By West Thornhill
“What are we doing again?”
Keenan wanted to laugh. Hearing the confusion in Loic’s voice was awesome. Apparently there wasn’t much that caught his mentor off guard. “It’s the Breakfast for Dinner Dance. It’s an annual event for the community. Everyone will be there.”
“Everyone?” Loic was beginning to sound more than a little off. There was a slight twitch to the corner of his left eye.
“Everyone in Wildwood. Whole families. Even people who have moved away come back if they can. I think the hardest BfDD was two years ago when we all thought Ben and Pierre were dead.” Keenan toyed with the lid on his coffee cup. His mind wandered back to that day. Quinn was coming into his Gaea abilities. Heck, it was just the beginning of the Thirteen. The whole evening had been one enormous, emotional gathering.
Tapping on the table pulled him away from that night. He blinked and refocused on Loic. “Sorry.”
Loic shook his head. “Nothing to apologize for.” He looked around before relaxing back into his chair and speaking again. “We need to discuss our plans.”
Plans? Keenan shook his head as he remembered what Loic was talking about. “Yeah, but tonight is probably not the best time.”
“Ah, that is where you are wrong, my young padawan.” Loic’s elbows rested on the arms of his chair and steepled his fingers over his chest. If anyone could look less like Obi-wan, it was Loic. “No one will think anything amiss if we are all sitting together talking. We just have to be very good actors so it doesn’t appear serious.”
Keenan nodded. He was going to trust Loic’s experience with situations like this. He was quickly learning there was more to his mentor than he showed the world.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, they didn’t have a chance to talk during dinner. Ric, Tore and Sven all seemed to know something was up. And Loic disappeared for about a thirty minutes. Keenan saw him talking, arguing maybe, with a woman who seemed vaguely familiar. At first he thought it was Tara but she was sitting with Bowie and Agave. Before he could get a better look at the woman, she was gone.
He wandered out toward the gazebo. He wanted Sera to come with him, but she was deep in conversation with Gin and Alchemy. So, he didn’t want to disturb them. He sat on the steps and stared out over the playground.
Keenan jerked out of his thoughts at the feel of someone bumping against him. He turned his head and smiled. “Hey.”
Berke grinned, but it faded when he looked around. It was almost as if he were making sure they were alone. Keenan was about to ask if everything was okay when Berke leaned close and whispered, “I think I can help you rescue Kaz and Quinn.”
“How do you…”
“I’m really good at eavesdropping.” Berke put a finger against Keenan’s lips. “I might not be a Gaea, but I’m a pretty sneaky Perceptive.”
To say Keenan was surprised would have been a bit of an understatement. “Wait, how did I not know you were a Perceptive?”
Berke shrugged. “Because I’m really good at hiding it. My aunt and I are the only ones in the family. Everyone else is a Normal. Apparently my great-grandmother was an Earth Gaea. And for some reason it’s a big family secret.”
“What makes you think you can help?” Keenan leaned back on his elbows, trying to pretend what they were talking about wasn’t serious.
“I can manipulate ruthenium. If what I’ve heard is true, you’re going to need someone who can open doors.” Keenan could tell Berke was nervous. He was chewing on his bottom lip and twirling a strand of hair around his finger.
Keenan sighed. “We’ll have to discuss this with Loic.”
“He’s your dreamy mentor, isn’t he?” Berke’s sigh was completely different than Keenan’s.
“Don’t even go there. Please.”
Berke’s laugh filled the air and Keenan couldn’t help but join in. Maybe he could help. Keenan just didn’t want his friend to get hurt.
* * *
Relief that the BfDD was over was only part of what Sera was feeling as she walked holding hands with Berke and her other arm wrapped around Keenan’s waist. Alchemy and Jute were behind them, whispering as they made their way to Loic’s.
Sera had been surprised to find out Berke was going with them and that he was a Perceptive. She just didn’t know what was going on. Neither Keenan nor Berke wanted to discuss it out in the open which could mean many things.
She wasn’t surprised though to see Kane standing on the porch waiting for them. His face was unreadable until he met her gaze. His eyes were sad and angry at the same time. She shook her head. “You know better.” Letting go of the boys, she wrapped her arms around Kane. “I know you still love him. And I’m sorry it hurts you to be here,” she whispered.
His arms tightened slightly before he whispered back. “I’m here for you, Angel. You are my niece no matter what happens or happened between me and Ric.” He kissed the side of her head before letting go and stepping back. Kane gestured toward the door. “Come on. I know something is up.”
Sera waited as Alchemy, Jute, and Berke followed Kane inside. She felt some of the tension leave her body as Keenan wrapped his arms around her.
“Nothing. And everything.” She relaxed against him. “Do you think we’ll be able to do this?”
“I know we will.” She could hear the determination in Keenan’s voice.
Before she could do or say anything, Loic opened the screen door and glared at them. “Are you joining us or not?” He let it slam close behind him as he stalked away.
Sera giggled. “Well, I suppose we should head inside.”
They tangled their fingers together and walked inside. A slight shiver snaked along her spine and she looked back over her shoulder. Shaking her head when she didn’t see anyone, she ignored it even though she had a feeling the night was going to be spent in rather long discussions.
* * *
Stepping out from behind a tree, she stared at the house wondering what was going on inside. Loic was being very secretive about his relationship with these kids, especially the tall red head and Hyperion’s daughter.
The boy intrigued her. He reminded her of someone she knew a long time ago. But that wasn’t possible. That man and his family were all in Ireland. But maybe some snooping into this Wildwood was in order. She’d heard the Thirteen came from here.
Lyre narrowed her gaze on the house one last time before striding off into the darkness. A slow smile formed on her lips. Maybe she could convince Hyperion to join her.