Christmas Eve, noon
“No, I don’t want off the team.”
The Christmas tree lights reflected from Captain Kenneth Rutland’s USMA class ring, the matte gold flaring red, then green, then back to red in boring, predictable monotony. The least the decorator could have done was plug a random flasher in line with the light set and stir some lovely chaos into the mix. Unless, of course, the decorator had wanted to lull everyone to sleep. Maybe, but unlikely, since the lights were turned on in the middle of the day. Non-engineers just had no imagination.
And the living room around them looked like the same decorator had sprayed out holly and ivy and mistletoe and pine branches with a firehose. Little red berries; little red balls. Tradition was good; tradition held the culture together. Tradition could be overdone. Big time.
Didn’t help that the decorator in question was his boss’ sister.
Colonel Robert “Sherlock” Holmes, in civvies topped with a sweater, peered down at the laptop balanced on his knees, his eyes scrunched into slits. The scar on his forehead stretched where it disappeared into his hairline. Gingerly, he tapped a couple keys, pausing between taps. Then he stopped and refocused on the screen. Kennie wanted to scream, just from watching that pitiful performance. How could anybody move so slowly with a keyboard at his fingertips? He could do better with a pair of pencils. Or spatulas.
And as he’d done for the last hour, Sherlock ignored him. So much for sitting down for a serious conversation. The downside of visiting his commanding officer over the holidays: putting up with his typing. His sister’s decorating. His teenagers’ boisterous noise. And his supercilious I-don’t-want-to-deal-with-it attitude. The upside--
Well. He’d have to think about that one.
“Why don’t we ever go to another country and put something together for them? Why are we always ripping their stuff apart?”
Good questions. Kennie's looking for a few good answers. But what he gets is the challenge of his life.
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