Ed was grateful that Con pushed his drink away, having definitely bitten off more than he could chew. He let out another cough to hide his embarrassment with his actions. Always the ambitious one, wasn’t he? That’s what he was often told. Ah, but phooey on those who frowned upon ambition! It was good to reach for the stars, even if you fall time and time again. One day you’ll get there. You just have to work for it.
That’s what he always told himself anyway.
His mother tended to not be quite so positive about his dreams. She always said that the only thing her Eddy could hope for in life was failure. There was no light in the path that he chose, and he certainly wouldn’t ever be half the success that his two brothers were. But he’d show her. He’d made thneed, hadn’t he? That was step one! And his ticket to step two was sitting next to him at a bar with a big Irish smile on his face.
Con leaned in very close to Ed, making him feel alert as though he needed to give him his undivided attention. Being this close to a stranger would make him uncomfortable under normal circumstances, but there was something friendly and likeable about Con. He was a person to be trusted… well, as far as Ed knew anyway. There would always be that dull suspicion in the back of his mind that maybe putting his trust into this guy wasn’t the best move to make. Ed had a habit of relying on no one but himself, and that wasn’t going to change this soon in the game.
“How do I feel about it?” Ed mused, looking up at the ceiling as if to find an answer, “How do I feel about it…” He feigned pondering the idea, putting a finger to his chin, until a grin betrayed his true feelings and his gleeful blue eyes met Con’s. “Pretty darn excited, that’s how I feel!! Feidhelm, if you think you can handle it, you’ve got yourself a business partner!” He extended a hand, thinking that a proper shaking would seal the deal.
Connall grinned back at Ed, chuckling a bit as he shook his hand and gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder. Everything had gone perfectly to plan, and now he had the kid right where he wanted him. Of course, he really did like Ed, and everything he said had been true, strictly speaking.. But there was, of course, a selfish motive in nearly everything Con did. He was hardly a charity kind of guy, he didn’t help people just for the sake of helping them. That kind of thing was for the elder Wilde brother that worked under him. Which was fine, just as long as it didn’t get in the way of his work for Con.
Regardless, it just so happened that this time, it worked to the advantage of both parties if they worked together.
“Great! Glad ta have ya on board, mate! Call me Connall. Or Con, if you like. That’s what my friends call me. Speakin o’ which..” He straightened up and laid some money for the drinks on the bar, nodding to the bartender before turning back to Ed, gesturing to the door. “Do ya have time now, Ed? I’d like ta introduce ya to that friend o’ mine that works in th’ labs. After all, he’s the one ye’ll be workin’ with most.” He smiled. “I’m sure th’ two of ya will get along great.”
Ed smiled with gratitude when Connall payed for the drinks. He liked this guy! What was his family always going on about when they said people were cruel? Not everybody was SO bad. Even if his product was AMAZING and taking Ed under his wing was beneficial to Con’s business, the way he was going about it was very casual and kind. At any rate, he totally appreciated it.
“Uhh, yeah!” Ed answered with a sort of slanted smile. “I’m not really doing anything for the rest of the day, it’d be cool to meet my new business partner.” ‘Business partner’… the words practically tingled on Ed’s lips. He didn’t think he’d be bragging about working with a fellow scientist so soon! This was going to be so cool…
He swiped up his guitar and slung it over one shoulder, standing from the bar stool. “Lead the way, Connall!” Ed bade cheerfully. This was seriously exciting and to be perfectly honest, he couldn’t WAIT to get started. Being home-schooled for most of his life, he didn’t know the first thing about meeting people. To be handed everything on a silver platter like this was a much better fate than he ever imagined the real world offering.
Con had called his “ride” which he hardly used except for in situations like this, when he wanted to seem more professional in a business deal. The driver was also his official hit man, Ivan, the only one under his employ that was quiet and inconspicuous enough for the job. Luckily, he didn’t really put off the threatening air one might expect from a hired assassin either, which would have complicated things in this particular situation.
Anyway, digressing, the ride didn’t last long, and Connall filled the silence with some casual small-talk, dominated mostly by the topic of John Lennon - Con having noticed Ed’s guitar and being quite a fan of the man himself.
Soon, however, the conversation was cut short as they arrived at the lab, a relatively small, inconspicuous building, neighboring a green house, which kept the plants Tan needed for his drugs. It was dull to look at on the outside, but Tanner had stocked the place very well, and made it look like a proper, professional lab on the inside, with all the proper instruments, chemicals, and lighting.
“I’ll bet it looks a bit disappointing on the surface.” Con said matter-of-factly as he got out of the car with Ed and approached the side-entrance. “Don’t worry, it’s a lot better on th’ inside. A lot o’ the work bein done is handled completely by my friend here, so we figured extra space would only be troublesome.” He chuckled as he unlocked and opened the door for Ed, leading immediately down a several bright, immaculate hallway with doors lining each side. “You’ll have plenty o’ room to work, don’t worry.”
The ride to the lab wasn’t as frightening as Ed had anticipated when the vehicle drove up. Being in a strange car with two strange men made him slightly uneasy at first, but Con quickly brought up the subject of John Lennon and it made for a much easier journey. Needless to say, the building wasn’t exactly what he was expecting…
It was far better. In his mind’s eye he had seen a sketchy looking shack with cracked paint, broken shutters, and vines growing all over the house. This was a far nicer, less ghetto building that he could definitely see himself walking into every day.
“Are you kidding?” Ed asked with a laugh when Con apologized about the building’s facade, “This place looks perfect!” Perhaps he was over excited, but he didn’t care. Today was going far better than he ever anticipated and darnit he reserved the right to be happy about it! When they stepped into the building, Ed was greeted with a bright hallway and a handful of doors. It was a bit overwhelming to be honest, but he wasn’t about to be a pansy about it.
Walking with confidence, Ed traveled down the hall, glancing at each door carefully. “So…” he began, “which room will I be working in?”
“Ta be honest, I don’t know.” Con chuckled and rubbed the back of his head, embarrassed. “Ya see, I’m great at the business part of all o’ this, but when it comes to the science, I’m clueless. Which is why most of that side is taken care of by my friend, Tanner.” He explained, opening the third door on the right for them, which led into a large, rather messy lab. The sounds of machines whirring and an alarm buzzing made the place seem like it belonged to a crazy scientist. Which wasn’t.. so far off base.
“Don’t worry, he’s usually a lot more organized… Sometimes he just gets excited…” Connall sighed, finding the alarm and switching it off, along with the machine it was attached to.
“Tanner!” He called, glancing around the place. “Ed Onceler is here. Don’t keep the poor kid waiting.”
There was a scuffling noise in the open closet in the back corner of the room and Tanner stuck his head out, looking a tad disheveled.
“Oh! Be right out!” He chirped happily, disappearing for a moment before reappearing with a huge box, which he lugged over to the nearest table. Once he was free of the box, he bounced over and excitedly grabbed Ed’s hand in both of his and shook.
“Hello there! I’m Dr. Tanner Feidhelm, welcome to my lab!” He beamed excitedly. ”It’s gunna be really fun to have someone to partner with and talk about science with! I try to talk to Con about some of this stuff, but he usually just checks out.” He nudged Con teasingly.
“Ahh-nice to meet you!” Ed stated, taken by surprise with how eagerly Tanner was shaking his hand. “M-my name’s Ed Onceler!” There was an awkward pause when Ed remembered that Con had already said his name. “But… you knew that already…” Nice one, Eddie. Real smooth. Like always.
“So your lab kind of looks AMAZING.” Ed admitted, changing the subject quickly and marveling at all of the stuff he was seeing just in this room. “To be honest, I was expecting some sort of filthy dump that could give me a disease just by looking at it.” He laughed, sounding relieved. This place was very impressive and he was having a difficult time hiding the fact that he thought so.
This Tanner kid seemed to have a lot of energy. “I’ve got a feeling I’m going to enjoy working with you.” Ed beamed, “I haven’t ever really worked with anyone before, so I don’t exactly know how much of a team player I’m gonna be, but hey! There’s a first time for everything.”