Caliburn entered at that point, obviously dressed for a polite, civilian evening party. Algernon raised an eyebrow at him, as did Sebastian – but the opposite eyebrow. Constantine just smiled. Caliburn surveyed his brothers’ expressions and just grinned back at them. “So, Rune,” he turned to her and she received a friendly smile, “Are you ready to leave?”
“Yes, thank you sir.” She stood readily and pushed her chair back before anyone could do it for her.
“Come along then,” Caliburn nodded, “I’ll get you to work on time. I warn you,” a wider grin, “Cook has packed a lunch box of leftovers for you.”
Caliburn’s private car was a sleek, low slung, dark green roadster. The way it handled, she was sure it was probably over-engined, the powerful headlights burning through the darkness. If Caliburn hadn’t been driving to the conditions Rune might have been frightened. Instead she tried to make conversation. “Thank you for dropping me at work. I hope I’m not taking you out of your way.”
“Not at all,” he smiled at the windscreen, “I’m grateful. It’d be even more nerve racking without your company. I’ve been invited along to a Solstice dinner to meet someone’s parents.”
“Oh?” Rune smiled encouragingly.
“I keep running through reasons they won’t like me in my head. I think ‘cradle snatcher’ is the one most likely to stick.” Rune made an encouraging noise. “Yes.” Caliburn flashed a smile at her while he checked his blind spot. “He’s only in his early forties, so that could be a valid complaint.”
That made Caliburn’s love interest about twenty years her senior and the Major General himself was about twenty years older than that... “That should make him old enough to know his own mind then, sir.”
“I hope so,” Major General Caliburn Sjeldnjar sighed as he cornered the car, “but parental opinion can be a powerful force.”
“So I’ve been told, sir.” Rune looked straight ahead through the windscreen.
“I’m sorry,” Caliburn apologised, “that may have been maladroit of me.”
“No, sir, I don’t think it was.” It was Rune’s turn to smile him. “I really don’t get the whole family relationships thing sometimes.”
“Then that’s something we’ll have to work on with you when the test results come back, won’t we?” They stopped at the last traffic lights before Run’s drop-off and he turned to give her a warm, avuncular smile.
In the privacy of her own mind, as she smiled back, Rune thought, “I hope he really is my uncle.”