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Chapter 1

He doesn't know your name

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

“Yum, yum,” Anara whispered into Sansia Beacon’s ear as Raydon Payne walked into LabA3 Level 2. “I’d skip lunch and dive into him any day.”

“Stop that,” Sansia whispered back, fidgeting with the glasses on her face. “He might hear you.”

Raydon spared a quick glance in the direction of the two junior science assistants and then strolled across the room to where Dr. John Murphy Senior Science Department Manager was standing issuing instructions and trying to look important.

“Monsuilles is coming in today and I need to give them an update on the product,” Raydon said. “What’s the status?”

It was difficult to wrap one’s mind around the fact that the hard, strong, no nonsense voice was emanating from a man that looked as if he was the grand prize winner of the ‘hot male models contest’, Sansia thought. Everything about Raydon Payne was deceptive; his youthful appearance begged the question if he was even old enough to work and Sansia found herself wondering whether or not he had even started to shave; yet as vice president of Sales and Marketing he was among the top ten most important men at Gofrey Chemicals Inc. He was lean, just over six foot five, tan, had jet black hair and piercing grey eyes- and as Anara had said, was just over one hundred and about eighty five pounds of ‘yum yum’, if only he had the personality to go with those looks. The man, boy, whatever, was definitely an enigma.

Sansia watched Dr. John Murphy shuffle from one foot to the next while seeking to respond to Raydon’s comment, unfortunately his voice was not nearly as forceful or loud and Sansia had to strain to hear his response.

“Picked up anything good?” Anara teased.

“That’s my project,” Sansia pointed out. “We were told we would have at least another two weeks before Monsuilles would come for an update.”

“Get with the program Sansia,” Anara said dryly. “You have no project. We’re the plebs, the projects are always the brainchild of the aristocracy – exhibit A.” Anara nudged her head in the general direction of John Murphy. “I bet right now he’s telling baby-face Raydon how he’s been working late nights to get it completed on time.”

Sansia inhaled a deep breath and released it slowly; she slipped the glasses from her face momentarily and then replaced them. She stole a quick glance over at the two men, willing Raydon Payne not to look in her direction.

“That’s so not fair, it’s my brainchild and I’m the one that’s been working late nights on it and I’m not about to allow any two bit glorified salesman to make me have to rush a project that could change the world as we know it,” Sansia said defiantly. The truth was Raydon looked like anything but a two bit glorified salesman, he was such a picture of perfection with his tailor made pinstripe three piece suit that hugged his body just close enough to hint that what was under it was much more attractive than what was on the outside. Not one strand of hair was out of place and in spite of the loud voice he always seemed immaculately in control.

“Yep, Murphy’s probably saying that too,” Anara said. “Minus the attitude of course.”

“Dr. Sansia,” Dr. Murphy called from across the room. “A moment please.”

“That’s code for ‘I don’t have a clue what the hell I’m talking about and it’s beginning to look obvious so I need the real brains behind this operation to bail me out’,” Anara said in a rushed voice.

“Well I’m going to give the two of them a piece of my mind,” Sansia said bravely.

“Yeah…right, just make sure you get that bit back before you start work,” Anara called after her and Sansia cringed.

It was true; it was not that easy to be brave and bold when you were standing in front of two of the most important men in your career. Besides, Raydon Payne just completely freaked her out. Maybe it was because of that deceptively innocent face and yet surprisingly rough manner, or because she had heard that he was something of a playboy and yet had never once made an effort to hit on her – didn’t he find her attractive enough to use her and dump her like yesterday’s newspaper? Or perhaps it was that he seemed to think he was in charge of the science department and made a habit of coming in there and trying to order all of the science staff around. Whatever it was it always left Sansia with a tight sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach, sweaty hands and a nervous twitch. It didn’t help at all that Dr. Murphy, the science department head, was a complete wimp. Maybe she wasn’t much better than Dr. Murphy, after all she always found it difficult to assert herself in the presence of Raydon Payne.

“Good…um… morning Mr. Payne,” Sansia said politely as she came to stand beside Dr. Murphy.

“Not good at all Ms…” Raydon Payne seemed to be expecting her to slot in the missing name. Of all the nerve! She had been working at Gofrey Chemicals for close to two years now and had watched Raydon Payne enter the science labs a total of three hundred and twenty six times, three hundred and twenty seven if she counted the time he had to return for a pen he had forgotten, not that she was counting, yet he would dare stand there and act as if he didn’t know what her name was? Of all the gall!

“Beacon…well….I’m…I’m Dr. Sansia Beacon,” Sansia said politely, her tone not reflecting the annoyance she felt at having for the three hundredth and twenty seventh time, not that she was counting, to inform Raydon Payne of her name.

“I believe you may have told me that already, how silly of me to have forgotten. I’m usually very good with names.” Raydon spared her one of his award winning smiles and Sansia tried her best to stone her heart against its impact. How could someone that looked that adorable be such a horrible person, surely the rumors about him were just that, rumors. Why, he didn’t look as if he could hurt a fly – but then again when you thought about it, did spiders?

“I...I…would never dream…I wouldn’t expect that you would…should….” What was the matter with her, she was stumbling all over herself. “No problem.” She managed to get out breathlessly.

“You’re too kind,” Raydon said, still smiling. “But my concern is for the new project for the Monsuilles Group – AGRO. I’m expecting them here in a few hours.”

“I…um… see your dilemma,” Sansia said quietly, pulling her glasses from her face and wiping them in her lab coat before slipping them back onto her face again. What, were even her glasses heating up at the proximity of this man? She could hear Anara snickering in the background and wondered how the other girl had managed to get so close to them without her even noticing.

“Roderick,” Anara called across the room to another one of the junior science assistants. “Do you see a piece of mind…”

“Uh…” Sansia coughed loudly and Anara snickered again. “I…I…um…well sir.” She was a doctor, how could she let some sales man that looked as if he had just finished high school intimidate her like this? Why couldn’t she seem to pull herself together when she was around Raydon Payne? Sansia fiddled with the black rimmed glasses on her face, straightening them and then tilting them out of position again. “The project…we were of the opinion…um…I thought the project wouldn’t be due until….until…next week.”

She wanted to say the project wasn’t due for at least another two weeks but somehow she couldn’t help herself from reducing the timeline in the face of Raydon Payne’s handsome but disapproving face.

“This project was started almost ten months ago,” Raydon pointed out sternly. “It is all that you have been working on for the past ten months, if it’s not finished then the question is ‘how do you justify a salary for ten months without results?’.”

Sansia could feel the hair on the back of her neck stand on ends. She ran her fingers through her short cropped brown hair and then went back to fidgeting with her glasses.

“I…I’m not sure if …if that’s quite a …a fair….a fair question sir,” she stammered. She would really have preferred to rip his head off his neck and blow bubbles through his lungs. The man was quite insufferable and had a way of saying the rudest things but making you feel as if you were insubordinate when you responded to them directly.

“Do you think I managed to get where I am by sitting back on my butt for ten months collecting a big fat salary with nothing to show for it?” Raydon demanded.

“I’m sure if we really push we should be able to get the project up and running within three to four days,” Dr. Murphy cut in nervously. “I blame myself for the delay of course. We’ve several projects going on in the department and I should have realized that young Dr. Beacon would require a lot more hand holding than I had given her.”

Dr. Murphy was babbling, something he did often when any of the vice presidents came down to the science labs.

“I do hold you responsible Dr. Murphy, it is questionable as to if you have the capability of managing a department at this level in an organization such as ours,” Raydon shot back and Dr. Murphy’s face went incredibly white.

A bigger man would not have struck him when he was clearly groveling, but though Raydon Payne was clearly head and shoulders above everyone in the science lab it was definitely debatable as to whether or not he was a big man, Sansia thought angrily.

“I…I’m…” Dr. Murphy started to say although Sansia was quite sure he wasn’t certain how he intended to finish that sentence.

Raydon took the guesswork out of the moment by saying, “Monsuilles is not coming here in three to four days, they are coming here today. You would have me stand before them like you and be a blithering idiot? That’s not an option. I understand Anthony Belle the first and second – the major shareholder and the chairman of the board will be in today as well to meet with our new billion dollar client. Should I simply explain to our major shareholder and the Chairman of the Board that you didn’t monitor the project as carefully as you ought to and we’ll have to reschedule the meeting for the next three days?”

Dr. Murphy stared down at Sansia with desperate pleading eyes. A bad report to Anthony Belle Senior was definitely not what John Murphy needed, there were already rumors that perhaps he was not the bright spark the company had thought he was when they hired him.

“Maybe,” Sansia said, hating herself for coming to the rescue of a man that took pleasure in claiming others’ achievements for his own. “Maybe if we worked through the night we could…um…we could complete the project by tomorrow. We could pull some of the staff from other projects and have everything wrapped up by….um….mid day tomorrow?”

“Mr. Payne wants everything finished today,” Dr. Murphy said angrily. “Do you expect him to postpone an important…?”

“Tomorrow would be fine,” Raydon said pleasantly, slipping back into that too handsome, too innocent man that made you feel like you would do anything for him. “They’ll be here by noon.”

He turned on his heels and without so much as a ‘thank you’ strolled towards the door with his cell phone pressed against his ear.

“Ms. Taitt,” he said. “Contact Monsuilles, the shareholder, the Chairman and the CEO and let them know we’ll be meeting tomorrow at four pm to discuss the product and contract.” He smiled as he pushed the glass door open and slipped outside but not before Sansia heard him say. “Didn’t I tell you I could get that deadline moved up?”

“Yep, you sure gave him a piece of your mind,” Anara said, pulling Sansia aside as soon as Raydon was out of ear shot. “I was scared for him the whole time.”

“He played us,” Sansia said angrily. “He always intended to have that meeting tomorrow.”

“And that’s why he’s Sales and Marketing Vice President,” Anara put in.

“He’s a monster.”

“Dr. Beacon,” Dr. Murphy said hurrying to her side. “No time to waste, you just promised Mr. Payne a product by noon tomorrow; you’d better get to it.”

“I can’t believe I tried to save him,” Sansia groaned as she walked back to her workstation.

“Yes you did and bought all of us a night of fun and games,” Anara said sarcastically. “Instead of relaxing at home and following the news about the meteor that has the world talking I’m going to be stuck at work all night long helping you to complete phase one of a cure for Acromegaly.”

“It’s more than just that we’ll be curing, that’s the core but Acromegaly can create so many side illnesses that a true cure will impact illnesses that affect hundreds of thousands of people…”

“Forgive me for getting you started on your pet project,” Anara cut in. “It’s enough that I have to work on it, I don’t need another lecture on the growth spurts and complications of it again.”

“Sorry about that,” Sansia said. “I’m just passionate about making an impact on an illness that impacts the pituitary glands and causes unusual growth, there’s just so much we can learn from it and its cure.”

“I know,” Anara strolled over to the radio and turned it on. “At least if we can’t watch this meteor we can hear about it.”

“You know these things are usually just a lot of hype,” Dr. Murphy said. “Every few years someone is raving about some meteor that’s going to crash into the earth, just fiction, what’s real is us finishing this project and keeping our jobs.”

“No one is saying it’s going to crash into the earth,” Anara corrected, walking back to Sansia’s desk and pulling out a file from a tray marked ‘for final review’ and settling down to review it. “What they’re saying is NASA suspects that this meteor is carrying some kind of substance on it that they believe that if enough of the substance manages to get into earth’s atmosphere it could have an impact on the minds of animals all across the globe – or maybe even worse.”

Dr. Murphy chuckled.

“That’s even more ridiculous than the meteor crashing to earth. By this time tomorrow this nonsense would have come and gone just like all the other crazy stories they’ve been in the past.”

Anara shrugged.

“Maybe,” Sansia said. “But if I could get a drop of mind altering dust I know for sure who I’d use it on.”

Anara laughed.


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