Disclaimer: ::yawn:: ... hum? Ah, right. See Parts I and V.
As if on cue, Jean stuck her head through the door.
"Ten minutes," we cried out in a chorus. Only we knew, and she knew, it would really be ten minutes this time. And I still had to change.
I rubbed my stomach and sighed. He scratched his ears and sighed.
"Sorry," we began, both at the same time, and laughed.
He made a small Hank-gesture that meant 'ladies first.'
"They should have sent someone else," I mumbled. Not that I hadn't had the time of my life. Not that I could ever, ever regret having made the trip. It was he who would have deserved better. But Hank, he just smiled.
"I am glad it was you," he said warmly. What could I answer to that? No, I didn't blush. Four years suddenly seemed like an awfully long time, though.
It's Saturday night. I slept through Monday, and the next couple of days I was busy making up answers for the entire Institute, from Professor J. down to Juanito, the Venezuelan janitor. I must have some hidden talent for telling half-truths, for nobody challenged me. If they ever do, in the future, I can always play dumb. Serves them right for sending stupid little me to make such an important delivery.
On Thursday, the crowds that had followed me everywhere short of the ladies' room began to lighten, and a face showed on its edge, a patient, not so much handsome as attractively intelligent male Asian face, and a pair of deep set, pitch black eyes that had been watching from afar for three days, avoiding to draw any attention on himself, and I finally knew why. On Friday morning, after the seminary, I declared myself sick (bellyache, and it wasn't even too much of a lie) and went home. And pretty much glued my fingers to the keyboard during the next hours. I guess I had to write it down because there was real danger I could tell some of these details to someone who might turn out to be the wrong someone, and I just had to pour them out at least once. I'm new in this undercover agent business, you see. Okay, no, that's a bad joke. But I'm going to have to learn to watch my back, and keep my trap shut, and that will take me some time. So I'm pouring it all into a file I intend to erase as soon as I'm done, and I don't know if anyone will ever read it, besides Hank, that is. I'll send him a copy over that 'safe' communication system he came up with, I would want him to file it, as a testimony or something ... maybe this is more important to me than it could ever be to anyone else. Still, he might get a laugh out of it. And then there's Yamoto. I haven't made up my mind about him yet.
He called me this morning, invited me over to his place. Asked me if my stomach could resist green tea and raw fish. I had been expecting his call, if not an invitation to lunch, so it didn't come as too much of a shock. Tomorrow, I told him, I was busy today. And yes, my stomach would very much appreciate raw fish. And green tea. Did I mind if he invited some friends, too, he asked. I was a little taken aback, until I remembered a few of the older students that hung out with Yamoto. Quiet ones. Bright ones. Discussing heady stuff whenever you got near them, like Gossamer's last. They might be mutants, too, but I rather believe they aren't, and my curiosity has been mounting over the day, and so has my anxiety. Because I hadn't expected it to run so fast, and I've got stage fright. But hey ... after that weekend, I feel ready to face just about anything. And the sooner I start, the better.
Wait, stop! Conclusions! I'm a scientist, I need to end this properly...
If you ever get assigned to do a personal delivery, don't moan, and don't delegate to an underling. Jump at the chance. You never know what new horizons you might encounter (ref: Yovann C., 2000).
REFERENCES (Outlines. Don't expect me to get into detail, please)