Patty L. Fletcher
As the convention got under way the next day, I began to make my plans to interview the various staff and councilmen from The Blended Lives Center.
I wanted to find out from each one individually what their desires were for the center’s entrance into the new Blended Lives Federation were. I also wanted to gain an invitation to one of their meetings. Up until now, The Blended Lives Center Councilmen meetings were closed. Always before we were simply given a report by the secretary after each meeting and you could be certain the information shared had been carefully edited before release. I, wanted to attend as an observing reporter, and with some guidance from their publicist write an article outlining for the public at large their goals as far as bringing the Center fully into the integration process. I wanted to make certain that all beings no matter their need were served. In short, I wanted to be able to report that Blended Lives, really did mean just that. I wanted more than anything to be a part of those who wanted to ferret out all who would impede this most wonderful alliance from going forward.
This was something I’d been working toward bringing into existence for years. I most assuredly wanted it to succeed, and found myself checking and rechecking even the smallest of details. As I packed my equipment bag, King lay stretched out on my bed. Just as I was strapping my keyboard into place the door indicator sounded. I pressed the button over the desk and said, “Who is it?” Derrick’s voice floated back. “Just me. Wanted to see if you’d like to catch a bite of breakfast.” I smiled as I released the lock and said, “come on in.”
As he stepped through the door a moment later King leapt from the bed, launching himself full force at Derrick. I reached to stop him but was too late. He hit Derrick head on, but he was ready and the big dog only succeeded in making him laugh. He caught him by his collar, and returned him to me saying, “I won’t play with him till you give him permission. I know how you dislike disobedience.” I was more than a bit relieved to see that Derrick would respect my boundaries where King was concerned. I had lost my first dog Titus much too early in life, and this second was more than special. Titus and I had weathered some rough seas together. Our bond had been rare, and my writings of it and how it had come to be had helped to begin a new path for all, but King, he enhanced me and my multiple disabilities in a whole new way.
I worked very hard to hold his behavior to a high standard, without breaking his spirit in the process. The balancing act was more than precarious at times, but with my multiple disabilities as they were it was more than necessary. My work with Titus had begun to more than prove my theory that dogs trained to guide could provide other services while doing so. King, was one of the first professionally Multi-trained dog of his kind, and I wanted no mistakes.
I had gotten the attention of several trainers with the articles I’d written about the things that Titus and I did together in our everyday lives. I’d written of how I’d brought him home from Dog Guide school, and customized him into my world in a whole new and unique way, and when they’d finally started asking questions, I’d been more than happy to answer. It had been my dream for Titus to bridge those first gaps, but the virus he’d contracted when traveling with me to the school on the outskirts of Casimia two years ago had cut his work short, and he was now living the life of a true dignitary in the Blended Lives Preschool Learning Center. He more than loved his work with the children there, and the relaxed atmosphere met his every need. Hard as it had been for me to turn him over to them it had been the best decision for all.
Now as I stood settling my pack over my shoulders Derrick asked, “Busy day ahead?” “Yes, absolutely! I plan to talk to every possible staff and councilman member of The Blended Lives Center I can, and if you’re going to buy me breakfast, I’ll just begin with you.” I smiled as I reached for King’s harness. “Nothing like starting near the top. Maybe you’ll introduce me to Randle Jennings.”
He took a breath to collect his thoughts, and a moment of silence stretched between them as he drank her in. She was dressed in a dark navy-blue pants suit that had obviously been tailored to her specifications. The dark shimmering material was beautiful. sculpted to fit her perfectly with just enough give to accommodate her needs as a dog handler. It’s many pockets gave her a look of organization, while the matching blue, and white swirled lace at her wrists ankles, and round the perfectly cut neckline gave her the look of a confident and successful magazine owner. Once again he found himself caught off guard by the clear confidence radiating from her eyes.
His nostrils flared, and his heartbeat quickened ever so slightly as he caught her scent. He cleared his throat and said, “You look nice, and very well prepared.”
“I plan to succeed this time Derrick, in every way possible. I lost allot over the years, but in doing so I gained a real opportunity to make something of myself, and my writing career. I might not get everything I want out of life, but I’m damn sure going to get at least some of what I need.”
I swung my thickly braided hair over my shoulder, and said… “Heel! King!” as Derrick gently folded his hand over mine. A Moment Later, we walked out the door together, allowing it to swing shut as we passed through.
The dark figure stood just out of sight at the end of the hall. He made not a sound, not even so much as a whispered breath passed between his lips.
Not one motion not even an involuntary reflex did he allow. He’d just barely gotten into place before Gibbous had come out of the elevator. He could not allow him to see him. His disguise was good, but he wasn’t at all sure it would fool the man up close. Derrick Gibbous was allotting of things, most of them things he hated, but one thing he was not was nonobservant. He noticed everything, and left nothing to chance when he wanted something, and on this morning he’d looked like a man that wanted plenty.
It had totally caught him off guard, when Leya had turned his over-night invitation down, and sent Gibbous packing at 2-AM. He’d been staked out, and ready to weave a hearing when he’d come out. It had nearly cost his cover right then and there. Only his quickness with the invisibility shield had saved him.
Now, he wanted no mistakes. He wanted to know absolutely what these two did while they were together, and just exactly what the one knew of the other. He knew that he needed to know the enemy more than ever before if he wanted complete success. His goal? By the end of this Blended Lives convention, and weekend’s Witches Ball, to put an end once and for all to Leya MoonWalker, and Derrick Gibbous’ reunion and renewed friendship. That simply could not be allowed to continue in any way. If they truly did resolve their issues with one another, and each one did truly come clean, the damage to all he’d worked for thus far would be huge! He could not! Allow such!
As the two walked hand and hand down the hall together with the big cream colored Lab Cross walking at attention by the young woman’s side, he slid quietly in step behind them.
A few moments later as he stepped away allowing the three to go into the elevator without him he breathed a sigh of relief. By weaving flows of fire, and air, he’d managed to work a complete knowing, and had attached it to them before their walking away. Now no matter where they were he would know their location, and their emotions. If they were in the same room even if they were across a large distance from one another he would be able to hear their conversations.
He was more than determined to take care of this problem now, rather than let it play itself to its full potential. He’d worked too long, and too hard to allow them to slip through his grasp. He might never get this good of a chance to have them both together, and on the same link so strongly. Right now all of their predatory and sexual instinct were full tilt, and he wanted to draw on every bit of that. It would in the end be their downfall, and he would be alive to witness their final destruction.
As we settled in the Breakfast Nook Lounge I began to quietly work a word of location round the room. I wanted to get a fix on at least two board members for the Blended Lives Federation, and at least two staff for the Blended Lives Learning Center. I absolutely did not want this chance I’d been so very generously given to slip through my fingers. It made me very nervous to be given such a reign of freedom to work with by their CEO. I’d not at all been prepared for the call back in early August inviting me to this event, and I’d certainly not been ready for the request made when I asked why they were suddenly willing to have me work directly with them for the greater good.
Now, as Derrick poured the hot spiced wine into our mugs, I sighed. I so very badly wanted this to go right. I wanted to once and for all be on what I felt was the right side. I wanted no more tension between Derrick and myself, yet I knew that talking about the truth of it all would indeed be a difficult task. The fact that he’d met me as much my way as I’d asked thus far had all my alarms ringing, but somehow I was managing to keep them all dialed back to a reasonable if somewhat urgent level.
Derrick’s voice floated to me then… “Casimia to Korponious!” I jumped in spite of myself, and he laughingly reached across the table and gently took my hand. “Listen sweet heart, ask your questions. Do an interview. Despite of all that has gone on, I stand by my teaching of, take a chance, there’s a fifty percent chance you’ll be right. The worst response I can give you is a no comment, and I cannot honestly think of anything you could ask that would be that hard to answer. It isn’t like we have shadowy figures lurking round every board room just waiting to destroy us.”
As he spoke a shiver suddenly ran through me, and without meaning to I dropped his hand. For a moment neither of us spoke, then lifting his steaming mug he said gently, “On my Honor nothing but the truth my lady.”