Chapter 7 Tia's POV
It was getting towards the time we needed to leave for Belladonna, the international clothing store. I had to go on a bit of a search to find Roni, but with guidance, I found her and knocked on the door.
I entered. “Hi Roni. It's time.”
She looked at her watch. Her eyes opened in surprise. “You're right. Mr Winslow has offered us a limo for today and arranged a restaurant for tonight. Vee's parents will be going tomorrow morning. She doesn't have to worry about goodbye's though, since we are heading to London. We've got four more VDR headsets in the boot of the Limo, so remind me that we need to get them out.” While she was talking she was getting herself and her things together.
I then followed her to reception and the limo outside. Once we were inside I put the divider up so we had some privacy.
“You remember the druid ceremony and the unknown familiar that agreed to bond with me?”
I took out my phone. “Well, my familiar is an electrical familiar who calls herself Andi. Say hello Andi.”
“Hi Roni. Pleased to meet you. By the way, when you thought the computer was self correcting your mistakes, that was me. Your touch typing has a lot to be desired. Next time just tell me what you are trying to type and I will do it for you.”
“Oh. Err...thanks, I think.”
“Can you turn the phone off for a second?”
“Sure, but Andi will still hear you. Don't forget she is permanently connected.” I pointed at my head.
“I've not offended her or anything, have I?”
“I can hear chuckling, so I don't think so. Ask your questions anyway. It will be good practice for me to try and hear any comments she might make.”
“What is she exactly?”
“I'm pretty sure she knows everything that I know.” I paused for a second. “Yes, I didn't hear any words, but I felt that her answer was yes.”
My phone, that I had put back in my handbag was loud enough to hear a muffled “Yes”.
I took it back out again. There was no real point in it being hidden. “She knows about this world and Lagbit's world and that it is her job to protect me.”
“Yes. I don't remember anything before being a part of Tia's mind. There are some things I instinctively know. I think I will know when Tia is ready for another familiar. At the moment, we are still growing together. I don't know if I am a figment of Tia's imagination made real through some kind of mental judo, or whether there is a real place which has familiars ready to bond to the right minds. To some extent, I don't really care. I am of the 'I think therefore I am' philosophy. The point is, if you are in front of any electronic device and you need my help, providing I have spare capacity, I will provide it.”
“Wow. That is like, super useful.”
“Most of the time, I will just be in the background, unless there is something that you need to know. Tia has asked me to tell her what I intend to do to Dr Sinclair, his five nurses who followed orders but still shouldn't have, about thirty security guys and General Pearson. At the moment, I am just working out appropriate punishments. There appears to be no threat from them at present and the eggs that they retrieved from Vee were non-viable.”
I was a bit shocked over the eggs bit, but it made sense considering her injuries. I don't know why they didn't take mine, but that was a small mercy. I think Roni was still in shock. “Andi can you call Vee, she should be out of the MRI now.”
Instead of Andi answering, my phone started calling Vee. “Hi Tia. I was going to call you in a minute. They are looking at the MRI now and so far they can't find anything wrong with it. It looks like I am back to normal.”
“That is wonderful news. I think you need to get your beautiful arse in gear. We are supposed to be at Belladonna at ten am.”
“We are closer to it from here, but you are right, we need to get moving. I'll see you there.” She then made some kissing noises that I returned and the phone went dead.
“I think I need to say this to both of you. Andi is a wonderful addition to our team.”
“Thank you, Roni.”
“I'm not finished yet. Andi is wonderful, but she is so wonderful that she must remain a secret. If anyone knew that she existed, she will be hunted electronically and we will have even more of a security risk. Anything you intend to do to those who have wronged us, and I don't disagree that you should do something, it needs to look like an accident.”
“You are saying that my existence, if known, could put Tia in more danger?” Andi asked.
“That is exactly what I am saying. Having said that, there are phones that are smart enough to take action to a voice command, so that won't raise any eyebrows and anyone listening will presume the person we are talking to is on another phone somewhere. Just be careful to filter what you say so that you don't give your existence away.”
“I can do that. Umm. I have already cleaned out the bank accounts of all those involved and donated it to a women's abuse centre. It felt fitting. I won't take any more action without consulting you to get your feedback.”
“Personally, I don't think that is enough for Dr Sinclair, who we thought was involved, or for General Pearson, whoever he is, but he sounds like the man in charge. We just need to be careful. How about you think of some plans and we discuss them?” Roni said.
“OK, I can do that.”
“Besides, I think Vee would like to hear what you have planned. It might bring her closure.” Roni concluded.
I was a bit flabbergasted. This made it very clear that Andi, while she may be a part of my mind, was clearly independent.
We decided that we wouldn't tell Vee or Katie about Andi until we had some privacy.
Roni had not been idle while I had been working with Andi on our website, and had printed off a report. We decided there was no point in going through it until all four of us were together.
We arrived a few minutes early at the department store. Belladonna was a high end fashion house that had branched into mainstream boutiques. They were based out of Paris, but had branches in London, New York and LA. They had also diversified into designer handbags, purses, belts as well as lingerie and shoes. This meant we could get a pretty full wardrobe just from the one shop. This suited me perfectly.
As soon as I arrived I was separated from Roni with a personal shopper who already had my sizes and a heap of clothes for me to try on. We started with underwear and then moved on to dresses, tops, skirts, trousers, jeans and different shoes with different outfits. I was admittedly overwhelmed and just did as I was told. I would occasionally see glimpses of the girls if we came out at the same time, but mostly my world was Helga, my personal shopper and me.
Thank goodness she was quite decisive. There were no maybe's, it was yes or no and the no was put away, never to be seen again. Then having worked out my new wardrobe, she agonized over which outfits were suitable for the photoshoot, but eventually, chose three different ensembles. Then I was sat in a chair and another girl did my hair and makeup.
Then I was in front of a photographer who again directed me and I just tried to do what he wanted. I saw a bit more of Vee and the others as they sometimes had us in the same photo. When I changed to the next outfit, they redid my hair and makeup. That was a surprise. Still, I didn't have to do anything, just follow instructions. My third and final outfit was a figure hugging light green dress with matching shoes. Apparently the contrasting colour with careful makeup really emphasized my unusual eyes.
The shoes were four inch stiletto heels and I almost refused, but they did look elegant and maybe an elf has a natural dexterity that made them not too difficult to wear. The last outfit was the one I was keeping on for the interview.
They arranged to deliver all the clothes and our headsets to the hotel. Next a quick bite to eat and then the interview. I was going to be the spokesperson, but we were all going to be on the sofa. Lunch was an uninspired salad and a fruit smoothie. Katie needed more protein, so we bought some nuts to snack on.
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