His sister did not look worried, which meant absolutely nothing. He’d learned the art of composure from her and she still managed to best him at it often. Their own personal game of chess. She was searching him for clues just as sincerely, he was sure. And he was just as sure she wasn’t going to mention what bothered her unless prompted. He opened his hand and brushed it aside, inviting her thoughts and recognizing that they may not be as well constructed as was their usual want.
“You’ve made a lot of changes,” she said, placing her teacup back on the saucer. Only a half step, a knight jumping two over and one forward.
“I got attached,” he said simply. Tilting his head slightly as he attempted to read exactly what it was that had his sister… subliminally twitchy.
A faint bit of surprise crossed her face, followed swiftly by an automatic calculation. “Attached?”
He bit his tongue in order to not roll his eyes. “You don’t trust me to keep tabs on a teenager?”
She caught the wry tone. “It’s not you I don’t trust.”
He raised his eyebrow at her continued dismissal of his abilities. She rolled her eyes.
He poured himself another cup of tea and she took a sip of hers. Letting it cool slightly, he quoted one of their mutual favorite war philosophers, “There are no foxes in the bathhouse.”
She looked at him expectantly.
“I am assuming he isn’t the only one you’re concerned about.” Brandon picked up his cup and cradled it.
“You have a pattern of late,” she said.
“A rather deliberate one,” he returned.
She accepted that. Not that she understood what he was after, but the idea that he was pursuing something and going where the target was bound to be, at least appealed to her professional nature. It was as close as he could come. They were similar, almost too similar, and he wasn’t quite ready to admit to his sister that he was lonely and had been lonely and not known it for some time. He was quite concerned that if he did she would quickly have to deal with the fact that she was as well. And she did not have a protege, a ward, or a team to fall back on. Content, he sipped his tea and changed the subject.
I stole the truth “There are no foxes in the bathhouse” from that other thief with a machete. It took awhile to find out where those dang foxes were.