20 It Begins
[Meg – I'm sorry I can't talk to you right now. There's something very wrong going on in the company. I found discrepancies in the records, but my boss didn't believe me. After I talked to him, strange things started to happen around me. I think I'm being followed, so I'm sending you the information. Don't look for me as I'm going to disappear, and don't trust anything coming from this office anymore. If I'm able, I'll contact you later and tell you everything. Au revoir, Iv.]
The attachment contained what looked like the typical spreadsheets, with the exception of several highlighted fields.
Meaghan quickly transferred the file to her thumb drive and deleted the email after sending a reply to Jules giving permission to delete the original email. She had just tossed the drive into her bag when Raine tapped on her cubicle wall and spoke.
"Are you ready for your chat with the two of us?" Raine didn't wait for an answer but turned and walked down the hallway to a glass-front door. Meaghan carefully stowed her bag in a drawer and followed Raine, wiping her hands on her jacket.
~ ~ ~
Rickie had been anticipating this since he saw her in the lobby previously. It had been a week since his conversation with Raine at Bourbon's, and even longer since he last saw the woman that had been uppermost in his mind. He smiled at Meaghan as she entered the office behind Raine, secretly amused when he saw her nervously rubbing her hands against the fabric of her outfit. He remembered that same unconscious gesture during their dinner the previous week. He motioned the two women towards several brown leather chairs arranged around a glass coffee table. There was a white ceramic tray containing glasses and a pitcher of water in the center; Raine poured a glass for herself and Meaghan, and then sat down.
"I wanted to talk face to face with each member of this office, to get a feel of how each individual will fit into the overall scheme. You read the information packet and are aware of what Rick and I are setting up, correct?" At Meaghan's nod, Raine continued, "The other team members will funnel the information to you and your responsibility will be looking over the compiled information and identifying any unusual trends, or anything that stands out. You will be communicating directly with Rick."
Meaghan looked at him with wide eyes filled with concern and maybe a bit of curiosity. A stray curl escaping from her upswept hair swayed over her right temple, and Rickie fisted his hand to prevent himself from acting on the urge to touch it. He swallowed, hoping his voice would sound normal.
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"Raine's team from the BKN has already created several preliminary reports." He stood, walked over to his intricately carved mahogany desk, and removed several files from a metal wire basket set to the right of a large computer monitor. He walked back to the two women and handed it to Meaghan, both careful not to touch hands. He sat back down.
"I want to draw on your expertise and knowledge to focus on the flow of goods between Malaysian companies and their Chinese counterparts. In this age of global economy, we are finding more illegal activity on a corporate level than a government or political one. Do you have any questions?"
Meaghan shook her head, looking down at the smooth manila folders in her hands, already thinking about how she should begin her task. She looked back up at the face of the man before her, finally landing on his blue blue eyes.
With a sudden sparkle, she stood up and extended her hand. "I'm ready to begin, sir." Rickie took it, marveling at the smoothness of her skin, and felt an internal shift as their relationship began on another level.