Protection and Preservation, Book 10
That evening, we were going to call in on the radio. Sophie came to me before that and said, "Bobbi, I need to talk to you."
"Sure, Sophie." We walked over to sit in a lounge area in the terminal. We say down and I said, "What do you want?"
She said, "I haven't seen much of George today. Do you know where he is?"
"I think he spent most of the evening and this morning at Mandu's camp."
She said, "I missed him. I wanted to walk with him."
I decided to approach the situation with my usual subtlety. "You seemed to be busy with Ted."
She said, "Ted is nice but there's nothing serious there."
I said, "You spent the night naked with him."
She blushed. "Don't tell George. I can explain."
"Ted is a great talker. He got me off in a corner and I did spend time with him but nothing important happened."
I said, "Sophie, it may not be important to you but George saw you earlier in the evening and again early this morning. He thought it important. I don't know what you consider important but spending the night naked with a guy and having sex with him is considered important in our communities. You have almost two weeks before you reach the age of consent. If we were in Protection, Ted would be dead. We execute rapists and, before the age of consent, our rules say you were raped whether willing or not. I recognize your community's rules are different but I don't think George finds this unimportant. You didn't appear unwilling."
She did have the grace to blush. "I didn't mean for us to be seen. He was fun but George is special."
"I agree. I also believe he saw too much. I now wonder about Basil's actions."
Her face was red. This time, she was angry. "Basil was unwelcome. Ted was just for fun. I could be with him again."
I was a little surprised. I kept seeing things about Sophie and her perceptions of her lifestyle that were out of step with our communities. I spoke slowly. "I don't think that attitude would fly with George. I don't know if he will even talk to you about this particularly since you admit it could happen again."
She said, "Ted was just sex. It was exercise, not loving."
"Sophie, I don't get it. You had told us that you've never even seen a man naked but your actions last evening and this morning suggest that you have had intimate knowledge of men's bodies long before last night.
"I think you should stay here while we go to New Zealand. If you can convince George otherwise, I will be surprised." I thought to myself that I would actually be much more than surprised.
Moments later, George walked by. Sophie said, "George, may I talk to you?"
"Of course," he replied. "I would have thought you would be with Ted though."
She said, "Ted was convenient. I want to be with you, George."
"That's unfortunate. I don't want to be with you. I don't think you understand honesty.
"First, it was Basil but you explained that.
"Second was last night and this morning with Ted. I saw much of it and last night was not your first time. That's not what you have given us to understand. I had told you that lies are an anathema to me. Even after hearing how important honesty is to me, you still chose to lie. You no longer need to do that because you and I will not have any further intimate conversations." He nodded to her curtly and walked away.
Sophie started to cry. I said, "My statement remains, you will not be coming with us to New Zealand."
She moaned, "He walked away from me. No man does that."
I responded, "I can think of two more, my husband, David, and brother in-law, Jacob. There are many others. I am one who can resist you, too. Good luck." I left her there with tears streaming down her face.
I found David and George together. "David, we will be one less on the flight to New Zealand."
David stared at George. "George, it's a tough lesson but it's better learned early than late. You have been told to follow your heart, Pindari." He grinned. "It is in your chest, not between your legs."
"I will believe Loorea and move on." He smiled. "After all, she knew my name."
We left for Auckland, New Zealand, without Sophie.
It was a flight over water with SJ and Jacob at the controls. When we arrived, we had to search for a minute but landed easily. Jacob flared out and stopped out from a terminal. The Humvee was released and we rode with Myra and Tom. George went with us. We had seen no indication of people as we came in.
We rode out in the cooler air. If you didn't look, you don't realize that we were closer to the south pole a bit than at Sydney. I knew I was going to miss beach time!
We found a virtual lake of fuel. Upon examination, it was good and we advised Duck to fill the tanks. Jacob taxied over and fueling the tanks began. We continued to search out the area and found no sign that anyone had been there in a long time.
We told folks listening that we were heading off the airport proper to look around further. We only found deserted land. We didn't understand it but it appeared that Auckland was deserted. After an hour of fruitless riding, we returned to the airport. We set up for the night in the international terminal. It was quiet and cool. SJ and I were going through travel folders thinking of beaches. David entered the brochures area and said, "I hate to throw cold water on your thinking but it's not as warm as you hope and we need to search out New Zealand some. Most of that is south toward colder weather. Think 'winter' in your planning." We stuck our tongues out at him.