[14]Toupée or Not Toupée

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It was there one second, gone the next.

I could have sworn I had spotted the correct bald head, but surprisingly I'm not too good at distinguishing bald heads. Who would've thought?

Since I have no clue where to go now, Atty and I simply stand right in the middle of the room. Atty looks confused as usual, while my eyes dart around from man to man, looking for the right one. Eventually I spot the signature lopsided grin of my target.

But something's wrong... there's hair on his head. Oh my god.

"Of course!" I gasp, "a toupée."

"What? I'm confused," Atty begins to complain, but I shush him before he can really get going.

The man in question is standing a few meters away from us, his arm intertwined with his wife's. I give him a once over to confirm that it's really him and not a lookalike. That kind of mistake would be really embarrassing.

Obviously fake hair, plump nose, huge round eyes, and a gold watch to match the metal in his teeth- yup, that's the one and only Alfred Valentine, CEO of Hill Games- Atty's boss's boss's boss. The ultimate boss.

In one swift move I wrap my arm around Atty's and walk us towards the bossman. Atty continues protesting about not knowing what's happening as I drag him. It's not like I can tell him what I'm up to, he'll be against it. Probably because it's a teeny bit manipulative, maybe.

"Madeira-Jade, what is going on?"

Ah, seems like Atty's confusion has peeked, in which case he's got low tolerance for being out of the loop. I sigh and quietly mumble, "nothing, just go with it."


"Atticus, just go with it."

Before he can question further, I cover the remaining distance between us and the 'targets'. So, this may or may not work. Either ways, worth a shot.

I put on my best concerned look as I 'accidentally' bump into Alfred's wife, Jenna Valentine. Time to put all that preparation to good use.

"Oh my, I'm so sorry," I say, bringing a delicate hand to my chest.

The woman smiles, the corners of her eyes crinkle and I'm taken by how kind it is. "It's quite alright dear." Her voice is soft, maybe even softer than the plush cashmere shawl draped over her slender shoulders.

"Ma'am, I hope you don't mind me saying, but that colour looks exquisite on you," I say, feigning shyness. Sure, I'm complimenting her as a means to an end, but it's not a lie; the red silk of her gown is truly gorgeous against her glowing bronze skin.

Jenna covers her mouth with a gloved hand as she smiles. Even though I can't see her lips, her entire face has lit up. "You're too kind. Please, call me Jenna." She reaches out a hand.

I shake as delicately as possible, hoping she won't realize that I'm not really a polite southern belle like her but rather... well, me, I guess.


Jenna nods and says, "what a beautiful name dear. This here is my husband, Alfred." The man flashes a toothy smile, sipping the last of his wine.

"Nice to meet you, sir." I pause and add, "this is Atticus Martin. He-"

Alfred laughs the big belly kind of laugh before I can finish. "Atticus? From Marge's team?"

Atty can only nod as his CEO playfully claps him on the back, still chuckling. "Marge has told me lots about you. You seem to be a favorite of hers."

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