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An Innocent Drink

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Umi didn’t even look up at the sound of the doorbell, a servant would answer undoubtedly, and it was most likely a delivery for her father anyways. It was not often she was able to sit undisturbed these days with her father's health failing. Due to his illness it often left her running the family business. She was enjoying the respite as she scrolled through the novel on her digital book. Only the low sound of the singing clockwork birds her father had given her for her last birthday to fill the blissful silence.

She had read maybe one more sentence in her book before she heard the servant call her, “Miss Umi,” the woman stepped into the room, “There is a gentleman at the door for you, he says he was sent with a message for you specifically.”

She sighed, “And they could not give the message to you?”

“I’m sorry Miss, he requested to speak with you directly.”

Another sigh, “Very well.” She rose and set down her book leaving the sitting room and heading down the long hall towards the door with the servant on her heels.

The servant opened the door to reveal a very tall man waiting just outside, broad shoulders, dark brown hair, a scar on his chin, he looked oddly familiar, she was certain she had seen him before.

It dawned on her a moment later, “To what do I owe the honor, Geo?”

Geo, one of the two rather intimidating right hands of the Vision Family. In some circles they called him and the other second in command, Lantis, the ‘twin stars’ of the Vision Family. A visit from one of them meant this was a business concern.

Geo smiled, he was always the more friendlier of the two, “Thank you Miss Ryuuzaki. I’m sorry for the intrusion, but the head of the Vision Family wishes to invite you to dinner.”

Despite herself Umi felt an eyebrow raise in surprise, she had not expected to hear from the Vision family so suddenly. She wondered if they had heard about her father already.

She wondered which of her father subordinates had let it slip, but figuring who’s head would roll was going to have to wait.

“When would this dinner be?”

Geo looked rather apologetic, “This evening Miss…”

“Call me Umi please, when you say Ryuuzaki I expect my mother to answer.”

“Miss.Umi,” Geo corrected himself still smiling, “The Vision Family apologies for the short notice.”

She bet they did.

But this was the Vision Family, you did not say no without a very, very good reason and even then you still should probably still not say no. An insult to their family head could disrupt her family's business at the very least and at the very worst of situations end up with someone dead from a very unfortunate accident.

“I will need to change, if there is time?”

“Oh of course, that is not a problem. I have a car waiting outside when you are ready.” With that he bowed and went down the front stairs as her servant closed the door.

“Inform my parents I will be going out and ask Suu to arrange for my escort, I will also need help changing clothes.” The servant bowed and quickly headed up stairs.

Umi had the maid bring out one of her finest dresses.

The head of the Vision Family was about to learn he was not the only one capable of throwing their weight around.

With the help of her servants she was ready twenty minutes later and stepping out the door swathed in a blue and black lace covered dress, some of her hair was pulled up high, pinned with a fine silver comb shaped like a dragon with sapphires for eyes. She was flanked by two of her bodyguards as she stepped out onto the street.

“Miss,” Another man standing next to Geo bowed politely and opened the door of the vehicle for her. There were people across the street staring, after all private vehicles were a luxury few but the wealthy elite could afford in Infinity.

Umi slid in with a nod and her two guards followed suit. Geo sat up front with the driver and a moment later they were racing towards their destination.

She used the time it took them to arrive to contemplate the reason for the suddenly invitation. She had been expecting to hear from the Vision Family, but an actual invitation had surprised her. Her father was CEO of one of the largest banks in the country, it was only natural for one of the wealthiest business families to have a working business relationship with them.

Which in plainer terms meant her father helped them funnel money obtained through their many ill-gotten means, by cleaning the money up and then putting it back into their own pockets, with nearly no one the wiser to where all the Vision Family’s money really came from. To the public they were just a wealthy family with many business ventures, but really the Vision family practically controlled the entire city.

Umi supposed that came with the territory when you lived in a country mostly controlled by the mob

She often wonder how out of all her friends only Hikaru seemed immune to such things. Being one of the top fighters in ‘chess’ probably had a lot to do with it, her and her three brothers had way more clout than they even realized.

And the girl refused to take bribes, she was made of sterner stuff that most mobsters Umi knew.

They arrived at the restaurant in short order, where Geo stepped out and waited by the front door as a the other servant opened the car door again for her.

With innate grace she stepped out, they were at one of the finest restaurants in the city, one that was accustomed to celebrity and well to do guests.

Despite this Umi turned heads as the walked through the front door, which had been her intent when selecting her dress, a power move of her own, if you will.

“This way please.” Geo showed her to the back of the restaurant, while the front was bustling with activity and patrons, the back was very quiet and had been cleared out for private dining.

If her host was trying to impresses her he was going to have to try a little harder.

She stepped through the archway of a back room to see a single table set for two, her host already occupying one of the two seats. He sat facing the door elbows on the table, fingers laced together, hands under his chin. As if this was a casual dinner, a meeting of two old friends even, instead of a meeting of two family powerhouses that could end in fireworks...or gunfire.

Umi took some sense of comfort in the weight of the dagger strapped to her inner thigh as she sized up her possible opponent.

Eagle, young head of the Camorra Vision Family, the major crime family of Infinity.

Pale blond hair framed a pair of bright gold eyes, his gaze swept appreciatively over her as she paused in the doorway and he smiled over his folded hands. She bit back a smile of her own, the dress was a good choice, and confidently walked up to the table.

He rose when she approached, immaculately dressed in cream and black, his family seal embroidered onto the collar of his coat, a simple but effective display of power. There were very few doors in this city that family crest wouldn’t open.

“Umi, thank you for coming at such short notice. Please sit. Would you care for a drink?” He indicated the bottle of wine sitting on the table. “After all, what is an innocent drink between old friends?” He sat back down only after she had made herself comfortable, a waiter came up immediately and began to pour wine into glasses for both of them.

Geo took his usual position next to Lantis who was already present at the back of the room near the wall, her own guards took up flanking positions behind her near the exit.

“Indeed, though I must admit it has been a very long time. Eagle.” She used his first name with intent. Four years her senior she had met him previously some years before on several occasions, back when both of their fathers had been their respectful families’ heads. He had been quiet then, polite, she’d even go so far as to call him charming, but she was well aware of how ruthless he could be when properly motivated.

She was not going to give him the chance tonight. She had motivation all her own.

He smiled, “It really has been too long, how is your father?”

Ah, so he did know, she figured as much, no sense playing around then.

“He is doing well, for his age, thank you for asking.”

“Of course,” he smiled again and while the smile wasn’t fake, she felt as if it was a practiced expresion for him, one that he could use to mask his true thoughts, “after all,” He continued, as she sipped her wine, “he is also an old family friend.” He had not yet touched his wine, his hands were once again folder in front of him.

“So,” she turned on her own charm leaning forward slightly, “What was the reason for your sudden invitation? I do not think you whisk young women off into the night to check on the health of old friends. Or did you simply wish for company at dinner?” She quirked an eyebrow playfully.

He chuckled as he reached for his own glass, “Well the company is excellent.” Here he raised the glass to her in something of a mock toast. “You seem like a smart woman, what do you think?”

Ah, he was curious and fishing, testing. He knew she was taking over for her father soon and wanted to get a feel for her, as an adult and as a business partner, and possibly more…if his eyes when she’d walked into the room earlier had been any indication.

She did allow herself to remember the slight crush she’d had on him in their teenage years, but for now she was all business.

“I think that I’ve been told before that it is unwise to mix business with pleasure.” She smiled at him coyly, running a finger along the rim of her wine glass. She could play this game with him.

His smile was genuine this time, “I have heard that before, my experience has led me to believe it’s mostly true, but that there are always exceptions to every rule.”

She raised her glass as the waiter returned to take their orders, “I’m looking forward to your lesson then.”

Eagle smiled.