Counterpoint – Trading

Lisa goes back to her roots. Drama, I-3

Character(s): Lisa Hawkeye

The door hadn’t changed at all.

It was the same strong-grained wood, glossy and polished with no signs of scuff marks or wear. The brass plate by the door still gleamed and the name Holbeck still marched across it in elegantly engraved letters. The name’s owner stood as Lisa was ushered into his office and held out a hand. “It’s good to see you again, Madam! What can we do for you today?”

Lisa smiled at the accounts manager, shaking his hand firmly before taking one of the deep, cushioned chairs. “For once, I actually have some work for you. How are my accounts doing?”

Holbeck whisked open the lone folder sitting in the middle of his desk and extracted two pieces of paper. He passed them over to her and sat back, hands folded. “As you can see, the account for your military salary is declining; am I correct in thinking there will be no more deposits into it?” He made a small harumph when she nodded. “Well. Your family allowance account is still accruing, of course. There was a bit of a dip, earlier this year, what with the panic over change in government, but things have smoothed out again.”

Lisa ran a quick eye over the figures, but Holbeck’s summary was really all she needed. A corner of her mouth twitched as she wondered what Roy would think if he knew that she’d learned half her officer skills from her family’s bank manager.

“Leave the salary account as it is; I’ll be drawing daily expenses from that until it’s gone. The allowance, though…” Lisa let out a slow breath. “I want to invest the whole thing.”

Holbeck blinked at her for one moment. She couldn’t blame him for taking a while to adjust; she’d been… vehement in her refusal to touch the money her family doled into that account. Totally aside from her support of Roy’s goals, it had been a matter of principle to succeed on her own merits and resources, as an officer.

“Of course, Madam,” Holbeck said, recovering. “Do you know where you wish to invest?”

Lisa handed over a sheet of her own. “I want to divide it evenly between these two companies, for now.”

Holbeck made professionally considering noises as he read. “Ah, yes, one of the building companies that’s involved down in Lior, excellent choice. And…” He hesitated and glanced up at her. “Cary Munitions? You’re sure, Madam? They don’t have any major contracts…” He trailed off as Lisa smiled.

“They don’t yet,” she agreed.

A gleam of anticipation lit Holbeck’s eye. “I see.” He tucked the paper into her folder. “If I may say so, Madam, you are your father’s daughter.”

Lisa’s smile tilted. “Yes. I suppose I am.”

And now the skills her father had taught her would serve the ends of the man she had chosen to follow. The man Jordan Hawkeye had insisted was unworthy of his only daughter.

“On that subject,” Holbeck added in a suddenly cautious tone, “we have, as you directed, answered all your family’s inquiries about your allowance account. Do you wish to change that policy now?”

Lisa sighed. “No. If you suddenly stop answering their questions they’ll just come bother me.” Even she could hear that her laugh was brittle.

“As you say, Madam,” Holbeck murmured.

She knew Holbeck had been worried and saddened by the chilly silence between his best clients and their daughter, the girl who used to sit on the floor of his office and make pretend ledger entries on the backs of old bills while he did business with her parents. Lisa summoned a more genuine smile for him. “I imagine I’ll be seeing you more often, now, Mr. Holbeck.”

“Indeed.” He brightened. “I’ll look forward to it. We all will.”

They parted cordially and Lisa paused on the steps of the bank to look up at the tall stone arches. This was her family’s world. She wasn’t sure she was ready to come back to it. But she was sure that she had agreed with Roy Mustang seven years ago, and that she still did now. For her, nothing had changed. One method she was uncertain of had been replaced by another. The fight went on.

Her shoulders straightened and she turned down the steps to head home.

TBC