“I thought we were to eat at the big house,” Sondra said. Maris came out of her bedroom and saw the big tray.
“Hey, that looks good, doesn’t it?” she said. Sondra was grateful that Maris made no sign that anything untoward had happened.
“Mother thought you might be unusually tired this morning,” he said. “After all, you’ve come a long way since yesterday.” Sondra hoped it was just a coincidence that his words could have meant more than the long drive to get here. It was almost as if he referred to her fantasy dream and Maris reality.
Maris sat at the table and began to drink her coffee with a plate of bacon and over-easy eggs. Darkwater left and Sondra sat across from Maris. Sondra was suddenly aware that she had a voracious appetite, and eagerly dug into the good food. When her plate was nearly empty, she sat back and looked across at Maris. She was eating slowly, dipping corners of toast into the egg yolks.
“Last night was…” she started.
“Nothing to talk about,” Maris said.
“I never before did anything like that,” Sondra said.
“I know. I hope you weren’t offended,” Maris said. “It’s just that I know you haven’t had a lover for a while. I could smell the passion on you from your dream, and it turned me on. I’ve always found you very attractive, and I know you’re straight, so I resigned myself to just be pleased to work with you.”
“I had no idea,” Sondra said.
“That’s how it has to be,” Maris mused. “Anyway, when you were tossing in your sleep and I heard you through the wall, I came in to see if you were okay. Then… well… it just seemed like a good idea at the time.” They both laughed.
“It was a good idea, really,” Sondra said. “After all, there’s no harm done, we both had a good time and now we feel better, so why not? I wouldn’t want to do it often, but the truth is, it’s pretty nice.”
“We better get ready to start our day, Sondra.” Maris left the table and began to fuss with her equipment cases. She seemed to be sulking but Sondra wasn’t sure Maris wasn’t just being diligent. Sondra showered and got dressed for the interview. She spent more time than usual on doing her face, because there was no makeup person as there is at the studio. Maris would have to shoot footage of Sondra asking questions, and perhaps leading a tour around the big house. She was sure a big part of the audience would want to see how the legendary Truman Garrison lives. Sondra wanted to see it herself, and hoped to convince him to give them a tour.
Sondra wondered if Darkwater was at the big house, or if he had disappeared into the forest again when he left the cottage. She helped Maris carry some of her equipment cases across the frozen pond to the big house. The door opened as they approached, and she looked up to see if it was Darkwater at the door. It was Rainbird.
“Good morning,” Sondra said as she mounted the steps.
“Good morning,” Rainbird said. Her tone was warm, but not cheerful.
Rainbird showed them into a sumptuous library. There was a gallery all the way around the perimeter of the room with an ornate railing in polished mahogany. Above that there was a high, arched ceiling with huge oak beams along its length. From each beam hung a large, brass light fixture. The floor was pale marble, and the walls were covered with artworks as varied as Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and Keith Haring.