“You’re going to think us a little bit strange,” Linda warned. “Possibly even crazy. But we’re not, we promise. You just have to hear us out.”

          “I’ll listen,” said Rich, growing slightly alarmed but determined that, if nothing else, he would hear what they had to say. “Just don’t expect me to agree to it. I mean, I’m no one special, and I don’t want to leave my family worried or something…” His excuses fell flat as Alan tapped Jonathan’s shoulder and pointed to a black briefcase under the table. His brother picked it up, opened it and revealed a slim line laptop which he placed in front of them and waited for it to turn on.

          The waiter came with Alan’s food. Grateful for an excuse to continue eating, and so that Jonathan’s brother didn’t feel awkward, Rich started to eat, although he was hardly able to swallow when he considered that soon, he would be told something which quite possibly might change his life. He thought of his mother. Had she ever pictured him being picked up from a train station in a limousine, because he was the person that an organisation wanted? Probably not. He was a no-hoper as far as that was concerned.

          The laptop bleeped gently, a welcome screen showing. Jonathan tapped a few keys—a password, evidently, since it logged him in and took him to the desktop—before sitting back and waiting for the icons to appear. “I’m sorry, it’s a little slow. We are trying to get a new one, but backing up the files is proving rather difficult.”

          “That’s a lie,” said Davide quietly, humour spilling from every word. “He’s just too much of a cheapskate to buy one. We’ve been trying to persuade him for ages.”

          “Shut up!” said Jonathan. In many ways, this was a very informal corporation: Rich found himself amazed at how its members spoke to each other, because they seemed more like friends than business partners. And yet he supposed they were, after so long of working together, not to mention the fact that there were two related pairs.

          When finally it had loaded, Jonathan turned to him. “Just hear us out,” he said.


The End

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