Cassandra's phone decided it was not going to stop buzzing in her handbag. She looked around and saw that Phil was preoccupied before she pulled out the device. She tapped on the screen bringing it to life, she had seven missed calls, five voicemails, twelve texts, and one game notification.
She listened in on her voicemails, all of which was from her assistant who was upset that the production of the new watches coming out next year were delayed due to a bug in its programming. Cassandra rubbed the bridge of her nose while she tried to brainstorm how to fix the problem. She called up her assistant who sounded on the verge of a panic attack."Oh Miss O'Brien, the programmers said that it will set the release back at least seven months. The board wants to release on time with the issues and patch them out later." "Rayleigh, breathe, tell the board that we are going to hire more programmers to make up the time difference. Also alert them that as a company, and my own personal philosophy that we refuse to release a product that is dysfunctional. Our reputation is built on that and no amount of money is worth selling our souls for. If there is a problem tell them I will call tomorrow morning and we can have a meeting to discuss the issues, now I must return to the party. Do not call me the rest of the night."
Before Rayleigh could respond, Cass hung up the phone and took a drink of whiskey from a server.
With Raven having departed to attend to other hosting duties, Cat was left to her own devices. Her parents would argue that this was a dangerous thing, hence the reason for Cat being at this shindig. But what trouble could a girl cause with nothing more than a vodka seven in her hand? It wasn’t even being rapidly drained, for fear that with Raven gone, there would be no more left and she would have to switch back to champagne.
Although that fear was mislaid given that whiskey was now starting to circulate apparently. Huh. Guess Raven wasn’t kidding. They aren’t messing around at this party.
The tray made its way over to someone the Princess of Arcenia actually did recognize. It was hard not to with the news Princess Cassandra made when she came out as a princess. Cat was barely in high school when it happened, but it was shocking in the royal world. The Lark definitely had a field day with it. She remembered her parents gossiping over it at the table on one of the rare occasions the family actually had a meal together. Before everyone started scattering. Cassandra’s tech company seemed to be doing all right too, if what she remembered from her classes at U of L were anything to go off. That being said, she only nominally paid attention during those ones. Well enough to take notes, but not well enough to really care about the material.
Still, she had a whiskey, and she shared a similar aesthetic to Han, so there had to be some common ground that she could find. Even when Cat was made up like a porcelain doll. Hannah did what she could, and she did an amazing job, but it still wasn’t Cat’s preferred outfit. She felt so out of place next to the royal from Dal Riata, who looked pretty damn good considering everything she must have went through. Cat took another sip of her drink. Hey, you can do this, all right? You can mingle. You did a fucking great job with Raven, you can keep this up. You might be able to get out of here sooner than later. You can do this. You’re a goddamn princess for the evening, all right? All right.
Catherine cut the short distance between the two, unaware of the corporate tongue-lashing that had just been delivered. Her filter was still up, the face of the perfect royal, but it surely wouldn’t last long given Cassandra’s reputation. “So, it’s nice to see someone else embrace the alternate drinking options available,”
she offered to the princess. “I mean, one can only tolerate too much champagne before they risk floating away, am I right?”
Cass had barely put her phone away before someone else walked up to her. Through her frustration she had to scrape her memory for who this woman was. It hit her after only a moment of trying to push through the fog of whiskey clouding her brain."Yes, the good shit does help me not want to fire greedy corporate elitists that seems to think they can sabotage my baby while I am imprisoned in this…. Celebratory festival."
Cass said while raising an eyebrow towards the Princess of Arcenia. She extended a hand towards her to introduce herself."Cassandra O'Brien, hopefully we won't have to switch to champagne. It's painfully boring and all of it tastes the same. And really how can they pass up the opportunity to serve Crown Royal to actual royalty. Prob could of got some good ad revenue."
Catherine took the hand that Cassandra held out and gave it a firm but quick shake. “Catherine Almore,”
she replied in return. “And yes, you would think being close enough that Crown Royal would have jumped all over this. Of course, it’s no Jameson or Estelle’s Touch, but it’s a passable drink for sure.”
She held up her own beverage, the fizz still lingering in the clear liquid. “I can’t say this keeps me from firing corporate elitists, but it definitely gives me the strength to fight them,”
she laughed before muttering under her breath, “Fucking Brunn bastards…”"That's right, you’re the royal that enjoys protesting my competitors. I must thank you for that, I hear you know how to properly whip up a crowd. I would offer you a job at Janus, but I fear that would hurt your social justice warrior princess image."
Cass said placing her glass down."But I would be remiss if I didn't at least offer you a personal all access tour to any of my properties. I too am very conscious of the environment and it wouldn't hurt to have someone of your stature to come and give the company a once over anytime to make sure we are on the cutting edge keeping the planet sustainable."
Cass knew she had a small chance to get Catherine's stamp of approval, but if she did get it, then it would help sales, and if she wasn't happy than she would have a new project to update.
Now Catherine was expecting a lot of things at this party, but a job offer definitely wasn’t one of them. Not that should would have been in position to accept an actual job offer anyway, but it was apparent that Cassandra at least knew she did something. Even if it didn’t sound like she knew about the recent developments to her image courtesy of Cassandra’s competitors. Of course, that meant she was more than happy to keep protesting them for free.“That sounds like a lovely idea,”
she answered. “I would relish the opportunity to see just how you’ve managed to build such a powerhouse company in such a short time without cutting any environmental corners. Of course, I’m not sure of my ability to whip up a crowd anymore, if that’s what you’re after. I haven’t had much of an opportunity recently thanks to… certain developments… in my homeland.”
Cass look at Catherine a bit confused, and then laughed as she finished off her whiskey."Oh sweetie, I wasn't asking for you to come check out the place because of your reputation. I was asking you to come because you seem like the kind of person that won't kiss my ass. Running Janus is a lot of work, even here when I am "suppose" to celebrate some royal I never met I am working. The problem is, everyone thinks they need to appease the boss and it is infuriating. You wouldn't do that, specially if my decision was terrible for the ecosystem."
She said matter of factly.
Catherine’s eyes widened a little bit at that admission. “Well, if that’s what you’re after… I mean, I definitely have a reputation for not giving a damn about what the boss thinks,”
Once again, Cat’s filter started to slip ever so slightly. “That is why I’m here, because of that exact reason. Bosses weren’t pleased about what I did, so I got shipped off. So yeah, you need someone to tell you exactly what they think, I’m your girl.”
Cat tried to find something she could offer an immediate opinion on, but she was hard-pressed to find one on Cassandra. “Shoot, I’m a lot better giving opinions on stuff that isn’t just a bunch of royal shenanigans.”"Which is exactly what I need. Most people look at me and see a princess that is their boss and are intimidated by that. Also, forget those clowns, they are obviously threatened by you. So really piss them off by working with an up and coming competitor, we can scare them together."
Cassandra laughed again, getting someone like Cat to help her would definitely piss off the board. But she owned the entire company and refused to take it public. They could cower in their seats all they want, it would entertain her.
Cat lifted a glass in response. “Well if it will get me out of Arcenia for a bit until my sister’s wedding, then sign me up!”
She laughed nervously, not really wanting to abandon Arabelle just to escape her overbearing parents, but hey, there wasn’t any need to close the door on an escape hatch just because. Besides, her parents might actually approve if she was working with the Dal Riatan royalty and “showing some aim in her life”. Either way, Dal Riata had a decent scene from what she heard from the few that showed up in the Larne nightlife. At least, that’s what she thought Niall and Siobhan were talking about. It was tough to tell with them.“Yup, once the wedding occurs, then I won’t have to worry about those bosses at all. They will have no powers and me and my sister can banish the Brunns from the kingdom, and then I can do whatever I want. With whoever I want. It sounds lovely.”
Cat was lost in her own temporary daydream for a moment, but quickly snapped out of it when she realized where she was going with that. “I mean, not that life isn’t lovely now, but… it could be improved.”
Hearing how Catherine wanted the Brunns gone gave Cass an idea. One that brought a devilish grin to her face. She could use Cat's hatred to further herself a little bit."You want the Brunns gone? Well instead of just banishing them, cripple them. Tie their hands in a way that allows me to swoop in and make a hostile takeover. Once I control their company, than if you like what you see in Dal, you will know I will turn their company around and fix it. I will be taking advantage of the situation of course, but it will further economic growth and better environmental standards."“Well at the very least I know the Lark will stop spreading that homophobic garbage if your company took control of it,”
Cat stated matter-of-factly. “That in of itself would be a vast improvement on the situation in Arcenia.”
She thought for a second as she had another sip. “I’ll have to see what I can do. I don’t have a lot of ins there at the moment, but again, after the royal wedding, I know they won’t have nearly as much support from the crown as they do now, and that may be your in. If that word gets out that they pissed off the family too much, that might allow you to come in and ‘save them from themselves’. But I dunno. I’m not a savvy businesswoman like you, so I don’t even know if that would work.”"Well me being homophobic would be extremely hypocritical I would think."
Cass said with a laugh. "But I don't know if I would call me savvy, more like a bull in a china shop. I see what I want and if what I put my body, and mind through to get to where I am now is any indication. I am an extremely patient woman. But enough talk of business, I am here to pretend to enjoy this and possibly get really wasted. Be nice to have company for a bit if you have no other plans at the moment?"
Cass asked raising an eyebrow.
And with that the filter was down. No need to pretend with the Dal Riatan either. The list of acceptable people to be real with was expanding, and Cat was all for it. Granted it wasn’t much of a stretch to think Cass would make that list, but hey, confirmation is always nice. “Hey, I’ve got nowhere else to be for…
The Arcenian princess looked down at her wrist. “Two months or so. And my sister appears to need some cool down time after nearly igniting another Great War on the ballroom floor. So yeah, I think I can keep some good company. Gonna need more vodka though.”
Cass waived down a waiter and snatched a couple glasses of whiskey and handed one to Cat. Taking the shot relatively quickly, allowing the warmth to spread through her body. She grabbed another glass."Bring us a bottle of whiskey and vodka when possible, I plan on needing to be half carried to my empty bed tonight."
She said to the waiter who bowed and walked away. She then turned back towards Cat. "Let's raise a little hell, really piss off those back home!"“And two bottles of Cherry 7-up!”
Cat called out to the departing waiter. She held her glass and looked at Cass. “What? I don’t drink vodka straight like some Austerundian barbarian. C’mon now. Like them, it’s got no taste without it.”
She finally downed the offered shot of whiskey and had to stifle herself to contain the burning sensations that now passed down her throat. “All right, I can’t make any more of a scene than my big sis did, so let’s do some shit!”
She didn’t give it the full-throated bellow that her new drinking partner did, in case her sister was around. However, it was clear that soon reactivating the royal filter was not going to be an option. And that suited Cat just fine for now. Now that there were clear goals to be had in Aciras.