Victor opened the door and Horatio stepped inside. “The price on your head just went up Your Lordship.”
Victor laughed uproariously and closed the door, locking it in the same motion. “Of course it has, but who has raised the bounty this time?”
Horatio stood just inside the door and waited. His more than six foot height made him tower over Victor, whose stature marked him at exactly five feet and six inches tall. He watched as Victor checked the lock. Seeing that they were secure, he walked to the ornate desk. He turned for a moment to face his Lord, his aquiline nose dominating his comely features. “Well…”
Victor took a moment to gaze fondly at Horatio. The side view of his under-boss was striking. Alas for him, Victor thought. If this fate had not taken a firm grasp upon his life, he’d have made a good Shakespearean actor. His shoulder length raven black hair stood out, accentuating his piercing cobalt eyes, which would have been his most impressive attribute had it not been for his so very perfect nose.
Horatio withdrew an envelope from the side pocket of his leather longcoat and placed it on the desk. He tapped the envelope with his index finger hard enough that it gave the sound of knocking, and smiled, showing his immaculate teeth. “There it be, M’lord.” Horatio clasped his hands and let them dangle before himself.
“You’ve secured me a place, then?” The excitement in Victor’s tone was evident as he went around to the other side of the desk. He slowly sat in his chair and exhaled, as if he’d been holding his breath for minutes. He scrutinized the envelope, his stare an attempt to see through the paper, but he made no move to take it in hand. He looked up expectantly at Horatio. “You’ve discovered who has placed the bounty on my head?”
Horatio pivoted on his heel and went to the door. He turned his head just slightly, as he opened the door. “Would I be here if I had not?” He made a soft clicking sound with his teeth, his version of tsk, tsk.
Victor’s smile, a rare thing unless he was in the act of taking something that wasn’t rightfully his, became broad and turned to a toothy grin likened to the Cheshire cat’s. “Wait.” Victor commanded, as Horatio took one step out of the room.
Victor stood, tearing his eyes from the envelope. “Wait, my friend. You don’t think I’d let you leave after you’ve done such a wonderful thing, do you?”
Horatio paused in mid-step. “Recompense then, is it?” He stepped back and closed the door. “I had been of hope there would be some tiny – .”
“Of course, but tiny – I think not.” Victor gestured to the dark mahogany door that led to his private rooms. “After you.” Victor cast a quick, but meaningful, head to toe glance at Horatio, that ended with a wide smile. “Take your time and luxuriate in a bath and I will join you soon.”
Horatio removed his coat. “Don’t take too long, M’lord. I’m still working.”
“One more thing…” Victor said, stopping Horatio in his steps.
Horatio arched a brow and swiveled his head. “M’lord?”
“The contents…” Victor began, as he seated himself. “The contents… are what we discussed then?” He held his breath, his eyes wide with excitement.
Horatio hesitated, but then inclined his head toward the envelope and nodded.
Victor exhaled with a deliberate hahh and returned the nod, his eyes once more tracking back to the envelope. He finally touched it, just barely, with the tip of a finger. He quietly said, “I want to see him – before the journey.”
Horatio nodded. “And his brother?” He squinted, waiting for the answer.
Victor smiled, pressing his fingertip against the envelope and twisting it so that the opening flap faced him. He thrummed his fingers upon his desk, once, twice, thrice, “Release him once you bring Navin Gorley to me.”
Horatio inhaled sharply, then nodded. “You surprise me, M’lord.”
Victor released a tremendous guffaw! “Even a King can show mercy, my friend.”
Horatio allowed himself a minute grin. “As you say, M’lord.”
Victor held up a finger. “And Horatio…there are fragrant oils in the cabinet and below there are the most intoxicating candles for your pleasure, and mine. Please do light some for us.”