From The Camellia Reckoning, in progress…

“Your best, Simone.”

“Yes, Sir.”  Simone had been expecting the call.  It wasn’t like a break-in at the Infirmary was your every-day occurrence.  Never mind the disappearance of six patients and a dog, if the early reports were to be believed.  What anyone would want with a dog mystified Simone, but there it was.  She could add it to a list of things she didn’t understand and let it go.

Now that there was official word, she could call Teague in and get on with it.  After all, no one was better than Teague.  Unflappable, detail oriented, unquestioningly loyal… If she needed to get to the bottom of something, Teague was Simone’s first line of defense.

She didn’t bother putting the phone back in its cradle, she pressed the ‘call release’ button and dialed Teague’s extension.

“Took you long enough,” Teague said as he settled into his usual chair.  Simone raised a questioning eyebrow.  “I saw the news.”

“Mmm.”  Simone acknowledged the statement but didn’t expound.

“Extrinsic break in at the Infirmary.  Anything else I need to know?  Or am I to start at the end and work my way back to the beginning.”

“That sounds about right.”

“Political sensitivities?”

Simone rolled her eyes at the question.  Of course there were political sensitivities.  “What do you think?”

“Dumb question.  Sorry.”  Teague shook his head, an involuntary acknowledgment of the price of privilege.

“Let’s just get this behind us before the 21st, okay?”

“Absofuckinglutely.  We wouldn’t want this hanging over the biggest event of our social calendar.”

“Be nice, Tea.”

Teague snorted.  “Nadia is in charge of the flowers.  You have no idea what my life is like at this time of year.”

“Poor Teague.  His adoring wife gets distracted.”  Simone’s tone was teasing, but there was a hint of envy behind the words.  Theirs was a world where you either got philosophical about change or went crazy.  Give it long enough and everything changes.  Everything but Teague and Nadia.  Fresh off of her latest term contract, Simone could appreciate the continuity.

“Is that all?”

“Yeah, yeah.  Go get your hands dirty.”

Teague stood.

“Wait.”  Simone knew Teague, knew that an invitation to get his hands dirty might take them places they’d rather not go. “Not too dirty.  Just a little dirty.”

Teague understood her warning and nodded.


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