An Unexpected Event, Part 2

So after breakfast and keeping the Twins from freaking out over the arrival of Logan, the Sheriff arrived. I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t happy about Logan. I thought for a second that it would be because it’s another dragon in his district, but he soon put my mind to ease about that one.

“No, Marlowe. I’m not upset it’s another dragon. I’m upset because he latched on to you and Ben. He’s going to have to be with Mark.”

I nodded and looked over at Ben, who spoke up:

“We weren’t expecting him to hatch so soon. If we had a little warning, we would have moved him in to Mark’s rooms.”

“Breaking his connection to the two of you is going to be hard, but he cannot stay attached.”

“George gave the egg to Ben for a reason.”

Ben sighed. “She gave me the egg because it wasn’t going to be one of hers.”

The Sheriff looked at Ben with a frown. “I think it’s time you explained how you know these things.”

“I can talk to animals. Any animal. I can also hear the thoughts of some people, but not others.” Ben said with a sigh in his voice.

“Why only some people?” I asked. It was something I’d always wanted to know, but didn’t know how to ask.

“The more extraordinary, the less of a chance I have of hearing you. I have no idea why, but I have trouble hearing the thoughts of people who have that something extra.”

“But you can hear mine.” I said.

“I’m around you all the time. I have more practice listening for you.”

I thought about it for a second and thought it was a little strange, but I couldn’t throw stones. I can control metals.

“Our children are going to be pretty weird.” I said.

Ben started laughing. “No weirder than anything else in this town.”

I looked up at the Sheriff and smiled. “Who had December 1st in the pool?”

The Sheriffs jaw dropped open. “Murphy. I knew she was up to something when she bought in on Thanksgiving.”

I started laughing. “Nothing gets by Grandma.”

“Well, a new dragon in the house won’t. We’re going to have to give them their space you know.” Ben said.

I sighed. I’d grown attached to Logan, but Ben was right. He wasn’t ours to keep.

“House?” I said looking up. I heard a rumble in response.

“Okay, that’s just freaky.” The Sheriff said.

“We need an apartment above the garage, please. I also need three lifts inside the garage if you please.”

The house rumbled in response to me.

“Well, let’s go find Mark and tell him.” Ben said.

“Kitchen. Mark was trying to get Logan to eat.” I said.

“Kitchen it is, then.” Ben said as he took my hand and we walked together with the Sheriff in to the kitchen.

As soon as I stepped in to the room, Logan chirruped and bounded off the table to come settle on my waist. I sighed. This was going to be hard. I scratched his neck ridges as I sat at the kitchen table.

“He’s been a ball of energy all until you walked in.” Mark said. “I couldn’t get him to eat anything.”

“He’s chittering and calling her mom.” Ben said quietly to the Sheriff. They were standing behind me.

“He might be too attached to be able to break the connection.” The Sheriff whispered back.

“What’s going on?” Mark asked.

“Logan is yours. You were married to Max when he died. Max has no other family, which means you’re Logan’s father.”

“No. I never knew about the egg. I just knew that he’d gotten out a few years ago.” Mark said with a shake of his head.

“Years? That egg has been incubating for years?” I asked him, then looked up at Ben.

“At least ten that I know of.” Mark said.

“Don’t you want Logan?” I asked him.

“I don’t know. Part of me wants to say yes, but the part that’s still grieving says no.” Mark replied.

The room went silent, except for Logan’s chirruping.

“You all need to make the decision today as to who he’s going to call his parent or parents. When the full moon hits, whatever growing he’s done will be the age he changes in to once the moon rises.” The Sheriff said as he looked around the room.

“Just how many of these have you gone through?” I asked the Sheriff.

“Ten. We lost most of the dragons over the years due to various accidents or in a couple of isolated cases, murder.”

“What usually happens?”

“Well, after the change? It’s just like having a child instead of a dragon. They change monthly with the moon just like an adult.” The Sheriff said as he sat down next to me. “Really, it’s no different from adopting. You get a child and have to help him or her to catch up with everything else.”

I looked up at Ben and found him staring off in to space. “Ben?”

“Hmm?” He said as he turned his attention back to me.

“Wanna join us?”

“Sorry.” He said looking a little sheepish. “I was talking to Logan.”

“What’s up?” I asked.

“He wants to know why we’re thinking about making him stay with Mark over the garage.”

Mark made some noises in the back of his throat like he was about to protest. I patted his hand.

“We love you. You know we do, but if you’re going to keep Logan, you’ll need your own space to get to know each other.” I said.

Mark turned his hand over and smiled. “You’d do that for us? Even though I know you want to keep him?”

“Yes. He’s yours. It was wrong of me to think I could keep him.” Even saying the words hurt, but I tried not to let it show. I’d grown irrationally attached to the dragonet.

“Not wrong. Ben did give the egg to you months ago. The only reason why I thought it was Max’s was because of the color.”

“Well, it is possible to get egg variations in different color parents that aren’t that parent’s original color. Unlikely, but possible.” The Sheriff said.

“I’m assuming there’s all kinds of information about this down at the station?” Ben asked.

“Yeah. The archives from when the town was first founded. A Council decision I won’t fight, says that everything that has to do with the unusual gets recorded. Dragon births, how to raise them, what to expect.” The Sheriff looked apologetic. “I’m sorry. I’ve been meaning to have this conversation with you since the Council approved your key.”

“They approved me? I didn’t know I needed their approval.” Ben snorted.

“Well since you’re the town’s only vet who handles the unusual cases, they’ve approved you to have a key. You’re going to need it. The seven-year span on the satyrs not breeding is coming to an end.”

Ben sat down heavily at the table. “I thought something was odd about that.”

“There’s other things coming as well, but that’s the first one. It starts next month.” The Sheriff said. “I wouldn’t be alone after dark next month. Male or female.”

I started laughing and that woke up Logan who chirruped unhappily.

“So about Logan?” I said.

“I can’t take him.” Mark said.

I was stunned. I was certain that he wanted Logan.

“Why?”

“He belongs in this house. With everyone. Not above some garage with me alone.”

“What if that means Logan becomes attached to Ben and I more than you? You do have rights as his real father. You were married to Max.”

“I’m no more his real father than anyone else in this house, just because of who I was married to.” Mark said. “You have to admit, we all made a good team when it comes to The Twins. What could be so hard about raising Logan that way?”

“Well it’s definitely unusual.” The Sheriff said.

“So’s the town.” Mark said. “I didn’t grow up here, I grew up in a Main Street USA kind of town. I’m here now. I’m staying here. That means Logan is too.”

I looked over at Ben, then down at Logan who was asleep in my arms again.

“Okay. We’ll give it a shot.” Ben said.

The Sheriff shook his head and got up from the table. “I need to go check on the road conditions and see my kids. I assume they’re with Miles?”

I nodded. “Yeah. He’s in the Great Hall with them. They’re playing some Zelda game on the Wii.”

The Sheriff nodded. “I need a word with the two of you, alone.”

I nodded and got up from the table.

“Don’t. I’ll take Logan and go check on Miles.” Mark said as he eased Logan out of my arms and in to his. Logan chirruped sleepily and settled back in once he realized who had him.

I sad back down at the table with Ben.

“What’s up, Eric?”

“The Priestess who we brought in for the October killings? She says there’s going to be another event soon and she wants us all to be careful. So I’ve thought about it and spoken to The Twins aunt.” The Sheriff said as he sat back down. “If something happens to me over this mess, I want the two of you to take The Twins.”

I gripped Ben’s hand tight. “But Eric, They have family.”

“Who wants nothing to do with them and I don’t have family left alive. I was an only child.” He said.

I looked up at Ben, who nodded.

“Okay.” Ben said.

“I thought it would be harder than that.” Eric said.

“Eric, you’re a great friend to both Ben and myself. You’re family to me,” I said, then corrected myself when Ben nudged me. “to us. Of course we’d take The Twins if something happened.”

“Six months ago I’d never thought I’d ask a newbie to take my kids, but you’ve proven yourself.” Eric said to me.

“I hope it never comes to it, but I’d be happy to take them.” I said. “Even if I’ve only been here six months, you’ve known everyone else longer than that and I’m sure you’ve asked them about me.”

“Oh, I did a background check too.” Eric said with a laugh.

I laughed and looked up at Ben. “You owe me twenty.”

Ben frowned. “Damn it, I was sure you’d let it go this time and wouldn’t do it to another newbie.”

“Gotta protect my town.” The Sheriff replied with a grin. He got up and walked out of the room to check on his kids.

“We’re so fucked, aren’t we?” I said when he left.

“Do you want to be anything else?” Ben replied.

I thought about all that I’d gone through in the last two years and shook my head.

“No. I’m much better off than I was two years ago. Happier, too.”

“Speaking of happier; you need a ring.” Ben said.

“I do need a ring.” I said.

“Wanna go shopping with me next week?”

“Nope. You’re going with Mark and Miles.” I said with a grin.

“Gonna make me stick to tradition?”

“Damn right.” I said. I slid in to his arms and kissed him.

“You’re worth everything I have and more. What do I get you?”

“I’m going to go with that old ‘You’ll know it when you see it.’ phrase.” I replied.

“I hate that phrase.”

I laughed. I hated it too, but I trusted Ben. I said so.

“Best thing that’s ever been said to me.”

“I thought that was last night, when I told you your ass looked great naked.”

“That was the best part of my life till now.”

“Oh, I do love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Come on, let’s go check on everyone.”

“Sure. By the way? Your ass looks hot in those pants.”

I was laughing as I walked to the Great Hall with him. So far, this month was turning out great.

-Marlowe

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Thanksgiving, Part 2

So after a lengthy conversation with Grandmama Murphy, She eventually agreed to come over early and help. She didn’t trust that I wasn’t going to go all comic book villain on her and I don’t honestly blame her. The past few weeks I’ve lost my temper and my control more times than I’m comfortable with.

Grandma Oberly would have told me that losing one’s temper is the result of having a family and feelings about them. I would have told her that when most people lose their control, they don’t run the risk of impaling the nearest person with something metal. She would have smacked the back of my head, but reluctantly admitted that I had a point.

I miss her. So much.

When Jude came back in, she saw the knives cleared away and we were all doing our best with the knives that I could fix.

“Need a hand?” She asked.

I handed over my knife. “Go, go veggie chop! I need to shower and clean up.”

I left and they were still laughing. I made my way upstairs and in to the shower without encountering anyone. I needed the time alone.  I was leaning against the shower wall, letting the spray beat over my shoulders when I heard the door open and close.

“You’re late. I figured that you wouldn’t be joining me.”

“Lies. You’re naked. I just had to avoid my mother.” Ben said as he climbed in to the shower with me.

I leaned back against him. “I love you.”

I felt him kiss my hair and smile. “I love you too.”

“Do you think we can handle it?”

“My mother? Yes. Thanksgiving? There might be more blood. I heard Miles complaining about blisters. He was hand whipping cream.”

I laughed. “He does know my mixer is in the cabinet right above his head, right?”

“No and I wasn’t about to tell him.” Ben laughed.

“Evil. I love it.” I said, laughing with him.

“While we still have time to ourselves.. ” Ben hinted. I grinned and turned around to kiss him.

It was an hour and a half before we made it back down stairs, but we were laughing like idiots and feeling good. Walking in to the kitchen we were immediately drafted in to making pies. The turkeys were already in the ovens and everyone was making some sort of dessert for the oven we had left. We worked together, cracking jokes and making each other laugh until the pies were out of the oven and the only thing left was stuffing, gravy and turkeys, but those had to wait until the turkeys were done. So we spent most of the time left setting up tables, buffet style.

“Do you think we have enough seating?” I asked Ben as we shoved another couch in to the great hall.

Ben grunted and shoved the couch along a wall. “If we don’t, I don’t care. my back hurts and I’m tired of moving furniture into the hall.”

I watched him flop down on the couch we just moved with a sigh and then climbed in to his lap.

“Snuggle me.” I demanded as I curled around him.

“With pleasure.” He said.

The sound of the fire soon lulled us to sleep and we woke up to Grandmama Murphy standing over us, clucking her tongue.

“You two. Get up! The turkeys are done and there’s stuffing to be made.” She said. She then turned on her heel and went off to the kitchen.

I yawns and rubbed my eyes. Ben shifted underneath me and yawned.

“Hi Sleepy.” I said and kissed him.

“Hello Beautiful.” He looked around and found that it was almost dark. “What time is it?”

“Time enough to go make stuffing and gravy. Grandmama was just in here.” I said as I got up out of out nest and stretched.

Ben watched me stretch and when I noticed, wiggled his eyebrows at me. I laughed.

“No. We’re not sneaking off and leaving the mess for everyone else.” Ben pouted, but I held firm. “No. Turkey must be carved.”

Ben sighed. “Okay. Give me a hand up, will you?”

I grabbed his hand and tugged, but he caught me off guard and yanked me down on to the couch again and tickled me until I was out of breath.

“That was mean.” I said.

Ben nuzzled my neck. “But worth it.” He gave me another kiss and helped me up. We walked hand in hand in to the kitchen and found a mess. There was whipped creme everywhere. Ben and I stood in the doorway, mouths hanging open.

“What the bloody hell happened here?” I demanded.

Miles and Mark looked down and Jude started laughing. “Food fight!”

I could feel my lips twitching. “Well I’m not cleaning this up. I’ll take the dogs out.”

“I’m with you.” Ben said and we went out in to the main hallway to pile in to outdoor gear for the trip outside.

The dogs figured out what was going on and started dancing at the door to go outside. I opened the door and let the dogs out, laughing along with Ben as they rolled each other in the snow.

We’d been out for at least a half hour when the first of the guests started to arrive. It was the Sheriff and his twins. They were out of the car and rocketing across the lawn to roll with the dogs before Sheriff Stier’s could stop them.

“Oh let them be, Eric. It’s holiday.” I said as I hugged him hello.

He handed over a bottle of wine and shook Ben’s hand.

“I can’t help it. I worry.”

“They’ll be fine, but it’s time to go in. We’ve been outside long enough.”

Ben called the dogs and the Twins in and there was much groaning and complaining as we all piled inside and took off the outdoor gear.

“There’s a new board game in the great hall and Frosty is on the TV, go keep out of trouble.” I said and watched them take off running with the dogs.

“No magic!” Ben shouted at them.

A chorus of over the shoulder “okay!” was faintly heard as they were already in the Great Hall. I shook my head at them.

“They’ll claim they didn’t hear you the second they make something explode, you know.”

“I just hope it’s nothing that leaves squishy bits all over the hall.” Ben grumbled.

“Well, there isn’t any jello in there so this time it won’t be us cleaning it out of the rafters again.” I said as we led the Sheriff in to the kitchen. He was laughing.

“You two don’t tell me anything about my own kids. I’d have grounded them for that.” He said.

“We made them sit in time out for an hour, in different rooms. That was torture enough.” I said.

I handed off the bottle to Mark as we made the introductions. More and more people arrived after the Sheriff did, pretty soon we were looking at a full house. The party was in full swing when Grandmama Murphy brought out the turkey and we set up the buffet. The conversation hum was light and joking and I was just becoming hopeful that we were going to make it without an incident when Grandmama Murphy came up behind me and told me there was a problem. I snagged Ben and we met her in the hall way.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Well I don’t want you to be alarmed, but there’s a couple of FBI agents here and one of them is Miles’s ex-boyfriend.”

I swore. “Oh that’s all we need. I don’t care about them being FBI. I care that Miles and Denver, who are currently canoodling on my settee, are going to get in to another fight.”

“Another fight?” Ben asked.

“Just after they arrived. Something about pastries. I put a stop to it while you were chasing down Gibbs who’d stolen a shoe.”

“So, the FBI?” Murphy said.

I sighed. “Lead on, Grandmama.”

She led us all in to the kitchen where the agents were sitting at the table, eating pie. I smiled at that. Grandmama always looked out for us and whomever need a spot of food on a cold night. I coughed to bring attention to myself and they looked up.

“Hello. I’m Marlowe Oberly and this is Ben Solt.”

They scrambled to stand, but I waved them off and sat down at the table with them.

“I’m Vaughn Beazley and this is my partner Tucker Groue. We’re here to do the pre-investigation for the attempted bombing trial.”

“No offense meant by this, because I’m glad you’re here, but couldn’t it have waited until after the holiday?”

The man named Tucker squirmed in his chair. “We’re kind of pressed for time since the defendant exercised his right to a speedy trial. It means that the trial is moving up to the spring instead of waiting for all the pre-trial hearings.”

I swore. I was just about to ask more questions when Miles and Mark came in to the kitchen with empty platters. I nudged Ben and he got up to take the dishes before Miles saw his ex-boyfriend sitting at our table. I watched Miles turn around and see me, then look at his ex.

“You! What the fuck are you doing here!?” Miles shouted.

I laid my head on the table and groaned. Ben stepped in between Miles and Vaughn.

“Now Miles. Things might have ended badly last year but that’s no reason to shout at the Agent who’s helping your cousin lock up Steve.”

Miles glared at Ben, then at Vaughn and he stormed out of the kitchen.

“Well, that certainly could have gone better.” Tucker said.

Vaughn glared at Tucker and I smiled at him like I’d found a new best friend.

-Marlowe