Friday, August 12, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: June 9, 2398

As planned, the six of them spend the entire day together, though Leona and Angela each have to take a few minutes every once in a while to confer with their employers. The latter is doing well in her new position. She expected at least one person from the office to sense that something was up, but everybody treats her like Marie, which is to say that some of them are nice and respectful, while others are misogynistic and hateful jerks. Leona is doing okay. She’s delivering her work on time, and the people at the top are pleased with it. They’re not asking questions, which is in everyone’s best interests. She’s trying not to be too preoccupied with her secret suspicions of Heath. She has a plan to drop tidbits of information to him to see whether outsiders catch wind of it. Then she’ll know that he can’t be trusted. That’s for later, though. For now, she just wants to think about the travelers. This won’t be the longest she’s ever parted from Mateo, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy.
At the end of the day, they retire to their respective rooms, the other four knowing full well that the Matics are about to spend one last night together. “What’s up?” he asks.
“What do you mean?”
“Tell me what’s going on with you. What are you feeling?”
She looks at him, but doesn’t say anything. “Give me your phone.” She takes it from him, and places it in the EMB bag, along with her own. Then she pulls out a bug scanner, and begins to wave it around the room.
Mateo sits on the bed, and waits patiently for her to finish. Once she does, he steps into the bathroom, and begins to fill the tub. He turns the water on high enough to make a lot of noise, but low enough to make it last. They sit on the edge of the tub to talk, and he drops into a whisper. “You can’t speak freely around the others?”
“Not around Heath,” she answers in an even lower whisper, “and by extension, not Marie either.”
“Yeah, I’m sensing a pattern. All the people we’ve met who have been given some information about us either aren’t too surprised by what they learn, or they have a connection to Heath. He’s even the one who first met Alyssa McIver. I mean, you and I both know that she’ll be a friend of ours in the future, but it’s still odd.”
“Yeah,” Leona agrees. “Plus, how did that forger know what I was planning? She was all ready with my new secret agent paraphernalia; it was just too perfect. I don’t know. He’s been so good to Marie, but maybe he’s been playing the long game.”
“I assume you have a plan?” Mateo figures.
“I have...the notion of the plan.”
“A baby plan. That’s what my father, Randall used to call it when we had something big to do, but didn’t really know how we were gonna do it. Sometimes we would plan something to the last minute, and sometimes we just sort of winged it. That worked out for us about half the time, I’d say.”
She smiles. “You don’t talk about your parents anymore.”
“You don’t either.”
She nods. “I guess it’s complicated. I have five parents, you share two of them with me, and then you have two more. Can anyone else relate to our bonkers family tree?”
“Yeah, but not in the same way, sis.”
“Oh, gross!” She’s laughing, though.
Mateo looks behind them at the rising water, which is about to start spilling into the drain. “I know we started this for the white noise, but we might as well take advantage. Wadya say?”
“We can’t do that, though,” she says in a cutesy voice. “You’re my adopted brother.”
He double palms his forehead, and tries to stifle the laughter. “Jesus! Now I see how weird it is, being on the other side of the joke.”
She pulls him into the water with her, clothes and all, like a romcom couple in the second act. “You don’t wanna roleplay?”

No comments :

Post a Comment