Chapter 13

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I retreat into our room and search through the contact index to find Geoff's information.

He answers on the first try, his 3D, holographic image appearing after a few spurts of static. "Rosemary?" he asks, leaning closer to see me. "Is that you?"

I nod. "I was wondering if I could ask you for a favor."

"I don't see why not. What can I do for you?"

"Henry and I are coming by Dragoste Laboratories after lunch. Although we went on a tour two days ago, we only got to look at the labs, not really engage with anyone who works there. If you're not too busy, I was hoping you could give us a less cursory tour."

"I should be free to accommodate you. But, as I'm sure you were told, the top floor is currently closed and due to... recent events I'm being watched more carefully and have less access than I used to."

I nod. "Yes, I know. Please let me know if you're free once you know."

"Of course. Until then." He ends our conversation and I shut off the device. I stand up with the intent of alerting the driver so he knows of our afternoon plans, but I remember that I don't know where the staff are housed here like I did at home, or even in Basheart.

I find the head butler in the dining room, reorganizing the silverware after our meal. He looks up when I enter and bows. "What can I do for you Mrs. Clark?"

"I was wondering if you could direct me to where the drivers are housed? I would like a word with one of them."

"I'll be happy to pass along a message for you."

I shake my head. "No, you already have a job you're working on. I'm happy to do it."

He directs me and I quickly make my way to the staff house which is connected to the garage and located behind the main mansion. I knock on the door and enter after a voice tells me to "come in."

Once I step inside, men and women, all wearing the signature purple uniforms of the President's staff, look up at me. I clear my throat, nervous with all their attention. "Are any of you drivers?"

They all nod and I wait for some of them to step forward. Two men and one woman emerge from the crowd and stop before me, waiting for my instructions.

"I just want to inform you that my Match and I will be returning to the Dragoste Laboratories headquarters this afternoon. Will any of you be available during that time?"

The men shake their heads, but the woman nods. "I will be honored to drive you and the young Mr. Clark."

"Thank you..." I trail off, hoping she'll supply her name.

She doesn't, but instead bows simultaneously with the men. Together, they all make their retreat and resume whatever they were doing when I walked in.

I make my own way back to the mansion and decide to read more of the Heartland's Common Law to pass the time.


I feel Henry's hand touch my shoulder and look up from my documents, glad to take a break from the dense language.

"Lunch is ready."

I rise from the couch and follow him into the dining room.

"I hear you're going into the city today," Mr. Clark comments from the head of the table, addressing me instead of his son.

I meet his gaze and reply, "Yes. As soon as we're finished eating."

He nods and starts eating. When he swallows his first bite, he adds, "Be sure to tell the CEO that he owes me a meeting."

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