The night porter nodded his recognition as they passed in the foyer, the sweat starting to run down between John’s shoulder blades. His watch flashed *16 minutes* which for 4K was average, maybe a little better than average, but the competitive spirit within meant John always yearned to improve, even by a few seconds. He was a perfectionist and aware that gave him the edge in some aspects of life, while bringing negativity to others. His fiancé Keely, had given him weeks of grief, begging John to work fewer hours while they prepared for their wedding, now only six months away. He took a deep breath, blew the air out of his lungs noisily as the lift doors grated and juddered open. He side-stepped through them and on to his room. A cool shower was in order before the hour’s drive to Radhanagari.
Water washed away the anxiety from a sleepless night along with sweat and dust. John stood for a while, enjoying the feeling of the water jets hitting his shoulders and back. He lifted his face and closed his eyes before looking back down at his feet, water channelling down his cheeks and off the tip of his nose and lips, free-falling 6′ down into the tray to join the inch of slow-drain water.
The network, pipes and systems were so antiquated in this region and did well to support the growing industries, but soon improvements would need to be put in place. New networks, wider and stronger pipes, replacement pumps. John’s code was to prevent disasters rather than react to them and his company had everything, including contract staff if Aditya could not provide the number needed, to bring this area to the forefront of waterworks engineering. John was determined Aditya should share his dream, but the challenge of altering the stubborn client’s view hung over him. It would take all his PR and sales experience to persuade this one that he needed to invest.
A black XJ was waiting outside and as John opened the rear door a waft of perfume hit his nostrils; simultaneously woody and floral, and his eyes widened involuntarily. Easing himself onto the back seat and placing his briefcase at his feet, he knew instantly that the girl sat to his left was Riya. She was busy typing onto a small laptop balanced on a pull down table on the back of the passenger seat. She paused in her tapping, her delicate wrists poised on the pull-down table, stylishly designed to fold neatly into the back of the passenger seat.
“Jaguar think of everything don’t they!” the grin formed before he could stop it and he looked Riya in the eyes as he held out his hand “It’s great to see you again Riya.”
Her hand was warm, small and perfectly manicured nails a deep red.
“Hello again. We have a lot to get through today; did Adi mention that the earthquake disrupted two sites east of the dam?” she turned the laptop a little so he could see the map. “We are in discussions with local government officials. They want to close one down and concentrate on the other, but I am worried for the people who live here.” her index finger tapped the screen with the lightest touch and John felt a familiar stirring as he tried to concentrate.
“I’m sure we have options that will save them both. I have a new offer from the finance department this time, which would enable you to spread the cost over a longer period of time.” John delivered his diamond piece of information and waited for joy to fill the back of the car but Riya’s expression remained impartial. He looked through the windscreen at the landscape and wondered, not for the first time, about Aditya’s resistance to spend funds on important systems while he evidently appeared happy to splash out on an extravagant vehicle….
TO READ PART 1 – PRESS HERE
TO READ PART 2 – PRESS HERE