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Shannon Murphy ran his thumb over the raised ivory print on the invitation one more time. It was hard to believe that the coding community was recognising his work. Each year more and more software programmers entered the job market, fresh out of college, vying for the money and awards. Some days it felt as if heâ€™d become old, even at thirty-four.
Nevertheless, there was his name right next to the 'is cordially invited' and 'Innovator of the Year'. Unlike the other conference invitations he received each month, the award made this one event he couldnâ€™t excuse himself from or send a replacement speaker.
He traced the lettering again. If he were brutally honest with himself, he didnâ€™t want to turn this down. His firm deserved this. The International Software Development Organisation had awarded him Innovator of the Year for his latest software that allowed medical personnel to input and access data from virtually anywhere. No more being tied to mainframes or wall sockets. His software was one hundred percent compatible with mobile devices, making it a hit with EMT services and doctors who practised in the field.
There was considerably more to it, of course. Numerous interviews with doctors, nurses and technicians had taken months, then the software itself had taken over a year to code just the way he envisioned it. One nearby hospital had done the beta run, worked out the bugs with him. After that had come the training of his staff to roll out the software at all the local hospitals first, then nationwide when a doctor spotlighted it in a medical journal.
Shannonâ€™s computer dinged, pulling him away from his thoughts. Probably another meeting. But when he jiggled the mouse to clear his screensaver, it wasnâ€™t a meeting notice. It was an email from his friend and personal assistant, Noah Greene.
Dropped mail on your desk. Saw shiny envelope. Care to share?
Shannon grinned. Of course Noah would hone in on the invite. He loved the behind-the-scenes flurry of conferences and parties. It was what he was good at and was one of the reasons they made such a good team. Noah handled the people. Shannon handled the code.
Just for grins, he would let him stew on it for it a few before answering. Shannon dropped the heavy cream paper down to his desk, then cursed when he focused on the envelope. 'Shannon Murphy and guest'.
With a couple of clicks of the mouse Shannon pulled up the name and number of the person organising the event. He needed to bow out of having a guest attend before it became an issue. The webpage flashed at him, the face in the picture mocked him.
â€˜Adrien Sommers, director.â€™
Shit. Shannon rolled his head, stretching his neck muscles to ease the immediate tension. Memories, unwanted and unbidden, flooded back. He and Adrien had graduated together, had slept together too. Even now the thought of that break-up made him cringe. Adrien hadnâ€™t taken being dumped well. The messy argument at their then workplace had landed them both without a job. It had been Noahâ€™s suggestion to start his own business and Shannon had grabbed that idea with both hands. Adrien Sommers had faded from sight, accepting a job at a small time firm, and Shannon presumed, keeping a low profile.
Ten years later, with Noah at his side every step of the way, Shannon had built a successful programming firm. Adrien too had climbed the ranks again, most recently garnering attention over a split with his latest partner and the nasty court case over division of assets, both personal and business.
Evidently, Adrien hadnâ€™t learned his lessonâ€”or any manners.