“You’re the best. I’ll see you here tomorrow okay?”
Reginald stifled a crestfallen sigh as he watched Kat disappear through the doorway, wisps of her copper hair offering a final farewell before she turned the corner. He couldn’t fault her and he understood completely why she had to leave–the Legion was deployed, after all. The feeling of her lips upon his own lingered as he glanced down towards her untouched glass of wine. As he started to put away the platter and other garnishing he had prepared, he felt an involuntary pang of longing. He already missed her.
Ryven had been very generous with his offer to open his bar–the Rowdy Stray Jazz Bar above Messoya IV–to the both of them as a place to meet. The bar had wonderful decoration, lighting, and atmosphere. It wasn’t difficult for Reginald to imagine a busy night: couples dancing on the floor and watching the band from private booths, bartenders and waiters filling orders, musicians practicing their trade with a guest performer or two.
Taking up the glass of wine, Reginald walked to behind the stage and retracted the blinds on the observation window, revealing a view of the plasma planet below. The dark turquoise hue of the planet was broken by strands and cracks of brighter whites and blues. He started to wonder what the surface would be like, but reminded himself that only specialized personnel ever lived on anything other than a temperate planet. Nonetheless, he let his curiosity wander for several moments, imagining a tale of a surveyor trudging about the exposed tectonic plates in search of rich deposits of suspended plasma and noble metals.
He took a sip of the wine, surprised at his selection of the vintage. She may have enjoyed it, he thought to himself. After closing the observation window, he returned to behind the bar. Musing about being a bartender, he tidied up the counter–always leave something a little better than when you found it. He re-corked the bottle and stowed it away safely, then finished the glass of wine before washing it carefully. Satisfied with his efforts, he collected his things, then made his exit.
“Already becoming sentimental?” A familiar voice asked from behind him.
He turned to his side, startled to see L leaning against the outside wall of the establishment. The Khanid spymaster wore a light grin on his face, his arms crossed.
“How did you find me?” Reginald asked, recovering a little.
L laughed, “The MIO inquisitors aren’t the only ones monitoring your communications.”
Reginald paled, “Wait, so they know? About here?”
L shook his head, “Not yet.”
“But wouldn’t they have seen the coordinates?”
“Scrambled them. But they tried to follow you.”
“Dealt with the tail myself. A little jamming, radio chatter here and there, and a few ghost signatures. They lost you before they even entered Caldari space.”
Reginald let out a sigh of relief, “She’s safe, then?”
The grin fell off of L’s face as he nodded. He looked at Reginald with a disapproving gaze, “You’re leaving yourself vulnerable. And for a commoner.”
Reginald returned a hard stare back, “I don’t understand why you and the MIO are so adamant about addressing her like that. She has a name, you know. Her name is Katerina Tzestu.”
L shrugged, “That’s what she is and it’s not what you are. It’s turning heads–shareholders, directors,” He looked from side to side, then said a little more quietly, “Your extended family.”
Reginald scoffed, “Firstly, Lady Lianne has given my pursuit of Kat–I mean, Katerina–my blessing. Secondly, since when has the family ever looked out for my best interests? And why is that even a question? I’m the head. I’m the bloody Sakakibara with ‘Lord’ in front of their name.”
L shook his head, “Just tread carefully with your frolics.”
Reginald was starting to lose his temper, “You’re an old family friend, and for that, I forgive you the insult.”
L raised an eyebrow, “You haven’t even met her parents, yet. Without their consent and her presentation to the rest of the family, assuming any members actually show up, your whatever-you-want-to-refer-to-it-as is never going to amount to anything legitimate.”
“We’re finished, here.” Reginald said firmly.
“And then there’s your sister–”
“Half-sister.” Reginald corrected.
“I said we’re finished!” Reginald repeated angrily, he added, a little more calmly, “Thank you for dealing with the Ministry.”
L raised another eyebrow and shook his head again, “I hope that commoner is worth it.”
By the time Reginald looked up to launch another rebuttal, L had disappeared. He looked around for a few moments for the older capsuleer, then started to make his way back to his shuttle. He was losing his temper far too easily these days, though he knew not everything stemmed from his nascent relationship–his family had been a sore point since before his days at the Institute. He turned his thoughts to Kat and how she would counsel calmness. He loved that about her.
Taking a reassuring deep breath, he boarded his shuttle, three words resting on his mind, three words in response to L’s remark:
“Yes, she is.”