Title: A Beautiful Lie
Word Count: 663.
A/N: Without consciously realizing it, I made Damian highly analytical. The sheer amount of numbers I have in this chapter amaze me.
He had been standing in front of the surveillance monitors for nearly two hours, eyes flickering between the twenty-five screens that lined the wall nearly nonstop. At approximately the forty-five minute mark, whispers had begun amongst some of the henchmen of him being a robot, but Damian had stoutly ignored them.
Because if he were a robot, his eyes would self-lubricate better to avoid this slight burning sensation from staring at the screens for too long. And there was nothing wrong with having perfect posture. As the digital clocks in the right-hand corner of all the monitors flashed to 10:00:00, Damian let out a growl and finally tore his gaze away from his task.
“What is wrong, habibi? Are you having trouble finding him?”
Damian stiffened at the way Mother’s term of endearment was edged with doubts of his abilities.
“I have studied his movements, mannerisms, and characteristics since I could crawl. You know, as well as I do, that I am perfectly capable of finding him in under three minutes if he was there.” It had taken a tremendous amount of willpower not to growl out those last four words.
Damian scowled at Mother as she gave the surveillance equipment a mildly concerned glance.
“No,” she denied, gathering herself up from the seat she had taken after shoving aside the body of the unconscious security guard. “He must be there. His confirmation was sent in last minute, meaning whatever plans he had before were cancelled in favor of this and not the other way around. He is there. You simply are not looking hard enough.”
“Of the five hundred guests that were invited and of the four hundred eighty-three that confirmed, there are currently four hundred sixty-eight in attendance, including the three of whom are unaccounted for on the guest list. There are forty-five waiters, sixteen catering chefs, sixty security personnel, ten volunteers, twenty-three staff members, and he is not among any of them!” Damian was unable to keep his voice from raising and immediately looked away in shame as Mother’s eyes hardened at the desperation that tinted his exclamation.
“You are wrong. He is there.” The absolute certainty Mother held immediately caused Damian’s own stubbornness to waver.
Giving one last long look at each of the screens to ease his sudden doubts, Damian forced himself to calm down and formulate a new plan as the surveillance denied giving him any easy answers. Eyes still on the monitors, he picked up his tuxedo jacket that he had carelessly thrown over the control panel upon first arriving.
“Where are you going?” Mother took a step forward, prompting Damian to take his own step back as he slipped on his jacket.
“To join the party,” Damian explained simply. “If he is there, then he’s an expert at avoiding the cameras. Perhaps I’ll have better luck if I can hear his voice.”
This time when Mother stepped forward, Damian remained still, allowing her to place her hands on his shoulders before running her palms down his arms and straighten out his jacket.
"Oh, habibi.” Damian scowled at Mother’s almost loving tone. He had come to recognize it as a sign that something he had said or done was worth getting sentimental over. It disturbed him greatly simply because Mother was not a sentimental woman. “Do you want me to accompany you?”
Damian eyed Mother’s appearance. Her white, v-neck gown looked exquisite in the way it clung to her body and highlighted her exotic features. Her gold jewelry spoke volumes of her wealth and her posture was a clear indication that she was a woman to be respected.
But despite the obvious advantages of having her at his side, Damian shook his head and pulled away from her touch. “No.” He turned and headed for the room’s exit, pausing as he waited for the guards to move aside. “You would draw too much attention. You’re too beautiful.”
And with that he left to join the party.