Chapter 9
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Now: What's your angle?

Reporters crowd the front of the company as I drive up. It’s the first day of pre-season, and it's out at last. Where, after months of radio silence, Aidri has gone.

Even before, when I went to pick Aidri up, I saw a horde of them swarming in the front of his building. I’d been redirected to an entrance at the side, but one of them saw me on the way. He did not know I was Aidri's new agent—that wouldn't be coming out officially until later in the day—but I doubt it was hard to guess.

"We now see the Chu-aan’s younger son walking up to Aidri's residence building. The security seems to know him." And several of them turned toward me at once. I tried to walk faster, but he had the advantage of being able to run. I couldn’t run without looking suspicious. He reached me before I reached the door, and thrust the microphone under my nose. "Do you still work for Carat? Why are you here? What's your angle?"

I didn’t answer. Someone from security fended him off, and helped escort me the rest of the way. Even then, I could still hear him in the background. "If you recall, they were part of SI's trainee program at the same time, and reportedly neither liked the other. Which begs the question: why is he here?"

It does, doesn’t it? I glance sideways at Aidri as if that will give me the answer. Aidri sits in passenger seat, staring out the window. I don’t know what he's looking for.

My car windows are tinted black, but the reporters still know this is the car. The bolder ones manage to surge through the security before they are buffeted back, and a few make it far enough to tap on the windows. We can see them in tinted gray, though they cannot see but an outline of us. They shout questions we cannot hear, since I've turned the music up too loud and Aidri has not turned it back down. They’re not all reporters. There's a woman and a man, a couple maybe, who hold up posters and shake them in the air. They read, Come back to Sedinko. It's where you belong. Aidri watches them for a long time.

Aidri turns back to the front. He doesn’t speak to me.

I should be talking to him. Trying to take his mind off of his troubles, trying to reassure him that he made the right choice, or at minimum trying to figure out where his mind is at. It's what a better agent would do.

Instead I am quiet too. I keep thinking, what's my angle?

And now, watching Aidri's still side profile from the corner of my eye, I think, what's his?

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