Thea stopped, pulling the phone away from her ear for a moment. Scotty’s Pest Control showed on the screen. And it’d been Kay’s voice, but when your friend with a super secret job called out of the blue and started the conversation with that… Well, if you were smart you started looking to cover your bases.
She checked that Seb was still immersed in his videos and stepped out onto the back patio, shutting the sliding door behind her. “Okay.” Thea swallowed. “Like…quitting as in…what do you need?”
Kay huffed. “I’m not calling about your day job. I’m not in trouble. I’ve just decided.”
There was a beat of silence.
“That’s all you have to say?” Kay asked, upset.
Thea rubbed her face. “What am I supposed to say. You said you were fine last time we talked.”
“I am fine.” Kay paused for a minute. “Well. Maybe you were right. I’m tired of it. I’m going to finish out my term.”
“Yeah.” Thea smiled wryly. “I’m not sure you’d know what to do with yourself without five million secrets to keep, but okay.”
“Is it really?”
She considered her answer for a minute. It wasn’t the concept of Kay not wanting to do…whatever she did anymore that make Thea uneasy. If she wasn’t running away, if it didn’t involve setting things on fire—possibly literally—and jumping out the window, Thea didn’t have a lot of room to object. “This isn’t an answer, but what’ll you do instead?”
Kay was silent for a second, and Thea let it hang.
“There are all sorts of things I should be doing with Cornucopia, assuming I don’t take the company retirement plan.”
Thea hadn’t ever been clear on what the company retirement plan was, exactly. It wasn’t Cornucopia Kay had duties with, but the line wasn’t that secure. “How long do you have left?”
“A year. Why?”
“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t have to start cleaning out the box room now.”
Kay snorted. “I’m pretty sure Mom would disown me if I didn’t stay with them for at least a little while. And then yeah, I’ll probably wind up in your box room for a while, but just while I’m finding a place. You’re supposed to be getting serious about the boyfriend and moving on with your life.”
She sighed. “You need to stop talking to my son about my romantic life.”
“That would require you having a romantic life. Or a life. And work doesn’t count.”
“Hello, pot, I’m kettle.”
“How is David?”
“Daniel then. You never talk about him.”
Thea leaned back against the sliding door, and stared out over the empty yard. “He’s…He’s…”
“He’s perfectly nice but ‘getting serious’ about him isn’t an option.”
“Because he definitely can’t handle the level of secrecy that exists in my life. If I cancel dinner he’s stroppy for a week because I won’t tell him why. If we were serious he definitely wouldn’t handle it well.”
“If you were serious you could tell him.”
“Weren’t we talking about you?”
“I’m deflecting,” Kay insisted. “Humor me.”
“When I was twenty and James was…James and it took us years to hammer our way into a healthy relationship where I didn’t have to give more for equal treatment that was fine. But I’m not twenty, I’m not even thirty any more. I’m too old to pretend to be something other than what I am to reel someone in.”
Kay huffed. “There’s me told. Obviously if he doesn’t think you’re awesome he doesn’t deserve you.” There was a beep in the background. “I have to go. When I know timeline I’ll tell you.”
“Okay. Take care of yourself.”
“You too. Tell the squirt I love him.”
Come back tomorrow for K: Kakapo