And… that’s a MRAP!

Sorry:  bad pun about how Chris, Cat, and Anton make their final stage north into the ‘no-go’ zone between San Diego and the LA basin.

From having nothing just over a week ago, I’m pleased with the 14k raw material words for how Chris and Cat fell in love with one another.  I was also able to get a couple of more plates up and spinning for Maya to cast down in the next act.  There was even a little Easter Egg from an unexpected guest appearance!

Below the fold is a some verbal sparring with Chris and Anton; Cat makes a brief appearance in a towel.  After posting this, I’m making coffee – yes, with some bourbon – and will get Maya on her way out of the Vancouver BC Airport.  She’s been cooped up there for three days (I think), waiting for one of the rare flights south.  Not sure if she killed anyone… maybe.  Through her eyes we might see the burnt-out, dead city of Seattle as they fly over.  A few hours after that, Maya will be standing outside the San Diego Airport, just miles from her brother.

I cannot wait to see this!

With just less than thirty minutes before their guest arrived, Chris rinsed off in cold water then put his slacks and Polo shirt back on. He was in the kitchen making tea when he heard the Lincoln pull into the complex’s parking lot. He picked out a wooden spoon moved to the bedroom.

Cat had pulled the comforter over herself. He pulled it back and poked at her with the spoon.

“Cat? You need to wake up!”

“Unnn! Stop that!” More irritated than awake. Chris took a moment to inspect her hair. No change beyond the original white shock. Good!

“Cat? Anton is here.”

“Huh?!” She sat up quick, pulling the cover with her. “Oh, yeah. Let me rinse off!”

He was just returning to the kitchen when there was the expected knock at the door. Just before opening it, Chris thought very hard about his right hand.

“Anton, brother, welcome!” He extended it. Anton was wearing a khaki outfit that was not a uniform, but very close to one. Boots, too. Where was he taking them?

“Christopher, brother, thank you!” Taking it, but with a smile. “It’s nice to be back here!”

Fine, Chris, thought.

“Please come in! I’m making some tea,” he said waving their guest in. “Cat’s taking a quick shower. We’ve been a little busy!”

He was pleased to see the hesitation in Anton’s step.

“Have you?”

“Indeed.” Chris poured the tea into two traditional ceramic cups. “We’d have had you over earlier, but I was tied up.”

Anton laughed, conceding the match. He raised his cup.

“Salud!”

“Salud!”

Chris gestured for Anton to sit as he moved to the sliding glass door to the tiny deck.

“Shall I tell Cat to hurry?”

But they heard the water abruptly stop running.

“I’d say no; she does dress quickly.”

“I’m aware.” Chris took a sip from his cup. You just can’t stop, can you? He nodded.

“From your appearance, hiking will be involved?”

“I don’t anticipate it,” Anton said, shaking his head, “but one should dress for uncertainty.”

“And how uncertain is that, Anton?”

Cat came out with her towel. She’d not rinsed her hair, so it was dry. She ran her left hand over their guest’s shoulders as she passed to Chris and settled herself into his side. She was fully aware of her ex’s eyes roaming all over her. She found being the focus of two such powerful men to be… stimulating.

“Didn’t your cousin tell you? I’m taking you north, to the Marches.” He saw her somewhat puzzled look. “What you call the no-go zone.”

Cat looked from him to Chris and back.

“F… for real? Won’t you get in trouble – ?”

“Probably, quite a bit! This is very good, by the way!” He took another drink and leaned back on the couch. He looked closely to his right. “Cat? Wasn’t this stain from when we – ?”

“You were saying about the no-go zone!” She barked at him, slightly changing color.

“Oh, yes! My father will likely give me a dressing down after he finds out, but better to ask forgiveness than permission!”

“And that you’ve only sisters!” Cat added.

“True!”

“Then I’ll get jeans and my tougher shoes, Chris…?”

He looked down at her as she leaned up to kiss him.

“Back in a minute, husband!” She left without a look to Anton.

Chris took note of his new brother’s sudden physiological changes. Such care he took to place the cup onto the coffee table!

“Explain that, please, brother.” Anton was now dead serious.

“A joke.” Chris picked his words carefully. “We have confessed our love for one another, but not before her priest. What… what is verbal play for men; well, women play a different game, do they not?”

Chris had to smile at that: a two year old synth talking about the nature of human women to a twenty-something lordling.

“As you say.” Anton picked up the cup and tossed back the last of the tea.

“Care for more?”

“No, thank you.” He looked to the ceiling for a moment. “It was nearly ten years ago that I lost my mother, but I recall loving her very much. It must be very hard for you, right now. Were you close to her?”

“I thought I was,” what an odd tangent, “but now I’ll never know.”

“Any other family?”

“My sister.”

Anton moved his stare from the ceiling to Chris.

“Another ‘orphan?’” Now Chris got the tangent.

“Yes.”

“’Cousin,’ ‘sister.’” Anton went on. “’Husband.’ You play with important words. Is she back in Japan?”

“No. On her way here.” He heard Cat finish dressing. She was moving towards the bedroom door. Chris placed his index finger before his lips and pointed at the door. “To kill Cat and myself.”

Anton had just heaved himself off the couch when Cat came into the room.

“Guys?” She knew something was wrong.

Anton glared at Chris. He turned to their front door, his right hand waving in the air.

“Come on. We need to be back before sundown, or they’ll shoot me, too!”

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