“I don’t like you going to this,” Ellie sat at the foot of the bed, while Jameson wandered around the room, gathering the things he needed for the trip. “I don’t believe for one second that he actually wants to talk peace with you. He swore himself your enemy for life, and that’s not something that people tend to just get over one day.”
“You’re right—I’m confident he has no interest in peace with me, but if I don’t go, then he gets to point at me and call me the bad guy because he tried to make peace and I wouldn’t accept it. That is not a hassle I want to deal with. Besides, he’s got one of the best chefs in the world working for him, so at least I’ll get quite the dinner.”
“And what if he kills you before dinner? You’ve gone that whole way, you’re dead, and you didn’t even get to eat?”
Jameson stopped packing for a moment to consider that. “He probably won’t actually kill me until after dinner,” he responded
“Really, that’s what you’re going with? He probably won’t kill you until you eat?” Ellie countered.
“Well, yeah,” Jameson started packing his things again. “The whole point of this invitation is so that he can be seen as the better man—making things right with me. There will be photo ops and speeches, I’m betting. And What makes for a better picture than two former enemies eating dinner together as happy as can be?”
“So—he probably actually won’t kill you until after dinner,” Ellie conceded. “But what about after dinner?”
Jameson tied the top of his bag off and sank down onto the bed next to Ellie. “Well, he’ll have to have an outside source if he wants to kill me on this visit. If one of his own men kills me, or more accurately tries to kill me, then all hopes of peace fall through in an instant. If he wants to keep that public perception he’s going for, then he’ll have to look like an external source attacked me, something he can swear to defeat, and then set up a ‘defeat’ of them.” Jameson stroked his chin thoughtfully. “It’s a pretty good plan, actually, if it went the way he wanted. He gets rid of me permanently, and gets to look like the good guy for ending the person or people who ‘killed me.’”
“No, no, no.” Ellie wrapped her arms tightly around Jameson’s chest. “Stop, please, I don’t want to talk about you dying anymore. I don’t like thinking about it.” She buried her face in the front of his shirt.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Jameson hugged her back, “Sometimes I forget that you didn’t grow up with this kind of thing. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Ellie sat up a little in his embrace, “I’m trying to get better about it. I don’t live in constant fear of you being attacked anymore, really? This one is just so real, it’s so likely that you’ll be attacked—I’m losing my mind a little.”
“Hey now, I’ve never unsuccessfully fought off an attack, have I? I’ll be alright.” Jameson tried to squeeze her tighter in reassurance.
“That’s the thing, Jay, you only have to fail once. Fail once, and you’re gone forever.”
“I’m good, Ellie. I’m always good. I promise I will come home no worse for the wear.” Jameson promised, letting her go. “If I even have a scratch on me when I come back, I will do whatever you want to make it up to you.”
“I’m going to hold you to that.” Ellie insisted, standing up, and swinging Jameson’s bag over his shoulder. “Now, let’s get you on the road before I start to panic again.”