Amber Garwood was furious. Tight lipped, she muttered an apology to Fiddlestix. Smiling benignly, Fiddlestix graciously accepted.
“Now, if we may get on with business,” MacGregor interjected with finality. “I am sure that General Scott has many pressing matters to which he must attend.”
“I do, indeed, Mac. However, we have much to discuss.”
The meeting continued for several minutes. Deacon’s avant-garde style bothered Amber Garwood. However, she eventually learned to keep her comments to herself. When the main topics were covered, Deacon switched subjects abruptly.
“Now that we’ve got that settled,” he went on, “I’ve been contacted by some allies in Florida. Hannah brought information with her, indicating these folks may be needing our help. What I put forth for consideration,” he glanced at Garwood to see if she were going to make the mistake of objecting, ” is the idea of sending a contingent before they ask for us. It might be that we’d arrive too late to be of any help, and these fine people are about the only law and order down in that Godforsaken country.”
“Why does that involve us?” MacGregor asked.
“They’re our allies, Mac. I’ve already spoken to the folks in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. The Carolina Clans will be getting back to me later. I propose to send members of all the Clans, under the leadership of a Shine Clan member.”
“Who is this ally, General?” MacGregor was going to get answers before he committed himself or his people.
“They are Hannah’s people by rite of birth, the Harlichs.”
Stunned silence echoed this pronouncement. Amber looked horrified. MacGregor blinked rapidly, apparently confused by this pronouncement.
“I’ve heard of them, all right,” he managed to say, quietly easing back in his seat. “Didn’t know they were friends of yours.”
“Allies, Ewan. Unfortunately, there’s a group of criminals who are encroaching on their territory.”
“And why are we supposed to solve their problem?” Amber Garwood was not liking this at all.
“We aren’t solving it, Miss Garwood. We are aiding allies in a time of trouble.”
“I don’t like the idea,” she snapped. “I don’t see any reason to send our people into danger.”
“Because,” MacGregor interrupted, “they would do the same for us.”
“Well, it’s settled. We will be sending aid to the Harlichs,” Deacon stated flatly. “How many we send and from where will depend upon the various Clan leaders.”
“You can count on my Clan,” MacGregor said. “I’ve got fifty men with me. They’re at your disposal, Deacon.
“Thank you, Ewan. Garwood, what about Texas?”
Captain Garwood looked uncomfortable, obviously wishing she had the authority to deny the request.
“I’ll have to confer with Colonel Metzger. I should have an answer for you by this afternoon, General.” She pointedly ignored Fiddlestix.
Deacon rose abruptly, shoving his chair back from the table with a loud screech of wood on stone. “I think I’ll just give John a call myself.”
“That’s not necessary, General. I am perfectly capable….”
“Nonsense, it’s been awhile since I talked to him.”
Jasper left abruptly, heading to the communications room to put Deacon’s words into action.
Deacon held the chair for Fiddlestix to rise. Taking her hand on his arm, he guided her toward the door, indicating an end to the meeting. Garwood tried to engage him in conversation, but he turned toward the communications room. Instead of going in, Fiddlestix chatted with the men guarding the door until Deacon came back out.
“So what’s your opinion of Amber Garwood?” He asked as they walked to the cafeteria.
“I don’t like her.”
“Not saying I disagree,” he held the door for her, steering her toward the serving line. “But why not?” He grabbed a tray and silverware.
“There’s something she’s not telling us. Call it a hunch.”
His hand hovered over the cornbread and butter beans. “A hunch? Hannah, your hunches scare the piss outta me. I’ve never known you to be wrong.”
© Dellani Oakes 2011