Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I can drive a car if needs be, but as it happens, none of us owns one, so we compromise by having Gareth's elvensteed counterfeit a car - a minivan, to be precise, even though the damn things are the very embodiment of evil. Have you ever noticed how many minivans there are at the mall?

I carry Raina out to the car and get her settled in while she gives me a look that could make the Titanic go looking for icebergs. Once I'm certain that she can't slip if we have to stop suddenly, I settle myself in the seat next to her, her feet actually in my lap. She suffers all this in stony silence, willing to submit to the indignity only long enough to get back to the Lodge - and then the shit's gonna hit the fan.

When we get home, I carry her again - back to the room we share, and lay her on the bed. I'm getting the coverlet settled about her when she speaks.

"Do I get a cookie and a bedtime story, too?"

I give her a pained look. "Raina," I say, "my sweet, passionate, stubborn, pain-in-the-ass love... do you perhaps recall spending a week in the Manseoleum because you rushed in where angels feared to tread? Do you really want to go back so soon, before you've had a chance to appreciate being home at last?"

"Listen to the vampire, sis," Erik says, smiling. "You took a hell of a knock back there, and Rowan wasn't altogether sure about letting you go so soon."

"So soon?"

"So soon," he repeats firmly. "She made Nick - and Gareth and Ky and me - all promise to sit on you if you didn't behave once we got you home. I can appreciate that you have a genuine feast laid out for you" - Ky smirks and he winks at her cheerfully. Star catches the look and gives him a mock-glare, but you can tell she doesn't mean it, and neither does he; those two are made for each other, if ever a couple was. - "and I know you're starving; but you know what happens if you eat too much after you've been fasting for awhile. You overeat, and then you projectile-vomit all over the distant landscape. Take it slow, Sis; the picnic's not going anywhere." And then damned if he doesn't tip me a wink, too! What the hell? The Great Stone Face has a sense of humor? What's next?

About that time, Gareth rushes in with a plate full of Keebler chocolate-chip cookies. "Someone ask for cookies?," he says with a straight face. "They're made by elves, you know...."

In the floor, Ky is rolling around, clutching her stomach, kicking her feet and trying her damnedest not to giggle, but she's losing the battle....

Raina's face is a thundercloud and I can see the lightning in her eyes, ready to strike all over - but she catches a glimpse of Ky and then a grin fights its way over her face...

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