He turned in shock. He didn't imagine anyone else would be out in this weather. It was even more of a shock to realize that the man was Gino, and that he must have followed him. He must have been a part of the group of men by the door that he passed when he went out, he thought.
Gab knew his name and his reputation, but little more than that. The Manriques are one of the valued clients of their family owned company. Gab was also one of the engineers who headed the construction of their resort in Batangas and that's where he got acquainted with Gino who also supervised the project. The wealthy and popular young businessman moved in a social circle several notches higher than Gab's orbit. He wondered why he had followed him out into that weather. His long deep-blue cloak was nearly black in the dimming light. The collar was turned up high, framing his face.
“It's just rain. I came outside to clear my head of a little too much wine.” Gab said awkwardly.
Gino listened to him silently, head cocked mockingly. He raised his sculpted brows in a rebuke for his lie.
“I'm not crying, if that's what you're thinking.” Gab added defensively.
“Aren't you?"Gino came toward Gab through the trickling rain. It was definitely rain now. The trail of water have doused the tall man's dark hair.
“I saw you watching the happy couple and thought to myself, now there's a spurned lover, watching his dreams stroll off without him.”
Gab watched his approach warily. “I hardly know her,” he said. “Marcus was my immediate superior as well as mentor. I'm just here to wish him well.”
“As we all are,” Gino agreed smoothly. “Our dear friend Marcus enters a new stage of his life now. He takes on the duties of a husband. And his loving friends, though we wish him well, will see far less of him now.”
The light was waning from the sky and the shadows of the pine trees made the rainy summer afternoon even darker. The fading light took the colours with it. Gino's face was a study of planes and shadows. He was smiling. His narrow lips were chiselled into a fine smile as he asked him, “I'm assuming you're his replacement? I say it's about time your dad gave you a more meaty role in your company. ”
“I'm afraid so. It's unfortunate that they'll be migrating to Australia after the wedding. It's really a big loss for the company. He's our liason for our clients in Japan, where half of our big projects come from. He's sent there every month. He's the best and the clients like him and those are big shoes to fill. I hope I don't dissapoint Dad. That also means I have to learn to speak Nihonggo very well and without an accent. Apparently, that makes the Japanese clients happy and when they're happy, more work for us. Yay." Gab said sarastically before continuing."Marcus speaks it like a native and he's been teaching me ever since he broke the news .”
Gino has now stopped so close in front of him and not even an arm's length away. “Nihonggo?” His smile grew wider, baring even teeth. “I lived in Japan for a year after graduating from college. I believe that every one should know Nihonggo. With the way Japanese work and how fast their economy grows, they have a shot in winning a power struggle when Uncle Sam drops dead in the near future. I say that's a good enough reason to learn as much as we can about them. Not just their language, but their customs. A man can speak the language of a place, but if he lacks knowledge of the customs, he will always betray himself as a foreigner. And thus not be accepted. Global super power or not, they are still one of the top nations and we'd want favor from someone of their status. They could easily crush the man who competes with them. Not to mention that the Japanese have the tendency to keep whatever they have within their boarders and among themselves. It's hard to penetrate their market but if you do, that means great business! Don't you agree?”
“I suppose. Yes.” With his econo-political blabberings, the tall businessman is definitely drunk, Gab decided.
Gino had come close enough that Gab could smell the alcohol on his breath. His dark eyes roved over Gab's face in a disconcerting way. He licked his lips and said, “So. Let me hear your accent. Say something in Japanese.”
“That's not Japanese.” Gino grinned. “Try again.”
To be continued..
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod Touch
Based on an exerpt from Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb