Ettil settles on the couch in the Sime safe room and nibbles on a plate of vegetarian goodies from the buffet.
Saag is far too nervous to have any appetite, or even to enjoy Ettil's.
Ettil: There are so many people here. Do you know many of them?
Saag: Yes. Some were my friends or my friends' parents.
Saag has noticed that none of them have acted like they know him except for Pametta and her new husband.
Ettil: They're certainly looking at you like you're something strange that crawled out from under a rock.
Saag nods, sadly.
Saag: I kind of hoped...
Ettil: I know you had, dear.
Saag: Well, I guess it wasn't reasonable. But my own parents... I'll be glad to get back home to Nivet.
Ettil: It's your sister's wedding. Perhaps your parents just don't have time for anything else today.
Ettil personally doubts it, but her job is to make her charge feel better, not to deal with his family.
Saag: I suppose.
Saag thinks his parents not having time to even say hello to him is the problem.
Churri loiters down the hall, reluctant to waste the afternoon running errands and otherwise being a good little girl for her ailing, elderly, and terminally boring Aunt Hortha. She's in a particularly ~~ spiteful ~~ mood, and so when she spots a room with a "Sime Territory" sign, she pulls it down and balls it into wad.
Churri: Simes, schmimes.
Churri tosses the wad of paper down the hall, then continues on her way, feeling at least a little ~~ vindicated ~~.
Senator Doyle walks around the party doing the politician thing, meeting and greeting people he barely recognizes.
Doyle notes a closed door and ~~ wonders ~~ why it's closed: there's no "Family Only, Please" sign on the door.
Saag can zlin a Gen outside the door, but he hasn't gotten close enough to his father since his changeover to recognize his nager.
Doyle opens the door and is ~~ very surprised ~~ at what he finds there.
Saag assumes his father has sought him out, and discounts what he zlins.
Ettil sets her plate aside and concentrates on ~~ supporting ~~ her charge.
Doyle: By God, boy, it's good to see you! ~~ warmth affection ~~
Saag's mood soars.
Doyle: But for Heaven's sake, you need to put your retainers on, or get to the Sime room right away. ~~ concern ~~ Anyone could have come in here, you know.
Saag: This is the Sime room. There's a sign...
Doyle: Actually, there isn't, though maybe there was supposed to be. ~~ suspicion ~~
Saag retracts his tentacles tightly and hides his hands and wrists in his armpits.
Ettil puts a ~~ soothing ~~ hand on Saag's arm, over the tentacle sheathes.
Saag: Do we have another sign, Sosu? Oh, this is Sosu Ettil, dad. She's my Escort.
Ettil: Pleased to meet you. There's another sign in my bag, Saag.
Doyle: Welcome, ma'am, and thank you for taking care of my son.
Ettil: You're quite welcome. It's been a pleasure.
Saag rummages in the large shoulder bag Ettil brought with her and extracts a sign and some tape. He offers them to the Donor.
Ettil takes the sign but hesitates, ~~ reluctant ~~ to go away from Saag's side with an untrained Wild Gen in the room.
Doyle takes the sign from Ettil, steps outside to put it up and then returns. He finds a chair and sits down, not too close to his Sime son, but not so far away he looks like he's avoiding him.
Doyle: So, Saag, how have you been? ~~ friendly inquiry ~~
Saag: Okay, I guess.
Saag doesn't understand why his father is being so friendly now, when he's made no attempt to contact him in the more than a year since he changed over, even when Saag sent him letters.
Doyle: It must have been rough over there --
Doyle waves in the general direction of Sime Territory
Doyle: -- all by yourself, with no family support. Quite a shock, I'm sure.
Saag: Yeah, it was. But it happens to a lot of people. You just have to do your best. It helped a lot that Pametta donated for me. It made a huge difference.
Doyle: I was very glad of that, especially while she was able to keep it discreet. ~~ sincere ~~
Saag: She wrote to me a lot, too. I wrote back care of the Sime Center here.
Saag isn't going to say that the moral support from getting the letters was as valuable as the financial support of the donations, especially when he was so depressed, at first.
Doyle: Of course she had no problem picking up her mail there -- it would have been quite a different story for, well, me.
Saag nods. He isn't going to point out that he could have included mail to his father with mail to Pametta.
Doyle: In any case, now that your sister has married into the Pollovics, there's no more need for confidentiality.
Saag: Did you and mom know about what she was doing before it all came out at the party? She said you thought I was dead, but I did send you some letters...
Doyle shakes his head.
Doyle: No, I had no idea that she was donating or that you were alive. If you sent letters, they never got to me.
Doyle has the idea that some of his staff may need sacking shortly.
Saag: I thought the Sime Center wrote to you.
Saag changed over out of town, while on a school trip with his athletic team.
Doyle: I think some of my people have been screening my mail a little bit too thoroughly. Trying to prevent a scandal, no doubt.
Saag zlins for sincerity. After all, Pametta found out from the team coach.
Saag: I guess Pametta was afraid to tell you. Or she was protecting the coach -- he could have gotten fired for taking me to the Sime Center, I guess.
Doyle: It looks like everyone around me was working on the "What I don't know, won't hurt them" principle. Do I have that much of a reputation for being an ogre?
Ettil settles back on the couch, as this reunion seems to be going well.
Saag: I guess it's not respectable to have a live Sime son.
Doyle: No, it's not. But a Sime son isn't that much worse than a Sime-kissing son-in-law in our stratum of society. And it's little enough choice I had about that!
Saag gives a tentative smile.
Saag: How about mom?
Doyle throws up his hands.
Doyle: What can I say? You'll have to see -- zlin, is that right? -- for yourself, I suppose. You know how she is, hot and cold.
Ettil goes back to nibbling her plate of appetizers.
Saag: I think I'll probably stay here in this room for a while. It's easier out of the crowds.
Saag implies that he'll be here if his mother wants to talk to him.
Saag: I'll be going back to Nivet tomorrow.
Doyle: Of course. --By the way, are you seeing anyone there?
Saag laughs. He's a year younger than his sister.
Doyle: Boys will be boys, I know. C'mon, I'm not going to tell your mother.
Saag: No. But Clarence Rundle and I hang out together a lot.
Doyle: Ah, I see. Are the rumors I hear about him and his father true?
Saag: What rumors?
Doyle: That he's blackmailing him for substantial amounts by threatening to reveal -- I don't know what.
Saag: It's not like that at all. His great-aunt died and left him a lot of money and stuff. His father thought she was going to leave it all to him, but she only gave him her house.
Doyle: Well. It couldn't have happened to a nicer Senator. ~~ sarcasm ~~
Saag: He tried to force Clarence to give him some of the money, but Clarence would only loan it to him.
Doyle: I mean, there are conservatives, and there are Conservatives -- and then there's Rundle.
Saag: Clarence's father was counting on getting the inheritance and when he didn't get it it put him in an awkward position financially.
Doyle: It did? Good. ~~ vindictive ~~
Doyle will never forgive Rundle for a certain floor maneuver years back that shot down Doyle's constituency bill -- with ignominy.
Saag smiles a little, despite the effect of what he zlins.
Saag: Clarence really liked his aunt. She was the only one who wrote to him, but he didn't know she was so wealthy, or that she was planning to leave him anything except maybe a keepsake.
Doyle nods ~~ sympathetically ~~.
Saag: So now his father is spreading rumors to make Clarence look bad? I guess that figures.
Doyle: Well, it's well-known that Rundle's financial position is shaky. I don't know if he's the source of the rumors or not.
Doyle makes a mental note to try to find out.