Lies in the Past (Part 1)
Posted on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 @ 6:03am by Unawakened Edward Carlisle IV
Timeline: January, 2007 (Flashback)
Neville Carlisle had a small London office. It was shuttered most of the time, mostly just a convenient place to meet with his business associates and bookies when he was in the city. The furnishings were nice, a few very good reproductions on the walls, and various antique knick knacks of ancient provenance but little real value to add a bit of authenticity to his business without being too great a financial liability if stolen.
Vincent Zajic was sending over a representative to examine Neville’s latest shipment of illegal antiquities out of the Middle East, Greece, and Italy. Neville readied the sidebar in his office, pouring himself a generous glass of his favored drink, rum, tossing it back and pouring another. He pulled out the book of photoplates he had made of the new items and laid it open on the table. Then he opened a small case he’d had brought over from the warehouse containing a few of the items. If Zajic’s agent wanted to see anything else in the collection, they could make the short trip to the warehouse.
The young redheaded woman wasn’t exactly looking forward to this particular assignment. Sure, she had an eye for antiquities, details others missed, but Talia’s job didn’t end there. As she approached the door, the already stunning, sculpted teen smoothed out her black business suit, including the bright orange button down that was open enough to show the swell of young breasts. She may not have liked her new job, but at least she knew what was expected of her.
“You know the drill, boys,” Talia said, her rolling accent echoing down the empty hallway, waving the two giant guards that her father had sent with her to either side of the closed portal, her polished, poised demeanor firmly in place as she reached up to rap gently on the door. She’d have rather been just about anywhere other than where she was, but today, the stunning woman was Talia Zajic, Antiquities Dealer, and daughter of Vincent Zajic, a man that was not to be trifled with. There was an air of power behind that name that lent her an arrogant confidence, even if the woman wielding it was a dainty, delicate thing.
At the knock, Neville turned toward the door. He smoothed his own business suit, though he wore a dapper cravat rather than a necktie, the shirt open a bit to reveal his toned, tanned chest. He opened the door and pulled up short with his greeting, definitely not expecting the beautiful, young redhead standing there.
“You’re not Reginald…” Neville said. Okay, not the greatest impression. He recovered quickly and flashed that debonair smile that melted many a woman’s panties. “My apologies. I was not expecting such a striking expert,” he said, stepping aside so the gorgeous young thing could enter.
A slender brow rose upwards at the initial greeting and a slight chuckle escaped her scarlet lips at having caught him off guard. Sharp, light brown eyes regarded the man before her for a moment and she shook her red-maned head as she took a small briefcase from the behemoth to her right before stepping through the door, quipping, her accent smooth and rolling, “I would hope not. His figure would likely ruin my wardrobe. Father felt that this situation would benefit from my particular skills. Besides, it saves him Reginald’s normally excessive fees.” The young woman extended a delicate, bejeweled hand to Neville, still quite professional despite the smooth man’s smile, flashed him a stunning smile of her own as she introduced herself, “I am Talia Zajic.”
“Zajic? Father? Vincent’s own daughter?” Neville asked, still surprised but taking it more in stride. He was the consummate con man, normally unflappable, so he rolled with it easily as he took her hand. “Well, the pleasure is mine, I am sure, luv,” he said, kissing the back of her hand with gallant bow. “And flattered your father would decide to grace me with your presence. His delicate Bohemian flower is much talked about yet seldom seen.” He held her hand overly long and familiarly as his dark eyes captured hers. “I never thought I would be privileged to meet you.”
~You will do as you are told, Talia. Get used to it.~ The conversation with her father had not ended well and she found herself disturbed by how willing he was to throw her to the wolves, as it were. Still, her graceful stance never altered and she blushed at his compliments, as any young woman would do, though she still couldn’t shake that slimy feeling that she got off of him. She had been taught how to play the con game, and being a shockingly gorgeous female didn’t exactly work against her, so it wasn’t hard for the intelligent young woman to spot it in someone else.
“You flatter me, Lord Carlisle. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance as well,” the young woman responded, giving a small curtsy. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, Talia took her hand back and cleared her throat, pulling her gaze away from Neville’s smoldering eyes to look around the handsomely appointed office. She paused at of one of the many recreations and after a moment she nodded appreciatively. “A very nice reproduction, though the framing could have had more attention paid to it. You have a taste for the finer things, though you are smart enough to not leave the real articles on display. The original of this one is a part of your family’s private collection, no?” The girl asked, turning back to him with a curious, but somehow imperious look, having given an impressive demonstration as to at least one of the reasons that she was sent.
Neville let the use of title slide. It had more than once proven a good social lubricant, even though his nephew Xander was technically the Lord Carlisle. Neville came over to Talia and rested his hand on her back as they studied the painting. “Yes, it is,” he said. “Up at the ancestral house in Carlisle. There is quite a collection. Perhaps you could come up and see it sometime. I have a few pieces here in London, as well, at the townhouse.” His hand lightly caressed her back.
Talia glanced at the somewhat taller, well-dressed man as his hand settled on her back, and that slender brow arched again, a touch of curiosity mixed with humor. It was so easy to crawl under some men’s skin. “I may be persuaded into a personal viewing of your family’s collection. Perhaps once our business here is seen to, we can discuss...” there was a pause as she turned and gave him a smoldering look, “extra-curricular activities. But for now, we are on my father’s time.”
“Of course,” Neville smiled. “Perhaps dinner when we are through?” he offered, his hand on her back guiding her over to the desk where he had set out the photo book and a few of the actual artifacts he had brought.
The young woman nodded and followed along where she was guided and she carefully set the case in her hand on the desk next to the pictures. “I suppose that agreeing to dinner would be relatively harmless,” Talia said, distracted as something seemed to catch her eye. She reached for one of the pictures, picking it up and studying it curiously before pulling a small jewelers lense from a hidden interior pocket of her suit jacket to continue her inspection.
“I assume these were...rescued from the violence in Iraq?” the redhead asked slyly, curiously, as she lowered the lense and picture, only to pick up one near it and offer it the same scrutiny. There was a level of excitement in her eyes as she steadily began doing her job. “These are exquisite. Most impressive. Though I would very much like to inspect these in person.”
“That can be arranged,” Neville said. “And yes, it is unfortunate what happened to the Iraqi National Museum,” the British man said. “But fortunate that I was able to procure them for safekeeping,” he said with a smile. “Your father has been most helpful in finding me private interests with an appreciation for ancient history...discretely,” he emphasized, his hand on her back traveling a bit lower.
“Only my appearance is meant to stand out. My business is always discreet,” Talia responded, looking at Neville somewhat playfully, not mentioning that she was very aware of where his hands were. Instead, one of the actual pieces that was sitting on his desk caught her eye, a gold armband inlaid with various gems. She pulled a pair of soft white gloves out of the case and donned them as she leaned over to take up the piece, ever so carefully. “Beautiful...” she breathed, looking back to the posh Englishman with a stunning smile. “I know a number of people that would bid quite well for a piece in this condition, myself included. Second or third century B.C. Hellenistic.”
Again the jeweler's lens was put to use as she focused on her work, rather than Neville’s wandering hand, allowing him the minor liberties that he had taken so far without complaint. Talia may have been sent as a bit of a temptation for the well-known ladies’ man, but she still had a job to do apart from that. “It looks as if one of the garnets has been reset, though it seems to be a period repair, or a very skilled modern restoration...”
“Period,” Neville said. “The pieces have only been cleaned, which I did myself,” he promised, letting his hand roam freely over her firm, tight bottom. God, she was amazing. “And you’re quite right about the provenance. It comes from Saqqara.” He started to explain various aspects of the piece, showing he wasn’t just a dilettante, but knew his archaeology and ancient history.
Xander’s uncle and Guardian
NPC- Bethany Davies