A Tale for the Modern Attention Span
“No,” Viveka responded, shooting an uneasy glance at Norbert Oglethorpe. “We’ve decided, due to my less-than-stellar record with matrimony, we’ll be happy for the time being just living together. Is that a problem, Steel?”
“No, no, I’m as liberal as the next person. I just want to make sure I understand the circumstances under which Mr. Oglethorpe will be residing at stately Bolt Manor. He will be sharing your bed, I assume?”
“He’s not a homosexual?”
“No,” Viv said emphatically.
“And you’ve made absolutely sure he’s not related to you in any way?”
“Given your aforementioned track record when it comes to marriage, I’d say they’re valid questions.”
“If you recall, it was you who forced me into the first situation,” she said, alluding to her union with Earl Vandermere, “and you are perhaps the one person who had the resources to discover the unseemly implications of my relationship with Hugh.”
“Relax, I was joking. Why can’t anyone tell when I’m joking?” For a second Steel wished Daedalus were around; Daedalus usually got his jokes. He shook off this longing and continued: “Is Mr. Oglethorpe gainfully employed, or will he be yet another person residing under the aegis of my fortune?”
“Norbert is a model and an actor.”
“So I will be supporting him.” Steel looked at Norbert. “Mr. Oglethorpe, is there anything you’d like to add?”
Norbert cleared his throat and then said in his soft voice, “I’d just like to say that I love your sister very much, and I want to spend the rest of my life making her happy.”
“I see.” Steel mulled a moment. “Well then, I guess there’s only one thing for me to say.”
The couple leaned forward in anticipation.
“Welcome home, Norbert,” said Steel, standing and extending his hand.
“You’re welcome, Viv,” Steel said, again magnanimously.
Only after he’d shooed the two of them from his study did Steel consider why he’d acquiesced to Norbert moving in: Perhaps having him here will fill a void? Yes, now things will be exactly as they were before, except we’ll have that large, soft-spoken black man instead of Daedalus.
Steel smiled to himself with satisfaction and got back to work.
Continue Reading: Episode 82: Because of Deals That Unfurl, Steel Summons Burl