“How was your visit with Dr. Franks?” Kathy asked her niece as she folded another shirt and placed it on top of a matching pile.
“Good,” Ren responded automatically.
“Who was that man I saw you with outside?” Kathy asked, guiding her niece to the back office.
“Tray,” she responded as she sat down. “He’s an old friend.”
“Where’d you meet him?”
Ren sighed. “He was my partner during Operation Birdsong. He’s the one who helped keep me alive.”
Kathy quit moving boxes and stared at her with wide eyes. “That’s the boy you used to talk about? He’s the one you call for in your sleep?”
Ren nodded. “He helped me through a lot there.”
“I wish he would’ve come in. I’d like to meet him,” Kathy said, slowly starting back on moving boxes. “Do you have a way to get in touch with him again?”
“He gave me his phone number,” she replied softly.
“Would you be okay if we had him over for dinner?” her aunt asked, footing around the unfamiliar territory.
Ren played with the phone in her hands, wishing she had some clay to work through her fingers. Almost as if reading her thoughts, her aunt reached into a jar on her desk and pulled out a small ball of clay and placed it in Ren’s hands. Ren smiled gratefully at her and began working the thick material around her fingers.
“I guess,” she finally responded, after sculpting the shapeless mass into a bird. “We met at Birdsong, and became friends there under the original director. It was under Fagin that things went bad. He never changed, though. Fagin treated him almost as bad as he did me.”
“There are times when I wish that man were still alive so I could kill him for what he did to you,” Kathy said, harsh steel in her voice.
Ren shook her head vehemently. “I don’t. You don’t need to live with the guilt of killing someone. It’s something that never goes away.”
Kathy sighed. She knew Ren had been forced to kill a few people while Birdsong had been run under Fagin. She was one of the world’s top assassins at the time.
“Can we have him over for dinner tonight, Aunt Kathy?” Ren’s voice startled her out of her thoughts.
“Sure. Just give him a call, and let your uncle know, so he can set an extra spot at the table.”