Thursday, May 31, 2018

Page 1798

He was going to have to interrupt them one more time, Hector knew. No great surprise there. He waited briefly so as not to talk over either of them and then jumped in.

“Mr. Roman,” said Hector, drawing the man’s attention, “I have to--”

“You can just call me Roman, you know.” Roman’s head bobbed to the side. “Unless you intend make me call you Lord Goffe from now on. In which case, yes, you absolutely have to call me Mr. Roman. Or Mr. Fullister. Or Master Fullister. I do like being called Master. Not Master Roman, though. Only Gina can call me that. It’d be weird if you started saying it, too.”

As he listened, Hector found it increasingly hard to believe that this man was a billionaire. It probably didn’t help that the guy had, as usual, found something weird to wear again. Instead of the armor that Hector had originally materialized for him, Roman was sporting a billiards visor and a windbreaker coat with the words ‘Right On Cue’ on the back in sharply styled letters.

“Fine,” said Hector flatly after Roman was done. “Just Roman, then.”

“Good. And I’ll just call you Hector. Glad we got that all sorted.”

“I have to ask you something,” said Hector, still trying to find the right words here. “And... it’s not... a small something, either.”

“Hmm. I see.” Roman placed his hands on the table. “This not-so-small something wouldn’t happen to be money, would it?”

“...It would, yeah.”

“Ah.” Roman spared a glance at Gina before returning to Hector, then scratched cheek absently. “And here I thought you liked me for my personality.”

At that, Hector couldn’t help exhaling half a laugh, almost like a sigh, and his eyes fell to the table. “I... ah...”

“C’mon, then,” said Roman. “Out with it. How much do you need?”

Hector’s gaze remained on the table as he inhaled through his teeth. He looked up at Roman, then over at Garovel, then at Gina and Voreese, then back at Roman. “...A hundred million?”

Roman’s eyes widened.

“To start with,” Hector felt compelled to add.

Roman’s mouth hung open for a moment, and he furrowed his brow. “What the fuck do you need that much money for?”

“To start a bank,” said Hector. “One that’ll be big enough to... prevent Atreya from being taken over by... foreign interests.”

Roman just kind of kept that same look on his face and didn’t say anything.

“I know it’s a lot to ask,” said Hector.

“Oh, well, that’s good,” said Roman. “I was worried you didn’t know what the fuck you were saying, for a second.”

“And I don’t necessarily... ah... need you to give me all of that. I mean, if you can’t, then--”

“Of course I can’t!” said Roman. “Look, Hector. Yes, I’m filthy rich. I’m not gonna pretend I’m not, but--”

“Ah--are you sure about that?” said Hector. “Because you kinda seem like you’re pretending. All the time, actually.”

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