I hope you enjoyed the previous week’s scene as Fleming, Renee and Frei recovered with some of Susan’s medications.
Here is this week’s scene of Renee & Frei and Aunt Bess with some cookies.
As, always, please excuse the typos.
Renee & Frei
A New Assignment
Act 3b Scene 2
Frei stood away from the kitchen table which was piled with strategies, drawings and laptops whirring away. Aunt Bess was hunched over one laptop peering through her glasses at the screen while poking out her tongue in thought. Frei smiled enjoying the Aeron-like pose only to flex her jaw to stop the pang of longing. It felt strange to plan operations without Aeron asking how she was going to be helpful.
Stosur was pouring over plans, eyes tracking every detail, long blonde hair tied back but with curls flopping out of the tie. Well, more wavy than curly a lot like Frei’s younger sister had. She sighed and clenched her jaw again at another pang of longing. She didn’t know where her sister was either.
Renee worked on her equipment, much like she always did: methodical, almost meditative in the way she applied resins or polished and buffed. Frei wasn’t sure what she was thinking because her gray eyes were distant, like she wasn’t sleeping. Frei understood how that felt. However important it was to bring Lavelle to justice, to help those who were owned by them, it didn’t feel like it was bringing them closer to Aeron, to finding out where she was and how she was.
“Are you busy keeping me out of the way?” Fleming asked as she thunked lumps out of the locked kitchen door. “I’m considering suing you for assault.”
Aunt Bess and Stosur exchanged an amused glance but Renee kept on tending to her equipment, her hands working over the metal. Frei tried to focus on her own tools, sharpening, polishing and checking them over.
“You have no right to lock me in here.” Abby thunked lumps out of the door again.
Renee took a sharp breath, rolled her eyes then stood up. “Quit giving me earache.” She marched to the door, pulled it open, grabbed Abby by the hand as she moved to stomp inside the Kitchen, shut the door and locked it behind her.
“I find it hard to imagine they were intending to be married,” Stosur said as she went back to her studies. “They do not seem to like each other very much.”
Aunt Bess chuckled. “Married folks are a lot like that from what I remember.”
Stosur smiled at her, then stretched out her back. “Yes, but that is after they have married, not before.”
Frei tried to seem as if she wasn’t listening but she kept comparing how Renee was with Fleming, then with Aeron, then how she felt with Susan and then Theo. Renee had argued less with Fleming when they were together because Fleming seemed in awe of her. Aeron definitely seemed to be the same but she stood up to her and had been bickering with her since they’d set eyes on each other.
“I see you heckling Huber a whole lot,” Aunt Bess said and wagged her finger. “And you ain’t married to him.”
Stosur scribbled notes, her lopsided grin making her eyes catch the overhead glaring light. “That is because I used to be unable to argue with him.”
Frei paused, her fingers wrapped around her lockpicks. “Because what slave argues?”
“He never treated me that way.” Stosur’s voice softened. “He never made me feel that way.”
“He seems like the kinda guy who enjoys being heckled,” Aunt Bess said then studied Frei. “He likes it when you heckle him.”
Frei nodded but her thoughts kept her quiet. She was heckled by Susan who demanded she open up; Theo enjoyed her conversation and quietly questioned her. He was steadfast when he wanted answers from her. She traced her finger along her picks. Susan and Theo both challenged her and get information out of her but in different ways.
“You seem unhappy with the conversation,” Stosur said and leaned back to tap Frei on the leg.
“I am… thinking about Aeron and I am thinking of why we are not just barging into Pucker’s household and removing the slaves.” Frei threw her picks down. “We are helping Fleming to see Lavelle brought to justice but will he be?”
Aunt Bess hummed to herself. “Not knowing where Shorty is makes my heart get all achy too.” She smiled and tapped her heart. “But it knows we can find where she is and she can get her butt shot and eat cookies.”
Frei smiled, soaking in the confidence. “Thank you.”
Aunt Bess shrugged. “I do something useful?”
Stosur beamed at her. “You’re always being useful.”
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” Frei mumbled then glanced at the door as the yelling behind it stopped.
A breeze fluttered through the room and over Frei’s cheeks.
“I like that one,” Aunt Bess said and went to the fridge to pull out cookies.
Stosur laughed as Aunt Bess put a plate down. “I eat too many of these.”
“You’re too skinny, you need to eat or you won’t grow,” Aunt Bess said then paused to smile at Frei. “You snoozin’ with your eyes open?”
“Aeron and Renee… That was Aeron’s reading when they were looking for Jessie and me.” Frei’s heart thudded and she closed her eyes. “And they did find us.”
“Shorty tracked you some distance too,” Aunt Bess said. “Do you think that you won’t be able to do the same?” She tutted and pushed the plate of cookies forward. “You been around Lorelei ladies, Icy, you should know she’d heckle you like Nan if she weren’t doing okay.”
Renee opened the door. “Abby, if you want to stick your nose in, fine, but don’t blame me if your husband drags you to marriage counselling for never being home.”
“You’re a fine one to talk,” Abby said stomping in behind her. “You were always trudging off somewhere.”
Renee turned, eyes fiery. “Which saw you having an affair.” She put her hands on her hips. “Don’t give me excuses.”
“You were playing mistress to some woman, who are you to talk?” Fleming muttered then folded her arms. “You might know your area but I know mine and Lavelle is not going to take his phone anywhere he’s buying or selling people.”
Frei stared at Renee.
“Nan told me to let her help,” Renee muttered then waved at the cookies. “I don’t know what help that is other than help me need more whiskey.”
Fleming eyed her. “Nan told you?”
Aunt Bess held up a hand. “Have a cookie, take a seat.”
Renee waited for Fleming to sit down then walked over and hugged Frei.
“Why?” Frei tried not to show how much the hug helped and how much it meant.
“I heard you through the door.” Renee smiled up at her. “Thank you.”
Frei relaxed and hugged her as Fleming eyed her. “Why would Derek know not to take his cellphone.”
“Because we can track it too,” Fleming said with a grunt then nibbled at the cookie in her hand and sighed. “Martin needs to learn how to make cookies. I’d like him more then.”
Aunt Bess and Stosur chuckled.
“Huber could stand to learn too but I would worry for the kitchen.” Stosur winked at Fleming. “It would be helpful for an opinion on your organization’s way of remaining undetected.”
“It’s more the idiots that they are trying to track.” Fleming shook her head and chomped on her cookie.
Frei met Renee’s gray eyes. This was like when Aeron and Renee were trying to find her, she could feel them and they could feel her. She could feel Aeron.
“Think with your heart not your head,” Renee whispered then nodded to Aunt Bess who winked and held up her cookie.
Her own, Renee’s and Aeron’s heart were in agreement but then so was Aunt Bess’s, Stosur’s, Huber’s, Jessie’s and all the Caprock kids. They all wanted to free the slaves.
Renee went back to her seat and Frei back to her toolkit as Fleming started to fill Stosur on what she knew of Lavelle from an FBI standpoint.
All the while, Frei’s heart grew more confident that they would free the slaves and help Fleming then their hearts would guide them to Aeron’s location.
She walked over and took a cookie and sat down beside Stosur then met Renee’s eyes across the table. Confidence gently flowed back at her. Think with their hearts, yes, that’s what they needed to do. Think with their hearts.