Jason and Cybille sat in opposite seats on the train as the countryside sped past. Cybille was excited to see her family, and was bouncing up and down on the bench.
“Would you calm down? People are starting to stare at us.”
“Who cares? I can’t wait to see everyone! My dad’s going to be so surprised!”
Jason rolled his eyes at her. Cybille was rarely so excited about anything, and when she was, it was pretty entertaining to watch. By the time they reached the station in Kaur, Cybille had calmed down, but not by much.
As the train ground to a stop, an over-excited passenger, a girl about three years old, ran past their seats, shouting happily. As she passed, she tripped, landing hard on one knee. She began to cry loudly, and a woman hurried up to her, shushing her, and trying to comfort the child. Without hesitation, Cybille jumped up and knelt next to the child, placing a hand on her knee.
"Shh, shh, it's ok. You only got a little rug burn. You'll be okay, see it doesn't even hurt anymore, right?"
As Jason watched, green light seeped from under Cybille's hand and was gone. The child stopped crying and smiled, clinging onto her mother's neck. The woman thanked Cybille, smiling.
"No trouble at all. You have a nice day, both of you."
Jason stood up as the young mother and her child walked away.
"What was that?" he asked. Cybille turned to him, a guarded expression in her eyes.
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know. Something weird just happened."
Cybille turned away and began walking down the aisle to the door.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Suspicion brewed in Jason's mind. Something odd was going on, and he suspected that Cybille knew much more than she was letting on.
Teren woke slowly. The ceiling spun above him, then became still. He yawned. Suddenly, Hugo’s face was visible directly in front of him.
Teren fell out of bed. Hugo climbed over the bed and looked down at him.
“Well that was random.”
“Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“How do you not sneak up on you? You were asleep!”
Teren stood up.
“Well, I’m awake now anyway. Did you want something specific, or do you just like scaring the pants off me?”
“Well, I do like scaring the pants off you, but Jolie wants you to join her and the royals for breakfast.”
“Jolie wants me to join them?”
“Yup. That’s the sum of it. Okay, bye.”
Hugo dodged out the door, laughing, while Teren was left in bewilderment. He shrugged and dressed, then headed downstairs for breakfast. Jolie, Stuart and Jennifer were already at the table, and Teren was not surprised to see Nicholas standing in the corner. The whole time that Stuart and Jennifer had been there, Nicholas hadn’t left her side, and even slept sitting outside her door. Teren supposed that was what a bodyguard was supposed to do, but it was a little strange.
“Hey guys. Sorry, am I late? I just woke up.”
Jennifer looked up.
“No, you’re not late. Jolie got me up early, and I got Stuart up.”
Stuart looked a little grumpy.
“That’s one way to say it.”
Teren sat down next to him.
“What’d she do?”
“She jumped me! There I was, sleeping peacefully, when, bam! Sister attack!”
“Oh yeah, I know what you mean. Hugo jumped me in a similar fashion.”
“Hugo? Oh, you mean your servant?”
“He’s not really a servant. He’s my best friend. He just gets paid to keep me out of trouble.”
“Oh? How’s that going?”
“He’s flat broke.”
Jennifer and Jolie laughed at their exchange, and nobody saw, but Nicholas cracked a smile in the corner. The day was bright, and the mood was happy as the youngsters made their way out of doors, chatting amongst themselves cheerily. From a window, Duke Lennon watched them, a heavy look on his face. Such happy youths. He turned from the window, coughing. The manor’s physician hurried up to him.
“My lord, please, you ought to be resting!”
“Yes, yes, Matthew. Calm down. I know what I ought to be doing. Tell Cook I’ll have that tea now.”
“Yes sir, right away.”
The duke reclined in his large bed, coughing.
“My poor boy. How young you are.”
After they got off the train, Jason and Cybille took a bus to Cybille's neighborhood, where they then walked to her house. When they reached her house, she rushed up the walk, rang the doorbell, and waited, jumping up and down in excitement. The door opened, and Cybille’s mother was standing there. When she saw her daughter, she nearly shrieked. The whole family rushed the door, and Cybille was nearly swallowed up in hugs, kisses, and shouts of joy. Jason stood awkwardly on the walk as the family reunion continued, until Cybille’s mom (mothers, am I right?) noticed him.
“And who might this be, Cybille dear?”
Cybille smiled at Jason.
“Oh, this is Jason, one of my coworkers.”
Cybille’s mother gestured for him to come closer, and so he obliged.
“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Williams.”
He held his hand out, and she ignored it, hugging him instead.
“And welcome to you, too! You’ll be staying here, won’t you?”
Cybille broke in, “Actually-” but Mrs. Williams cut her off.
“Nonsense, dear. I’ll make up the guest room right away!”
Jason spoke, a little taken aback by the generosity of Cybille’s family.
“But where will Cybille sleep, if I take the guest room?”
“Her own room,” Mrs. Williams replied.
“I haven’t touched it since you left last time.”
And so the whole family, plus Jason, entered the house and settled the two into their rooms, then set two additional places at the table, and Jason and Cybille joined the Williams family for dinner. Cybille caught her family up to speed on the events of the past few weeks (she and her parents kept up by phone during the year), and they laughed along with the jokes, and shook their heads at Teren’s misdeeds. Cybille’s younger sister, who was five, looked up at Jason and said,
“Did the princess get mad at you when you made her hair turn green?”
Jason looked down at the little girl. She was the image of Cybille, though younger, and definitely less mature.
“No, it wasn’t the princess whose hair turned green, it was Lady Jolie’s hair, and yes, she got very mad, and made me do sewing. I hurt my fingers, see?”
The little girl looked at his hand attentively, then looked up seriously and said,
“I’ll make it better for you.”
With that she kissed his fingers and whispered, “Go away, boo boo!”
Jason could barely keep from laughing.
“Thanks kid! They feel loads better now!”
The little girl smiled broadly at him, happy her cure worked. Later that evening, Cybille was sitting on the living room couch, reading a book, and Jason was sitting in an armchair in the corner. The little children had gone to bed, and the only people up were Cybille’s two oldest brothers, and her parents.
“Your family is really nice.”
“Yes, I suppose they rather are.”
"Cybille, what happened on the train earlier? I saw green light coming out of your hand."
Cybille froze. She closed the book and stood up stiffly.
“It’s getting kind of late. I think I’ll head to my room now. Good night.”
Jason stood up to stop her, but she gave him a look, and he closed his mouth.
"Look, you don't need to know what's going on. When you need to know, you will, okay?"
She walked past him and up the stairs. Jason stared after her. What would he need to know? A cold chill passed over his shoulders, and he followed Cybille up the stairs and made his way to the guest room.
Cybille awoke the next morning, and remembered where she was. A light lit in her heart, and she smiled broadly. Then the remembrance of the previous night came to her, and her smile vanished. She turned onto her side and pulled the covers tighter about her. Why had she not been more careful about her abilities? She got up anyway, and got dressed. Her mother had made french toast and bacon for breakfast, and Jason wasn’t down from his room yet. Cybille conversed pleasantly with her siblings, and then Jason came down sleepily.
“I had the weirdest dream last night,” he said, yawning. Cybille’s interest was piqued.
Jason sat down.
“Yeah. You were there, and the kid over here,” he ruffled Cybille’s little sister’s hair, and she grinned.
“And we were on a train, and then we weren’t, and we were in a field of some kind, and then the kid wasn’t there, and I think something landed on the ground in front of us, but then we were back at the manor, and Teren was upset about something. Then we were here, and you had glowing eyes. I think you blew something up. And then I was in a stone room, and I woke up.”
Cybille looked at him funny.
“You’re right, that is weird. Anything else?”
“Yeah, actually. Before the bit at the manor. While we were in the field, there was something… music, maybe?”
Cybilled looked at him suddenly.
“Music? Do you remember it?”
Jason frowned a little in concentration.
“I think so. It was something like… “
He hummed a little, then shook his head.
“That’s all. There were words, but I don’t remember them. Why?”
Cybille shook her head.
“No reason. Just curious.”
Mrs. Williams looked at her daughter, then at Jason. Then she piled three pieces of french toast onto his plate, smiling.
“You’re a big strong boy! I’ll bet you can handle three pieces!”
Jason smiled back and took a bite. His face lit up.
“Ma’am, this is delicious! I could eat ten!”
Mrs. Williams laughed.
“Well, start with those and we’ll see.”
She turned back to the stove.
“Oh, Cybille, I was planning on going to the store this morning, but I have a previous engagement I had forgotten about. Could you and Jason go for me?”
“Sure Mom! What do you need?”
“List’s on the fridge. You can use my car, and I’ll give you the money now, if you like.”
“Okay, that’s fine. Jason, when you finish, then? I’m going to go fix myself up.”
“Why? You look fine to me,” Jason said through his french toast. Mrs. Williams clipped his shoulder with her spatula.
“Don’t talk with your mouth full. It isn’t polite.”
At the grocery store, Cybille glanced at her list, and up at the shelf.
“Hmm. This one’s cheaper… but this one’s bigger… Is this one twice the size, or not? Where’s the serving size? Hmm…”
“Cybille, we’ve been staring at this same shelf for five minutes.”
“Hold on, I wanna get the best deal. How much tax is on that?”
“Here, give me the list and I’ll get the next thing.”
“No! I’ve got to check everything for the best deal. Mom likes to save money. I’m surprised she didn’t send me down here with a million coupons and rain checks. The least I can do is save her a couple bucks on toothpaste.”
“Okay, but can we hurry?”
“Yeah, yeah, hold your horses, snappy pants.”
“Snappy pants? What was that?”
“I think I just made that up. Okay, this one’s a better deal. What’s next on the list?”
“Uh… Bread. Please don’t take five minutes picking it out.”
“Don’t worry. There’s only one brand of bread my mom ever gets. Okay, this way to the bread aisle.”
“Quick, to the bread cave!”
“What? You said ‘snappy pants’.”
They reached the checkout relatively quickly, and without much incident, other than Jason accidentally shutting his finger in the freezer door in the frozen section. Cybille laughed at him because he was sucking on it like a four year old. The cashier, a teenage girl whose nametag stated that her name was Carrie, smiled at them as she swiped their items.
“Just casually shopping?”
“Helping out my mom, actually.”
“That’s cool. You two make a cute couple.”
Jason and Cybille looked at each other in disgust.
“No, no, definitely not.”
Carrie looked surprised.
“You two aren’t dating? I could’ve sworn-”
“Nope. No. Uh uh. I’m waiting in the car.”
Jason walked away and Cybille laughed.
“You’re really not…”
“No. He’s a coworker, and we’re visiting my family. My mom insisted. He would’ve stayed in a hotel otherwise.”
Cybille joined Jason in the car.
“Well that was funny.”
Jason grumped. His arms were crossed, and his expression said clearly,
“Not funny. Just awkward. I’m never going shopping with you again.”
Cybille laughed again and they drove off.
I'm sorry it took so long to get this out. Life punched me in the gut and then sat on me until my face was blue. Anyway, chapter four shouldn't take quite this long to finish, I hope to get it out in the next month.