Categories > Original > Mystery > Prometheus

Prometheus

by JennBarny 1 Reviews

Charlie is a member of a group trying to develop nuclear reactors for personal use, but someone out there wants it stopped.

Category: Mystery - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Horror,Romance - Characters:  - Warnings: [V] [X] - Published: 2008/05/11 - Updated: 2008/05/11 - 1494 words

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“We’ve gotta stop burning the midnight oil like this,” Charlie said, rubbing her eyes. “I understand that what we are doing is important- I think I want it done just as much as anyone else here, but this is ridiculous. We’re still months away from any real progress. It makes no sense to kill ourselves staying up all night.”

“I think I’m about dead for the night. Maybe we should just pack up for the night and continue on in the morning,” the team leader, Paul Victor added, pushing his chair away from his desk. “We will probably be better able to come up with a solution to this damned heat transfer problem if we get some sleep.” He stood and pulled his jacket on over his shoulders. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

Jonathan watched as Paul left the room, and suggested to the others, “Anyone want to hit the bar before we hit the hay?”

***

A gloved hand reached through the broken glass to investigate the man behind the wheel. He pushed Paul Victor back against the headrest and saw that he was still struggling to breathe.

The hand retrieved a piece of debris that had fallen inside the car and quickly ran it through Paul’s throat, ensuring that the man would take his last breath that night.

***

Charlie Burke punched in the code and entered the gray building. She walked, almost in a trance, down the hall to the room where she had spent the last several months working with Paul. Tears streamed down her face as she ran her hand over his chair. She couldn’t think of anywhere else to go when she heard the news. She wheeled his chair out and sat down, letting her head rest in her hands.

A noise behind her made her jump to her feet, startled.

“I’m sorry, Charlie, I didn’t realize you were here.”

Charlie tried to wave him off as though she didn’t mind the intrusion. She wiped the tears off on the backs of her hands, then again on her palms.

Damn these tears…

Jonathan O’Reilly stepped forward. “Hey, Paul was a great guy. You don’t have to be ashamed of shedding tears over his death.” He tested the waters by putting a hand on her shoulder, then pulled her in for a hug. She stiffened at first, then decided that she could use the comfort. She let her head rest on his shoulder as the tears started to fall again.

“We shouldn’t have let him drive home like that,” she cried.

“Don’t do that. We couldn’t have known. We’ve all done it before. There’s no reason to blame yourself.”

“It could have been any one of us. The cops said he fell asleep at the wheel and ran into some trees. I wonder if he even-” She stopped as he put his fingers to her lips.

“Shhh… It doesn’t do any good. We should remember his life without blame or guilt.” He held her there, her arms folded up between them with her hands balled up at her own shoulders. “Come on, Charlie. Let’s get out of here. We’ll go get a drink or something.” He released her enough to look down and move a stray piece of hair from her face. She sniffled and nodded weakly.

“OK, good. Come on then.” Jonathan put his arm around her shoulders protectively and led her down the hallway that she had just come through. He held the doors for her and helped her into the front seat of his car.

The loss of Paul was too much for Charlie to bear alone. He was so much more than a boss to her. He was her mentor, a father figure to a woman who had never known her own. He coached her, set her up, celebrated in her successes and consoled her in her failures. He had been there for her through the painful break from her last beau, a man she had agreed to marry only to have him leave her for another woman. His death hit harder than she could possibly hope to stand.

She decided that she would take any comfort she could find and gratefully allowed Jonathan to lead her to the bar where they so often went to unwind from a long day in the ‘Think Tank.’

Jonathan sat her at a booth in the far corner of the dimly lit main room and went to the bar to order the first round of drinks for them. The mood was always laid back and quiet this time of day on the weekdays, and when Jonathan returned with the drinks, he slid in next to her and put his arm back around her shoulders. She rested her head against his shoulder and raised her glass.

“To Paul. Wherever you are now, I hope you’re happy and you’re finally at rest. Lord knows you didn’t get enough of it in life.”

Charlie had drink after drink, drowning her sorrow in alcohol until she finally decided that the sting of vodka wasn’t going to take the pain from her heart. She could feel the heat from Jonathan’s body warming her and let her fingers idly waltz across his thigh. He took her hand in his to stop her from doing something that she’d regret in the morning.

“Don’t try to stop me, Jonathan. I know you weren’t trying to take advantage of the situation, but I am.” She took a breath and shook her head. “I’m sorry… I just don’t want to be alone tonight.”

“No, it’s fine.” Jonathan squeezed her hand. “Look, if you want me to stay with you tonight, I will. Don’t think I’m playing martyr either. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to get closer to you for the last few weeks. I wish it wasn’t these circumstances, but I’ll take what I get and I won’t look back. If you need me to take your mind off of what’s happened, I’m here for you.”

“I- I didn’t know, Jon.” Charlie looked up at O’Reilly and saw the sincerity in his eyes. She put a hand to his jaw and marveled at the power she could feel in him. She smiled and sank into the kiss with the determination to take everything she needed from him.

***

Warm.

Cozy.

Jonathan.

Jonathan?

Charlie opened her eyes and saw Jonathan smile at her. His chin bore the slightest stubble and somehow made his already chiseled face look even more rugged.

“Hey. Good morning, sleepyhead.”

Charlie tried to sit up, but Jon’s arms were anchoring her to him. “What time is it?”

“Just after ten am. I didn’t want to wake you.”

Charlie became suddenly aware of the fact that neither of them were wearing anything beneath the sheets. “Good night?”

“Oh… oh no… I didn’t realize you’d had so much to drink. I thought you’d remember. I’m sorry.” Jonathan started moving away from Charlie who started grinning.

“I’m just kidding. I remember plenty.” Her mind involuntarily flashed through the images of last night. His broad shoulders, his tender lips. The words he spoke to her at the bar. His comforting arms. Paul…

Jonathan felt her tense up and rushed back to holding her. “Yeah, you remember that. I’m so sorry, Charlie. I wish I could take the pain away.”

Charlie smiled. “Maybe you can. At least for a little while,” she said as she pulled him down for a kiss.

***

“All I’m saying is that maybe we don’t have to go that far after all. I know the plan right now is to destroy the project and everyone involved, but maybe it would be more in our favor to steal the information. We could use it ourselves, take all the money for our own. The technology is going to be developed eventually. It’s pointless to just run from it. I think the girl would be our best bet. She’d probably be most likely to cave under pressure.”

“I think you underestimate women. Some of the most determined people I’ve known are women. You might be on to something though. Perhaps we should try to coax it out instead of destroying it. From what I understand, now that Victor is out of the picture, the girl knows the most about the project anyway.” The man leaned forward and steepled his fingers under his chin. His deep southern drawl belied the excitement that was evident in his eyes. “Well, alright, Carlisle. It will be up to you, but if you fail in getting the information, we go back to the original plan.”

The man stood and nodded. “I understand, sir.”
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