James looked over in surprise. Sondra? What was she doing in his house?
James: "How'd you get in here?"
James: "They won't-er, come all the way up here, on the ridge, do you think?"
Whew, he'd almost let something slip there. Clearly he wasn't as alright as he'd thought he was.
Sondra: "I wouldn't be so sure! Anyway, that's not what I came here to talk about."
James opened his mouth to ask what it was she was here for then, but she plowed on without waiting for his response.
Sondra: "So you remember Love Day, when you were all sad and then I came over and-"
James: "Yes, I remember."
Sondra: "Good! Well, I've just gotten back from the doctor, because I thought so but I wasn't really sure, but I'm pregnant! Isn't that amazing?"
Sondra: "So I had to break up with Rickey of course-"
Sondra: "-and I'll really miss my three dogs, but it's totally the right thing to come up here. We're going to make a baby! Isn't that so exciting?"
No! It wasn't!
Sondra: "I hope it'll be a girl, I've always wanted to have a daughter. Teaching her how to do her hair, and picking out the right clothes for her, and helping her out in school...it'll be wonderful!"
James: "That's...great. Kind of out of the blue there, but I'd love to have you around. Hey, you should come and meet my two daughters."
Sondra: "...you have kids?"
Sondra: "Ohmygod, she's so adorable! Was her mother the one who-"
James interrupted, not wanting Sondra to finish that sentence.
Sondra: "That's awful. Who could leave a baby behind like that?"
Sondra: "Why's she so sleepy all of a sudden?"
James: "Is she? Oh, you'd better put her down in the crib, then. She does that sometimes, just drops right off."
Sondra quickly put the girl down, who was rapidly falling asleep even as she did so.
Sondra: "Is that normal? Have you taken her to see a doctor?"
James: "She's a baby, babies sleep. I'm not too worried."
Sondra: "That's an odd name for a baby."
James shrugged again.
James: "I didn't choose it. Odd names just seem to happen to my kids."
White lies never hurt anyone, it was easier than explaining his failed naming scheme.
Sondra: "So you have another daughter too?"
James: "Yes, Alpha. She's at school now."
Sondra: "Elementary school? That let out a few hours ago."
James: "Oh, really? I'd lost track of time. She'll be around somewhere, then. Not sure where, but she's always home by curfew. You can meet her then."
It was fifteen minutes before curfew when Alpha finished her short walk back from the bus stop. She'd done her homework in the park, then played with a neighbor's cat, and before she knew it the sun was down and the weather was getting chilly.
Alpha turned and gave Sondra a puzzled look.
Alpha: "Who are you? Where's my dad?"
Sondra: "He's in the kitchen cooking something. I've been waiting for you to get home! What were you doing out so late?"
Sondra: "Ah, I...see. Well, it's getting late, can I help you with your homework?"
Alpha: "No, I already did it earlier. Thanks."
Alpha: "I think I do it alright, I'm on the honor roll and everything."
Alpha: "I think I should go clean up those clothes on the floor. Bye."
James figured Alpha was smart enough to take care of herself. He had his own problems to deal with. Tonight was the night of his coup, where he would rise up with the support of his minions - coworkers to be technical, but it was kind of the same thing, right? - and take the position of the leader for his own. She'd already proven her incompetence, and you didn't get second chances in this job. Also, he wasn't getting any younger; with every day that passed, he felt that his chance was slipping away from him. It was now or never.
~ * ~
Three chapters in three days while school is in session? What is this sorcery? I really want to get to chapter 40, because that's when I get to show you guys what Epsilon looks like. She's sooooo cute! She's actually a child in my game, and she's even more adorable. You guys won't believe me because it seems like it'll be impossible for her to be more adorable than she is as a toddler, but you'll see!
Sondra is crazy-hyper. She needs to take a deep breath and calm down. I also can't help but think that she's not taking this whole situation as seriously as she probably should be.