“Brian!” Janie and Trisha did not quite shout at their brother.
“Oops!” Brian managed.
“And this would be, Brian Arthur?” Patrick asked ominously.
“Joe asked me not to bring it up, Dad,” Janie said. ”Because it didn’t matter. Besides, I knew that you knew already. He’s the guy who saved Trisha and me. When we were kidnapped. Except I was sure you and mom knew already.”
“He’s the young man who saved you?” Abigail said. “He is an extremely polite, well-brought-up boy. It’s very nice of you, Janie, to reward him by playing City of Steel with him. Especially, she thought, very nice by comparison with some of the other things girls sometimes did to thank young men who risked their lives to save a young lady.
“And you, Trisha?” Abigail asked. “Did you tell Joe about Janie’s move?”
“No. Joe and I, all we did was go cloud-diving a couple of times. Cloud-diving!” Her parents gave her a very odd look. Trisha blushed deeply. ”Nothing else! We for sure didn’t play City of Steel! I hardly play the game at all. I couldn’t give Janie’s move away if I wanted to. I don’t even know what the move is.” But, she thought, I’m going to be blamed for giving it away, no matter what.
“Complication planet!” Morgana said. ”And we’re way short of time.”
“What’s wrong?” Janie asked. ”Joe can’t have the Namestone. He’s a boy! The Bearer is a girl. The Bearer looks like you, Professor Lafayette, not him. Well, sort of like you, if you wore slightly tighter clothing. Then you’d look like her. Joe’s mom is too tall to be the bearer. Joe doesn’t have any brothers or sisters. He told me. Besides, I’m not even sure I played that move against him.” Janie was baffled. Joe couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the Namestone.
“Slightly tighter?” Morgana rolled her eyes. “As in ‘spray-painted on’? Except I’m quite sure the real Eclipse doesn’t look like the paintings. Valkyria didn’t recognize her. The wanted posters give the bearer my height or Valkyria’s — five-ten or so — but the real Eclipse is I’d guess five and a couple-four inches, mayhaps not quite your height, Trisha. No matter. The complication…let’s save that for later. Where does this Joe live? How do you phone him? Who are his parents? If Janie might’ve played this move against him, they’re going to want to question him next.”
“I’ve only met him twice,” Patrick said. “Dear, it must be in your Rolodex.”
“I thought you knew, Patrick,” Abigail answered. “Janie, you must have visited his house.”
“Ummh, er, no.” Janie shook her head. “I have the good City playing set. The big board, the extra-large heavy unit counters, the nice table in the sun room. He teleports, remember? He could live anywhere. But that’s odd. I never thought to ask. I always get Bell numbers and interlink IDs from new friends, first thing. I just never thought of it.” How did I forget? Janie asked herself. It was really annoying, especially if Dad and Mom decided to blame her for forgetting. Every so often they did blame her, if only after they were done blaming Trisha for everything.
“We talked a few times,” Trisha said. “He was very nice and polite. I figured you had his address and everything, Janie. But we only went flying after you two played your moves out.”
“Let’s save this for a bit,” Morgana said. “But there’s something a bit odd…later! OK, tonight they’ll teleport in. Your driveway would be good, except there’s two feet of snow on it.”
“I can try snow-blowing,” Patrick announced.
“I’ll take care of it,” Trisha said. She faded into a blur of motion headed for the basement stairs.
“Just a moment,” Janie said. “I have to find Krystal again, tell her we’re good for 8 P.M.”
“And there’s a blizzard, so they need their winter clothing,” Abigail added.
“They want to bring the Supreme Gamesman,” Janie finally said. “He’s visiting from Russia. I agreed. I’ve never met him! It’s beyond belief! Mom, you need to get some photos of the four of us standing over my game table! Please?” Abigail went to fetch her camera.
Trisha reappeared from nowhere, leaning against a kitchen cabinet. “I shoveled the driveway, Dad,” she announced.