"Lynne, listen." I knelt down beside her and tried not to glance at the scar glaring from her cheekbone that was a constant reminder of what had happened. I had been in her shoes before, just weeks ago, and it was still fresh in my brain. "For some reason, the powers are taking their time figuring out what they want to be. Caleb didn't realize his until…well, you remember. And you and Kyle will learn what your powers are, too, soon enough. I'm sorry that we were all too wrapped up to even really pay attention to you guys."
Kyle and Lynne had ascended on the roof of the palace and mutualized right after. Everyone had been so focused on what was going on with us and worrying about the bigger problems though, that we hadn't had time to dwell on the fact that neither of them were getting a feeling for what their ability was going to be. Or the fact that Lynne was human and had gotten the tattoo on her wrist.
"No," she said quickly. "I don't want the spotlight. It's just that Kyle…" She sniffed in a way that showed me she'd been crying way before she came to see me. "He's upset about it. I just know it. How could he not be, right?"
I smiled. I knew this one firsthand as well. I felt my cell buzz in my pocket, but ignored it. "Caleb and I went through the same thing. I felt like he'd been cheated because he was an Ace and I wasn't."
"Yeah," she said and nodded. "That's how I feel."
I knew it was mere minutes before Kyle came and found her. She was so upset, there was no way Kyle couldn't feel her. "Don't worry, Lynne. Kyle is a big boy. I promise you you'll both get your abilities when you're ready and it'll be something great. And Kyle isn't upset. I'm in his head remember?"
"Well, then get out of it!" she screeched and stood. She blushed all the way into her hairline. "His brain is private now."
I pursed my lips so I wouldn't laugh at her. "I just mean that I'd hear him if he was upset. He'd be broadcasting it out if he was."
"Whatever," she grumbled and wiped her cheek furiously. "This whole thing has turned me into such a chick."
I laughed just as Kyle bolted through the palace roof door. He practically flew to her and gripped her arms. "What's wrong?" He looked around for threats and found none. He looked between us and then finally focused on Lynne. Hearing her thoughts he heard it all and grimaced. "Lynne, it'll be fine. I told you that already."
Her mouth opened and then closed. Then she said quickly, "But it-"
"Uhuh," he said to cut her off and put his finger over her lips. I smiled at the sudden death glare she was giving him. "I have complete confidence in my kind. The abilities will come when they're ready. And I have faith in our new Visionary." He smirked at me. "She's a goody two shoes that's making the universe a very happy and giving entity. Teacher's pet."
"Bite me, Kyle."
He laughed. "See?" He turned back to Lynne and his smile changed. It was the one he saved just for her. "She's totally harmless and on board. So, can't you be?"
She sighed and chewed the inside of her cheek. "I'm on board, too. I'll chill out."
"Really? All the way on board?"
"Choo, choo," she joked wryly and he grinned, taking her face in his hands. But then his thumb swept over the scar and he let his breath go slowly. "Good," he muttered, and I heard his guilty thoughts. He thought he let her down. He had been so upset about Rodney that he wasn't able to heal her cheek and knew she'd be stuck with it forever, because of him.
"Stop," she whispered harshly. "Stop, Kyle." She gripped his face, too. "It wasn't your fault. You didn't cut me."
"But I should have been able to heal you."
"You lost your cousin," she whispered back. "Stop this."
He thought about it before smiling. "Right back at ya."
She groaned at being caught in his trap before laughing softly. "Fine."
When she reached up on her toes to kiss him, I was outta there. I skipped down the stairs, my steps light and curiously worry free. Just yesterday, we'd learned that Haddock was my real father, and then Jen and Bish had imprinted… finally!
But today, I just felt better. I felt like there was so much more to solve, but that we'd be ok. I hadn't felt that sense in my bones in a long time and I craved it. Things were falling back into their right place.
Lynne had found me on the roof before. I was trying to call Beck before she interrupted with her cute little tirade. I tried Beck's cell several times, but always got voicemail. And Beck, who was driving up to the mountains with Ralph, was furious with me in the only way a best friend could be as I checked message after message from her that said, "How could you not tell me you were going to freaking London! Why haven't you called me all week?" And of course my favorite. "When am I going to get the juicy details of you and college boy? You better call me back before I got postal on your cute butt!"
I smiled thinking about that. I missed her. She was my slice of normal pie and I could have used an extra helping.
I heard his thoughts around the door just a second before his arms closed around my waist. I was pressed, but went willingly, to the wall with my back and then it was all warm lips and closed eyes and soft, but needy hands.
Poor Caleb. Maria had taken it upon herself after our big reveal with Jen and Bish to come and sleep with us to give them some privacy. Caleb grumbled about needing our own privacy in his mind, but it was just one night, right?
So when I felt his fingers teasing the skin just under my shirt, to soak me in as much as I was him, I knew he was making up for lost time. The hand in my hair gave me goosebumps as it massaged and swept through my hair gently. I shivered, causing him to groan. I pulled back just a bit and looked up at him.
He smiled cockily and happily back down at me.
Why, Mrs. Jacobson, are you blushing?
Flushing is more like it, I corrected and smirked my own smirk.
Well, I have it on good authority that our room is finally vacant of transients and squatters. Wanna come and…nap with me.
His grin was absolutely not about a nap. I bit my lip and nodded for him to lead the way. He laced our fingers as we made our way down the hall. We reached our room and he kissed me again as he fiddled with the door lock. He swept deep in my mouth. I held on to his collar to keep him there and to hold myself up.
But the loud giggling made us pause. Caleb pushed our door open to find Bish and Jen there. They had their shoes off, their legs hanging off the edge of the bed and they were lounging on their backs looking at each other. Before I could stop myself, I heard their thoughts. They were talking about learning to drive, remembering and laughing.
They looked up and Jen smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. Mom and Maria are napping in our room."
"What about your room?" Caleb asked Bish, anxious to evict our guests.
"They never gave me one," he answered smoothly.
"Well…" Caleb searched for any semi-polite way to tell them to get the heck out. I chuckled under my breath and grabbed his collar once more. He rested his hands on my lower back, his forehead to mine.
"We won't get a moment's peace until we get back to the states," I told him. "And then still not. Beck is going to drive me crazy for at least a week. And then Gran is going to start the wedding stuff, I just know it."
Caleb nodded and silently told me I was right.
"Sorry," Jen said again, but plopped back on the bed with no intention of leaving. Bish joined her, closer this time.
He whispered, "I'm not sorry." Then he kissed her once, pulling her to his chest and they lay still as if to go to sleep.
"Want to go back to the roof?" Caleb suggested in a low voice that held promise.
"Eew," Jen groaned. "Get out before you start the sexy voice, little brother."
"Our room," he retorted and smiled at me. It was his I'm happy no matter what we're doing smile.
This was the smile he saved just for me, for when no one was looking.
I smiled back and started to lead him back to our roof when Haddock met us at the door.
"Maggie. Caleb," he addressed and fidgeted. I of course couldn’t hear his thoughts so I had no idea what he wanted. "I was wondering if we could talk…before you all leave."
"About what," I said gently. I wasn't angry with Haddock and I didn't want him to think he owed me anything. I closed the door so Bish wouldn’t hear him. He didn't know about this, after all.
But Haddock said, "When you leave tomorrow to go back to Tennessee, I'm coming with you. To your town, I mean."
"What?" I blurted loudly. "What do you mean?"
He stood a little taller. "I may not have been your father this whole time, and I know you have Jim. That's great, but I lost you once and didn't even know I had you to begin with. I have no intention of doing that again."
I closed my eyes and tried to breathe normally. So, Dad and Fiona, and me and Caleb, and Bish and Jen, now Haddock.
One big happy family.
"Whatever," I said politely and tried to smile. "We'll see what we can work out, but I'm not telling my father…um, Jim. You know what I mean. I'm not telling him about all this."
"Understood," he said and smiled. "See you at dinner."
I remembered the text in my pocket. I pulled my cell out and tried not to shoot daggers at Haddock's back as he walked away. Caleb was muttering something about Haddock being a trouble maker, but stopped as soon as he felt my thoughts slam into him.
I reread the text message five times while Caleb held on to me. When he pressed my face into his neck and said, "Ah, baby. I'm so sorry," I knew the text from Beck's mom was real.
Beck & Ralph were in an car accident in the mountains. I tried to call u several times. They fnd the car, but no one was inside. They suspect they went looking for help &… They called off the search today. We're having the funerals on Sat. Pls, come home.