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The following morning, Jayben rose earlier than usual and walked to the Tea Room. He could’ve gotten there much sooner, but there was a great deal on his mind and he wanted some additional time to think.
Upon arrival, he gently opened the Tea Room door and held the door over his body as he peeked around the corner of the open door. “Is it safe to come in? …….Is the welcome mat still there for me, Cap?”
The Captain, who was tucked into a large, delicious breakfast as he prepared to make his return to the Main Camp, muttered something unintelligible as his mouth was full of eggs and pancakes. Jayben entered the Tea Room and walked to his table.
“Captain, Sir……I owe you an apology. When I arrived yesterday, I already knew you were deeply entrenched in important matters at the Main Camp. I neither inquired regarding your whereabouts or whether you could join us for that reason. It was also an assumption on my part that you would have your Amulet open so you could “keep an ear” on things that transpired in your absence.
“I should also have assumed, though, that there would be times where keeping the Amulet turned on would be a distraction in your meetings with the Queen. So if you had just turned on your Amulet when you heard Mrs. Fletcher’s admonition for the confrontation between my brother and me to be taken outside rather than destroy her Tea Room…….well, indeed, I can understand the reason for your abrupt and stormy entry.
“The conversation with my brother was both intense and emotionally draining for both of us. I fear that I did not react well to your arrival……for that, I wish to apologize.”
More used to excuses than apologies, the Captain was a bit flummoxed. He muttered something about “everyone making mistakes” and “try to do better in the future” and then returned to his meal.
Jayben stepped back from the Captain’s table and just stood there a moment looking at Roo…….at first, she pretended to not notice…and then she made a few facial movements similar to a child who has been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.
She turned away and pretended to not notice as he walked to her table and said, “May I?” before sitting down.
Jayben: I suppose yelling at you would do no good.
Roo: (not looking up) Probably not.
Jayben: You knew you weren’t supposed to be there, and yet you went.
Roo: (looking up into his face) Well, yes, but…..
Jayben: No buts, Roo…….I said no interference for a good reason.
Roo: But, we didn’t interfere. We ….just watched.
Jayben: Concern for your safety could have compromised what we needed to accomplish. Fortunately, the events of the evening transpired as we hoped and planned. However, there was much that could’ve gone wrong. Will you promise me that you’ll not follow me again when I ask that you don’t?
Roo: (very long pause) …….No…I can neither lie to you nor make that promise.
Jayben: (shaking head in exasperation) What……am…..I …….going…..to ……do…….with….. you?????
(and without taking his eyes off Roo) ………….Mrs Fletcher? Can you please bring me a very STRONG cup of tea? You have my permission to lace it with something equally as strong.
Just what I need in my life......Another man to give me orders!!
“I am perfectly capable of looking after myself & my friends so you have no need to concern yourself over my safety.As MC players are painfully aware......It is always useful to have a back-up to prevent an unexpected disaster.Myself & PTG were ready to pounce at a moments notice if necessary to offer assistance but as you are aware we did not make our presence known.
I am about to continue when from behind Jayben’s head I see Angel trying to descend the staircase.....
Angel is hanging on to the banister rail for dear life as she tries to negotiate her way down the treads in stiletto heels that must be six inches high AND she is wearing MY little black cocktail dress!!!!.....
I take Jayben by the arm & lead him to the door.
I think perhaps we should find somewhere with less distractions to continue our conversation JB.......Is it ok to call you JB??
Oh My goodness..Oh My very Goodness has the Tea Room certainly been experiences some very "Strange Going's on lately... yes Siree Bob Tails!!!........."Hello Granny Fletcher...."YIKES!!!"......."PUP!"...."Don't you know better then to sneak up on an extremely Old Granny Fletcher that way Young'un???......."I was'nt trying to sneak up or scare you Granny, just trying to understand why we have "Stranger's" here in the Tea Room and the reason for their being here....Well Child, why don't I just head out there quiet like and ask Captain Randy to come back here into the Kitchen's Pantry and you could have Him explain everything to you....would that be alright? "I guess so...could you also explained to Him that when I heard the "Commotion here in the Tea Room, I just had to get back here from Jacobs Farm as quickly as I could!!!.......I couldn't let anything ever happen to you Granny Fletcher......."There, there Pup......" I am alright...Now let me go and get Captain Randy...
Jayben was slightly aware of movement behind him when Roo nearly knocked him off his feet as she suddenly grabbed his arm and propelled him out the door of the Tea Room.
When she started to head for Town, he hesitated and asked if it was okay if they headed to the Elvyn Forest instead. He also told her he didn’t mind if she called him JB.
Once their course was set, Jayben spoke: “I used a poor choice of words when I said ‘fear for your safety.’ I’m quite aware that you’re more than capable of taking care of yourself. I’ve witnessed it on several occasions.
“Phil and I weren’t even sure we could reach Lindy through her spell induced fog. We also knew that the slightest movement from the surroundings could result in her flying away or back to the sanctuary of the Food Stall. If there had been a commotion caused by someone taking exception to your presence, we might have lost our singular opportunity to save her.
“I do appreciate that you wanted to provide backup…..but in this case, your backup could have caused an unexpected disaster. That woman on the Jousting Field is no ordinary woman. The Knight will need special armor to have even a chance of defeating her during their joust. While you feel confident in your abilities, she is not someone you would have been able to overcome. We (and you) are fortunate that she was focused on getting that Fire Horse and finding a place to shelter him instead of challenging you.
“I’m mostly just asking that you to at least consider possible consequences before you head out on one of your crusades. ……But enough of that for now…… we’re nearly there, and I have something I want to share with you.”
They walked on the stones across the Pond of Life, but did not climb the stairs, or go through the archway to the Forest Palace. Instead, he led her to a hidden place beneath the stairs behind the waterfall. Inside was a beautiful garden with an ornate gazebo. Placed in the gazebo were a couch and two very comfortable reading chairs. Between the chairs was a bookcase that appeared to be empty.
When Roo looked questioningly at the bookcase, Jayben said: “I know how much you enjoy getting away and spending time reading a good book. But, I’m not sure exactly what you enjoy reading the most. So, all you need to do is think about the book you want to read, and reach your hand toward the shelf. The book will appear in your hand. If you haven’t time to finish the book in one sitting, just put it back on the shelf. When you return, the book will again be available for you….including your place marked so you can continue where you left off. “
With a skeptical look, Roo reached for the shelf and immediately found a book in her hand. She put it back; it disappeared. She again reached for the shelf and a different book appeared in her hand. She then plopped down in one of the chairs and began reading.
A few hours later, Jayben interrupted her by saying the sun was starting to go down, and he wanted to walk her back to the Tea Room while they still had light. As they were leaving, he explained that only she would be able to find the hidden garden. No other person but the two of them could enter the garden, but she could go there any time she wanted.
When they reached the Tea Room, he opened the door for her and closed it after she had entered. As soon as the door was closed, he disappeared from sight and was soon sitting comfortably in his own living room.
I enter the Tea Room to find Angel standing a foot in front of me, arms folded & by her demeanour she is definitely not happy.
“What have you done with him?....I hope you haven’t blown him up!....”
“Calm down Angel, J B is right behind me”.......
I turn around but he has gone, for some unaccountable reason I feel quite sad.
Angel huffs & walks off.I see PTG in the corner, he lowers his head to stare at his teapot.The poor man is probably wondering if I am still mad at him, ha ha.
I sit at a table & stare outside hoping no-one will join me while I re-live the last few hours.
The hidden garden was beautiful & the bookcase extraordinary.I have not visited the Library in the Dark Tower since the recent changes.How are you supposed to read in peace when the players insist on touching the candles to make the books fly all over the room every time they enter.
I had a long list of questions ready to ask J.B. but once we reached the gazebo & one of my favourite books landed in my hand, everything else just slipped from my mind.I wonder if J. B. Would like to read “ 101 Explosive Recipes” but most of all I wonder....Will I see him again.
Still boiling mad at what happened to me in front of my gang and the insult to my pride and my rank .. I looked and felt like a total idiot.
If this jaben had been in the ranks he would have suffered far more then I.
He would have been thrown in the pookie to clean urinals with a toothbrush until he could not stand and the bristles where bare,, then he would have faced a court Marshall Dishonorable Discharge and sent to jail.
But he is not but I swear he will pay even though he did apologize it does not take away the insult I suffered
I hear the door open and close and see Roo come in and face a very angry Angel who by the way looks sunning in that black dress and those silver stiletto's quite the change from T shirts and flip flops wonder how she made it down those stairs in them they gotta be 3 in's .
Roo I have to get back to the main camp can you please stay out of trouble and have every last one of you clean your Amulets so this NEVER happens again.
I swear if another insistent happens and I have to come back before mu mission is done there will be HELL to pay.
PTG no excuses take that damn potion from Opel or I will send her back to make you take it,,,, Penny go into Town and get Doc. Deadman to check out both Mrs. Fletcher and PTG.
I go to Mrs. Fletcher ,, how are feeling today luv?
You are looking better and getting those rosy cheeks back and I have sent for Doc Deadman to give you a check up and to look at PTG .
I will be back soon with some very god news and a huge surprise for you .
I will see you all soon be on your best behavior and DO NOT SEND FOR ME UNLESS IT IS LIFE OR DEATH .
I go to Frost and we head back to The Main Camp.
I finally make it down the stairs in one piece! As I look round the room, I see PTG in the corner with his Hong Cha, Cap at his usual table, but...where have Roo-Roo and Jayben gotten off to! So much for a grand entrance! **sigh**
I head toward the Tea Room door and before I can open it, in steps Roo-Roo, with Jayben behind her! Arms folded, and scowling, I ask Roo-Roo....now why did you go and take Jayben outside and where were you? Without waiting for an answer, I kick off the heels and fly upstairs and change back to my comfortable jeans and flip flops and fly right back down the stairs to Roo-Roo, who hasn't moved an inch...just staring open mouthed at my outburst.
Here, take your stupid dress and wash it yourself!! Without waiting for some sort of response, I decide to go over and sit with PTG and sulk with a big bowl of ice cream that Miss Katt, instinctively, brought over.......
SITTING QUIETLY IN MY CORNER KNITTING, I HAVE TAKEN IN ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED. GOOD SCRAPPERS THOSE BOYS. REMINDS ME OF MYSELF AND MY PACK OF WILD COUSINS WHEN WE WERE YOUNG. NOW NONE OF US CAN REALLY FIGHT, OLD BONES BREAK TO EASY, AND ABOUT HALF CAN'T SEE THEIR OWN FISTS IN FRONT OF THEIR NOSES, LET ALONE THROW A PUNCH THAT MIGHT LAND ON A TARGET. STILL WE CAN ALL WISH AND REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES SO LONG AGO.
THEN ROO RETURNS, SHE IS ALONE WONDER WHAT HAPPENED THE JAYBEN, OR WHOEVER HE MAY REALLY BE. IF HE IS THE MAGE THAT GAVE ME THE NEEDLES THAT KNIT BY THEM SELVES. I THANK HIM, HER, OR-------------------. NOPE NOT GOING THERE.
ANGEL YELLS AT ROO THEN FLYS UP THE STAIRS AND IS BACK DOWN IN A FEW MINUTES. IN JEANS AND A TEE, WITH FLIP, FLOPS ON HER FEET.
I PUT AWAY THE KNITTING I AM WORKING ON CHECK PRECIOUS AND TINY. LOOK AT SUGAR AND SPICE. AND THINK ARE YOU TWO READY TO GO?
I WALK TO THE TABLE WHERE PTG SITS STARING AT HIS NOW EMPTY CUP AND TELL HIM I AM TAKING BABY AND BEAU OUT TO GRAZE.
THEN MAKE SURE MY AMULET IS OPEN. I ALSO LET PENNY KNOW WHAT I AM DOING. I KNOW WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO GO ANYWHERE ALONE BUT I DOUBT ANYONE WOULD BOTHER ME WITH THE TWO PACHYDERMS AND TWO VERY, VERY LARGE CATS. THEY LOOK EVEN BIGGER BECAUSE I AM SO SMALL. LOL THAT SHOULD DO THE TRICK.
WITH BAG IN HAND WE GO TO THE BARN GET BABY AND BEAU. GOLDIE AND DOOGIE ASK IF THEY MAY COME ALSO. SAYING THAT FRESH GRASS WOULD BE A GOOD CHANGE FROM THE CUT AND STORED HAY.
SO NOW THE PARTY IS EVEN LARGER. OFF WE GO AWAY FROM THE CASTLE, THE TEA ROOM AND SALTY'S.
THE CAT'S MAKE IT KNOW THAT THEY WISH TO HUNT. SPICE LEAVES TO HUNT AND WILL RETURN WHEN SATED SO SUGAR CAN HUNT.
I wait until Angel has almost licked her bowl clean then I take a seat on the same table.
I encourage PTG to drink all of Opel’s potion & remind him of the Cap’ns orders.Several cups of tea later I get up & say
“ Angel, would you mind taking my dress out of the washer when the cycle has finished.I used the hottest wash which is ok for my dress, but if there is anything left of your 500 coin silver stiletto shoes you might want to put them in the dryer.”
Angel emits a loud scream of “Noooooo.....Not my new shoes” & dashes to the laundry room.
I make a quick exit.