Standing in front of his bay windows, Nicholas Kyle stopped looking out the window, and instead began to focus on his own reflection in the window.
Kyle considered how the reflection worked. What to him was his right hand with his drink was his reflection's left hand with its drink.
How ironic, he thought.
He walked over to the bar and looked in the mirror behind the bar. Although the light was dimmer farther inside the living room, the mirror was more effective at reflecting the light that was there, so the result was that he could see himself a little more clearly.
It was quite interesting, really. His head was the same, but where his hair was parted from the right over toward the left, in the mirror it seemed to be parted from the left over toward the right. The drink was the same, but as he had noticed before, it was in his reflection's left hand.
How ironic, he thought again.
When he was young, he had always wanted to be an agent with the Gotham Bureau of Investigation.
The GBI, he thought. As a boy, he had read comic books and watched TV shows portraying the GBI protecting Gotham City from organized crime, narcotics traffickers, corruption, and a whole list of other threats. GBI agents were heroes! He had so wanted to be a GBI agent.
In high school he studied hard, exercised regularly and kept his nose clean. He knew the GBI would only take the best, and in no way was he going to jeopardize a future application with the GBI by doing something stupid in high school. Other kids skipped classes and smoked; occasionally they would get together with some beer someone had procured for them and have a party. There were also those who used marijuana, or even other drugs. But not Nicholas Kyle; he would have none of that. He was clean cut, kept his shirt tucked in, and spoke respectfully to the school staff. His teachers were very impressed with him, and enjoyed having him in their classrooms. Nick, as they called him, was a hero -- in fact, they called him that, too: "the hero" -- and it paid off for him; every once in a while he would come into class a little late, or need a little more time with a homework assignment, and his teachers looked for a way to interpret the rules so Nick wouldn't be in trouble.
Despite his hard work, he had trouble getting a scholarship for college, and he definitely needed one. Kids from richer families had no problems, their parents could afford to send them to school, while kids from poorer families had scholarship opportunities available to them based more on financial need than on academic merit, but Nick's family was too poor to be rich, and too rich to be poor. While he did well in school, he just couldn't do as well as those couple of kids that always seemed to come out on top academically; the few scholarships available for merit went to them, and Nick was left struggling. Finally, though, he did qualify for some subsidies, which, together with contributions from his family and income from part time jobs, allowed him to complete four semesters of schooling. During that time, he thought more about the GBI. Even upon graduation, it would still not be easy to be accepted; and, graduation was still a long way off.
Toward the end of his fourth semester of college, he applied with Gotham Police Department. He was very pleased when he found out he was accepted. He knew that now he would have a steady income, which would allow him to finish college, although the going would be much slower, as he would be going to school part-time, and working full time as a cop. However, that offered the opportunity for him to gain some experience in law enforcement. It would now be his mid-to-late twenties before he would have the degree he would need to apply to the GBI, but he would also have experience and be able to get recommendations from his supervisors at the GPD, and that would be a big help.
Meanwhile, he met Selena Lyon. Fortunately, they were perfect for each other, and she understood his dream of becoming a GBI agent. While they had fun together, she was careful to make sure she didn't distract him too much from his goals, and she helped motivate him to finish school and get his degree.
Finally, he applied, and the day came when he was accepted. The GBI academy was long and tough, harder than the GPD academy had been, but graduation day came and he was officially Special Agent Nicholas Kyle of the Gotham Bureau of Investigation. Shortly thereafter, Selena Lyon became Selena Kyle, and the newlyweds moved into this new house that they could finally afford with his decent salary as a GBI agent, supplemented by her income.
His life was a dream come true. He had a career as a GBI agent opening up before him, he was married to a beautiful, intelligent, charming wife, who he felt was really his soul-mate, and they had moved into a wonderful home in the suburbs of Gotham City.
What had gone wrong? he wondered.
Nicholas Kyle finished his drink and poured himself another, glancing again at his reflection in the mirror, oblivious to the dark figure that was watching him from upstairs.
Bruce Wayne walked in. The head waiter greeted him by name.
"Good evening, Mr. Wayne. Will you be expecting company this evening?"
"As a matter of fact, two young ladies will be here."
The waiter smiled a neutral smile, trying not to hint any thoughts he might have about Mr. Wayne's answer.
"Doctor Sandra Villanova will be joining me for dinner, and my driver, Sasha Bordeaux, will be in momentarily, as well. Sasha will not be sitting with us; she has something to do. But, I would like a table near the window for myself and for Dr. Villanova."
"We have a table in that bay window up the stairs there. Will that do?"
Wayne looked off in the direction the head waiter was indicating. A little isolated, with a good view outside, not too visible from the door....
"Yes, that will be fine." A waiter began to escort Wayne to his table, as Wayne turned back to the head waiter and added, "Please give Sasha a seat somewhere where she can see both my table and the door."
"Certainly, Mr. Wayne," the head waiter answered, a little curious.
"Oh, and whatever Sasha orders, put it on my tab," Wayne added.
"Of course, Mr. Wayne." The head waiter and the waiter escorting Wayne to his table exchanged glances.
Approaching his table, Wayne was even more pleased with the location the head waiter had offered him. The lighting inside was dim and relaxing, even romantic. His table, separated and partially hidden from other tables by a large aquarium and several potted plants, was private. The lighting inside was dim enough to allow him to see outside, but bright enough that he could see clearly inside. On the frames of the bay windows were mirrors, allowing him to look in the direction of the window, but still see clearly the inside of the restaurant behind him. Furthermore, due to the lighting difference, he could also see the restaurant reflected in the glass from the bay windows, though not as well.
The waiter seated him and lit the candle on his table, as another waiter brought a glass of water for him.
In the reflection of the mirror, Wayne could see someone arriving at the front door. He looked. Through the plants he could see Sasha. After talking briefly with the head waiter, Sasha walked over toward the bar and found a seat where she could see both the front door and the little enclave where Wayne's table was. Wayne nodded at Sasha and smiled, then turned back to look out the window.
Where had things gone wrong in his life? Nicholas Kyle wondered.
He walked back over to the bay window and looked out again, then sat down in an armchair a few steps away from the window and looked outside. From this far inside the room, his own reflection was not visible. Outside, the sky had been clouding over, and he noticed that it was beginning to rain ever so gently.
Looking back on it now, he knew exactly where it had gone wrong.
An acquaintance of his from the Gotham Police Department, a more senior police officer, Richard Donovan, contacted him one day while he was relatively new at the Bureau. He said he had a friend at the GBI, and he wanted to invite this friend to an event that was coming up, but wasn't sure how to get in touch with him. Could Nick please get him a GBI phone book so he could call his friend at the office?
There were rules against that; all such requests were supposed to be channeled through the public affairs office. However, the new Bureau directories had just come out, and Nick was about to throw out his old directory. He thought for a moment, and figured there would be no problem giving an old Bureau directory to a member of the Gotham Police Department.
His acquaintance at the GPD was delighted. The acquaintance's friend at the GBI went to the event, the two of them talked some business, and it opened up a new business relationship for both Donovan and his friend. In celebration, Donovan invited Nick and Selena to dinner at a nice restaurant. Kyle thought it was a little much, a fairly nice dinner for him and his wife, all merely for giving away a phone book that was destined for the trash can, but his acquaintance insisted that the business venture was very profitable, and that, while it seemed like nothing to Nick, it meant a great deal to Donovan.
Shortly thereafter, Donovan contacted him again. He needed some help on a case, and he was wondering if Nick could take a look at some GBI files and pass along information on the subjects of Donovan's investigation. Nick suggested he just request the files through official channels: the Gotham Bureau of Investigation had a good working relationship with the Gotham Police Department, and with other law enforcement agencies as well; procedures were established for such cooperation, and Donovan could get whatever he needed officially, and probably get far better information than what Kyle could provide him anyway. Donovan insisted that going through channels would take too long, that there was a fleeting opportunity in the investigation, and that Nick was his only hope to get things moving.
Kyle thought about it. There were rules against it, but Kyle certainly understood how slow the bureaucracy could move. He helped Donovan again.
Donovan was very appreciative. The information Kyle provided from the GBI was useful in helping bring down a small ring of thieves. Donovan was praised by his boss, and he insisted on taking Nick and Selena Kyle to dinner once again.
So, little by little, Special Agent Nicholas Kyle of the Gotham Bureau of Investigation grew accustomed to bending the rules to help his friend Richard Donovan of the Gotham Police Department. He also grew accustomed to getting small rewards and small favors in return.