Are You Alienated (part six)
He tugged down his cap, having surprised her with this address, and took a step towards the street, a leave-taking preliminary.
And, if he were not coming in, he must have some errand that remained. She wanted to say, “I’ll come with you.”
“…I’ve chosen badly. Miss Graham did not in the least understand me.”
“Miss… Oh, Cammie?”
“I am not paranoid,” he told her, “but I am aware of being watched. You will realize it can’t be otherwise. The British government would have been happy to intercept my father, had he ever attempted to re-enter England. He might have tried to contact me. I had been…in a manner of speaking…his closest relative.”
“But he never did.”
“I don’t believe so, no. I have often thought, though, that it would be wise to have a friend. I’m afraid I’m not very good at making friends. I had a poor start in life.”
“If you need someone…”
She raised her voice. He had taken another step away from her. “Someone to help you in your work. That way, with a friend to pick up the slack…well, you know…you might have an easier time.”
“I’m done with it, actually. I have paid my last visit to St. Petersburg. But, Minta, I’ve added myself to your contact list. You may call me if you like.”
Minta stared at Quentin’s tuft of a pony-tail. It caught against his shirt collar, tucking itself in, wagging loose, while he hunched over his table. He had called her to his study; he was now keeping her waiting. She knew the routine.
“I’m having a bagel. Do you want one?”
She’d just said it, and Quentin’s move was to dither over the question of deviled ham or peanut butter. Because she wouldn’t stoop to playing it, she was hostage to this game. She still fixed him snacks, picked up his sneakers, let him choose their TV shows.
“You decide,” he told her, after a long minute of drumming a rhythm with his pen; making a sucking noise in his cheek.
She was in the kitchen, spreading peanut butter, when he called out.
Are You Alienated
(2015, Stephanie Foster)