Sunday, June 17, 2007


When they arrived in town the next morning, they found themselves part of an even bigger throng of conveyances, horses, delegates, and bodyguards than the day before. Diana, Dell and Boeing followed Patton's automobile to the hotel entrance and handed over their horses to the boy in charge of the Unitas animals. Diana wondered aloud where all the new people would fit, given that the conference room had been full the day before.

"Maybe they have another room that's bigger," Dell said, scanning the area for her new friend from Lone Star.

"I doubt it," Diana said. "I think yesterday's room was the biggest they've got."

"All I want to know is if they can do this thing quietly," Boeing said, squinting and rubbing his temples.

"Serves you right for drinking so much at the party," Dell told him. "Some bodyguard you'll be today."

"Like there's anything to guard anyone against. They're a pretty dull bunch, if you ask me."

"I wouldn't take anything for granted."

"Yeah, I know." He straightened his shoulders, composed his features, and went to help Patton out of the car. Dell checked the holster at her hip and joined him while Diana hung back, waiting to assist Amalia.

"How was the car ride, Auntie?"

"Very nostalgic." She leaned on Diana's arm as she climbed out. Then out of force of habit, she tugged at Diana's blouse and frowned. "What have you gotten yourself into already? You haven't been dressed two hours yet, and you're already covered with dust and God knows what."

Before Diana could answer, Sputnik came over and took Amalia's other arm. "Good morning, Ms. Channing. Are you being critical of your bodyguard?"

Amalia ducked her head in embarrassment. "No. I'm actually very happy  today." She leaned in close to Diana as they entered the lobby.

"Patton and I have been talking about assignments," she said. "I've got some interesting news to share with you, so when the conference is over, don't go riding ahead. Stay close. We need to talk."

Had it not been for the cheerful glint in her eyes, Diana might have been worried by this vaguely worded command. Nevertheless, she sneaked away at the first opportunity, taking Sputnik with her. "What's this big news Auntie has for me?"

"I don't know."

"Liar. You know everything that happens in Unitas. Tell me."

"Honest, I don't know, and even if I did, I wouldn’t necessarily be free to tell you."

Diana swished her skirt. "I thought you liked me."

Sputnik laughed and guided her back to the rest of the group. "I see Libby's taught you one of her favorite lines, but those tricks don't work on me. Besides, didn't you get enough spying last night?"

"It was worth a try."

"What if a man thought you were serious and fell in love with you?"

"That would be a problem."

"Then be careful. It's not nice to break a man's heart."

1 comment:

Alice Audrey said...

I can't wait to see what Amalia has up her sleeve.