Conflict of Interest

Tag Holly @ Faith

You can't become the world's greenest and most livable city by cutting a few corners here and there. But, as always, there were strict rules to consider, unclear regulations to follow and tight budgets to stick to. All in all, Aaron's team hadn't done a bad job. At least that's what they thought.

Someone in the council didn’t share their enthousiasm. At every corner someone opposed, with every milestone another target was added. Sure, he had made a quick ascension through the ranks of planners to get where he was now, but never had he tried to make someone else’s life as miserable as his was being made right now.

Aaron Conway, you are suspended of your duties as the head of planning and are on temporary leave effective immediately.

The major’s words still echoed through his jumbled mind as he nursed a glass of scotch. Those words he only heard on TV, not in real life.

You are under investigation for a conflict of interest in selecting contracts.

A conflict of interest. Aaron procured and signed hundreds of contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last year alone. If there were to be a conflict of interest, the major could very well go stand on his head and he would still dismiss it.

He lifted the heavy glass and drained it before signalling the bartender for a refill. Tonight, Aaron Conway was having a few drinks. With himself. Because then at least they can't conflict me.

If there had been some sort of reward system for brushing off losers, Holly would surely be at the top of the leader board. The sheer amount of idiots that had dragged their sorry asses to Gingers that evening was staggering. Holly had only been at the club for little less than an hour, and already she'd encounter her fair share of them. On the one night I decide to come alone... they swarm around me like hornets around a new hive. With a grin Holly wondered if it was her new perfume that was attracting the men, but then again, the outfit probably wasn't helping much. The young lawyer was dressed in a white ensemble, skirt and top. Paired wit red hot lipstick and heels to match. Holly knew she looked good, the mirror in her apartment had shown her that much. But she wasn't the type to be stuck up about it. Usually.

Holly managed to reach the back bar unscathed and only once had a man tried to grab her ass. He had received an elbow in the midsection, as a reward. Serves you right. Now she was leaning against the bar, trying to get the attention of a bartender. Glancing around to see if there was anyone she recognized. Holly had been ditched by her friends. Again. I should've taken Dave up on his offer... A fellow lawyer at the firm had asked her out for dinner and drinks after, but because Holly had previous engagement - she had asked for a rain check. Only to find said engagement cancelled at the last minute, via voicemail on her home phone. Which Holly found terribly old fashion in the age of WhatsApp and cellphones. "Can I get a gin and tonic, please?" she asked, when a bartender ventured her way. "Thanks."

Gin and tonic. Old fashioned drink, but the girl wasn't old fashioned at all. Aaron hadn't seen her approach, too occupied with his own scotch. But her voice drew his eyes up. So clear, strong, urgent.

From the back, she looked like a twenty year old girl. One of her long, slender legs was bent slightly as she rested one leg on the elevated border alongside the bar. Her bare arms, only one of them adorned with an oversized bracelet, rested on the, no doubt sticky, surface of the bar. Long blonde hair covered most of her face and kept her looks hidden from him. But not for long.

As soon as the bartender returned with the G&T, Aaron moved up a stool to sit down next to the young woman, trying very hard to smile politely, and look steady.

"I'll have anothe scotch please. And this one hea is my tweat." His voice sounded more slurred in his head than he hoped it would actually be out loud. The missing r's would be barely noticeable with the music playing anyway. I hope.

Holly granted the man only a sideways glance at the sound of his voice. ”No thank you, I've got this.” she said curtly, withdrawing her wallet from her purse. She wasn't about to let some drunk pay for her drink only to then think he'd get a chance with her. As if... Her time was too precious to be wasted on the likes of him. As she waited for the bartender to fill her order, Holly leaned against the bar, letting her eyes wandered over the bustling crowds. The music was a force of energy and Holly couldn't wait to mingle and allow it to sweep over her. Maybe even find someone to dance with...

The hurt portrayed on his face looked genuine enough. It even felt real. I must be getting real wasted over here. Still, it didn't stop him from trying again.

"Aw, don't be mean! Pwetty pwease? I don wanna dance o sometink!"

Aaron was pretty sure he'd fall over as soon as he'd leave the chair. He wasn't much of a dancer either, anything more than a slow shuffle at a prom was lost on him. Rock Climbing was more his thing, something which didn't get him the pretty girls in college, but rather the butch type of gals who wanted to beat him on a mountain.

A sigh escaped her painted lips. Seriously? Holly smiled at the bartender who placed the drink in front of her. She wrapped her long fingers around it before turning towards the man. "No really, I'm perfectly capable of paying for my own drinks." she spat back at him. Annoyance was clearly visible across her face, but the blonde managed to keep it in. No need to go off the handle. "Now if you'll excuse me..." with her drink in hand, Holly took a step away from the bar.

Before Aaron could think about what he was about to do, his body had already done it. His left arm had shot out and his hand softly landed on the lady's delicate arm.

"I's sowwy if I've upset you in any way, pwetty lady. Didn't mean to."

Aaron tried to smile politely, but realised it might look more like a grin than a smile. "Long day, you know? "

But that did it. I don't believe this! "Seriously?!" Holly turned towards him, her glass raised and without thinking. She tossed its contents into the man's face. "I told you no. Take the hint!" The blond was usually pretty composed when it came to men. It wasn't the first time she had to fight them off on various occasions. But that came with the territory and the way she liked to dress. And normally Holly wasn't against some male attention. But this one just didn't have a clue. She had been polite and curt, not friendly. But not rude either.

After as she thought she'd made a clean get away, he had reached out and touched her. Big mistake. And now Holly was standing there, holding an empty glass. Looking at the man with the wet shirt, wondering if maybe this would be enough to send him packing.

A very feminie yelp escaped his lips as his eyes opened wide and stared at the woman. A million responses would have flashed through his mind on any given moment in time, ready to retort in style. Yet now, his mind clouded, only one thing came to mind.

"That's wet."

He stuck out his tongue and licked his lips, lapping up big drops of the freshly made cocktail.

"It does taste vewwy nice. Probably bettew in a glass though."

Holly's mouth fell open a little at his response. "It's wet?! Seriously..." she turned to the bartender. "Exactly how much did this guy drink?" The bartender shrugged and went back to serving other customers. Holly rolled her eyes before turning them back to the man. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, wondering what to do about him.

As she watched the guy with shocked amusement Holly crossed her arms in front of her chest. She couldn't tell him to replace the drink he made her spill, because there was no way she was giving him the satisfaction of buying her a drink. But I was going to drink that... So for a moment she said nothing, simply watched him. "Look what you made me do..." she finally said, in a authoritative voice.

Her voice sounded so harsh, he couldn't continue to keep his eyes on the beautiful, but fierce woman in front of him. He cast them downwards and muttered an apology.

Aaron's confusion got the better of him. Okay, maybe I shouldn't have touched her. So far, he followed the events. But, it wasn't him who had made her arm turn upside down, right?

"I, uhm... am sowwy?" Then his face lit up. "Can I buy you a dwink now?"

He quickly raised both of his hands in the air. "No touching, I pwomise." Then he looked down at his shirt and eyed the growing wet patches colouring it darker. A puzzled look progressed into recognition as he realised it was the gin and tonic that made that happen.

"I should pwobably get home anyway. Gin smells."

Wrinkling his nose, he pulled out a ten dollar bill and slid it across the bar before looking at the striking woman with hurt eyes.

"In all sewiousnessnessous... I am sowwy."

The heiress released an exasperated sigh. Could she really stay mad at someone who was obviously too drunk to think clearly? The answer should have been no. And even thou Holly could still feel the annoyance bubble inside of her, the anger was slipping away. I have no patience for this right now... she thought to herself. Another sigh escaped her painted lips. "You may replace my drink. But then you must go home and sober up."

Aaron's face lit up at her approval. "Thank you miss!" He almost reached out his hand to grab hers and kiss it, but caught himself at the last moment. "Better not do that." The words were hopefully inaudible. Talking to oneself is deemed inappropriate. Or something like that. He was just glad his mind was already slowly catching up to his body.

Happy like a kid in a toystore he got of his stool and, steading himself on the bar. made sure his feet and legs were still capable of carrying him.

"I should and I will. Big day tomowwow with lawyews and other big things." A decent amount of water before bed and some excercise in the morning had to make sure he was fit enough to deal with the important stuff. For now, he had to deal with leaving the club, with his dignity in one piece. Or maybe two.

The suspended council planner took one more look at the haughty blond, cocked his head and touched it as if he were tipping his invisible hat.

"Good night miss. Pwobably won't evew see you again. Dawn shame, but pwobably bettew fow my shiwts." He smiled and took off towards Ginger 62's familiar red doors.

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Published: 3 months ago

Posted by: Aaron Conway

Reply-count: 12