The Way It Came To Be
Part 1: An Unpleasant Surprise
I should've been working, but I couldn't.
The blinds had been pulled to the side, allowing a panoramic view of downtown. From the thirtieth floor, vehicles and people looked like colorful ants, bustling from one end of their ant farm to the other. Horns and shouts from below could only be imagined, and the sunlight filtering in was so strong it made the tint on the window nonexistent.
My private phone rang. I ignored it.
I stood in front of my office window, feet shoulder-width apart and back ramrod straight. I stared ahead of me, my eyes so unfocused the sunlight didn't bother me. My suit jacket was slung over the back of my chair, along with my tie. The light on my phone was flashing red, signaling that I had voicemail. The frame that held a picture of my father and I was in shattered pieces against the wall. My balled hands were down at my sides, with his documents crumpled in my right fist.
I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it! Did he hate my choice so much that he saw it fit to punish me, even after his death? As if his loss wouldn't devastate me? As if the lives I had taken wouldn't follow me for the rest of my life?! I was so livid, I didn't know if I wanted to jump out of the window to end it all, or go on a shooting spree. How I was feeling at the moment, I was ready to commit to either option.
The phone rang again. I ignored it.
The quiet hum of the air conditioner seemed to make everything else louder. I could hear the papers in my hand crinkle, sounding like firecrackers. My heartbeat had the dull, heavy thud of an elephant footstep. My breathing whooshed out of me like a tornado wind, and my rage screamed inside of my head, a bear trapped in a cage.
The phone rang again. It took everything I had not to turn around and trample the damn thing into the floor. I sighed instead.
Without warning the door opened. Someone came in, and then the door was closed. I remained rooted to my spot as my 'guest' began going through my things. I cringed slightly as I recognized the code that would play my voicemail. As the messages played, I could hear the glass being picked up and dumped into the garbage can. It was silent for a few moments, and that was when I smelled tea being made. Gently, I was turned around and studied by Wufei. Reaching an internal decision, he guided me to the couch and sat me down. He pried the papers from my hand, replacing them with a steaming cup. I took a sip, and immediately felt calmer. It was English Black tea. I loved English Black tea.
I sipped my drink as the messages played and Wufei read the papers. I listened with half an ear, as I knew who the messages were from and what they were about. What impressed me though, was how Wufei seemed to be listening to the voicemail and reading simultaneously. Splitting my attention like that always gave me a headache.
After he finished reviewing the documents, he listened as the last of the voice messages played. When the phone clicked off, he immediately turned his attention. "How are you feeling?"
His voice was so soothing and sincere, I couldn't fly into the rage I wanted to. "Infuriated," I said calmly.
He snorted. "Yeah, so I heard."
I raised an eyebrow.
He smirked. "I received a call from one of your fellow paper-pushers. They said they heard something thrown, glass breaking, and a loud 'you uncle fucking bastard!' " Wufei shrugged. "They called Security first, but Security didn't want to face you in case you had gone ZERO again." He raised an eyebrow. " 'Uncle fucking?' "
I smiled despite myself. "It's from the South Park movie."
"Ah," he said with a grimace. "Should've known."
I chuckled, and then let my brief flare of happiness fade away. "Did you understand that?" I gestured to the documents.
"Yes. Surprisingly for a legal document, it's very straightforward." He lowered his voice. "You are to have an heir by your eighteenth birthday, or else," he flipped through the papers, " 'The superceding government will inherent Winner Enterprises Inc., and all assets, stocks and future monies thereof.' " He frowned. "You'll lose everything." He sent a smile to the phone. "At least your sisters are being supportive."
"Yeah," I said, feeling calm again. I expected their calls to say that I needed to go ahead and do this, to keep what we have. I didn't expect them to feel that this was infringing on my freedom, or that they'll support whatever decision I made. I felt ashamed that I thought that way of them. Now, I knew I needed to make more time to spend with them. "They're being great about this." I downed the rest of my drink.
"Yes," he agreed, turning his attention back to me. He waved the papers. "When did you get this?"
I sighed, and got up to get a refill. "About twenty minutes ago."
I felt Wufei's surprise. "And when did you get to work?"
"Thirty minutes ago."
"Ch'. What a way to start a Monday morning."
"Ha! No shit." I leaned against my desk and blew on my tea. My nerves, frayed moments before, were soothed back into fine lines with Wufei's presence. I no longer had the urge to jump from the window or shoot up the place. Lucky, lucky people.
"You haven't made a decision yet, have you?"
I sighed. "No, not yet." I crossed my legs at my ankles. "On one hand, I don't want my family to lose everything because of something *I* don't want to do now, but will eventually do anyway. I mean, if I refuse, we lose WEI, and then I have a kid two years from now... I could've had my child earlier and spared us the grief, you know?" Wufei nodded in understanding. "But on the other hand, it could be that our time is over, and it's someone else's time to begin. If that's the case, we need to let go." I thought sadly about that, before my anger peaked above the surface. "First and foremost though, this is not a good reason to have a child. I'm upset that my Father had written his Will as he did, treating it as such."
Wufei nodded again. "It's too soon for a decision anyway, Quatre. You have to give yourself time to absorb all of this, and think of other possibilities."
"I know, but I already want this over and done with." I started sipping my tea. It was still too hot, and it burned my tongue, but I didn't care.
"Why do you have to run WEI? Why can't one of your sisters?"
I rolled my eyes. "For some sexist reasons, I'm sure." I gave Wufei a pointed look.
He shrugged, easily disregarding the barb. "You can change that..." he grimaced, "...after you have your heir to become CEO."
"Damn. You're in a quaternary."
"If by that you mean 'screwed,' then yes."
Our heads whipped to the door as it suddenly banged open. Duo stood there, hair disheveled from his braid, panting, with a wild look on his face. Wufei and I only looked at each other in confusion before focusing back on Duo. He still wore his Imperial Guard uniform, the style Relena and Noin wore while they hid in the Sanc kingdom; it was the white coat, complete with breeches, those weird shoes, and a lavender collar that did an amazing job of bringing out his eyes. "Err… Duo?"
"Where's the fire?" he asked, looking around.
Wufei and I looked at each other in confusion again, then at Duo. "Fire?" we asked.
"Yeah," Duo said, stepping carefully into the room as if expecting something to jump out and attack him. "Security called me. Said something about Quatre going ZERO."
"Oh, for the love of..." I didn't finish the sentence, only shook my fist in the air. "All I did was throw a picture frame!"
"And called him an 'uncle fucker,' " Wufei supplied helpfully.
"An 'uncle fucking bastard,' " I corrected.
"Ah. Yes. Silly me."
"Dudes, what's going on?! They made it sound like Quatre had Armageddon rainin' down or something! Scared me so bad I ran up eighteen flights in these god damn heels!"
The visual of Duo running up stairs in sixteenth century-styled promenade shoes, with a buckle big enough to blind anyone in a five mile radius, had me laughing so hard I almost dropped my tea. Duo always complained about how much he hated those shoes. Whenever he was asked for recommendations on how to improve the Imperial Guard, his first recommendation was always, 'Get rid of the god damn heels.'
"First of all Duo, if you're going to act insane, at least close the door so no one else will see you!" Wufei snapped. Grumbling, Duo closed the door and stomped his way in. He threw himself to the floor, leaned back on his elbows, and kicked off his shoes. I gave a last titter, and got myself under control
"Now." Wufei turned to me. "Did you want to explain this, or me?"
I was tired. In under an hour, I had an unpleasant surprise, followed by several major emotions, including shock, fury, hurt, and calmness. I was in serious need of a nap.
I waved my hand in dismissal, and heard Wufei's voice lower as he began to tell Duo what happened. I turned to stare out the window again, this time at the building across the street. Halfway up, a man was washing the windows, a slight swing to his hips. Squinting, I could see a black object beside his foot. A radio. While he worked, he listened to the radio and danced. I reached out for him, and could feel nothing but contentment.
I envied him like I did nothing else.
I was reviewing the paperwork to legalize a Preventer base in Brazil, when someone knocked on the door. Two quick raps, a pause, then a quiet rap.
"Come on in, Heero."
Heero came in, smiling grimly. Without a word, he grabbed the chair in front of my desk and pulled it around, sitting next to me behind the desk. I got up and went to my refreshment area, pouring myself a cup of tea and a coffee for Heero. As I walked back, I felt his eyes take in every detail, noting anything out of place and filing it away. I placed the coffee in front of him, seated myself, dug out the documents of my Father's Will, and handed them over. I worked as he read, determined to get as much done before he finished.
"Hn," he said at last, placing the papers carefully on the desk. I pushed my paperwork away, spun around to face him and stretched my legs out towards him. He stretched his out towards me, crossed his arms, and launched into an attack. "When did you get this?"
"Eight thirty this morning."
"Did you know this stipulation existed before now?"
"Did your Father have this stipulation from his Father?"
"Not that I'm aware of."
"Are your sisters aware of this?"
"Are they with you or against you?"
"Are your shareholders and advisors that are not family aware of this?"
"Will you tell them?"
"Not unless it will affect them."
"So you haven't made a decision yet?"
"When will you see your lawyers?"
"Shit," he said, ending his interrogation. "I can't be there. Relena and I have a meeting with the Prime Minister of England. He's coming all the way from Earth, so we can't postpone it unless it's under pain of death." He gave the idea a thoughtful look. I chuckled.
"No Odin, none of that," I said with a smile. "You go to that meeting. It's vital for the Secretary of Defence to be there, and you know this. Wufei and Duo are going with me tomorrow. Zechs and Noin will cover Relena for the meeting, and you can handle yourself. It'll be fine." I smiled at him as if to say, 'no worries.' I didn't think I pulled it off.
"We'll see," he said with a frown as he stood. "You text-message me as soon as you finish with the lawyers. If we finish before you, I'll join you."
I nodded. "Sounds like a plan." We shook hands. "Thanks Odin."
"What are friends for?" he asked sincerely, then left.
I sighed and looked out the window again. The window washer made it up another few stories, but he was still quite a bit below my floor.
What are friends for, indeed.
This time, I didn't envy him at all.
The rest of the work day passed by as usual. I didn't receive any more surprises, (unpleasant or otherwise), I had a nice lunch with Hilde, and I got quite a bit accomplished paper-wise. I guessed my focus was extra sharp, to avoid thinking about other things.
It was nearing five o'clock when Wufei came back. I was just closing my briefcase when he let himself in, closed the door behind him, and leaned against it. Oh boy. We were going to do this, again. "I thought you supported my decision," I started.
"I do and I will," he finished. "That doesn't mean I agree with it. Neither does Duo."
I rubbed my forehead. I wanted this day to be over with. "Wufei, please-"
"Suppressing your memories of Frankfurt will not solve the problem."
" 'Fei, it's been over a year! I've never taken that long to get over something."
"It just means you need more time-"
"I'm not willing to take more time!" I nearly shouted. " 'Fei." I closed the distance between us, gripped his shoulders, and resisted the urge to shake him until he agreed. " 'Fei, he haunts my dreams every night," I said softly. "I can't rest. I wake up in a fright, expecting him to be standing there. Sometimes I think I feel his touch, or hear his voice. He's always in my thoughts, and I don't want him there. Today was one of the few days I haven't thought about him at all, but that's only because the Will has been in its place." I threw my hands up in the air. "He feels like the devil, you know? Say his name or think about him, and it'll draw his attention." I turned away and sighed.
"Quatre." Wufei turned me around. "He's not coming back."
I thought back to that day on the train, when we were leaving Prague. I remembered the way he winked at me before he turned and strolled away. You didn't acquiesce like that unless you knew you had another (or better) chance in the future. "He just might," I whispered.
"All the more not to do this so that you can be prepared to fight," Wufei said calmly. "Otherwise, you might repeat the mistakes you've already made. And what about us?" he gestured to himself, but I knew also he meant Duo, Heero and Trowa. "Do you want us to suppress the memories too?"
"To each his own," I answered, right as my watch started beeping. Five o'clock. I had to get going.
I stared into Wufei's eyes and felt a twinge of regret. He was really worried about me, and it showed. "'Fei." I smiled, and gripped his shoulders again. "It's going to be alright. You'll see. This will be one less thing I'll have to worry about, and considering the other things I have to worry about, it'll be a big help."
He sighed. "Okay."
"Good." I frowned at him, and said sternly, "We will not discuss this again."
He stared at me long and hard. Finally, he said, "No, we won't."
Nodding to each other that this discussion was closed, he bid me good day and left. Snatching
up my briefcase and jacket, I hurried to my car. On Earth or in the Colonies, rush hour was always a nightmare. If I drove on the sidewalk and over other cars, I'd probably only be fifteen minutes late to Iria's.