Librium – Chapter 7
Chaise’s fingers flicked across the screen of his phone as he waited patiently for Julie to emerge from the bedroom. He had just begun to watch a video when Julie’s shapely figure crept into view from the corner of his eye.
Chaise looked up and smiled. ‘You’re…simply gorgeous!’ he remarked, admiring her from head to toe.
Her long auburn hair was tied up in a crown braid that ran across her brow. She wore a long emerald green evening dress that trickled down to her ankles with wide vee-cut in the front that tracked down from her shoulders toward her bosom where a dark green broach held the bunched bodice together. Her creamy white complexion beamed in the light as she gave a little twirl. when she turned her back on him. The back of the dress had sparkling silver straps decorated with Swarovski crystals that were intertwined together in an intricate pattern that spiralled down to the lower extremities of her back.
Chaise admired her shapely figure as she twirled and danced in front of him.
‘I hope this isn’t an overkill for tonight?’
‘Definitely not, but it’s a killer outfit.’
Julie smiled and kissed him on the cheek, ‘You’re such a sweetheart.’
Chaise hoisted a travel bag from the couch, ‘I have our costumes here, let’s hit the road.’ He took her hand and led her outside to the car.
‘Who else is coming?’ Julie inquired.
‘Just the usual gang. Carl, of course – he’s coming with his lab assistant. Lisa.’
‘Lab assistant?’ she raised her eyebrow, ‘who do you think you’re kidding?’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘I’ve heard about this girl. She his pet. An experiment if you wish, beckoning to his every need and whim.’
‘Well, you might be right there, but she volunteered and agreed to do it. Besides, you’ve just described yourself in some respect.’
Julie paused for a moment to think of a valid retort when he continued . ‘I’ve also invited Ben, Ali, Kristoff, Gigi, Tim, Savannah, Rex and Maggie.’
‘I’m sorry, Maggie?’
‘Yeah, I haven’t met her yet. Rex hooked up with her a couple of weeks ago down at The Rule. I’m sure you’ll get along with her.’
Julie smirked, she remembered being the new girl in the group years ago. ‘Oh yeah, I’m sure I saw them that night in the garden bar. Rex was pulling out all the moves on her, I wondered how it all worked out.’
‘Very well, apparently. Rex hasn’t filled me in on all the details but she’s a real wild child child by the sounds.’
‘Uh huh, you boys been sharing secrets again?’
‘Not really, but you know me. I must know everything about the people in my life. And no detail is too intimate either.’
‘So what makes you think I’ll get along with her so much?’
Julie blushed and squirmed in her seat as Chaise slowed down turned right into Bell Street; a narrow one-way lane road with a dozen quaint retail stores. There was limited parking available in front of each store, including a five-minute loading zone outside his favourite wine store. He quickly parked the car and dashed inside to purchase a bottle of wine and dashed back to the car.
‘Sorted!’ He proudly boasted, displaying the label to Julie.
‘Aldo Rainoldi Inferno…’ She recited, ‘Another Italian drop?’
Chaise nodded and drove off toward the end of the street.
‘Oh, by the way, Rex is throwing a do together after graduation too.’
Julie wanted to change the subject upon learning about Maggie’s bisexual tendencies. ‘Sounds good. So… Carl and Lisa. Are they a thing?’
‘Lisa? Nah, doubtful. He wouldn’t get involved with a girl from another country like that. Not at this stage of the term at least.’
‘And yet, here we are…’ Julie muttered. This conversation was going from bad to worse.
‘Nothing. Carry on.’
‘She’s in his chemistry class, apparently he’s been seeing her for a few weeks now and she’s been very helpful in the lab.’
‘Helpful?’ Julie rolled her eyes, ‘I can only imagine what kind of help she’s providing.’ Chaise laughed at her whimsical comment, ‘That mad scientist worries me sometimes.’
‘He worries me all of the time.’ Chaise jested, ‘But he is really devoted to his work, I’ll give him that.’
‘You both are! What’s his latest experiment then?’ Julie almost immediately regretted asking the question.
‘We’re calling it Paralysis for now.’
‘Paralysis?’ She queried, ‘Sounds sinister. What on earth do you need that for?’
‘I guess you can call it a counter-measure.’
‘Super Vee.’ Chaise replied, ‘We need to work out how to reduce the effect of SV.’
‘Why’s that? I thought you guys loved it? It certainly had no complaints with me.’
Chaise chuckled, ‘Nobody ever complained when they know what they’re in for, but it was always a mistake in the formula. We never intended it to be as powerful as it is.’
‘So now you’re trying to fix it?’
‘So why not fix the original formula rather than create another potential Frankenstein formula?’
‘We are. The team in New York are trying to fix the original formulation. They’ve asked Carl and myself to try this because it may close another gap in the market.’
‘PSAD, ever heard of it?’
‘No, no idea what it is.’
‘Hmm, not surprised at that, but I’ll have to tell you about that later. Maybe after dinner…’ replied Chaise as he turned into the luxurious driveway of the Fairmont resort.
The Fairmont was surrounded by beautifully landscaped golf courses facing north on a cliff that overlooked St Andrews bay. It had over 200 rooms that were glamorously appointed and typically attracted upper-class and celebrity guests for the night. It was very popular for weddings due to its remoteness on the outskirts of town and impeccable service, and Chaise had often thought of it as being the ideal place to marry Julie because they first met on the beach nearby.
The hotel had a grand entrance with large stone block columns and marbled tiles leading into the foyer. Chaise handed his keys over to the valet, escorted Julie up the stairs to the hotel entrance and made his way to the La Cucina restaurant snugly positioned in the heart of the resort.
As they walked through the cavernous foyer, Julie noticed the adoring eyes of various hotel visitors sliding her way. She looked stunning in her outfit and she felt like a celebrity gracing the red carpet as they ascended up the majestic dual staircase at the end of the foyer.
Julie looked up the staircase to where her friends were waiting with huge grins beaming across their faces. She savoured ever second of their adoration and pulled Chaise’s arm in tight as they walked up the stairs.
Ali was the first to greet them at the top. She hugged Julie and kissed her on the cheek, whispering praise of Julie’s beauty into her ear before releasing her grip. Julie’s heart blossomed and she went to greet her girlfriends as Chaise hovered about with Carl and the boys.
Chaise fist-bumped his brother Carl in greeting. ‘Do you manage the booking bro?’
‘Kinda.’ Replied Carlos.
‘Whatcha mean, kinda?’
‘Well, there’s another group booked in before us, so it might conflict.’
‘That’s no good. I trust you have that covered?’ enquired Chaise.
‘Yeah. Shouldn’t be a major.’ Winked Carlos, ‘I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve.’
‘I knew you would.’ Chaise replied as he turned his attention to his guests.
Tonight was their final “High Table” gathering and formal dinner for the group. It was a tradition for students at St Andrews to attend formal dinner parties with University staff and esteemed members of the community. Formal dress, ties’ and “your very best attire” was a prerequisite for the evening, especially when the senior University members and heads of department were invited.
It was Chaise’s idea to bring them all together in a final get-together evening, but it wasn’t just the meal that was causing all of the excitement amongst the group; the pending toga party was the anticipated highlight of the evening.
Chaise gently tapped the side of a Champagne glass to capture their attention. ‘Everyone, your attention please?… Will you please take your seats and welcome to our final High Table.’
The maître d’ took their orders and soon served drinks to the group who were discussing their final exams, plans to return home to their families, and the prospect of employment and job interviews.
‘I’m just going to chill out for a few months and relax,’ pipped Savannah, ‘What about you Chaise? What are your plans?’
‘Well, I think Carl and I will be continuing with our R&D by the sounds of things right now. The laboratory is being prepared for our return.’
‘Lucky you!’ Savannah replied, ‘Any chance of finding me something?’
‘I certainly would look into it.’ He replied, ‘The business is growing, and certainly will grow more once we get this next chemical under control.’
‘I’ll definitely keep it in mind.’ Said Savannah, ‘Especially if you after test subjects.’ She giggled.
‘Ha! No shortage of volunteers there I’m afraid.’
‘What chemical are you trying to control?’ Maggie inquired.
‘We’re calling it “Super V” for the moment, it’s really Carl’s baby as he’s been more hands on with the development effort.’
‘Super V? Sounds pretty special. Does it make you super human?’
‘Not really.’ Carlos replied, ‘It is sort of like a super potent batch of Viagra, but that’s the problem. It’s a bit too potent, you could say.’
‘Well, it’s so potent, it’s not just having an effect on males. Females are able to use it as well.’
‘Really? Female Viagra?’ Maggie exclaimed, ‘That’s pretty special. I suspect there’s a huge market for that.’
‘That’s what I was telling Julie just as we arrived tonight,’ Said Chaise, ‘but we’re not just looking for a Viagra effect for short-term or immediate effect. We’re hoping to offer a more conventional medical product too for patient treatment on a long-term basis.’
‘What kind of patients?’ Asked Maggie.
‘Well, that’s kind of company confidential information for now, as I’m sure you can appreciate.’
‘Oh! Of course. I understand, completely.’ Maggie replied, ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude, being the newbie here ‘n all’
‘No problem. It’s just, well, family business you see. Nothing personal, and certainly not because you’re the newbie either.’
‘That’s fine. Rex warned me not to ask too many questions about the things you and your brother get up to.’
‘It’s not like that,’ Rex interrupted, ‘Just keeping it tight Chaise.’
‘And we really appreciate that Rex. Tight is good.’
‘Cheers, it’s just that Maggie here has had a few bad experiences when it comes to chemical experiments. I just wanted to make her feel comfortable.’
‘Bad experiences? Like what?’
‘My ex.’ Maggie replied, ‘He killed himself a few months ago during mid-term exams.’
‘Oh shit. Sorry to hear that…’ Replied Chaise.
‘It’s okay. He had an overdose on some rogue ecstasy. Some Superman-labelled shit that he bought in a nightclub from a regular supplier.’
‘Far out. I heard all about that.’ Said Carlos.
‘Yeah well, what can I say. I told him not to buy it and to just keep on drinking, but he was so hyped after his exam he just wanted to let his hair down.’
‘Well we’re not into that kind of illegal stuff here, trust me.’
‘I know, Rex has assured me of that. But you could easily do so, couldn’t you?’
Chaise scoffed, ‘Are you some kind of undercover cop?’
‘No!…’ she cried.
‘Relax, I’m just screwing with you.’ Maggie sighed with relief as Chaise continued. ‘We are fortunate I guess. Our family business has helped a number of other companies provide medical remedies for real world problems. We’ve watched them grow and put smiles on the faces of sufferers around the world, and now it’s our chance to grow.’
‘Smiles on faces. I like that,’ replied Maggie, ‘I guess that’s all that Chris wanted before he overdosed.’
‘Well, I’m not sure about that, but I do see something coming that will put a smile on everyone’s faces.’ Said Chaise, ‘Here comes our meal…’
The maître d’ returned with two other waiters following carrying steaming hot plates who quickly tabled the meals and took further orders to refresh various glasses around the table. The maître d’ then briefly checked everything was up to their expectation before departing with his team back into the kitchen.
Chaise encouraged the group to raise their glasses in a toast to their years’ of friendship, memories and learning at the university. It wasn’t long before the subject of conversation returned back to the table.
‘So… if you’re not into that kind of stuff, then what do you do for kicks?’ Maggie inquired.
Chaise’s raised his eyebrows in admiration of her persistence. ‘You know, curiosity may have killed the cat, but persistence probably taught it a lesson.’
‘Are you saying I need to be taught a lesson?’ She replied.
‘You can never learn too much in life.’
‘Are you a good teacher?’ Maggie jested.
‘Teacher, no. Master, maybe…’
Maggie blushed as he called her flirtatious bluff. Julie washed her smirk away with a sip of wine from her glass.
‘None of us here, I believe, are into illicit drug use. Isn’t that right Rex?’
‘Not at all Chaise.’
‘But you make your own drugs for recreation? How can that not be illicit?’ replied Maggie.
‘It’s research, primarily.’
‘Primarily? So there’s some fun involved?’
‘Always some fun involved.’ He replied, ‘And sometimes it’s not so much fun, but we’re always backing a greater cause. Experimental, recreational, incidental, whatever…’
‘Interesting, I’m intrigued…’ Maggie replied as they continued to eat their meal.
Chapter 6 <–
To be released May 2017