Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Across the Room

Month 4, Day 30
Ivy Wilson
0810 Hrs

Ivy glanced across the room at MacGregor and Smythe. How long are they going to be here? I hope they don’t distract Mac. She knows her stuff, but if they break her concentration, she could lose her confidence. And she doesn’t need that today!
“I could almost think he’s here to spy on her,” Abdulla mumbled.
Startled, Ivy sent another glance their way, saw the 2 men move to the Attakke game table. Good. Off to the side, so maybe she won’t realize they’re here. Mac has a touch of tunnel vision, sometimes.
Mac entered, still in uniform, growling in her native tongue. “Watch your language!” Ivy automatically called across the room.
The redhead stopped short. “You speak Gaelund?” She continued walking.
Ivy grinned. Silly girl. The tone gave it away. “No, but from the tone of your voice, you obviously weren’t saying what a great day it is.” Looking thoughtful, Mac sat down, started growling again, then laughed. “Mac, really!” Ivy chided.
A red curl bounced out of the topknot as Mac shook her head. “That was a comment about it being a beautiful day. And you’re right, it sounded ridiculous!”
"Of course," Abdulla stated. "Don't you remember Tones and Inflections class from freshman year?"
"I guess I never thought of applying it off the job."
"For me, it’s become second nature. Before we get started, obviously something is upsetting you. Want to tell us about it so you won't be distracted? Evans and Adams again?”
“They were their usual obnoxious selves,” Mac stated. “But the reason for this bad mood is the letter I just got from ma.”
“Bad news?”
“Depends who you ask, I guess. My sister-in-law is in the family way. Again.”
That’s bad news? My family would rejoice.
“I thought they told you that 2 months ago,” Abdulla stated.
“Three months,” Mac corrected. “That was Sally, Kevin’s wife. This time, it’s Elizabeth, Derrick’s wife.” She shook her head in disbelief. “Their youngest is practically 5! I was sure they were done making babies!”
“Because they waited 5 years?” Wilson asked.
“I doubt it’s that simple,” Abdulla muttered.
“MacDowells don’t wait between babies,” Mac stated. “When their latest is about a year old, you start expecting the announcement for the next one. Their youngest is rarely as old as 3 before the next is on the way. But Derrick’s my oldest brother. They’ve already got a good-sized brood, and at their age, I thought they were done.”
“So it’s a surprise, but why be upset?”
“Because she’s expected to produce a hand-crafted baby outfit for each mother-to-be in her family, and get it to her before the baby arrives,” Abdulla explained. “Mac, I thought you had that under control, that you had a couple in storage with your mother.”
Mac nodded. “That was the plan. She’s got 2 of mine in storage, but that only gives me a short breather before I’ve got to do more, with so many sisters-in-law. I started one as soon as I heard about Sally. Unfortunately, I’ve lost it. Haven’t had time to figure out where or when. Now Lizzie, which leaves me no buffer. At a time when I was expecting to hear that Katie needed one!”
“Katie,” Ivy repeated. I knew she had a large family, but I’ve never heard her sling names around before. Just Matt, and he’s dead.
“Michael’s wife. If she follows schedule, I’ll be notified of her impending motherhood in the next-“ she did some calculations on her fingers “-2 to 3 weeks.”
“Oh, it’s a complicated thing I’ve concocted over the years.” Mac stood up and headed for the dispenser. “Surprisingly accurate,” she added as she punched in her request. “I may not be the brightest apple on the tree, but I know how to figure out a woman’s breeding schedule. Especially my own... sisters’.” Her drink in hand, she came back and sat down again. “What are we studying today? Want to start with Podidas?”
“Wait, what are you going to do about the baby outfits?” Abdulla asked.
“Nothing, right now. I’ve got at least 9 months. Well, 3, because shipping will probably take 6. And if I’m a little late, what’s Pa going to do, send me to my room?” She smiled at the thought. “Anyway, I’ll pass the test tonight, and then get started on that problem.”

“I like your confidence,” Abdulla told her. “But not Podidas. Tell me what Kodalis receivers do.”

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