Author Topic: Get Lucky  (Read 6173 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Get Lucky
« on: June 09, 2019, 04:22:37 PM »
Ben didn't know this, but before the Oligarchy Chambers had taken over the grand building that was now called the Luminary, Halen had regarded the lack of a thirteenth floor as ridiculous superstition and had every floor above it renamed, just so the floor would exist. Ben was aware that many hotels and office buildings didn't have a thirteenth floor and liked the fact the Luminary was different. Someone superstitious might say that the Oligarchy was doomed because of Halen's move, but he knew better.

Halen was murdered by an ambitious vampire, not by the number thirteen. And Lazarus had lost his seat because he was a fool, not because of the number thirteen. And Kerr had disappeared and 'died' because of Ben's mistake, not for the fact a thirteenth floor existed. So, to thumb his nose at all of those beliefs and because he was supernatural - not the number thirteen - he'd taken the floor for his office, as had Kerr.

It was ten PM and Sam was sitting outside in the waiting room. Ben had an assistant sitting at a desk outside of his office (and didn't that feel weird and executive-y?) who would show Sam in. In front of Ben on his thickly carved golden oak desk was the contract that Ichabod had sent over to him earlier that night. It had gone through the lawyers and would keep Sam contracted to the Academy for five years on the same fixed rate of pay, no advances, no promotions. He wanted Sam to sign his name to it, proving his word.

Ben pressed the intercom button on his phone. "Show him in," Ben said, feeling like a kid pretending to play grown-up. He squashed that feeling when Sam stepped into his office. He stood, unsure if that's what he was supposed to do but fuck it, he'd bounced up out of his chair like a jack-in-the-box, so there was nothing left to do but to offer his hand for the shaking. "Thanks for coming in."

He felt like he was on a TV show about cutting-edge lawyers. He wondered if Sam would think the same, though he doubted it. His office felt more like an absent-minded professor type. Bookshelves the same style as his desk were crammed with thick tomes - some of which he didn't want going into the library. Ben had found and pilfered a giant globe that stood a metre high from another part of the building and put that in one corner - one of the walls that met that corner had a giant tapestry of a historic earth. It wasn't genuine, unfortunately, but it did capture what people understood of the earth in the middle ages. It was mostly tan in colour but there were bright spots of red throughout. A large rug broke up the space - white and light blue zig zags. There were a few armchairs in the far corner of the room and a low coffee table (same style as the bookshelves and desk) where people could sit around and discuss things. So far Ben hadn't used that space but he liked the idea of it. There was an architectural magazine and the latest 'Demonology' newspaper edition atop it. Potted plants and interesting statues filled the rest. There was definitely an impression of space, as one wall of the office was nothing but glass, so Ben could look out into the city.

It was an eclectic collection of a modern vampire who had an interest in history. Very Ben.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 04:44:13 PM »
Samuel was intimidated. The Luminary had gone through a lot of changes since he was here last and it stunned him that a building that had once been the seat of power for a supernatural government body had now become - essentially - a hotel and the home of a dating app under the control of just a couple of vampires and it felt more imposing. How did that even happen?

He'd thought about it at length while he was left in the waiting area, trying not to stare at Ben's assistant. Or think about the times he'd negotiated with assistants when the Oligarchy was alive. It had felt like a significant portion of his job, getting around Tansy to see Vomas, or some other assistant to get to another Oligarch, just to be heard. Apparently his days of assistant-schmoozing were not done, though this one seemed very efficient. Sam kept his thoughts to himself and straightened his maroon tie or picked at nothing on his grey suit while he waited.

Sam leapt to his feet when he heard Ben's voice over the intercom (he marvelled at the soundproofing in the place, because he didn't hear the vampire's voice through the wall itself) and was quick to head in and shake Ben's hand. "Not at all, thank y'all for having me," he said enthusiastically, belatedly realising it was only Ben in the office. Oh well, the sentiment was directed at Kerr as well, he knew the ex-Luminary also played a role in this business somehow. He cleared his throat, determined not to let his nerves affect his speech. He had to stay calm.

He rand a hand through his hair, causing it to arch over his forehead as he smiled, waiting to be told where to sit before he did. There were a couple of choices - he glanced appreciatively around the office, momentarily distracted by the bookshelf, the view and the tapestry. He'd have liked a bit longer to stare at the last one but also didn't dare spend too long ignoring Ben. His furtive glances would have to do - when he dared look away from Ben's eyes.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 05:05:12 PM »
Ben didn't tell Sam to beyond gesturing towards the chair and taking his own. They were all the same style of swivel chair, no height differences, though Ben's did have a taller back. Navy blue leather and comfortable, Ben sat back and made himself relax, smiling at Sam before his gaze dropped to the twelve pages of contract on his desk. It was hard to miss, being the only thing on there other than a pen and a phone.

"Ichabod sent this over earlier. It's gone through the lawyers. They suggested a ten-year contract because of your history, but I selected five," he said.

It was Jake's style to pick people up in his limo with security guards and heavy-arm them into conversations and giving him information. It was Ben's style to have Sam come to him and begin the conversation with 'I did you a favour by sticking my neck out', though the favour in itself had been manufactured. He wanted to soften the 'five years of duty' blow and Ben had all the decision making power anyway.

"We can renew in five years if you want to stay. Who knows what five years will bring? The Oligarchy was only around for ten. Hopefully the Academy will last longer." He gave Sam a steady look as he was starting to get into the role he was playing.

Boss. Super boss. District Leader in six months, hopefully.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2019, 05:17:06 PM »
Samuel looked at the contract in question, frowning as Ben told him he could've been employed for ten years but he'd only selected five. His expression was wary as he looked into his boss' silvery-blue eyes.

"Hopefully," he agreed weakly, also of the opinion that he wanted the Academy to outlast the Oligarchy. He debated saying something about the amount of time he was being offered, telling himself it didn't matter how many years it was, because Ben was right - anything could happen in five years, ten years... but he needed to know. It was important to him to establish their relationship. If he was going to be continually tarred with Vomas' mistakes, would it be worth it?

"Is it... five years because you don't trust me?" he asked softly.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2019, 05:26:50 PM »
Ben had miscalculated and he blinked at Sam a few times in a few seconds before looking down at the piece of paper to gather his thoughts.

"Ah, it's to put you alongside everyone else. All staff are on five-year contracts except for the lecturers, who are on one year to see if there's interest in their classes," Ben looked back up at Sam, noticing that he'd glanced at the tapestry yet again, the one at Ben's back. At least Sam seemed to like it. "Are you saying you want a longer commitment? Because we can change it to ten with a few initials if you like." He shrugged, falling back into himself rather than being Super Boss.

He gave Sam a twisted grin. "Maybe you should read it first?"

He was pretty sure that Sam would recognise that he'd got lucky with this job offer. Ben would've only dreamt for something like this without the connections he had (with Kerr and Charon, though the latter was more of a network thing).
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2019, 06:28:06 PM »
"No, that makes sense," he hastened to reassure Ben, feeling ridiculous for saying anything, like he'd overreacted and made things awkward. "Five years is fine, I just, when you said you could've had ten but chose five, I th-thought m-maybe-" he broke off and inhaled, visualising his tongue in his mouth, still and then moving flawlessly to get his words out before he continued speaking. "I shouldn't've said anything. Sorry," he dismissed, sitting forward in his chair and reaching for the contract.

He was lucky Ben wanted to continue, after he'd just about accused him of holding a grudge and insulted his intelligence, like he was too weak-willed to distinguish between Samuel and Vomas. He winced at himself as the contract was slid across the desk towards him, filled with a surprising amount of humility and gratitude towards Ben. "Thank you," he smiled up at his boss as his hands grasped the paper, glancing past him at the tapestry once more before he applied himself to perusing the contract.

Samuel read it carefully, skipping over the legal jargon bits and attending specifically to all the clauses. His history with legal documents made it easy to locate the important bits efficiently. He frowned at the mention of the Kerr Galvin Academy as part of his duties. It came ahead of any mention of The Luminary's Library and the cataloguing of the Oligarchy's books. He read it over twice, to be sure. "You want me working out at the Academy? As their head Librarian? Is that your priority?" he queried, looking up through his lashes at Ben from where he was hovering over the contract. "And I'll work on the Oligarchy's database when there's time? Should I still call it that - or is it a private collection now? Your database?"

He was happy to be employed in any capacity and his tone in asking the questions was respectful. He was simply seeking clarification before he continued reading.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2019, 07:02:34 PM »
"The Academy Library needs someone in charge of it now that there are students attending. It's still quiet, but I just shoved books on shelves in vague categories. The lecturers have their reading material online but when I was a student -"

in high school
that's the furthest I've gone
and I didn't even finish, ugh


"- um, I spent a lot of time at the library. I'd like you to be there for them. You'll note that you can hire up to three staff; two juniors and one senior, who'll work under you. Only hire them when you need them, and once you're operating on full staff you'll be able to decide whether you want to manage the Academy or the Luminary Library."

He paused, then added: "Did you see the part where you have an apartment here as part of your wages? I assume you haven't bought a place." Ben's eyes widened momentarily at his faux pas. Sam was here because he desperately needed a job. That meant he hadn't bought a place.

Ugh, he hoped the other vampire wouldn't think he was rubbing it in. Ben pressed his lips together tightly.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2019, 07:54:56 PM »
It was a disappointment but Samuel needed to think about it for only a moment before he nodded his enthusiasm and offered another shy smile to Ben. He felt somewhat foolish for correcting Dreki the night before; apparently he would be working at the Academy. Right along with him. He hoped the lecturers wouldn't spend too much time in the Library.

Samuel's attention was drawn back to his contract when accommodation and wages were mentioned. "Oh?" he asked out of interest, seeking that bit out. "That's very generous of you," he complimented, thinking nothing untoward regarding the offer. "And no, I hadn't organised anything. I've been staying in a hotel, hoping to get a chance to speak to you. If this didn't work out, I didn't want to be committed to this city, I was planning to move on. The memories... aren't so great that I wanted to hang around without a good reason," he said wryly, lifting a page of the contract in reference as he continued, "this is a good reason."

He finished perusing the contract, satisfied that he was being well looked after. "I'm happy to sign. I'm looking forward to living here - can I move in tonight? I'm curious, though; who are these donors that are mentioned and how will me working with Digital work? He's my superior?" he enquired, reaching into his jacket pocket for a pen. It was gold and twisted to make the nib emerge; he opened it up but then paused to listen to Ben's response, holding the pen in both hands.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2019, 08:11:29 PM »
"You and Digital are co-workers. If you have, uh, problems working with him, I can make sure your rosters don't interact often. Really, I.T. will only need to visit the library if the computers go down. He'll be moving between sites. I... I wanted to get the flash drive off him with the archives on it, but he insisted on handing it over himself, so after we're done here I can take you to the server room. I think he's in there," Ben said, divulging that he didn't have a clue where in the building the Malkavian was lurking. He loved his computers though, and Ben had walked in on him once hugging (and humping) one of the large fridge-like machines.

He decided not to share that detail with Sam.

Ben watched as Sam signed his name without fanfare at the end of the contract.

"There's also a disclosure agreement for you to sign on the next page." As Sam signed it, Ben answered the other questions posed to him. "You can move in tonight but I don't have anybody to show you to your suite. The donors are some of the original Oligarchy donors plus a few new faces. You might know some." Ben was interested if Sam had a favourite. "Anyone you're hoping to see again?"
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2019, 08:50:58 PM »
"Naw, I'm not interested in mortals - prefer to drink from a glass or bag, it's much less complicated - but, y'know, it's nice that they're there," he smiled absently at Ben, in between reading the NDA and signing that, too. Who would he even tell anything about the goings-on at the Academy or the Luminary to? That was easy to sign.

He gently slid the signed document across the desk towards Ben and sat back with a smile. There was only one thing left that he really felt he needed to do - apologise - but he balked at it, unable to find the words smoothly and not wanting to stutter over them. He made banal conversation instead, through a tight smile. "I don't need any fanfare, just a key and maybe a room number. I can find it myself. Do we need any sort of identification to prove we live in the building? I guess ID will cover that and stuff at the Academy, too?"

Just say it
Man up and tell him you're sorry

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2019, 09:01:07 PM »
"Digital will give you an ID card. It'll open your suite door among other things. There's an info pack in every room in the top drawer of the bedside table."

Where the Gideon bibles are always found
No bibles here
But there are some in the library
In the reference section
How weird


"There's also a map of who goes on what floors. We have the Ward operating out of here now, so keep out of their way unless you want to report something. They're building and Academy security as well. If you invite someone on the property and they can't get in, that's Sabrina's protection wards. You can decide for yourself if you want to keep seeing them, but you can't bring them here or to the Academy." Ben was all business as he imparted information. "I'll take you down to see Digital. You won't be able to access the server room without me."

He stood and waited for Sam to stand also. He no longer felt like a kid playing grownup. He felt like the boss now that Sam had signed the contract. He was an employee now, so it was easier to detach himself.

"Any questions?"
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2019, 09:26:39 PM »
Samuel appeared to give it some serious thought, his lower lip pooched out. "Naw, I've about chewed your ear off as it is," he chuckled, following Ben out of his office and towards the lifts. He contemplated complimenting the tapestry before he left, commenting on the studious vibe on his floor, asking about how Kerr fit into things but none of it came out. It was stoppered behind what he needed to say... which refused to come.

As they stepped into the lift, however, there was a moment were their eye contact broke and then there was the blissful anonymity of staring at the shiny doors and Ben reaching forward to send the lift to where it needed to go. That was the moment the dam broke and Samuel could finally talk.

"I just wanted to say that I'm really grateful for the opportunity y'all are giving me. It means a lot, especially... since I was such a dick to you. Back in the day. I used to get uptight because I thought you were lording your position as the Luminary's partner over me and I resented it because you had all the perks and none of the responsibility but really, I was just intimidated by you and feeling guilty and I wanted to say I'm sorry f-for... all of that," he finished, finally slowing down after the rush of his confession.

The relief he felt was immense and he could finally look Ben in the eye, even though it was furtive. Nerves prickled beneath his skin as he waited, hoping he'd be forgiven.

Offline Trillian

  • Devil's Advocate
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 11497
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2019, 09:40:20 PM »
At the apology, gushed out at him in the lift as it was, Ben listened to it all and a sense of relief overwhelmed him. He felt absurdly emotional but it didn't reach his practised expression as he stared at Sam through it all... except for the slow blink. He'd been Acknowledged. Finally fucking Acknowledged. His skin prickled with the sense of it.

"Thank you," he breathed, sounding as grateful as he felt. "For saying so," he said, because he'd wanted to say thanks again but then that would be too much.

He faced forward again when the lift reached the server room with a ding. They stepped out into a large room with a bank of servers down one side. There was room enough for more banks and they would eventually fill the room, but right now they had more than what they needed.

Digital was down here; the two vampires saw him immediately because he was in visual range of the elevators as they stepped out.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Malkavian Riddler

  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1504
  • Minstrel Seeking Minstrel
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2019, 09:48:20 PM »
Digital had his back to the two vampires. Today he wore an orange coverall with no shirt beneath, nor boots on his feet. The coverall was all that covered him, in fact. Unbuttoning it and letting it fall to his feet would demonstrate this, but he did not feel the need to demonstrate.

Before he could be interrupted by the vampires who'd come to see him, he yelled "Wait for it!" and finished typing in the last line of code that he needed to make the modification. He pressed submit and while the bar counted the seconds to upload, he turned and waggled jazz hands at Ben and Sam.

"Ta da!" he said, getting down on bended knee while still wiggling hands. "Samuel Taylor is officially in the system," he said. Then got up to grin at the newest employee. He sure was pretty. "I have gifts for you. Many gifts."
Digital: I drink from the poison chalice
Lan Bao: I reap the harvest of my people
Cain: I am the instrument that vampires play
Shan: I take what is mine and what is yours

Offline Existentially Odd

  • Navigator
  • Administrator
  • Novelist
  • *****
  • Posts: 12603
  • Wanderer
    • View Profile
Re: Get Lucky
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2019, 10:05:09 PM »
"Welcome," Samuel mumbled at Ben as the doors opened, suddenly shy in the wake of Ben's benevolence. It couldn't have gone better and he felt an unusual surge of affection for his employer. Unexpected.

Digital's spontaneous performance had Samuel fighting the urge to applaud; he settled for grinning and blinking rapidly at the orange-clad vampire instead. He thought it was a pity the kilt was gone; the guy had great legs. "Wow, you're good," he complimented, chuffed that his whole name was known and stated. It felt official, suddenly, even though the signing had taken care of that. Had Ben teed this up or was this an instance of Digital's clairvoyance at work? Either way, he was impressed.

"Ooh, gifts!" he exclaimed, his eyes lighting up. "What sort?" He figured it would just be his beautifully-crafted, meticulously cross-referenced and laboriously-tagged database (and maybe an ID badge, once he posed for a photo) but he was buoyant after Ben's acceptance of his apology so he was up for playing along. He clapped his hands together and rubbed them as he stepped a little closer to Digital.