Surviving his first talk with the king, Gil finds himself back on a slide under a microscope. Makes sense, really: Teresa’s father was into politics before she was born and that is the environment in which she grew up. Deceit and deals are the water in which she swims.
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While Rhun wasn’t exactly “a bad cop,” I wonder where this conversation will go?
“You said Nichole helped ‘some of you,’” Teresa immediately began. “You and who else?”
“Just a girl she knew from her dorm,” Gil said trying to deflect the question.
“That mouse who worked for me in City Accounting for a little,” she declared. “What was her name?”
“Mackenzie d’Arcy,” he admitted. Have to brazen this out.
“That’s right! When Nichole showed up in my office and told me about my Dad’s betrayal of the Nation, Nichole scared the daylights out of me, telling me I was going to get gang-raped by them.” Teresa shook her head. “And then she demanded Miss d’Arcy and sent her home. I’d totally forgotten about her until now.”
She walked to the next display with Gil next to her.
“Any idea what happened to that girl?” she asked.
“So far as I know, she’s safe.” Not technically a lie. Time to change the subject. “So you are one of the king’s mistresses?”
“Rhun,” the familiar surprised him, “has had five wives; currently four. He’s taken a fancy to more girls than I know but I’m his only long-term. I’m more a concubine than a mistress.”
“And you run Portland now? Stepped into your father’s shoes?” he went on.
“Since those shoes were empty once Rhun personally cut my dad’s head off, to some degree yes.” Gil winced at that. “The City Council runs things on paper but everyone knows it’s me.”
“Not,” she looked at him, “that I don’t keep His Majesty fully informed and never make a significant decision without his input.”
“Safer that way, I’m sure,” Gil agreed.
“My head is still on my shoulders.” There was the king’s laughter from where the mayor and his group were. “Let’s head back.”
“Teresa? Why did he, and you, come all this way? What happened to me doesn’t seem that import – ”
“You are connected to Nichole, me, the old militia, the mousy girl, and now the Imperial Russian navy, Gil Haven.” At least she lowered her voice as they got closer to the open hangar door. “You matter. We must know why.”
She stopped completely and dropped to a whisper. Gil recalled how terrible Nichole had been at those.
“Don’t think we are done with you. Not at all.”