Even though Vinnia seemed rather put out at the small group that had amassed at her front door, she ushered everyone in. Casady wondered if anything ever caught her unawares. He doubted it.
"What can I do for you, seeing as you all want something from me?" Vinnia asked. Casady caught the tone of weariness in her voice.
"What's going on, Vinnia? We deserve to know. You know we deserve an explanation," Morgance exclaimed.
Trace spoke to Vinnia in a reassuring tone. "They don't have to know everything, Vinnia. Your trainees don't have to know everything."
Morgance completely lost whatever temper she'd been keeping to herself. "How dare you suggest that we don't deserve to know what's going on?! Vinnia, we're your Singers, for pity's sake! I think you owe us an apology, or an explanation, or something!"
Worried that Morgance's outburst had lessened the chances of knowing what was going on, Casady shot Morgance as put-out a look as he could muster. Might as well let her know what he felt about her lack of control.
Rune caught the look and sent it back to Casady.
Vinnia, who had watched the entire episode without betraying what she thought of it, turned to Casady. "Casady," she said, "seeing as you haven't said a word about all this, what do you think?"
"What do you mean?"
Tilting her head thoughtfully, Vinnia held Casady's gaze. "Surely something's going through your mind right now."
"Yeah, like how hungry I am," Casady said, trying to laugh off the situation. He was uncomfortable with being the center of attention.
"So you don't have any opinion as to whether I confess what happened or not?" Vinnia asked. It was clear that she was probing for something far deeper than the teasing remark Casady had made.
"I, uh..." A long silence. "I do, but I can tell your assistant doesn't want you to say anything. I guess I'm not one for forcing a lady against her wishes."
Trace immediately took offense. "Excuse me?"
Casady was appalled by the misunderstanding. "No, you're not the lady, sir! I was referring to Vinnia!"
Morgance was unable to keep from bursting out in laughter. Rune joined her. Admittedly, the miscommunication was rather hilarious, but Casady didn't think that right then was exactly an appropriate time to laugh. "I'm sorry, sir. What I mean is that I don't want you to do be coerced into something you don't want to do."
A smile flickered across Vinnia's lips. So, the woman did have a sense of humor, after all - even if it was only the slightest hint of one.
Morgance and Rune had practically doubled over in laughter. Something struck Casady as odd about the situation. "Vinnia," he said, trying to keep his voice low so that his comrades couldn't hear, "is there something in the brainwashing that makes the students numb and easily amused? I've seen evidence of it all over."
Vinnia's eyebrows rose, and Casady knew his Singers' Trainer was pleased with such an observant question. "The answer is a bit tricky, Casady. I'm afraid now's not the time to discuss anything."
"Then when will we discuss things?" Casady demanded. He looked over to see Rune and Morgance still in hysterics. "Come on, guys. Cut it out. It wasn't that funny."
Immediately snapped from their laughter, Morgance and Rune stopped.
Yes, there was something odd about it all.
"We will discuss things when you are ready," Vinnia replied. "As for now, the three of you are dismissed."
Casady knew better than to argue with Vinnia Valdeza.