Chapter 2   A Royal Pain

    And we’re waiting.

    “Well, this is a step backwards,” Doug observes.

    Sitting in her chair, Jo wiggles a foot in boredom as she tries to encourage the substitute.  “Look on the bright side, at least we’re on time now.”

    Mercy acknowledges this truth.  “You should be proud of yourself, sir.”

    “Thanks for coming with us, by the way.”  Looking around for any sign of the next guest, Doug continues, “It was really sweet of you to change your mind.”

    Looking at her son asking his girlfriend questions about where they’re at, Mercy smiles and admits, “I should have changed my mind long ago.  But I’m glad I didn’t, or my favorite student might not have grown into such the strong leader he is.”

    Though this statement is followed by silence, it is the kind that results from an atmosphere of admiring contemplation.

    Doug eventually breaks this by commenting on their situation.  “Scheduling appointments with dignitaries is like going to the doctor.  No matter how punctual or early you are, you still have to wait.  Oh well, she’s a sweet kid, so I don’t mind.  I know, like my precious Cat, that this little queen is a very responsible and busy person.  Yeah, you heard me.  For all the jokes we make, we all know my Catherine is quite the lead—” and wouldn’t you know she would call him midway through this sentence?

    “Hey, baby.  Whatcha doin’?”  Cat’s tired but happy voice reassures Doug of how much she wishes she was there with him.

    “We’re waiting on the queen.  What are you doing?”

    “I’m doing.  Yeah, that sounds good.”  This is odd.  He’s definitely talking to his wife.

    “And what does that mean?  Let me guess, is this work or did you seriously skip school over a puzzle?”  Doug raises his eyebrow as if he’s looking at her.

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