He gave the cab an address to a glamorous hotel that Fane had only heard of on travel shows. “I must change for the party. I figured it would be imprudent to have to go all the way back to base just to have you leave when you got there,” mentioned Prince Orlov as he settled in.
“Is the dinner at the general’s house?” Fane asked. He knew that there were quarters on base for the General but that the man had his own residence in the city as well.
“No, we’ll be meeting at the Crystal Dining Hall.” Prince Orlov settled into his seat.
His profile flickered in Fane’s periphery. The man wore cologne. It was a subtle scent. Citrus and spice. A darker perfume emanated from his glossy locks. That radiating pain was liable to burn him from the inside out. Fane sat back, forcing his attention away from his senses to contemplate where Crystal was in the city. He was drawing a blank. Long fingers with a meticulous manicure kept slipping past his guard. Needles seared across his scars. He mused at what his tombstone would say. Respected comrade. Complete basket case.
They rode on in silence until they reached the Prince’s hotel. Fane followed him into the lobby to the lift bank. “I’ll just wait down here,” Fane offered, waving to a set of lounge chairs. “If you don’t mind,” nodded Prince Orlov when a lift rang the floor.
Relieved, Fane headed toward the chairs. He thought better of it, however, and walked over to the reception desk to ask if he could use their phone to call Zephyr. It was late enough that he knew his commanding officer would most likely answer. If anything he’d at least leave a message letting Zephyr know that he’d need cash for the cab fee to get back to base.
At the third ring, Zephyr picked up, “Abadelli speaking.”
“Zephyr, it’s Anson,” Fane told his chief.
“Ah, Fane, how’s it going? Did Orlov take it okay?” Zephyr asked.
“Um…I think he took it okay. He invited me to join him at the general’s formal dinner,” Fane whispered hurriedly under the scrutiny of concierge.
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