Tried in the Fire: Inimical (episode twenty-four)
She didn’t feel she could mention Lord Wrentsley by name, and couldn’t think how else to phrase the question of integrity…Geoffrey’s hard feelings not the point.
“I thought our friends in London…”
“Oh, don’t make such heavy weather of it! You don’t trust Kneussl. Neither do I. The difference being, I don’t want to.”
He studied Greta’s face. He saw he was making her unhappy, and for this felt unhappy with himself. “You’re well, I hope?”
She blushed, and Malcolm-Webb watched her cast about, to find her appearance reflected by the shuttered glass, a weakness that made him feel both caddish and touched.
“I guess I look like something the cat dragged in. I’m fine, though. Geoffrey, would you take me to lunch?”
“Of course I will.”
She whispered to him, “I’m starving”; turned her back, gave a small, consoling wave over her shoulder, and trotted upstairs to speak to the Steiners…though if, in her room, she could hear low conversation from another, she assumed they might also.
“Will you come down to meet my friend?”
Rosa at once went to the window and looked out at the street. Greta considered. If they distrusted her, questioned her motives, what might they think about a man she’d brought into their home and to whom she wanted them to speak? She didn’t like her choices being a worry to the Steiners.
“I’m going to leave. I’ll be back after a while.”
“You will be back early, before dark?”
“Well, sure”—she heard something dismissive that had crept into her tone—“I’d think so.”
She had great sympathy for the Steiners…but lost patience, placed at odds with them, forced into this stony, begrudging communication.
“Do you need anything?” she asked.
Steiner answered, “We have all we need here by ourselves. Others may want to know who you have come to meet. Your business does not concern me, and your business does not concern my wife.”
And of this, Greta hadn’t missed the implication; Geoffrey also had implied it. Yesterday, when she’d arrived here, she had voiced the idea of leaving. Today, facing a morning with no prospect of walking out the door, she’d felt restless and anxious, ready to abandon the mission, wanting only to be in a safe place. Her resolve had hardened on this—to escape, with Geoffrey’s help; to be disgraced, yes…she knew it.
Tried in the Fire
(copyright 2014, 2018 Stephanie Foster)