1 Flutes and Flutes
The sound of tinkling glasses and the low murmur of conversation reached his ears as he leaned over the balcony of the resort and looked out over Miri. Rickie Ahmad, former BKN agent, sighed as he lifted the champagne flute to his lips.
It had been approximately six months since he was released from his duties at the National Security Division following the sudden medical collapse of his father. As a direct descendant of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin, he had returned home to the East Malaysian state of Sarawak to maintain the family oil fields and other businesses while his father recovered. Not as exciting, perhaps, as his former position; nevertheless, there was a certain cutthroat feeling to the business dealings, particularly with China. The day to day operations were interesting enough, he mused, to keep him on his toes a while longer.
What bored him to tears, however, were the social appearances he was required to attend as a member of the upper echelon of Malaysian society. Today, it was a birthday party for a local socialite, held at a 5-star resort near the Mulu Caves. By the time the bell had rung for dinner, he had already been approached as a potential life partner by virtually all of the many single females, and propositioned by some of the married ones as well. Whether for dancing, business, or functions of a more private nature, women tended to flock to him wherever he went.
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He took off his tuxedo jacket, carelessly draped it over a chair, and inhaled deeply to catch the scent of the rain forest. He slowly released his breath and waited for the sounds of the surrounding rain forest to relax him further.
As he finished the champagne and placed the glass on a nearby table, his ears picked up a series of flute-like notes drifting through the air. Following the faint sounds, he looked out over the pool area towards a maintenance building discretely hidden behind some sago palms. He made the decision to follow the haunting notes, and turned to walk downstairs.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement, and glanced back in time to see a small feminine figure in a waitress outfit skirt the edge of the pool towards the building. Almost as soon as she disappeared behind the palms, the music abruptly stopped.
Wondering about this new development, Rickie headed towards the staircase.