A Red Letter Evening // Claire & JaiMature

The familiar click of the door opening took William’s attention away from his whisky to the new occupant of the office. Agent Wilcox had dressed for the occasion, and William have a subtle nod of approval. Knowing how to present oneself in these sorts of situations was always important; the man had fired people for less. His experiences with those on the good side of the law had caused him to doubt the propriety of any agent’s dress, but then again, this was the CIA, not local law enforcement. They, at least, knew what they were about. It was why he’d insisted on the coordination with his own security, after all.

“Agent, welcome,” William said as he sat up and took his feet off the desk, arms wide in an expansive gesture to include the entire manse, not just the room. Shaking the man’s hand, he nodded to the empty chair across the desk from him. “Sit, sit.” He listened to the man’s questions and concerns without comment, chuckling inwardly at his last few words. Though not public knowledge, the Wandesfords dealt less…noble… information trade as well, and if anyone would know the whereabouts of any of their enemies, it would be the Wandesfords themselves. For what they really did, they couldn’t afford not to know those things. But there was no need to let anyone in on that little tidbit, least of all a government agency that would surely come down on the Wandesfords heads, rather than help them, if they knew.

Turning his thoughts away from that dangerous territory, he poured a bit of drink into the other glass and nudged it toward Agent Wilcox with a grin. “Have a drink, sounds as though a bit of one might do you good.” The grin was inviting; no reason he couldn’t be friendly despite the employer/employee sort of relationship. “As for your requests,” he continued, slipping more into his role as businessman rather than host, “my sister has the guest list, and we’ve no real known enemies. Not that we don’t already have tabs on. We’re concerned about such risks as well and put much effort into protecting our assets. And physical persons, hence your presence here tonight.” Holding up a finger for the man to wait. William pushed a button on the phone on his desk, buzzing the intercom system throughout the house.

“Claire, darling, would you be a doll and bring the guest list to my office? Agent Wilcox is here and would like to look it over.”

A few seconds later a static noise sounded over the phone followed by a sigh. “It’s not your office, brother dearest, but I can oblige your request. I’ll be there momentarily." 

William shook his head and took another sip of his whisky as the light on his phone went off, signalling the conversation was over. "Charming…but as I was saying, while we keep our own tabs on potential threats, you’re more than welcome to run them through your own databases. It’s all in your line of duty, I suppose. That list is attached to the guest list, which you’ll have…" The office door opened again to the sound of Claire’s laughter as she bit a teasing farewell to the doorman. 

”…presently,“ William finished as his sister stepped into the room, closing the door behind her. To look at them, one wouldn’t immediately assume they were siblings. Where he was dark, she was fair; he was tall and muscled, she was short and lithe. However, they had the same sharp blue eyes and handsome features. She swept past Agent Wilcox without a backward look, radiant in a daring dark blue gown and gold jewelry; they were her own natural colors, mirroring those eyes and her hair, and they more than suited her.

She waved the folder in front of William, holding it out for him to take, and gave her brother a tight smile. "I told you earlier you might as well keep them in here. Now, if you don’t mind,” Claire said, turning away to leave. She paused though, actually seeing the agent this time. He was a handsome man, unquestionably, though she’d always thought a suit could do wonders even for the homeliest of faces. Quirking a corner of her mouth up in a vaguely predatory smirk, she snapped the folder out of William’s fingers just as he went to reach for it.

“…why don’t I finish up here, and you speak with the caterers?” Claire said, continuing her cliffhanger of a sentence. “They were asking about placement for the petite fours and the punch bowl.” She perched herself on the corner of the desk and glanced over her shoulder at William, who was blatantly frowning. His concern lay more with her flaunting her decolletage like that than the fact he knew she’d been purring internally since she took in poor Agent Wilcox. It was the brother in him. Though, in all fairness, she did know the guest list better than he did. His only contribution to it had been a few of their father’s old business friends and some young pretties who were daughters of so-and-so, whose fathers may or may not be attending. Not that he was after their  wrinkled handshake of congratulations.

With a sigh he knew Claire took triumph in, he finished off his whiskey and stood, making an exaggerated bow. “As you wish, your highness,” he said, not quite concealing the laugh in his words. As he walked past the agent, he held two fingers in front of his own eyes and directed them at the man in a gesture of watchfulness. “She’ll eat you alive, if you don’t watch…” he warned under his breath, laying a hand on the man’s shoulder before exiting the room. He knew his sister all too well and didn’t need to be present to know what she had in mind.

As the door shut once again, Claire turned a bright smile to Agent Wilcox and offered him the guest list file. “There are approximately 250 guests expected tonight, not including the number of security officers, yourself, or William and I. My name is Claire, by the way." 

The End

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