Word Count: 608
Twenty mini-chapters so far! Some fun things get moving in these next few bits, so stayed tuned. :)
“What the hell are you doing?” he growled, slamming the door. The pictures swayed on the walls.
Trebell laughed. “Seeing how much you liked her.”
That brought Colton up short. “What?”
Trebell snorted. “Now, I wanted to tell you about this new start up old Warden’s nagging me about.”
Alice slipped in mid argument. She pulled a chair around to the side and sat taking notes. Colton didn’t like the gleam in her eyes.
“I don’t care how ‘guaranteed’ it is,” Colton snapped. “I’m not sinking money into some bottomless think-tank just because Warden says its good.”
“He said it was a win-win,” Trebell corrected, no hint of the suave charmer from the living room. He swore, dragging his hands through his hair. “I need capital, Savage and you have it.”
“There is no such thing as a win-win.” Colton shot back. “I don’t have that kind of loose money running around, Trebell. My costs have gone up five-fold since last year.”
Trebell grumbled agreement to that. “Oil futures are stuck, it seems.” He said with a sigh. “And even if they plummet, the damage has been done. Prices on the market are going to stay high.”
Colton rubbed his face, helpless against the whims of the market. “It’s costing me three times as much for the raw oil. Then add in the manufacturing costs, shipping…” he shrugged. “My profit margins are non-existent. I’m going to have to cut production and lay off workers. Everywhere, even China.”
Trebell nodded, playing absently with a pen. “I wish I had a couple million to cut loose, gamble in this.”
“Things are too tight to gamble,” Colton said severely. “Even if I wanted to.”
Trebell grinned at him. “Slow and steady, right Colton?”
Colton grimaced. “It’s still the best way.”
“And you should still check it out. Warden’s been over the books, over the models. He says its a good idea.”
“Warden isn’t exactly the most reliable source of information.” Colton said scathingly.
Trebell shrugged. “Look for yourself. Its a good company with a future. If you don’t invest, make a deal with them. Have them use your plastics. Offer them a better rate for a percentage of the returns.”
Colton had to give the man credit. It was an interesting idea.
“Give Alice the information,” he said slowly. “They’re British based?”
“British owned. I’m not sure where their plants are.” Trebell slapped his knees with his hands, standing. “I’m hungry.” He said robustly. “And I’m sure your pretty little wife is in need of your…company.”
Colton blushed. “Dmitri!” he protested.
Trebell only laughed. He grinned wickedly at a knock on the door. Alice opened it on Renee.
“Am I interrupting?” she asked, eyes wide.
“No, of course not.” Trebell said before Colton could speak. “We were just finishing. “Alice, I have the information in my coat. Would you mind?”
The woman rolled her eyes and left, glancing back over her shoulder with a warning look. Colton wondered who it was for, him or Renee.
“He’s very nice,” Renee said after they had stood in silence for a long moment.
Colton scowled. “He’s a womanizer and a drunk.”
“And he’s your friend?” Renee asked, her head tilting to one side.
“Shut up.” Colton snapped. She smirked and turned to leave.
Of its own accord, his hand closed around her arm, holding her in place.
“I’m serious,” he said softly, stepping closer. “Don’t get too friendly.”
She smiled up at him. “Don’t worry, Colton,” she murmured. “I know how to deal with men like that.”
He let her go, resisting rubbing his palm on his slacks.