Two Sides to Every Story (Attn: Greer)
He'd not been able to find out much about Ms. Cooper, but Bao did have a great deal of faith in Amir and Mara. If there was something relevant to be turned up they would do so. That trust let him concentrate on his usual work, which was probably all for the best. At least that is what Bao kept telling himself. He was starting to think he should be doing more, or something different. It was, however, very probably just a bit of monotony setting in.
You couldn't do exactly the same thing for centuries without getting restless. Bao told himself that that he just needed a vacation, some time off, to indulge in a hobby for a while. If he'd done that in the first place he might not have gotten involved with the project and in turn wouldn't have tried to control the curator and wouldn't have Ms. Cooper making odd vague threats.
Letting his attention drift from the briefs in front of him Bao looked up to contemplate a new acquisition that was hanging on his wall. It wasn't Bao's usual taste but something about it had captured his attention. It was called Cumulus by a Native American artists but the name of Dennis Esquivel. There was a fantastic amount of balance in the painting and the use of color was much like watching a sunset, it was both distracting and restorative, if he didn't allow himself to get lost in the image.
As he studied it he became more convinced that he should take some time off. Perhaps just a short time, a week or two. He could go home, it had been quite some time since he'd been to Vietnam. A more appealing option, however, was to ask Claire if she would care to join him on a brief holiday and ask where she would like to go.
Realizing the painting had indeed caused him to become lost in his thoughts Bao shook his head and turned back to his monitor. If nothing else he needed to lay out some transactions to be handled by the day staff tomorrow.
He came out into the common room to find Antoine sitting on one of the couches waiting for him. "Bon Jour, Might I have a word?â€
Nodding, he checked his watch and then took a seat. He wouldn't be late if this turned out to be a short visit.
"I have a job for you. I believe that you will be wanting to do this yourself but, if you prefer, I can find another able to make binding marks.â€
Gris raised his eyebrows and asked the obvious question. "Why do you believe I would prefer to be the one to mark this person?â€
Antoine leaned forward and regarded him intently with his sharp brown eyes. "Because you are friends with Therese DuBois, no? The Sarkis is wanting her stalker to be marked.â€
"Marked?! Why hasn't he been killed?â€ Gris held up a hand and shook his head. "I am sure the Sarkis has his reasons. Yes, I would like to be the person who marks this bastard.â€
"Good.â€ Antoine leaned back with a feral smile. "That is what I was hoping you would say. We need to get you a tracker, yes? You do not have one here in Nachton.â€
No, his last tracking partner had stayed in Vermont. Gris had come to Nachton alone. "I might know someone who could do the job. I will ask.â€ If Kiyoshi was a detection werewolf then he would be the partner that Gris preferred. They had never actually discussed it but one of their conversations had led him to believe that Kiyo was very good at tracking and that might be several reasons. It wouldn't hurt to ask.
Gris walked down the hall toward Bao's office with papers clutched tightly in his hands. He was still having a hard time believe that Bao was the one behind Therese's many troubles. That Bao was a vampire wasn't entirely hard to fathom. The man looked quite young to be so talented as a lawyer and he saw him in the evening. These things didn't say that someone had to be a vampire but once someone told you the answer then you can start seeing indicators everywhere.
He felt betrayed. A part of him had looked up to Bao. He was an amazing lawyer. Watching him work was like sitting with a master as he painted a canvas. Every portion, proposal and action was flawless.
What reason would a lawyer have to control the curator of the museum? It didn't make sense. Perhaps Bao had a secret life, perhaps there was some need for the museum in the....what did they call themselves? Kin, brotherhood, clans....yes, clan. Perhaps Bao's clan had needed Therese for some reason.
It still didn't excuse the man. Gris felt angry and hurt now for himself as well as Therese. Now who's poster sized picture was he going to put up behind his law office door?
He knocked briefly and then stepped inside the office. "Good evening. I just came by to show you a property settlement that concerned both a client of mine and some of yours. I thought you might be interested.â€
He did like Mr. Grayson, he had a great deal of talent and promise. Although, he also had a bit too much personality and on a personal note Bao wasn't sure he approved of the hair. It certainly was a striking look and he had to concede some clients would find it appealing, if they were dealing with a jury he was certain it would distract any number of female jurors. But it was a bit of style that he would pass on. He could only imagine Amir or, heaven forbid, Pakpao's reaction to seeing him with such a mop.
"Mr. Grayson, good evening."
He didn't bother apologizing that the front office staff had gone home and there was no one to greet him. They'd done that dance before. Besides, what did one expect showing up after hours.
"Of course I'm happy to look at it. Which property please?"
Computers were a godsend to this line of work. Before Bao had had literally rooms of file cabinets and it could take hours to find the relevant papers. While a most things did have hard copies on file as well at least he could access the electronic documents much quicker.
"If you took the trouble to visit I can't imagine this will be simple. Would you care for some coffee, something stronger?"
Although as Bao favored Turkish coffee stronger was a relevant term. He did, however, have a habit of keeping a pot of regular coffee warm most nights, just in case some one else stopped by. Lawyers could be good hosts and for what his clients paid he could afford the little bit of waste.
"I am sure you will remember them.â€ They had done some research for the clients, bringing the cost down on their property because they found that the high end residential area had been placed just outside the industrial edge of Nachton. After some legwork, they managed to point out that it was not outside enough. Not for their very wealthy clients. "The water had high chemical content.â€
Of course he didn't know what Bao's clients intended to do with the area but his client was the pack. They owned a substantial portion of the region and had never planned on using it as a residential section at all. They were perfectly willing to hold onto the land though and make money off of it until the local government could decide to zone the area as commercial.
Which he had it on good authority would be happening soon. Convenient.
"It seems out clients are getting paid for the giant health risks they are taking.â€ Gris's tone was mournfully solemn. Yes, altruistic, heroes, pioneers! Bravely risking the dangers of tainted water...by using filters.
He leaned over and showed Bao the papers, managing to accidentally, on purpose, stab him in the hand with his fountain pen that he had clutched in the same hand underneath the papers. It was easy enough to do and certainly an honest mistake, or could have been. That was why he mixed his special formula that he used to mark people into his ink and refilled his very expensive fountain pen with it. This would be the first time he had ever marked someone using a fountain pen but considering their circumstances it worked out for the best. Gris might have to work with Mr.Haong again and stabbing the man in passing seemed counter to future relations. Of course, knowing what he knew now, Gris thought he would be staying away from the vampire lawyer unless it was required.
"Oh, I am terribly sorry!â€ Gris set the papers down on the desk and then capped his pen. "I had been signing some papers my paralegal had typed up in the car...â€ He shrugged and gestured apologetically before putting the pen away in his pocket. "There never seems to be enough time in the day.â€ Especially now that he went home, changed and then either called Josh or went next door to see him. So far they had been spending equal time in the two homes.
Sliding the papers over, he pointed out the addresses listed. "Anyway, here are the properties involved.â€
He'd have to show everything to Marisa. She was not his favorite client terribly fickle and a little rash. This might not matter at all to her or it might mean everything or she might simply be bored and use this as an excuse to get out of the whole situation. Perhaps he'd have one of his associates take this one on. He didn't care for the headache just now.
"But paid well, of course."
Bao wasn't one to waist words and until some one showed him evidence that this was causing irreversible damage he wasn't going to be terribly concerned.
As Mr. Grayson did have the documents in question Bao was rather intent on them and didn't even think to look for a pen, or anything else, to stab him. Typically you assumed you were safe in your office or that you would have some kind of warning about an 'attack'.
Pulling his hand back sharply as he swore and placed his hand to his mouth. It wasn't a major injury, for a vampire of his age it was basically nothing, even a human would heal quickly. Still there was a taste of blood, it wasn't more than a taste and hardly satisfying as it was his own.
Removing his hand from his mouth he pulled his handkerchief from his breast pocket and blotted at the scratch. He wasn't sure how Mr. Grayson had done it but he more or less dismissed it. Not that there was much else he could do under the circumstances, it wasn't as if he would hold a grudge or look for revenge for such a minor, if odd, accident.
"Stranger things have happened. I'm sure it will be just fine. Although if it becomes infected I do know a good lawyer."
It was a joke, a very rare thing for Bao, and given that his facial expression didn't change at all, libel to be misinterpreted. As he was slightly irritated by the incident, he would be OK with which ever interpretation Mr. Grayson chose.
Pulling up his own file and a map he nodded. Yes, in deed he did remember this.
"And what changes exactly are the clients wanting to make?"
It had gone well enough. Bao did not fly into a deadly rage or turn into a fairytale monster complete with glowing eyes and gruesome fangs. No, he looked the same as he had every other day but now Gris knew that he was a vampire. The thing that went bump in the night and that hid under every werewolf child's bed waiting to drag them off in silver chains and...well the stories seemed unclear on what vampires wanted with naughty werewolf children but it wasn't good. He remembered that much.
He even made a joke. Gris smiled faintly. "Right, so you do.â€ He glanced down at his pocket that held his pen. "So I need to get rid of the evidence. Thank you for the warning.â€
They moved back to the topic of the property but it seemed that Bao was thinking of something else. Either that or he was thinking that Gris was someone else. Or maybe he was simply musing out loud. The man seemed off his game tonight for some reason. Maybe he hadn't eaten....Best not to think of that.
"I don't know if your client wants to make changes...â€ Gris looked carefully at Bao. "Mine is quite pleased with the settlement. I figured that yours would be also and since we had both worked on this project I thought I would bring you the good news personally.â€ He shrugged. "Your office is on my way home and I figured that you might be working late.â€ Or early if you are one of the undead. Did they have to sleep in coffins? He couldn't imagine Bao in a coffin, at least not a dusty old coffin, maybe a silk lined immaculate coffin set on dais somewhere. Did he rise and start paperwork immediately? Gris was still baffled by the idea of spending an eternity practicing law. That sounded terribly dull. Living forever seemed to warrant being a ninja, a pirate, or some filthy rich eccentric antique collector that lives in a large creepy house and did something mysterious that worried the neighbors.
Law wasn't mysterious. He couldn't imagine practicing it for centuries. It was better than accounting. An immortal accountant, now that would be sad
((OOC: Deep down he likes law better than he thinks he does. He just doesn't like the law he is currently practicing, so it bores him. ))
Bao responded to Mr. Grayson's quip about removing the evidence. He had experts for just about anything you might need document authentication, forensic accountants, genealogy, but as far as crime scene he was sadly lacking.
He didn't even blink when Mr. Grayson presented this situation as his clients simply being forth coming.
"Ah, altruism. Next you'll have me believing in unicorns."
No, he'd been around too long to believe that anyone did something like this solely out of the goodness of their hearts. These new reports must benefit Mr. Grayson's clients some how, perhaps they were counting on Marisa backing out, they might have a new client on the line. The reports might lead to rezoning as well. He'd have to make some calls.
"I have yet to meet a lawyer worth their fee that does not work late."
Bao didn't smile, he did that very rarely but he rather liked Mr. Grayson, not that he would go so far as to consider the man a friend, but there was a degree of appreciation for him. As such he relaxed slightly, very slightly, around the man.
"She very well might be happy with this information. Perhaps you'll give me some time to contact her and go over this with her?"
Marisa wouldn't be available for a few more hours but he wouldn't wait to make the call. Bao did hate to let things fester.
"Was there anything else?"
Bao was distracted and he knew it. He was not as focused as he could be and that irritated him a great deal.
He raised his eyebrows when the lawyer in front of him talked of altruism and unicorns. "Sparkly with fairy friends and rainbows trailing behind them.â€ Gris looked down at the papers. "No, I simply wouldn't miss the chance to be the bearer of good news to a lawyer that I might occasionally work with again in the future.â€ It never hurt to be remembered well, or at least as competent.
Bao spoke of working late and how any good lawyer did so. He wondered what was a late for a vampire. The morning? How did he get home? "I agree, lazy lawyers generally aren't very good ones but that is probably true of most professions.â€ Perhaps there was a secret tunnel to some sort of underground haven nearby and Bao could come and go from his hidden lair. That sounded way too much like a movie scene but perhaps it would work. These logistic problems were ones he couldn't help but think about. They kept him from dwelling on the fact that the man in front of him had made Therese's life a living hell for a long time. If he thought too long about that then he would find it difficult to fight the urge to strangle Bao.
Best to leave before that happened. He was a very good friend but getting himself into trouble wouldn't be a great revenge. He would contain his inner outrage by smugly musing on what the Alpha had in store for their vampire target. The Sarkis had a much more personal reason to be angry with this vampire and a lot more resources to deal with him.
"Do as you like with the information.â€ Gris smiled and headed toward the door. "My client is content with the settlement so it is on to other things for me.â€
"Have a good evening, Mr.Haong.â€ He gave the other lawyer a small nod and then turned at left the room. Perhaps he could go home and show Joshua how to play an online game. Killing virtual vampires would make him feel better about not being able to do much to this one.
((OOC: Gris Out. His little boy hero worship of Bao has been smashed and he feels kind of lost because a part of him still respects Bao and he feels like he shouldn't. ))
Again he almost smiled, but not quite. He did, however, agree that it was nice to end a day on a positive note. That and a sense of completion were far too often rare, too many things had vague endings or took a considerable amount of time before reaching any kind of conclusion.
He only nodded at the discussion about lazy lawyers. It was Bao's opinion that laziness could be hidden or unnoticed in many professions. But the law didn't let one do things half way. However, Mr. Grayson had graduated from school and didn't need another lecture.
"Thank you Mr. Grayson. Have a pleasant evening.â€
When Mr. Grayson left Bao put the papers regarding the property in his 'In' basket to be resolved yet tonight. But they were second to what he had been working on before Mr. Grayson's arrival.
((OOC... awww poor Gris. Bao is still a very good lawyer and we're getting his personal life in some kind of order we promise. He almost feels bad about this.))