When Svetlana came home, Kenny was still in a foul mood.
“Hey, Kenner,” she called brightly as she came in. Kenny, sitting on the sofa, staring so hard at the carpet he was almost burning a hole in it.
“Hi,” he said flatly, moodily.
“Hey, what’s up with you?” she asked, coming over to sit beside him.
“That idiot, Joel,” he said crossly. “I cornered him, saying ‘Don’t reverse Jennifer’s mind-wipe’; he says ‘I’ll only promise if you drop the mission’. So I had to let the jerk go. And now he’s going to reverse Jennifer’s mind-wipe, she’s going to be in an awful position and it’ll be harder to avoid her.”
Svetlana looked stunned.
“I ... don’t understand what’s going on. What d’you mean ‘Jennifer’s mind-wipe’? Who’s Jennifer?”
“Susanna’s sister: I used her as an informant and then wiped her memory so she wouldn’t have to feel bad about it. But before I wiped her memory, she wanted to help me out: side with me over her sister. And now she’s going to be conflicted all over again.”
“Kenner... this might be presumptuous of me but ... is this Jennifer the girl you told me you can’t be with last night?”
“Yeah,” he said quietly. His anger faded to be replaced by a sense of being completely and utterly lost. What would he do if he saw Jennifer around town? What would she do?
Svetlana took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“Wow. This is kind of serious.”
“I’m more concerned about her feeling conflicted; I reckon I could stay away from her. And I never actually said anything to her: she doesn’t know I’m into her.”
“That makes things slightly easier, I guess.”
“I can see why you’re angry, though. This Joel really is an idiot, isn’t he? So convinced that what he’s doing couldn’t possibly be wrong... I think stopping them is absolutely essential.”
“Of course,” Kenny agreed.
“I found out that they’re planning something for their one month anniversary,” Svetlana said cheerfully. “A weekend trip to Paris. I think any girl would be hurt by their boyfriend standing them up for something like that.”
“True,” Kenny said, nodding, pushing away the feeling of being lost, keen to see the silver lining that Lana saw. “So what’s your idea?”
“Well, like I was saying before, I’m going to delay Joel. I might need some feathers to do that... Would you be willing to give me two of yours?”
“Two? What for?” Kenny frowned.
“For using magic on him. I know, it’s dangerous, but while one of your feathers would help me channel it, the other might ... moderate it, make it less risky?”
“I ... suppose. I’d have to choose the right two then. A Channelling one and ... I don’t know, what do you suggest?”
“A neutral one might be an idea.”
“Good plan. Well, I’ll give you those when you need them. When’s their anniversary?”
“The 14th, so not too far away. Until then maybe we should lie low: give them the false impression that we’ve stopped caring about them. That might give the standing up an extra shock value.”
Kenny nodded, quietly impressed by Svetlana’s strategising.
“So what will you and I do until then?” he asked.
“Whatever we feel like. Right now, I’d really like dinner.”
“Can you wait a little while?” Kenny asked. “I quite fancy dinner out, but I need to take a shower first.”
Svetlana looked shocked and then she beamed.
“That sounds like a wonderful idea! Yes, I’ll go dress up.”
“Oh... it won’t be too formal,” he called after her, slightly startled.
“I know that,” she called back.
Kenny shook his head in awe. Svetlana was amazing: anybody who wanted to be both a Guardian of Order and a ‘Guardian Angel’ was. He went to his room, laid out a blazer, a coloured shirt and jeans. He hoped Svetlana understood the words ‘not too formal’ otherwise it might be awkward for her.
Kenny walked into the living room and was relieved to see Svetlana in a nice top over jeans: she hadn’t overdone it.
“So where’re we going?” she asked.
“The local Chinese, I think. Unless you have any objection?”
Svetlana smiled, shaking her head.
“None at all. Let’s go.”
Kenny stuffed his wallet into his pocket and picked up the key on their way out. He locked the door to the flat and then he and Lana proceeded out of the building into the mild evening, which didn’t really feel like an evening because sunset had yet to take place.
“I love summer,” Lana murmured, looking towards the western horizon where the sky was decorated with streaks of glorious, bright colours.
“It’s a beautiful time of the year, isn’t it?” Kenny replied, smiling.
Lana smiled back at him.
“Yes, it is.”