BONDS Two: Claim

“Are you on track for the opening?” Julien asked.
“Worried about your investment?” Kennedy countered, studying Julien’s reflection in the window.
“Not at all.” Julien stretched his legs in front of him and crossed his ankles. “I figured you’re worried enough for all of us. No sense both of us losing sleep.”
“There’s some truth to that.”
Julien sipped the whiskey and again exhaled his approval. “Damn. It gets better.”
“How many cases should I have shipped to you?” Kennedy asked.
“I’ll take a dozen. And this time, give me a friends’ discount, will you?”
“Sure. Just give me an advanced version of your next smart watch,” Kennedy countered.
“Next generation of HD video,” Julien said. “We’ll be using flexible glass.”
“I’m hearing it will be made from sapphires.”
“I can neither confirm nor deny that.”
“I’ll demo it for you.” Along with about half a million other volunteers.
Julien lifted his glass toward Kennedy. “Charge me full price for the whiskey.”
It didn’t matter that he and Julien had been friends since college, that they’d gone to jail together on The Night of Infamy or that Kennedy had used his trust fund to invest in Julien before Silicon Valley had even heard of him.
The man was part genius, driven by demons of perfection. He’d admitted that none of his achievements had ever lived up to his vision. For days, he’d stay in his office, never going home, blurring the lines between day and night, reality and possibility.
More than any of their other friends, Kennedy understood the haunted restlessness that threatened Julien.
The clouds let loose their moisture, spitting plump drops of rain that splattered against the window panes and oozed slowly down. “Why are you on this side of the continent?” Kennedy asked. Julien’s impromptu visit shouldn’t have surprised him. The man operated by his own set of rules and social niceties.
“I have to show up tomorrow morning for the grand opening of the New York offices. I wanted to attend via hologram, but I was told I have to cut the ribbon. Haven’t figured out how to get my image to manipulate physical objects.”
“I need a challenge.”