“Boss’ll see you now.”
Viana nodded and rose to enter the door at the far side of the room. It led into an opulent den, a fire flickering in one corner, casting the well-furnished room in warm light. At the end of the room, a man sat behind a large oaken desk, an empty chair sitting opposite him.
“Take a seat.”
“I’d rather stand.”
“I think you’ll take a seat.”
Viana complied, pulling the supple leather chair away from the table and sitting down. She waited silently.
“He’s taken back the ship then.”
“And the map?”
“And my money?”
“Vaughn has that.”
“And my men?”
“Dead, most of them.”
“Interesting. That’s very interesting. Tell me, what have we gotten from this whole thing, eh? Seems a lot like we’ve only lost things so far, Viana.” She didn’t reply. The man stood up, turning his back to her and staring out the window over the Meriden skyline. “Twice I’ve trusted you to deal with this situation, and twice you’ve returned empty-handed. I don’t understand.”
“I’ll fix it. I’ll get your money back, I just need more time.”
“My money? You think this is just about money? They have stolen from me.” The man turned around, placing both palms on the desk and looming over it. He spoke in a deathly whisper. “No one steals from me.” He paused. “What was their price?”
“I don’t understand.”
“They let you live, but killed everyone else. What was their price?”
“They wanted information. About Vaughn.”
“What did you tell them?”
“What are you going to tell them?”
“Good.” The man smiled and stood up, took a long breath in and out, before continuing. “I want that map, Viana. The money doesn’t matter anymore. Our reputation is at stake here.”
“I’ll fix it.” Viana stood up and began walking towards the door. As she turned the handle, the man spoke.
“I know about the boy.” Viana stopped. She gripped the door handle, her knuckles turning white, but she stood still. “Noah, was it?” Her eyes went wide, and her heart jumped into her mouth. “One more failure, and I’ll make sure nobody sees him again. The father too.”
“Don’t be long.”