I swear I will never understand Brigitte. Just when I think I have the hang of dealing with her, she does something to confound my expectations. Of course, knowing her, she could just be doing things to confuse me out of sheer contrariness or mischief. It is entirely possible she regards such things as an art form. It would explain a lot.
I was making notes in the tavern when both Rinni and Sophia came in. Rinni declined any drink, perhaps still feeling the effects of the car bombs on a previous evening. Sophia had an Irish coffee, but, in a manner similar to Cristof, added something from a small bottle before she drank it. She told me that she was disappointed I had not come to visit her as she had requested in her note, but I explained that I had been unable to get away, mentioning the lecture I had received from Aiobheann. She seemed to accept this and sat down to partake of her drink
Rinni wanted something to eat, so I found her some leftover root vegetable tart in the cooler and heated it up for her. I mentioned that it had been made by Gwyn or Anna, most likely, since I was only, at best, a beginning cook. Sophia seemed to find it unusual that I cooked and said so. Of course, that would seem strange, since she almost certainly knows of my nature. Rinni asked why, so I covered the question by pointing out that I was an accountant who had never learned to cook because there had always been somebody to do that for me. Sophia seemed to play along, saying that her mother had never cooked either – that being what servants were for. She also mentioned that she and Lucy often went out to bring back food for her mother. That gave me pause for thought, wondering if the Lucy mentioned might have been the one I knew in old London.
Rinni seemed to detect that there was some business between Sophia and I and took her leave, allowing Sophia to come back to the bar. We had gotten as far as agreeing there were things we needed to talk about, but she was reluctant to do so here. I agreed, saying that although it was quiet, it may not remain so for long.
As if on cue, Brigitte entered. I guessed she had just emerged from the baths, since she was dressed, barely, in nothing but a loose, short robe, tied at the waist. I had to admit, it was a beguiling sight, and one that would probably have caused major ructions back in London. Sophia took her arrival as meaning I had further business to attend to and took her leave also.
Neelam also arrived and seemed to be intent on performing her duties when Brigitte asked for tea. I complimented Brigitte on her apparel and joked that it almost made me wish I was the beautiful barmaid, Natalie. Much to my surprise, she said that she had always had a thing for red-heads and accused me of flirting to avoid making the tea. When I told her that I was ill-equipped to progress beyond flirting; she warned me that I never knew, and that one day, her whims might change and that some day I might have to make good on my promises. I must confess that did surprise me, though perhaps it should not have completely surprised me, remembering a conversation many months before when she mentioned that I resembled her sire. It was curious though, for all that I love Brigitte, and for all that she is a very attractive woman, I had never had any thoughts in that direction with her. Still, I was not going to let her confound me with her games and told her that I would never deny a lady her whims, adding in French, since Aoibheann had just entered, that maybe one day we would find out if my actions could match my words. She responded, likewise in French, saying that would be the day. I told her that would be a day to remember.
By now, Neelam was trying to obtain some payment from Aoibheann to pay for some bodily upgrades, and had seemingly forgotten about making the tea, so I went up to the kitchen to do that, before the conversation with Brigitte continued into awkward places.
By the time I got back, they were talking about Aoibheann’s nightmares about the hunter. We variously offered suggestions on how to avoid nightmares. I was tempted to suggest gin, but thought better of it. Soon after, my watch chimed the hour and Brigitte left, claiming some other appointment. Since may shift was over and both Neelam and Aoibheann were in the bar, I left a few moments later, hoping to catch up with Brigitte to ask about the meeting she had mentioned. Sadly, she was too quick for me and had already vanished.
So, on top of the various unanswered questions regarding Sophia and Vyktorya, I now found myself speculating regarding Brigitte. Did she really mean what she appeared to be saying, or was it just another of her games. Somehow I doubt I will ever find out.