Well, now I know a bit more. Amazingly, through Louish, but indirectly. For once it wasn’t her who knew all the gossip. Well, I suppose she knew the gossip, but she didn’t really know any more than me in the end.
Louish arrived yesterday. She didn’t use the communicator. She just turned up at the apartment, and I said I was to pack some clothes for the beach. She cleared it with my boss. We were going to the Holo Riviera for a day or two. Honestly! That woman. But you have to give it to her. It was exactly what I needed. We’ll be heading back tomorrow. It’s been great. Just relaxing. Swimming. Sunlight-bathing. And talking to Louish. She is good company – even though she fusses a bit.
“You really must get out more, you know, my dear,” she said. “And it’s all very well you being here with me, but you need some company of your own age.”
Then she gave me one her looks.
“You’ve got to find a replacement for that silly grandson of mine,” she said, peeking at me though her eyelashes. “He is mad. Letting a gem like you get away. Stubborn, he is, like his mother and grandfather.” Then she wagged her finger at no one in particular. “Now, don’t get me wrong. I have every respect for Razjosh, and, well …” She hesitated and a faint frown crossed her face. “I'm glad h they’d get the switch-off stuff sorted before… before…. Well yes, I have every respect for him, but he may have gone just a bit too far with this Peace Child nonsense. Do you know, I have to pull Frazier up now and then? I think that’s why they let the attachments stay. To bring those big-headed Elders down to Terrestra occasionally.” She gave me a hug. “And that’s what Kaleem needs to recognise. But he won’t. So give him a lesson. Find someone else … and if that other person makes you happy, well, Kaleem’s loss.”
She had a point, I suppose. I suddenly thought of Julien. And then she came out with it.
“Do you know,” she said in one of her whispers. “They’ve even captured a new young man. Like they did that time to Kaleem.” She looked round and started speaking even more quietly. “And they’re keeping him at the Citadel because he’s so good at disguising himself as a woman that they’re going to send him out somewhere as some sort of spy. After they’ve fully trained him.” She nodded and drew away from me.
I felt so relieved. So, that’s why he’d been taken away to the Citadel. I’m mean, I’m presumig she must be talking about Julien. And perhaps even the whole Julienne thing had been about him getting ready to work as a spy. I was relieved again. I’d found Julienne so convincing and thought she was funny, she was only funny because Julien was. Not kinky, then really.
“What’s this guy called?” I asked.
“I can’t quite remember,” said Louish. “John? Jay? Jules? Yes, Jules and the woman is Julie.”
That must be right, mustn't it?
Then I was surprised at how worried I’d been and then how relieved. Was Julien perhaps replacing Kaleem?
But oh no! If he was, he was another boyfriend who was being sent on a mission.
“So what are you thinking about?” asked Louish, waking me up from my daydream. She was grinning.
I felt myself flush bright red.