2. Checkmate, Moon.
Claire tries to stifle a laugh as Moon's hand shrivels back in confusion. "Moon, honey, don't try to pull Kai's tail. Cats are not toys."
"I wasn't, I was just…," Moon stammers, and tries to pat you on the head instead. It's a lot like finding yourself stuck beneath a printing press.
Claire sighs and heads over to Moon to show her how it's done. "If you hurt the cat, the cat won't want to come to you."
Moon goes for it again, and it's basically just as traumatic.
"Moon, if you can't be gentle, you're going to have to stop." Claire takes Moon's hand off you, and her bottom lip emerges. Her pout is more stubborn than sad, and it's clear that she's losing her fear of you.
"Andre, would you mind taking Moon upstairs for a while?" Claire suggests with real caring in her voice. "Kai might be a bit…you know, disturbed. Especially given their history. Let's give them a bit of peace and quiet."
Your ears swivel, homing in on Claire as she picks up the scraps of paper and hands them to Andre to throw away. She strokes her daughter's hair before ushering them both from the room.
With the door shut behind them, Claire struggles out of her now not-so-immaculate jacket, unzips her skirt a bit, and massages her temples. Letting out a long deep breath, she pads on bare feet toward the couch. She flops into it like her bones have gone liquid. She lets out a sigh of contentment.
"And they're gone." Claire's voice has a new tone to it, slightly more ragged and less honeyed. "That was as much for me as for you, Kai," she informs you.
You scan the room, taking in bookshelves and entertainment-system gadgets. The luxury of this place is certainly not lost on you. Even the wood of the coffee table matches the walnut inlays on the furniture. The furniture itself matches the curtains—the whole room a meticulous harmony of maroon and cream and wood. You wonder what it is these two do to have managed such a comfortable place.
"Shall I tell you about my day?" Claire mumbles from the couch. She is, in fact, talking to you. "My day was terrible. I lost support from Baska for the party-leadership campaign. Can you believe that? She was the one who put me forward!"
For a moment you wonder if she might really want a reply, but you figure it's more a rhetorical tirade.
"If I didn't have Magda on PR, I think I'd chuck politics altogether. You have no idea what reporters will do with your words, Kai." She shakes her head, her tidy, androgynous crop growing ever more hedgehoggy now that she can relax. "Seriously, it's an all-out war now that Helen has resigned. After today, I wouldn't be surprised if Baska plans to run for the leadership herself."
You hear thuds overhead as you listen to unprompted recollections. Andre and Moon are doing whatever it is that people do to amuse their children. It dawns on you that there is also an upstairs to explore. You purr to yourself, and Claire laughs.
"So I'm not the only one who likes the sound of my voice? Fantastic!" She holds out a hand in your direction, in that way humans do when they want you to come to them.
1. I'll go to her and show her some affection.
2. I'm staying put. I don't respond to human demands unless they benefit me.
3. I instinctively leap away from her. I've had enough of humans for now.