365 Writing · Stories

The Consultant – 1

[This is another story I had started writing. I still will go back to Jin’s soon. However, I wanted to put my draft of this so far out there.]

“Jess, is everything ready?” Stephanie had a way of nagging when she was nervous. I wasn’t quite sure what made this consultant so special.

“Of course, I don’t see why this guy is such a big deal though,” I replied, trying to be as patient as I could. “Didn’t we just have some hot shot from PwC in here?”

Stephanie gave me one of those looks like I was still working on my father’s farm back in Scotland. “Mr. Knight isn’t like your average consultant. He has a 100% success rate with his cases.”

“Is this issue really that bad?” I pressed back, I decided I wouldn’t let her looks get to me this time. “Not to press, but I really think a few small hacks isn’t that big of a deal at a company like ours is it?”

I immediately regretted my prodding as her look of distaste intensified. “You should move along before I think of taking you off the welcome team. If it was you and not your former supervisor, who was in charge of the department when the hack occurred I’d have fired you, not him, right? So now move along, before I have James step in.” She gives me a little wave of her hand as if to shoo a naughty child and apparently expected me to head on, which I obliged her. I had too much work to be done anyways without putting up with this kind of crap.

It’s true that a data leak like this was a severe issue, but a private consultant of Mr. Knight’s price tag, matched with his fee… we could hire an army of cyber professionals to handle this. My objections meant little though, and as Stephanie said, I should be grateful to have a job after all after this leak, let alone a promotion. For now, it would be best to just keep my head down and let the company solve the problem as they feel fit. If it took hiring Mr. Knight, then so be it.

Getting in the limo, we had charted to pick him up from the airport I signaled the driver to head out. We’d be early, but one could never be too careful with traffic going to Heathrow at this time of day.

***

The rain poured down on the runway as I glanced at my watch for the hundredth time. He was only about five minutes late, but it felt like an hour at the time his jet finally pulled in. It was all back with a white streak down the side and no other marketings. I mused to myself if that was against some kind of regulations but dropped it as the door opened and the plane’s own boarding steps extended out.

There at the top was Mr. Knight, tall and muscular, with a large jaw, he looked ex SAS or Navy Seals, and he was wearing a long trench coat he opened and umbrella as he stepped out and… turned back to let an asian man of average hight wearing a suit more expensive than my flat step out behind him. He was also handsome in a severe way, with a sharp face and eyes that looked like they could see everything, even at this distance. He passed the first taller man who was sure to keep the rain off him as he descended towards me.

“Hello, Mr. Knight?” My tone forming the greeting into a slight question as he reached me which I immediately regretted.

“Not what you expected?” Mr. Knight said with a perfect London accent, one eyebrow raised. He extended his hand to me for a greeting, and I could see a platinum signet ring on his pinky finger. I gave his hand a gentle shake and tried to equally shake of my embarrassment.

“Of course, I mean yes, or rather I had no expectations at all.” Foot placed firmly into mouth.

He seemed to take it well, with a slight grin appearing over his ridged face. “It’s quite alright. I’m not your typical cyber consultant. Or typical anything for that matter.” He began walking past me towards the car, and I extended my own umbrella to cover him.

It went without saying I could tell modesty wasn’t one of his strong suits. The tall, muscular man headed back up the ramp and into the plane. “Will you assistant not be joining us?”

“He’s not my assistant. And no. Let’s go to your office right away. We don’t have much time. I do apologize for being late.” He smiled again in a way that made me uncertain if his apology was genuine. I smiled back, however, and signaled the driver to head out as I offered him a drink from the car’s bar.

“No, it’s alright. I don’t drink. I know, shocking, but it’s a habit I find bears no purpose for me. What you can do is brief me as to what happened.”

“Did you not read the official report we sent?” I asked stupidly.

“Yes, but I’d like to hear it from you. It was your department, after all, Ms. Blackwood.”

“You know my name?” Today was the day to feel like an idiot.

“Of course, I do my research. But still. I want to hear things from you.” He pressed.

“Alright, well it happened like this…”

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