Dejon jumped shortly after entering the mansion when he caught sight of me standing in the hall.
I reached him in a small leap. “Sorry to startle you. I noticed you agreed to go on the company trip.” I told him.
“Should I not have?” he asked, looking worried.
“Relax. Take this.” I replied, holding out the enhancement suit I had finally enchanted for him. “Sorry that I took so long. You’ve been a diligent employee since joining us, and I hope you’ll stay with us for many more years. I don’t want anyone attending the trip to be relatively unarmed while we’re there, so you’ll need to practice hard these next two weeks to grow accustomed to the enhanced strength and speed.”
I was surprised when I saw tears start coming down his face as he hugged the suit. “Are you okay?”
He nodded, obviously trying to calm himself down. “I’m just really happy right now. Thank you, James. I won’t let you down.”
“I’m sure you won’t.” I assured him as I reached out and gently squeezed his shoulder. Then I explained “I hope you won’t be offended or take this the wrong way, but I’m planning on giving Iris a suit when she arrives today as well. I meant to wait till she was at least full time with us, but she will be accompanying us to France.”
He nodded and said, “I understand. You want all of us to be safe even when we’re not with you.”
“Precisely.” I told him with a smile. “If you want to go try it out, that was all I needed to tell you.”
He smiled, nodded, and quickly started walking toward his room. I hoped he really understood that I didn’t harbor any misgivings about him anymore. Iris would surely be surprised as well, but I didn’t expect her to cry when I explained the situation. I was astonished that Dejon had. Perhaps he bottled up his emotions too much after all. I might have to work with him after observing his behavior more. I really didn’t pay attention when I was young.
I passed Dejon in the hallway as I jogged over to Maxine’s rooms, the next stop on my agenda. She would be the only person without my enchantments on the trip, but her safety was already guaranteed by her own abilities.
When she opened the door, I smiled, admiring how much nicer the room already appeared. “How are the new furnishings suiting you?”
“Very well. Thank you. I must admit that I didn’t expect them to be crafted here when you spoke of ordering furniture.” she told me.
“Emma is the best woodworker on the planet, and you admitted that our tools for fabrication are exceptional.” I replied.
“Yes, though I hadn’t seen them yet at the time. Care to come in?” she asked.
“I’d be delighted. Thank you.” I told her, stepping in and taking a seat where she gestured.
“About the upcoming trip to France…” I started.
Interrupting me, she said, “I know that I’ll be going. I’m not about to argue with you.”
“I appreciate that. What I came here to ask was actually about Portentia. I want you to help me persuade her to go.” I explained.
“What?” asked Maxine, looking surprised.
I continued, saying, “As you know, Portentia’s deaf. She’s perfectly capable without hearing, but she doesn’t fully understand the joys of music, given that she has never heard it.”
“You want me to adapt my technology to provide her with hearing.” she stated. “As you wish.”
“I haven’t broached the topic with Portentia yet, and I’m not sure how she’ll take it, but if she is willing, yes. Jarod will, of course, be assisting you.” I told her.
“He’s every bit as brilliant as I expected, so I will gladly accept his assistance.” she replied. “Care for tea or some other refreshment? Your wife came by earlier bearing gifts. I understand the tea leaves were grown by Emma as well.”
“Yes, as are all of the vegetables in the house.” I acknowledged.
“What happened to you and your wife?” inquired Maxine.
“What do you mean?” I teased.
“You’re both different, far too different for two weeks spent relaxing.” she stated.
“Well, pregnancy has been said to change a woman, and I am looking forward to having a second child.” I replied.
“You seem to be forgetting that I dealt with her relatives. I know perfectly well that two weeks isn’t enough time for them to be certain about pregnancy, and I’m quite certain your daughter isn’t human.” she informed me.
“Oh. Really? What is she then?” I inquired.
“I would love to know. She doesn’t seem to be fey, given the tremendous difference between the fairy’s communication skills and her own. She’s obviously not descended from the Slayers. I would wager that she’s extraterrestrial if she didn’t appear so human, but her appearance isn’t human enough to really be a decent disguise either. If you discovered a new species wherever you went, why did you take one with you?” inquired Maxine.
“Dani’s an orphan and adopting her seemed easier than trying to find other parents for her.” I explained.
“She doesn’t behave like someone who’s just been adopted. The three of you are far too comfortable around one another. Given that I murdered my parents and brother, you might think I know nothing about families, but my niñera was like a mother to me. Her daughter, Camila, is like a sister.” she insisted. “I could easily believe that you and your wife are two of the best actors alive, but not Dani.”
“I’m sure Jarod’s having equal difficulty finding the truth, so feel free to talk with him about it as you work together. Thank you again for being so cooperative in this.” I told her as I stood. “I must attend to others now. Please do accept Mila’s assistance if you need anything.”
Maxine was obviously frustrated as I left, but I needed to keep those secret and wouldn’t be able to share them had I wanted. Still, things were progressing well.