For Buffet, the sight of Botherington entering the room — her blonde hair flailing behind her, the light through the doorway displaying her outline through a thin summer dress — all added to the surrealism of the last few days. Had he really sustained a missile attack? Had he really caught it? And was the sexiest woman on the planet now really standing at his bedside? Something might have stirred in his loins, but he wasn't sure he had any loins any more. He would have considered that he had died and gone to heaven if it wasn't for the fact that his overbearing wife had been at his bedside just 10 minutes earlier.
'What can you tell me about the government's involvement in VastTel?' asked Botherington, cutting to the chase.
'I believe the government is behind this missile attack...'
He said nothing, but he did seem a little worried by the question. He feared the perpetrators of the attack might be listening in. Gripped by fear, he possibly went a bit paler, but it was difficult to tell. He was pale to start with, he probably got a bit paler when he was hit by a missile and now maybe a little more; it was all in tiny increments from the base paleness that came from being of English descent.
'I believe the government is behind this missile attack,' she said. Again, Buffet volunteered nothing, but his body did start to tremble a little. The heart monitor started beeping, and within seconds, the young doctor was in the room.
'I'm sorry, miss, you are going to have to leave.'
He was reading the monitor, whilst trying to calm Buffet down. He had started convulsing.
'His heart rate is up to around normal,' he said, going on to explain how what was normal for most people would be an undue strain on a heart that was used to ticking away at a rate marginally above zero.
'You really must leave,' insisted the doctor, his allegiances split between patient care and gawping at the beauty and sexual energy exuding from the young journalist.
His allegiances were split between patient care and gawping at the beauty and sexual energy exuding from the young journalist.
He motioned her out of the room.
OK, I'm going,' she said, as the doctor accompanied her out. Then he took her down the corridor.
'It's alright, I can find my way from here.'
But he didn't want to let her go. How could he? She was just so beautiful.
'What about Mr Buffet; will he be alright?' she asked, minutes later, as they stood together in the taxi queue outside the hospital.
'I don't know,' he confessed, a satisfied smile across his face. It was a look Botherington had seen many times before.
Meanwhile, she noticed a scurry of activity inside the building.
'I do hope I haven't killed him,' she said. But sad though the loss of human life was, she was a journalist, and Buffet's response had told her that she was onto something; the biggest story of her career so far.
Perhaps she could get something out of their new CEO. Young Jimi Jones.
He looks quite dishy, she thought. I might have fun getting him to talk.
The Incumbent is Phil Dobbie's first novel and these excerpts have been used with his permission. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. To purchase the entire novel in digital format, click here. It is also available in printed format ... for more details click here.