Chapter Twenty One

“Hey, Ryder, looks like the market came good for you over the weekend, did you see what the FTSE index went up by?” one of the trainees called after Ryder Robertson as he strolled across the trading floor at HSBC.

Ryder smiled to himself as he entered his office and sat behind his desk.  He had made his customers another cool few million over the weekend proving they should trust his financial advice, and he had also made himself a cool million pounds.

“Ryder, the head trader wants a word, can you come up to his office?” the head trader’s PA said over the speaker phone on his desk.

“Yeah, be there in ten.” He replied picking up the receiver, he sighed as he replaced it.   

He logged into his computer, checked his trades before he got up and made his way up to the head trader’s office.

* * *

“Ryder, good to see you.  Thanks for coming up.  I just wanted to see how you’re travelling and to check you were familiar with the system upgrade?” Matt the head trader said standing to welcome Ryder into his office.

“Yeah, I got a notification on my Blackberry this morning on the way into work.  Good news!”

“Yeah should make things a little easier, especially with the international market.” Matt replied, “How was your weekend? Still seeing that model, what was her name, Kylie, Katie?”

“Yeah, she was out of town this weekend though, you know, photo shoots that takes them to exotic climes,” Ryder, grinned nodding.

“Yeah, I imagine they would do,” Matt nodded with him.

“Alright, well don’t forget the meeting with the CEO this afternoon, I bet he’ll be pleased to hear about your windfall over the weekend.”

“Yep, don’t worry it’s in my diary, I’ll see you then.” Ryder turned to walk away.

“It’s good you’re back on board an in full Ryder mode!” Matt called after him.

Ryder grinned to himself again, yep total control, he thought to himself.  He lifted his head and nodded at a few familiar faces as he walked past desks set in rows, the grey decor of the office floor matching the greyness of the view overlooking the docklands and beyond, his firm jawline, flexing and his dark eyes darting from face to face.

* * *

The meeting with the CEO was long and tedious, reminders of ethical behaviour mixed in with the need to increase the profit margin.

“Hey, Ryder, fancy a Japanese tonight?” Rob, one of the brokers asked as they were leaving the meeting room.

“Yeah, why not.  I’ve got a few things to do before I leave but should be ready be 7pm.”

“Sounds good, I’ll meet you in the foyer at seven then?” Rob said walking toward the lift.

* * *

The Japanese restaurant was located upstairs in one of the high rise buildings in Canary Wharf.  The decor was minimalist Japanese with waitresses dressed in the traditional geisha style.

“Kon’ichiwa!” one of the waitresses greeted them at the door, “table for two?”

“Yes, thanks,” Rob replied.

They followed her to a small table overlooking Cabot Square where below the few pedestrians left after closing time resembled ants and the black cabs, black beetles scurrying around.

Food was served quickly as the restaurant was still quiet, only a few early evening diners scattered around the spacious restaurant.

“So what’s it like being back?” Rob asked, crossing his cutlery over the entree plate, “you were gone for a good three months.”

“Yeah, good, good to be back to normal!” Ryder laughed, “literally!”

“Ha, so what did you have, a nervous breakdown?”

“You could say that, I guess that’s the best explanation.  Too much pressure and the break up of my relationship, she was certainly vindictive, put a restraining order on me, but it didn’t get enforced, I admitted myself into The Priory and now I’m here!” Ryder said, picking up his beer.

“Well, you certainly made an impression in your first week back.  It’s good you’re back, now maybe things will start to pick up!” Rob smiled at Ryder.

Ryder looked at the few diners seated, there was a small queue of people forming at the welcome area and the geisha waitresses were busying themselves, checking bookings and moving available tables around to accommodate.

“Yeah, well if half of these idiots in here knew what we did and how it impacts on their lives, we would get better press, but as it is we’re much maligned and yet we have one of the most stressful jobs.”

“Yeah, but what you said about idiots is right, they are idiots, there’s no way they would be able to handle the pressure we’re under day to day let alone understand and still keep making the bank wealthier, meeting our deadlines and margins.”

“They’re lucky there are those of us who are intelligent enough to do it, and do it well!  We have to take risks and shortcuts to make the gains with such big margins, it’s what keeps this economy afloat otherwise we’d be in the bucket like a few other European economies.” Ryder finished.

“This looks good, thanks so much sweet heart!” Ryder said in a patronisingly to the waitress, who bowed politely and left.

“Gieshas, now there’s a culture that knows how to treat their women!  None of this independence and equality!” Ryder commented lifting his chopsticks.

“Oh come on, you wouldn’t want to be the only one in the relationship that has control, an equal always makes for an interesting time, conversation, you know!” Rob said, pushing a tiger prawn into his mouth.

“Yeah, I hear what you’re saying but wouldn’t you like it to be simpler than that, come home and have someone there waiting for you, you are her only priority, she can’t wait until you’re there to spend time with her?”

“Hmmm,” Rob responded, looking quizzically at Ryder.  “How are things on the relationship front?”

“You know, ups and downs.  We’re working on things at the moment.”

“What you and Kate?” Rob exclaimed.  “I thought you said she was going to put an order on you!”

“Ahh, you know, she over reacts.  She’s not sure what she wants, but I’m going to make it clear to her that it’s me she wants!” Ryder grinned and swallowed another mouthful of beer.

* * *

Twenty one

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