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Titled? ~ 60

June 06, 2017 01:34PM

Chapter Sixty




The next morning it turned out that Sarah had been questioned by reporters on her way to her car. Or at least Anna Margaret supposed that it had happened there, if a report could have made the morning paper. There was no mention of anything personal, however.

There was a message from Sarah a bit later. I got questioned last night. They were watching your house. I didn’t tell you because I thought you were off to bed.

She wondered why they had been there. Nothing truly new had happened this week and there was hardly any reason to camp outside her house. The report in the paper was unremarkable. There were no clues there. She sent a message back to Sarah to ask.

The answer came half an hour later. Don’t know what they were doing there, but I was asked if my presence there was a first step in the process of your resignation. I said you were not resigning.

Of course the paper had not said she was not resigning. They wanted to keep their stupid questions out of any articles, she supposed.

Anna Margaret wondered if this was a suitable occasion to ask the police to sweep her street, although she had not yet been really bothered herself. Those who wanted to ask her serious questions knew where and when to do so. They would not waste their time outside her house. While annoying, the ones who did would probably grow tired if nothing happened. And there was no telling if they stayed away if the police asked them to leave. She decided to wait a bit longer to see if they became obnoxious at some point.

At the end of the day she saw the usual crowd at the exit. At least they knew where she answered questions and where she did not. She did not expect them to come to her house. Predictably they asked her again about the shifting of tasks, but she had an answer to that and she was more patient with it than usually, simply because they were here and not at her house.

“And the current issues in the world, do you have enough time for those, Madam Prime Minister?” asked someone.

Not her best friend, she noticed. She knew who uncritically swallowed everything she said and who did not. Being female had that effect on some and naturally she made use of it now and then. “Of course. As we speak, our Minister of Finance is in Brussels, for example, so we’re not ignoring anything. He’s keeping us updated very regularly. But I might remind you that most of our issues are within the country and not somewhere else in the world.”

“But you’re going to work less, so how could you keep track of everything?”

“At the moment, there are more people covering the same amount of work, so I’m not seeing your problem.”

“When will you start working less?”

“I have been asked that question before and I refer you to the answers I gave then,” she said patiently.

“Have you already begun?”

“I have never worked the exact same number of hours each week, so I couldn’t tell you. There’s probably also no point in timing my presence here, because I might work some at home. And I might be here and not be doing any useful work.”

“Does that ever happen?”

“Lunch breaks sometimes? Also, there are work groups that I don’t necessarily have to join, or that I don’t have to join every time over a certain period of time, such as Women in Politics. That runs on without me perfectly well for a few weeks or months. Also, there are always quiet periods and busy periods and never before have you wondered if we have enough manpower to cope with busy periods. So, assuming we managed in the past, we’ll manage now.”

“What do you think of the PSA’s suggestion that we take in a thousand refugees?”

That kept her busy for a while. PSA’s wishes were neither desirable nor feasible, according to the governing parties, but they were quick to condemn anyone who disagreed. It was only certain elements within the PSA, Anna Margaret knew, but the worst of them were quite bad. They had wondered in public why the prime minister was too busy being pregnant by a prince when she could be housing poor refugees in the Palace. They saw a link there that escaped almost everyone else.

“But you’re nearly a mother,” said a female reporter when the reaction was apparently not satisfactory. “Doesn’t your heart bleed when you see the images?”

“Fathers and people without children are allowed not to care?” she asked, eyebrows raised. And that was all she was going to give as an answer.

One of them walked her nearly to her neighbourhood, but she did not mind that. He asked normal questions for an article on a specific subject.




“I’ve got you a nurse,” Isabelle announced over the phone.

“A nurse,” Anna Margaret repeated, not entirely sure why she would already need a nurse. She had excused herself to the journalist before taking the call, who had then thanked her for her time and walked away.

“Yes, for when you’ve given birth. You hadn’t booked one yet, had you?”

“No.” She should have. She had been told that the longer she waited, the greater the chance would be that none were available. This apparent shortage was something she had meant to raise with the responsible minister, but she had not yet got around to doing it. All these personal to-do items were at the bottom of her list. But in spite of possibly finding the nurses all busy, she had not yet been keen on the idea of having someone come to her house every day and she had put off taking a decision. “Where are you getting yours?”

“Through Murielle. You can have her too.”

“Murielle?”

“No, her friend.”

“Oh. Er.” And they were nurses, Isabelle implied. In which case they might be useful, but were they not young? Murielle was young, but a friend did not have to be the same age.

“They are students, but they will know what to do. You know, if there is going to be something wrong you’ll be at the hospital anyway.”

“That’s what I thought too.” She liked hearing that it would not be an absolute disaster if she failed to hire one in time.

“So, you’ll just have to call them and they’ll come over.”

“They? Two nurses?” Anna Margaret wondered if she had had a mistaken impression all along if she had thought one might not even be necessary, and Isabelle now mentioned two.

“Doctors, really.”

“Oh.”

“But yes, they’ll probably both come, unless we need them at the same time.”

“Do you want me to keep things in the family?” She could think of reasons for that. She could also think why strangers would be better than a family member.

“That would be nice. They wouldn’t take secret photos and sell them to the highest bidder. Which might not happen, but you never know. You don’t have to do this, of course. I’m only offering this as a suggestion that may be useful.”

“Yes, thank you.” She would have to assume that this really was a suggestion, not an order, and there was no reason to turn the offer down simply because it came from someone else. “I might make use of it. I hadn’t arranged anything else yet.”

“Fine. I’ll send them around in the coming weeks, so you can get acquainted,” Isabelle decided.

“What about their studies?”

“They won’t need that much time to see you. They can easily do it after their classes or work. Or before.”

“Are you sure?” Well, she was sure they would not need to check much when it came to her – if she was not hospitalised, she would be all right – but they might have obligations.

“Yes, I spoke to them beforehand, of course. I wouldn’t force them to do this for the family. I’m not that crazy.”

“All right. Thank you.”

“Well, now. I’m a bit nervous,” Isabelle said after a moment of silence during which Anna Margaret wondered if she had hung up.

“Why?”

“Philip is going to be interviewed. He might say things.”

“That’s kind of the point of –“

“He didn’t think my mother said enough.”

“Did he volunteer then?”

“Not exactly. And he’s not doing it because he thinks my mother didn’t say enough. That’s just what he remarked when he saw her. Are you still responsible for what we say or do?”

“No, I’ve passed that bit of my portfolio on. Though ultimately, yes, I suppose, if things get out of hand. Do you expect things to get out of hand?” Anna Margaret could not imagine Philip taking things that far. He was not the type.

“No.”

“Well, then.” She did not actually know what she meant, but it sounded reassuring. “But what’s the occasion? Why do they want to speak to him?”

“They’d like that without having any occasion for it, but this time it’s because our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary will be this year.”

“And they would like to know how he survived?” Anna Margaret entered the top of her street. It was not far now and she kept an eye out for strange cars.

“Sort of. They would have liked me too, but I wouldn’t do it.”

Anna Margaret reflected how she had always thought Isabelle and her family were perfect. Perhaps Isabelle would like to perpetuate that image by not speaking about personal matters. Her husband was of course the one who could afford to tell the most secrets and this would unnerve her. “Are there any secrets to tell?”

“Things no one knows aren’t necessarily secrets.”

“But you’d still like them to stay unknown.”

“Where are you?”

“Walking home.”

“Walking?” Isabelle cried.

“Which is no secret.”

“Alone?”

“No, there was a journalist who walked with me until you phoned.”

“And then you said it was me?”

“No, I said I had to take this call and he thanked me for my time and walked back. I think.” She turned around, but the man was no longer in sight. “Yes. Don’t see him anymore. Some people actually do what they say.”

“But it could be dangerous.”

“I’m in my street. I saw you around here once and you were alone.” She had, at least, not seen anyone with Isabelle that one time. Presumably the hat had been disguise enough.

“Now that is really a secret.”

“So when is this interview?”

“Tonight, but it will be televised later.”

“So you can preview it and demand shocking bits to be cut out? Don’t worry.”
SubjectAuthorPosted

Titled? ~ 60

LiseJune 06, 2017 01:34PM

Re: Titled? ~ 60

Sarah WaldockJune 11, 2017 10:53PM



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