“Back In Business” by Tidia

Chapter 1:

Daniel Foster took off his glasses, and leaned back in his chair to relax. It didn’t make a difference. He wasn’t going to be able to relax until he found out who was embezzling money in his San Antonio operation.

“Damnit,” he said out loud. He liked to think that the company treated its employees well, and to have someone bite the hand that fed them was inexcusable. He had sent his sister, just last week, to review the accounting practices at the operation site. She came to the same conclusion-someone was playing with the numbers. His companies were privately held, which made it feel like the person was personally attacking him.

Daniel sighed, put his glasses back on and looked around his office. The sagging plant in the corner had more yellow leaves than green ones. He got up to trim the leaves. If his secretary saw him, she would send emails around the company that Daniel Foster communed with plants. But, Daniel was looking for a distraction not to call Dean. Dean had just returned from Dubai, where a Russian ex-patriot was trying to blackmail one of Foster Industries key employees.

He finished cleaning off the leaves and threw them in the trash. The plant was bald. His mother would not have been impressed. He smiled at the thought of his parents, wishing they hadn’t died in the car accident and that they had seen that their children had done well. He often wondered if he would have been as successful. He had just finished college when they had been killed. There was enough money for Tonya to finish school, but not much else. It was then he took a huge risk- -investing in an electronics business. From there he took more risks until, by the time he was 30 years old, he was a multi-millionaire, and people liked him because he was an average guy who had done well.

The truth was he was an average guy who went with his gut instinct. Unfortunately, whatever it was that gave him the edge had failed him in Texas- he had hired an embezzler. But, it hadn’t failed him when he hired Dean. Daniel knew that there was talent there that could be harnessed, and it had been to the mutual benefit of him and Dean.

Daniel knew he had to make the phone call, and dialed the number he had committed to memory. He had sent Dean to the Middle East knowing that Dean’s cowboy style would impress and infuriate the Russian ex-patriot. It had worked, but at the cost of daily phone calls from Dean that consisted of comments like, ‘Dude, you sent me to the fuckin’ desert.’ And ‘Do you know how hot it is here today?’ The phone rang twice before it was answered.

“Hey,” Dean said, the caller id on his cell phone alerted him to who it was.

Daniel put the phone in the crook of his neck, freeing his hands in order to email information to Dean. “We’ve got a problem in San Antonio.”

Dean chuckled. “Not Houston?”

Daniel right clicked on the mouse to attach the documents, tapping the mouse harder than was necessary. “No, asshole, not Houston.”

“Touchy, touchy, someone must have pissed you off.”

“Someone is embezzling money from my company.” Daniel leaned back in his chair, fiddling with the telephone cord in frustration. “Tonya found the discrepancies, but can’t find the source.”

“And you want me to get right on this.”

Daniel stopped playing with the cord, and regained his focus. “I know you were just in Dubai. . .”

Dean sighed. “Yeah, like, I just got home yesterday, or maybe today, jetlag sucks. And don’t think you’re sending me over there any time soon.”

“I’ll try to keep you stateside.” Daniel said, making a mental note of the promise. “I sent what we have via e-mail. . .”

Dean interrupted Daniel. “Listen, Dan, can this wait a couple of days?”

“You have some personal business to attend to?” Daniel knew that Dean still went, what he called hunting and Daniel didn’t want to know too much about it. He was in awe that an ordinary person did something so extraordinary. It was also crazy, and Daniel didn’t want to think too much about the stuff that went bump in the night.

“Yeah, I do, just over the weekend.”

Daniel was normally patient, and would usually give Dean at least a week off after a tough assignment, but this issue was clawing at him. “Okay, Tuesday in San Antonio.” That settled, Daniel just needed to check on Dean, his friend. “Are you going to be all right?”

“Yeah, I’m picking up Sam.”

Daniel shook his head at the blind faith Dean had in his brother. His one meeting with Sam hadn’t redeemed the young man in Foster’s eyes. “You and your brother?”

There was a long pause before Dean replied. “Well, he doesn’t know it yet.”

“You let me know how that works out.” Daniel answered flatly, doubting that Sam would actually join his brother.

“Don’t give me that shit-it’s going to be fine.” Dean replied hotly.

“I hope so.” Daniel’s voice softened.

“Thanks, I’ll call you later.”

Daniel hung up the phone. He understood how much Dean wanted a relationship with his brother, and if Dean wanted that for himself, then Daniel truly wanted his friend to succeed.

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Onto Chapter 2