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Making new friends.
This is our line in the sand too. Cross that and we're setting ourselves up to be pressured on the same point in every future contract."
"So you can wriggle, but choose not to."
"Yep, it's now first one to blink!"
"You're kidding me right?"
"I don't want to piss on your chips, but no way are we climbing down on this."
"Well gentlemen, either we go round in circles on this or we stop now, agree to disagree and walk away, what's it to be?"
"So you're calling us?"
"Looks like it hombre."
"It really comes down to this?"
"Pretty much, give us what we want or we take our box of toys and play with someone else."
"So we're not the only kid in the sandpit?"
"Honestly? no! My colleagues have a pitch ready for other potential suitors."
"Only your word for this though?"
"True, but can you afford to call me out?"
"You blow this and you're on the fast track to the exit I take it?"
"First and only chance, so you see boys, I have to win."
"and you're going to add, nothing personal?"
"Of course it's not, it's business, we've been digging the dirt on you by the way. You boys aren't bulletproof either. Tough times ahead, I understand, a costly deal in the Middle East might, I stress might just turn you belly up, am I right or am I right?"
"We are experiencing some turbulence in our Middle East businesses, I'll admit, but it's temporary and business is sustainable."
"Not what I'm reading, you guys are about to lose a deal worth about two thirds of this one. You need this like a duck needs water."
"We need this like a camel needs water!" Geoff piped up, I winced.
We sat back no one talking. I grabbed a Danish, tugging at the pastry angrily, a thin patina of crumbs spattered everywhere.
"Come on Peter, we can work this out, talk to me, wriggle your best wriggle." She grinned and flashed those pearly whites again.
We circled round, two, three, four times. I knew we weren't going to break her, not on this, her job and future rested on her sealing this on their terms. Knowing our situation, I knew we could afford to negotiate , but dammit, this was the little girl-next-door, sticking it to me. That hurt. However, we needed this contract, and they knew it. Oh they needed it too, but not just for the profit, they needed the prestige.
"Shall we have lunch, then reconvene, I guess we all need to make calls, I've arranged a table in the restaurant, but let's go through in say thirty minutes. Time to report back."
She stood and swayed across the room, exiting without a backwards glance, but she knew we were following her arse as she did. I knew the smile that would be on her lips as she walked, I grinned, Geoff looked at me and nodded. As she closed the door behind her he whistled, her fingers tapped the clear glass of the wall as she passed, then lifted in an admonishing finger wag, delivered with her arm behind her and no glance back.
"Fucking tight ass bitch!" He said, then grinned, "I'd fuck her in an instant, an instant," he repeated clicking his fingers.
"If she'd let you, I think young Pam has us pretty sewn up, she's cool as ice negotiating, she thinks she has all the strings."
"And does she?"
"Look at it this way Geoff, after this one or two people here might be picking up their last pay cheque."
"Yep, pretty much, 'Fuck' it is."
"We have to call Bill and John," he added.
"Yup, let's go to my room, we can speakerphone them."
Twenty five minutes later we entered the restaurant, were guided to the table and watched her rise when we arrived.
"Gentlemen, a drink, whilst you choose your lunch?"
"Mineral water, slice of lemon, no ice please."
"Same but ice please," Geoff added.
The waiter nodded and left.
"Well my Boss isn't happy, how'd you guys get on?"
"Pretty much the same, No Surrender is the basic message."
"Hmm seems we've all been giving a bollocking then."
Geoff grinned, and nodded at Pam,
"So Peter was your neighbour when you were a kid?"
"Yeah, he was and good old Uncle Peter saved my adolesce