There was no reason to be at Kate�s desk, except Kate herself, but Owen pretended they weren�t just chatting. He flicked through Marketing Week, registering one headline per page.

�How many bikes do you have?� Kate asked.

�Oh, just the three.�




�I�m thinking of getting another. I�ve got a mountain bike, a play bike and a commuter. I really want a proper road bike.�

�Ah, there you are.� It was a familiar voice. They both looked up at Bill Walsh. He was tall, stood straight to emphasise it and had a full head of white hair. Depending upon lighting, the lines on his face could equally cast benign shadows as scary ones. �I wanted to have a word with you.� For a moment, Owen hoped he meant Kate, but he followed as Bill walked away.

�You�re the guy who cycles in every day, aren�t you?� Bill asked over his shoulder. �I�ve seen your bike in the carpark.�

�Er, yeah.�

�Why do you do it? You must have been sorted with a company car by now.�

�It keeps me fit. And I�m only a temp, I don�t think I qualify for a company car.� Or the sharesave scheme, or a pension, he didn�t add.

Bill stared at Owen for a moment, his hand on the meeting room door knob. He seemed ready to cancel the whole meeting. �We�ll have to see about that.�

Owen took the seat facing away from the window, so he wouldn�t be distracted by the planes gliding into Heathrow.

�You know two lads in Manchester, Mike and Paul- I forget their surnames. Work for Sales up there?�

�Yes. Mike took over from me and he recommended Paul when the workload ramped up.�

�Good. They�ve revolutionised the stock control system up there. And returns. Sharon Walker recommended it for our all our new offices.�


�I�d like you to work with them when they come down here. You don�t have any major projects coming up do you?�

�No. None.�

�Good. Sharon will fill you in when their move is arranged.�