Prohibited Concept: Chapter 7 of EDEN CAN WAIT has been posted
Unlike my neat, but nearly Spartan apartment, this place was an exquisitely furnished, luxurious office.
Behind a large desk sat my old acquaintance—the stocky bearded man from the interview panel. In the opposite corner in a lavish black leather armchair sat—or rather curled up—a slim striking brunette in her mid-thirties. If their smiles were any indication, both were delighted to see me. Apparently, the days of being greeted by stern faces of ESI employees were over.
“Mr. West,” said the bearded man, his joyous tone fully matching his smile, “we are very pleased to see you here. Welcome aboard!”
“Good morning,” I replied, doing my best to sound businesslike.
“Please,” the man motioned me to a chair on my left, “have a seat.”
I sat down. The chair’s comfort was a great improvement over the steely touch of the metal seat that I had been offered by the same person a couple of weeks ago. Life was certainly getting better.
“Allow me to introduce Ms. Larson,” the man gestured to the brunette.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. West,” she said with a charming smile in the same crisp and clear voice I had heard on the phone.
“Should you pass the test, you and Ms. Larson will be working closely together,” elaborated the bearded man once I had expressed my pleasure of meeting Ms. Larson.
“But more about that in a moment. As for me, we’ve already met, though unfortunately I could not introduce myself last time we spoke. My name is Leon Tessier.”
“Dr. Leon Tessier,” emphasized his guest.
Tessier waved away her clarification with an air of dignified modesty. It was a gesture of a political celebrity asking his cheering supporters to stop making noises and start listening.
“I have the privilege to be in charge of this research facility.”
“Did you have a good sleep?” Larson asked from her armchair.
Something in her tone made me suspect that it was more than a mere good mannered small talk question.
“Certainly,” I said. “Plus, I didn’t have to worry about lowering my blinds for the night.”
“You’ll get used to it,” Tessier said reassuringly. “Everybody does.”
It was only at that point that I noticed that his room had at least one thing in common with mine—a complete absence of windows.