As it turned out, trusting Kira was the right strategy. Not that George Watanabe tried to contact Karen. But the next day, he did issue a statement to the press that the girls were not with him and strongly hinted that Karen had kidnapped them. Karen braced herself for a visit from the FBI, but it never came. For whatever reason, George had decided not to actually make an official report.
“Which is probably just as well,” said Gus Guerrero, the media consultant member of the Advisory Board. He was a tallish man, with broad shoulders and a squarish face. His shiny black hair was just beginning to show gray at the temples, and there were a few crow’s feet around his dark brown eyes.
He, along with Sharon and Karen, was sulking in the Protocol-Free Zone, actually the basement bar in Sharon’s Georgetown townhouse that she was living in while her friend Carla did good works in Africa.
“As if trial by public opinion can’t hurt,” Karen grumbled.
“But your ex obviously can’t back it up,” Gus pointed out, “or he would have had the FBI breathing down your neck by now. This is clearly all for show.”
“The only problem is will the judge deciding this thing see that?” Sharon asked.
“It’s not just him,” Karen groaned. “Jean has gotten a boatload of requests for comments. I’ve even had a couple reporters watching my front door. It’s getting hard to work.”
“What I don’t get is why anyone would care,” Sharon said. “You’re simply an advisor, Karen. None of us is that high profile, even Gus.”
Gus shrugged as Sharon gently shoved him. “It’s possible the loyal opposition wants to make the boss look bad. Or it could work simply as a distraction.”
“Wait,” Sharon said, sitting up suddenly. “It is about making the boss look bad. Isn’t that what June said? She’s hinted before that someone was out to get him.”
“She seemed pretty certain she knew how George was getting the money for the custody fight,” Karen said. “But who would be crazy enough to attack us that way?”
“It doesn’t really matter,” Gus replied. “Now, Karen, are you sure you haven’t bashed George in any way publicly?”
“Not even privately,” Karen grumbled. “It’s a waste of time. I may have complained a bit to Hideo, but he’s been pretty vocal that he hasn’t heard me bash George, never mind how tempting.”
“That’s good,” Gus said. “That seems to be the basis of George’s complaint – that you’ve poisoned the girls against him.”
“I can’t think of anybody who’s heard Karen bash George,” Sharon said, sucking on the olive that had been in her martini. “I certainly haven’t. I even got subpoenaed to say so.”
Karen pushed herself up from the bar. “Well, while I am still under legal limit, I’m going to head home. See you guys Sunday.”
“Sunday?” Sharon gasped.
“Fourth of July party at the White House,” Karen sing-songed. “Gotta get in the current time zone, girl.”
Sharon rolled her eyes. But Gus agreed that it was time for him to take off, as well.