Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.7

Posted by harmony0stars on May 13, 2011

Glory stood on the deck of the ferry, her fingers clenched around the railing. Not for support, but to keep her from wrapping them around someone’s neck. Maria capered around the ship, dragging Redfield in her wake. On the plus side, they really did seem to care for one another. Out from under the watchful gaze of Maria’s organization, Redfield was at least as manic as Maria. They giggled like a couple of school children over absolute nonsense.

It was sickening.

Of course, it could have been some kind of compulsion, but Steiner didn’t seem to be concerned, which meant she was probably being overly paranoid, as usual. People in love were known to be slightly mad. It was all endorphins and hormones so far as Glory was concerned. Still, they had their work in common, so if they ever did more than pass in the night, they had that in common. Glory groaned inwardly at her speculative thoughts. Like she cared if Maria was good for Redfield or not. He was a grown boy; he could decide such things for himself, and probably had more experience at it than she did.

“This is nice.” Steiner walked over to stand beside her, inhaling as if he‘d never smelled ocean air before. “Wish I had my poles. It’s been a while since I was deep sea fishing.” He glanced at her when she didn’t respond and quickly looked away. “Maria’s not that bad, once you get to know her,” he said diplomatically.

“I don’t like her, and the way she comes in and takes over everything is annoying.” Glory scowled out at the water, unimpressed by the white capped waves.

“I can see how that would get on your nerves,” he said.

She clenched her fingers even more tightly around the wooden railing. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing! I didn’t mean anything by it,” Steiner protested in a tone bordering on panic. Two times married, he knew when he’d put his foot in it.

“I could have bought her a plane ticket. She didn’t have to arrange this ferry,” Glory grumbled. It wasn’t enough that the ferry was slower than the plane. It was also a waste of money on the tickets which had been non-refundable. She’d rather have bought another ticket than wasted three. Though money was less of an issue than her intrinsic frugality.

“I’m sure she thought she was doing something nice?” he offered.

Glory grunted in response. Not for the first time, she questioned her decision to include her cousins. With Maria along she couldn’t really have that candid talk she’d planned with Steiner and Redfield. “Why did you have to say you’d sleep on the couch?”

He leaned into the railing. “Well, there was no way to stop her from going to Islay. The only way to keep her from getting suspicious was to let her come along. Otherwise we would have had to worry about her popping up with binoculars every time we went outside. This way, Red’ll keep her busy.”

“But I wanted both of you to myself,” she complained, then blushed when Steiner gave her a sidelong glance. “I mean… there’s stuff I wanted to talk about in private without worrying about your boss or some other government agency being nosy.” She groaned and covered her face as his forehead wrinkled. “I don’t mean you can’t tell him whatever you decide is pertinent later, but I wanted to talk to you guys alone without worrying about anyone listening in. I haven‘t had anyone to talk to about the… weird stuff in my life, but I‘m really not sure if I‘m ready to disclose everything to a pack of strangers. If anyone would understand though, it‘d be you two, and… I‘d trust you to be discreet.”

“Sorry,” he said after a moment. “Really… I am. I don’t think we’ll be able to steal Red away, but you can still tell me whatever it is you didn’t want to say in front of the colonel.  There was just no getting around letting her come along once she tracked us down. If we’d tried to lose her, we would have had to worry about listening devices and people hiding in the bushes the entire trip.”

“You mean we won’t have to worry about her spying on us?”

He grinned. “Oh, yeah, we still will, but at least she won’t be a bitch about it.”

“Great.” She sighed. Just once it would be nice to not have to watch her back. “So… your name is Mike… Jaeger?”

“Yeah. So what?” he said, clearly ready for the mockery. “So my parents liked the Rolling Stones.”

Glory shook her head, hiding her smile by turning her face away to look at the sea. “No, I was just curious. And Redfield is Trevor?”

“Oh…” He brushed the back of his head with his palm. “Yeah, guess we didn’t get around to, you know, unofficially introducing ourselves. So… I‘m Mike Jaeger, pleased to meet you.”

Glory snorted and shook the hand he suddenly thrust in her direction. “Yeah, nice to meet you, cousin.” A smile tugged on the corners of her mouth.

“Red’s Trevor Brood. So you know,” he smiled back, retrieving his hand and beginning to lean into the railing again.

“We’ll look who’s not a grumpy pants any more,” Maria announced as she strode up to them from behind. Glory’s fledging smile immediately faded. “We’re going to get lunch at the cafeteria. You guys hungry?”

“No, thank you,” Glory said, turning back to the sea.

“You should eat. Did you eat at all yesterday?” Trevor asked. Glory held back a sigh of frustration. Robert would be having a field day with that question. “I know British food takes some getting used to…”

“Hey!” Maria swatted his arm and pouted. He snickered appropriately, proving that he’d only been baiting her.

“Fine.” Her shoulders slumped as she turned around. She honestly hadn’t realized anyone was paying attention.

That would be something to watch, especially with Maria around. Just because she wanted to spill her guts to Mike and Trevor, didn’t mean she wanted the British Secret Service to know she was probably more than half alien. She wanted so badly to talk to people who might understand, being different themselves and family to boot. Her cousins had a right know, more or less, but Maria was just a thorn in her side.

to Book 7, part 2, page 8

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