“All right, enough!” Adrie shouted. Standing, she kicked his chair back. It scudded against the stone floor, loud enough to silence everyone who hadn’t dropped their arguments and stutterings at the sound of her voice. She raised her hands to hold the quiet around the long table, then set them carefully over the paper stacks in front of her to lean forward.
“I didn’t have this on my schedule today,” she said. “I don’t like a good panic and I’m honestly quite shocked that it came up at all. I’d so prefer to have a night to prepare for it before I get handed one. And it’s just not a good day for it.” She glanced around the table, looking the other men and women in the eye. “Can we all agree that tomorrow would be a better day for this panic?” she asked.
A few of them men and women seemed to have begun to nod along with her, but they stopped suddenly. Eyebrows rose. Someone coughed, trying very hard to cover a laugh.
No one said anything, but Kavan, sitting on her right, opened his mouth as if he needed to disagree, but hadn’t yet worked out if she was being serious.
“No?” Adrie asked. She straightened slowly, allowed them another moment to gather a syllable between them.
“Well, then,” Adrie said. “If this is the best time for it, then perhaps we can act like it and come at it with our best as well. At the very least, I expect we can stop brushing up our impressions of parrots and monkeys.” She gave them all a smile, and liked the way they each seemed to have missed the chiding and felt the dare.