startled yelp as he fell atop my chest. Stars danced before my eyes as my breath left me in a painful burst. Gasping for air, I stared up…
…Into the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen….
The color was reminiscent of deep clear waters. Waters so pure that they reflected back the color of summer skies. Bright and vibrant and joyfully alive. That was what made them so beautiful, the range of emotions that were reflected in their depths. Shock caused them to widen, giving me a better view of that vivid, startling shade.
Just like water, a woman could drown in those eyes. But what woman would complain about drowning in such bright warm depths? Especially when the rest of him was as gorgeous as those stunning eyes.
Broad shoulders that felt heavily muscled pinned me to the floor. His chest, well toned and gasping against mine, caused all sorts of wicked little fantasies to leap to mind. The warmth of his body trickled through my blouse, causing an instant reaction…//BAD GIRL! DO NOT THINK ABOUT THAT NOW!// His legs straddled mine, putting us in a very compromising but very enjoyable position.
Too bad I could not take advantage of that position no matter how much I wanted to…
He shook his head, causing dark hair to spill across his forehead, drawing my attention back to those stunning blue eyes. Humor danced in their depths, causing me to smile, a rare occurrence since I took up employment at the museum. "If I told you that you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"
I knew I should stay in character. It was vital to finishing this job, but damn, how could I resist eyes that blue? I whispered my answer, fearing that Golkon was nearby. "Nothin’ like a cheesy pick up line to turn a girl on."
At first I didn’t think he heard me, but then he gave me this look was a dizzying array of emotion. Surprise at my reaction. Laughter held back. Admiration of some sort that I couldn’t identify. And…Oh, Gods…desire…
Sithspawn! I didn’t know if I should thank Golkon or kick his worthless ass. If he hadn’t interrupted I probably would’ve done something very un-Sala-like but very Selina-like to the gorgeous man sprawled on top of me.
Which definitely would’ve gotten me in trouble.
Instead I began struggling beneath him, pounding my fists against his shoulders. "Get of me you Brute!" I raged, trying to drag him off of me. Not that I really wanted him to move, other than maybe a little to the left so I could breath easier. But then, with such an attractive man plastered against my body, breathing wasn’t a real priority.
I turned my head, ready to scream like the frightened secretary I was suppose to be, when Golkon’s suede boots entered my line of vision. "SALA!" Gods, he even stomped his foot as if I were an errant child getting disciplined. "How dare you treat our guests in such a manner!"
How dare I treat them in such a manner? I thought dully. The lack of oxygen was beginning to do strange things to my brain. Yes, I was the one who ran into this being, but HE was the one trying to squash me flat.
I rasped for breath, and Blue-Eyes realized that it was time to move. Reluctantly he sat back on his heels, studying me for a moment before he stood. His eyes moved down my body like a sensual caress before he schooled his features into an impersonal mask.
What the hell?
Was he like me? Pretending to be someone he wasn’t? Interesting…In many, many ways…
I filed the observation away for further study as he offered me his hand. "I’m so sorry Mistress…" His voice faltered on that word, and I KNEW what he was thinking. Mischief glowed in those incredible blue eyes, then he was all business again.
"Chrystal," I managed to stutter as he pulled me to my feet. I blushed, both because Sala would blush in this situation and because he was staring at me as if I was a delicacy he wanted to savor. He took my hand as I stared at him, turning it over to kiss the palm. I was sure my knees would buckle and I’d again be on the floor. Come on, Selina, you’ve had good-looking men hit on you before. Why is this time any different?
Because absolutely he’s gorgeous and loves bad pick up lines…
I shivered as his lips brushed against my skin. He looked up at me, and he KNEW that he was having a very profound effect on me. He smirked and I suppressed the urge to slap him. Of course, slapping him could result in very interesting activities…if he was into that sort of thing…
Why was I hoping he was?
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Mistress Chrystal. Though hopefully next time we meet, it will be under better circumstances." Um…Better circumstances…how about circumstances that involved chocolate sauce…
I shook my head, trying to stop myself from thinking such thoughts and ruining my cover. Blue-Eyes tightened his grip on my hand, causing me to return my attention to his gorgeous self. "Are you all right?" he asked, his voice filled with concern.
"Of course she’s all right." Golkon hissed, making it obvious that I’d better back away from this important individual.
I followed the implied order, allowing myself to study the other members of this important group of beings. I smiled weakly at the pair, "I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to be so rude to your companion." Properly servile, but not quite groveling.
"It’s all right, Mistress Chrystal. There seems to be no harm done." The man smiled at me, but the smile didn’t quite reach his mournful pale blue eyes. He was rather attractive in a serious sort of way. Lean build with melancholy eyes and soft sandy blond hair. The look of a poet.
Too bad I failed lit class…
The other member of the party looked like something out of legend. A warrior woman who had somehow been reborn in a time not hers. Well muscled and ready to take on anyone who stood in her way. A being ready to defend clan and homeland. Not a woman to reckon with. And one that was very familiar to me.
I had seen her picture in the information holos I had gathered before accepting the Fabirgi heists. This was the Empress herself. Princess turned Empress Isplourrdacartha Estillo.
Why was she here? This was my job. MY heist. I took no partners and needed no help. If I did, I’d hire people I knew and that knew how to perform the tasks I needed from them. I would NOT let some aristocrat, no matter how well muscled, ruin my plans.
Despite my seething thoughts, I smiled at the pair. Trying to look as innocent and as much a part of the furnishings as possible. Thankfully Golkon already saw me as part of the furnishings, unless he was trying to maul me, that is.
"Sala, this is Derik Hobs." The blond nodded at me; I bowed my head, looking up at him shyly through my lashes. His eyes became faintly less sorrowful, which for some reason made me feel victorious.
The Empress did not wait for introductions. She held out her hand, and suddenly I was unsure if I was supposed to shake it or curtsey. Was she here as an Empress or was she undercover like I was? "I’m Estelle Plorsh, CEO of Star Haven Industries. And the being who you literally ran into is Jasen West." I shook her hand while Golkon began a monologue on the virtues of what was most likely a false business.
I had to admit, if Star Haven had been a real company, it would have been impressive. Faux interests represented in every major star system. Millions of employees that I knew only existed in faked computer files. Worth billions of credits, at least hypothetically.
It had been created to be sort of company that Golkon fairly frothed at the mouth in hopes of getting donations from. It was too good to be true, another sign that Star Haven did not exist. And since I usually created such organizations to give me the proper background for the roles I assumed, I clearly saw through the charade. Must be Intel work. They usually go a little too far when creating this sort of thing.
I tuned out Golkon as I tried to figure what was going on. Then suddenly a pain in my shin startled me out of my reverie. I expected the offender to be the museum curator, but instead it was Blue Eyes er…Jasen. As I gathered my limited attention span, I realized that Golkon was winding down. Finally he drew in a deep breath and asked, "Since you have been working so hard on the exhibit, Sala…" Because you’re a lazy pig and know less about art than I do… I added silently. "Perhaps you would like to accompany us on a tour of the museum?"
Of course, I couldn’t refuse. Not with Blue Eyes staring so intently at me, and the Princess of Eitree standing beside me.
So I spent the afternoon, meekly correcting Golkon’s errors during his lecture.
Another hideously pastel envelope landed on the pile, sliding down the tiny mountain of paper to teeter precariously over the edge of my desk. I snatched at the offending item, brushing against the pile, causing the rest of the envelopes to slither to the floor.
As I began to collect the evil little pastels, footsteps entered my office. Running a hand over my fraying braid, I looked up at Golik. "Um…Yes, Sir?"
"Sala, can you ever NOT be clumsy," he growled. Or attempted to growl. The noise reminded me more of a wounded womp rat than any sort of predator. He even looked like a womp rat. Narrow features, pointy nose, beady eyes…
But I must keep up appearances. I groveled appropriately as I carefully scooped up the envelopes. "I’m so sorry, Sir. I didn’t mean to…"
"Shut up, girl," he spat. "I have something very important for you to do."
I clutched the envelopes to my chest and slowly stood. "I’ll be happy to help in any way, Master Golkon." I KNEW he’d like me saying that. It always soothed his ego when I called him Master.
His nose twitched in distaste. "For some reason Master West from Star Haven Industries…" Oh yes, had to say the entire corporation’s name. Go ahead and revel in the status of a company that was completely fictitious. "For some reason he was taken with you and would like you to be his escort for the dinner tonight."
I paused, mind quickly clicking over the implications of West and his companions, one of which was the Empress of Eiattu, being invited to an affair that was being attended by all the powerful beings present on . Interesting…
I let the proper play of emotions cross my face. Tentative hope, shy excitement, uncertainty. I locked on the uncertainty and let my voice waver just a bit. "But, Sir. I don’t have anything to wear to such a…No dress. No gown…"
Golkon snarled at me. "Take the rest of the afternoon off and buy something." Suddenly he stepped forward, catching hold of my arm painfully. I knew there would be a bruise and it took all my willpower not to dump him on his bony ass. "You had better not embarrass me, Sala. Or you will pay…"
Swallowing what he thought was fear, but was actually rage, I nodded slowly and he let me go.
To be Continued...
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