Talk (Chapter 42)
Rain softly falls on the street and between the cobblestones in front of me as I make my way to the house in the East District.
I feel tired. Tired from staying up late the last three nights talking to Ivy. But it’s a good tired. It’s a tired filled with contentment and I can’t stop a small smile from turning the corners of my lips.
I never thought that there would be a female with an interest in the details of what I do. One who would sit up late at night and discuss the repercussions of different policy proposals. She may not know much about the political history of Haringshude, but she’s willing to learn.
But I will keep this mission from her.
My mother was always more interested in the social aspects of being a politician’s partner: the dinners, the social events, and the gossip. She thrives on it, which has led to her planning many funding raising balls and dinner parties. She helped me with my initial political events and dinner parties, spending weeks making sure I had the perfect staff and the best venues. Once I moved into my own house, she furnished it and made sure I had all the necessary dish and glassware so that I could host with style.
Julia was always reluctant to go to any social events. Not that she was shy, well a little, but she hated the stuffiness. She hated talking to anyone outside the family, preferring to go on walks with Sean trailing behind her. Perhaps I should’ve seen it then…
“Fuck!” I’ve stepped right into a pothole. I feel the water seeping into my shoe. It’s my own fucking fault for not paying attention and I hear James snickering behind me. Fucking the fucking East District.
Suddenly a light appears to shine on the street and I look up to see Miss. Garett standing her doorway, dry and comfortable in her faded yellow dress. She clears the doorway and waves us in.
Of course I had to step in a fucking puddle just before reaching my destination.
As we step inside, dripping dirty water on her clean wood floors, but she smiles as though we brought her flowers not muddy footsteps.
“Lee is already waiting for you” She smiles as we shrug off our wet coats and waves towards a small pile of coats handing on wooden pegs “just throw your things over there”
She stalks back to another room towards the back of the building.
“Lee?” James questions under his breath as he unties his shoes.
I just shrug. I don’t need to know why Miss Garett refers to the Apothen by his first name.
We take off our wet coats and shoes. I am still stuck with my damp sock, which squishes as we walk to the same sitting room as last time.
Apothen is already there with his nephew. Apothen sits on the couch, on leg crossed over the other, a frown on his face. Next to him sits a woman, her body wrapped in the flowing silk of a priestess, around her waist the silvery rope that signifies her position. Her hands are tightly clenched in her lap so that her knuckles are white; her head is down looking at her lap. Her straight blond hair dangles covering most of her face.
Behind them the Master Priest is pacing, his gauzy black robe floating behind him.
Both men look up at we enter the room and take our place on the wooden chairs opposite. The priestess visibly shakes.
“Good afternoon gentlemen, priestess” I greet, dipping my head towards the priestess. James does the same. The woman’s head shoots up and she looks at me with wide brown eyes.
“Good afternoon Hertilz, Mr. Maddoy” Apothen returns. The Master Priest just nods at us.
“So….” I begin slowly.
“So, as discussed the Priestess here is willing to tell you about her experience” Apothen waves almost nonchalantly towards the timid woman, “I hope it will be enough to satisfy you.”
My eyes follow his hand movement over to the woman. Her brown eyes are round with terror and she just sits there watching James and I as though at any moment the High Priest would pop out from behind us.
The Master Priest pauses from his pacing and places his hand on the priestess’ shoulder, causing her to jump.
“It’ll be okay Maya. They are friends.” He murmurs gently to her.
The priestess takes a deep breath as if to calm herself and we wait. The stale smoky air of the room feels ever more oppressive and damp from the humidity. The sound of vehicle passing outside and the rain hitting against the window is the only noise. A candle sits of the coffee table next to a few used glasses of water and an empty carafe. A plate with the crumbs of pastry sits next to it. It seems as though they arrived a while before us…
“I don’t… I don’t…” She repeats in a soft voice.
“Come Maya” The Master Priest gestures for her to follow him and the two of them exit the room closing the door behind them.
I can hear soft talking from the other side of the door, but it’s too quiet to make out over the sound of the rain.
I eye Apothen, but the senator is cool as ever leaning back against the couch, waiting patiently for his nephew to convince the priestess to talk.
I, however, am beginning to grow uncomfortable and it’s not just from my damp sock- although it isn’t helping. It seems as though the female isn’t interested in talking or too frightened too. And I don’t want to know what the Master Priest is telling her.
I look over to James who is picking at his nails. The boy couldn’t stay still if his life depended on it.
A small squeak and the couple returns from the hallway. The Master Priest returning to his place behind the couch, but the priestess stays standing before the coffee table, between us and the door as though she may try to dash for it if need be. She is rigid, stiff, almost solemn, like she had being presented for an execution rather than a talk.
Her eyes rise from the ground to pierce me as she begins, “I became a priestess two years ago…”