The contract was signed. They raised their cocktail glasses as Kevin proposed a toast to their future research, government contracts and success.
“So where do we go from here Kevin?”
“Well I’ve another little celebration to include. I’ve found the perfect premises for our laboratory in Kips Bay, though it needs a little redesign.”
“Oh I didn’t realise you hadn’t got a Lab yet Kevin,” said Joseph in disappointment.
“It won’t take long Joseph, we needed you on board first,” he grinned.
“It also means you can design and decided exactly what you want in your lab Joe,” Henri said mildly.
“Well that’s a nice thought, I think I’ll be making a list tonight,” Joseph laughed. “When do we get to see the building?”
“I need to contact Justin to let us view inside on Monday.”
“All going well we can sign the contract for the lease in the afternoon,” said Henri.
“Let’s eat, I’m starving, the steak here is fantastic,” said Joseph.
“Yeah we know,” the other’s chorused laughing.
Monday dawned with a fine blue sky though the wind made the air rather chilly. The day grew warmer as it progressed, luckily for them all. They met Justin outside the building in Kips Bay at ten in the morning. Kevin rubbing his hands together in excitement while Henri and Joseph watched in amusement. The door opened and Justin showed them through giving them the sales pitch even though it really wasn’t necessary. They loved it. It started with a huge reception area which was sealed off from the rest of the building. Behind the locked door was a hallway leading to offices and work rooms, all of which would need redoing. Down the far back was a small hospital ward area which they weren’t going to need.
“What are we going to put in here Kevin?” asked Joseph.
“May as well keep it as it is for now Joseph, after all we can change it when we need.”
“True,” he smiled. “I’ll have a think on it then Kevin.”
“All I need to do is pay the bills I suppose,” laughed Henri.
“Just the major ones Henri,” Kevin said firmly.
“I presume from what I’m hearing you’d like to lease the place then?” Justin said mildly.
“Let’s have a look at the lease Justin,” said Henri.
Opening his briefcase he handed the document over to Henri, “here you go.”
Reading through the dos, don’ts, responsibilities etc Henri finished looking at Kevin he gave him the nod to proceed.
“Sounds like it’s a go Justin,” Kevin smiled happily. Henri and I will sign now, can you get the details back by tomorrow so we can start reorganizing the place.”
“Yep shouldn’t be a problem I’ll fax it to you.”
“Here’s my business card with my numbers,” said Henri.
“Great doing business with you,” Justin said leaving them with the keys.
“Well this is it folks, we are now in business,” said Kevin tossing the keys up in the air. “Do either of you know a good architect?”
“Do we have to go that far?”
“Yes Henri I think we do to get it right. After all we only need two offices, two labs and reception done at this point.”
“What about the rest?”
“The part with the beds we’ll leave for now though those last two offices we can make into one big general lab say for government contracts. The smaller ones can be for our pet projects. What do you think Joseph?”
“I think it sounds great Kevin, though we need to make sure everything stays above board even working in our own labs.”
“At the first inkling of illegality Henri will stop funding, so I don’t think you’ve any worries there at all.”
“Yes Joe, Kevin is correct,” he said warningly to them both.
“Good to know Henri. Hopefully I’ll make you both proud,” said Joseph with a relieved smile.
Two weeks later the building was ready for business. Kevin transferred his office bringing Amy with him as their receptionist. He decided to keep his old office for future private meetings since his lease had a few more years to run. Joseph smiled as he walked into his very own rather large office for the first time. He knew he was going to enjoy this space along with his own lab next door. He already had a project to start thanks to a family friend who had a sick child. They wanted to know what was wrong with him so asked Joseph if he could help with the genetics. Henri didn’t move anywhere he was their main money man and paid the bills, they both knew Kevin had money. They just didn’t know how much. It was many years before either of them found out.
Over the coming months Joseph and Kevin worked well together, each enjoying their private projects. It looked like it would be a tough start with all the competition out there for scientific research. The areas of research were vast. Though both young men had proven themselves over the last five years they still needed the little push to get work. It was Kevin who worked his way around it, mainly through the back door. Having friends in high places helped, though it’s what these friends did in their private time that finally got them their work. Kevin was most unscrupulous, though neither Joseph nor Henri knew to what extent he went to get what he wanted.
Business at Truit & Haier was going well; Kevin and Joseph had both published various articles in medical journals to some acclaim. The work they did was now more established, they both hired lab assistants while Henri watched on more pre occupied with his up and coming wedding. He was getting nervous now; the wedding was three days away.
Phillipa was trying not to panic at the last minute details, like most brides to be, she was nearly bouncing around happy and excited about their future together. She was sure married life was going to be bliss. He was so gentle and caring, his kisses so arousing and stimulating. She was ready for more; her appetite had certainly grown over the last five months. Kevin was to be Henri’s groomsman; Joseph was just going to have fun he didn’t even have a date.
The day finally dawned, a beautiful deep blue sky with cotton wool clouds. The wedding would take place at Grace Church, a Gothic Revival Church of great historical importance. There were three hundred guests attending, Phillipa was trying not to panic.
“I can’t believe my day is here at last,” she smiled happily.
“Oh Phillipa, you’ve made such a good choice,” exclaimed her mother sweetly.
“Where’s my matron of honour,” she giggled.
“I’m here silly, just finishing dressing then we’ll slip you into your gorgeous gown, it is truly divine Philly.”
“Thank you Georgie,” she grinned. “It took ages to find what I wanted.”
“Right now it’s your turn Philly,” said Georgie taking her gown carefully off the hanger. Pooling it at Phillipa’s feet she stepped in carefully as her mother and friend gently raised the dress up. Her arms slid into the see through blouson sleeves as Georgie settled the gown on her shoulders, before fastening the small pearl button running down to the small of her back. The pearl encrusted lacy top revealed a stunning neck line, the top finished just under the bosom in the empire style, falling away in voluminous skirt with Venetian lace edging the bottom. Next Phillipa’s mother placed her veil on her head with a small tiara holding it in place. The veil was short and once again edged with Venetian lace.
Phillipa swung around to the mirror gasping in surprise at how lovely she looked, placing her court shoes on her feet, she was ready. Nervous energy ignited inside her as her father knocked on her hotel suite door ready to escort his daughter to the church. He beamed with pride, tears in his eyes giving her a quick hug.
“You look stunning darling,” he said softly. “Henri is a very lucky man to have you as his wife.”
“Thank you papa,” she whispered her eyes shining, “I love him so much.”
“Well ladies are we ready to go?”
At Grace Church Henri Haier was pacing back and forth in the vestry, while Kevin looked on grinning at his discomfort.
“What happens if she doesn’t turn up?”
“She will Henri, you should have no doubts.” He peeked out the doorway watching the throngs of people being ushered to their seats. “Quite a crowd you have out there Henri.”
“Don’t remind me, I’m nervous enough now.”
“Time to go to the alter Henri,” he rubbed his hands with glee; “it sounds like she’s on her way.”
“Oh god please let me get through this,” he crossed himself. Taking a deep breath he strode out to wait for his bride, the guests went quiet as they smiled encouragingly to him.
The organ started the bridal hymn five minutes later. Turning slightly Henri looked down the aisle his eyes opening wide at the vision of loveliness approaching him. Was this stunning beauty really his Phillipa? Standing side by side the wedding service began.
“You may kiss the bride,” intoned the priest.
Lifting her veil carefully, looking at her happy smile he gently pulled her into his arms giving her a chaste kiss. Putting his arm around her Henri escorted his new wife down the aisle and out the church where confetti and rice were thrown as they raced down to their limo to set out for the reception being held at his parent’s house.
“Oh Henri,” she sighed against his shoulder in the limo. “That was such a beautiful service, you look very handsome,” she smiled, “and now your all mine,” she looked up into his eyes bringing her lips in for a more adventurous kiss.
“You look radiant my darling,” he murmured against her lips.
Tasting, nibbling they explored each other’s mouths, enjoying the heady sensations growing around them, intensifying as their kisses deepened. Phillipa finally pulled back a little breathless, an adoring smile on her face.
“I can’t wait to get you out of your gown tonight darling.”
Phillipa flushed shyly, looking down then wishing she hadn’t, a small giggle escaped her as she buried her face into his shoulder. Henri held her his amusement great, he’d always liked her little giggles; this was part of what attracted him to her in the first place.