Teardrop Moons—Chapter 3

*This is not the final edited version. Story content may change before this book releases. Sign up for newsletter updates to get a message when Teardrop Moons (The Song of Everywhen, #2) becomes available.

A new thief is born.

Time travel objects are missing, and Chascadians are being blamed.
Silvie’s legacy and family reputation are at stake.
Will she be able to find and stop who’s responsible?
And will it be enough to convince the worlds?

3

Family Matters

It was unusual for Father to take us out for a family dinner.

We had wonderful cooks at the hospital, and Javis was shaping up to be quite the chef at home. But I jumped at the chance, hoping we were in for a bigger surprise. Father wasn’t the type to do things on a whim. I expected he was taking us out to tell us news of some sort.

But I was surprised by his choice.

“Nakos Kitchen?” I said. “I didn’t think you were fond of Chascadian food.”

Father shrugged and pushed open the café door.

Javis and I exchanged a glance. His lips curled into a smile. I knew he was up for this. Chascadian was his favorite.

I whispered to my brother as we followed Father inside. “What did you do—achieve some extraordinary thing with your World Building talent?”

“I don’t think this is a reward for anything I did.” He glanced at the cloth napkins on the tables while we waited for Father to speak with the hostess.

“This is the type of place I’d expect Father to take us for a birthday celebration.” I said. “But it’s not any of our birthdays.”

Javis paled. “What if he brought us here to tell us he’s met someone?”

It was my turn to pale. I hadn’t thought of that. I shook my head. Father kept late hours every day at the hospital, and Mother’s picture still sat on his desk. I had trouble picturing him with anybody else.

“You mean like a girlfriend?” I said, finally.

Javis nodded.

“But who? Unless it’s someone at the hospital—”

I cleared my throat, and guiltily smiled up at Father who’d returned to tell us a waiter would be with us soon.

“What were the two of you discussing so animatedly?” he said.

I bit my lip.

“You never answered Silvie’s earlier question,” said Javis. I could have hugged him for how he’d jumped in like that.

The space between Father’s brows creased.

“Why did you pick a restaurant in Chascadia?” I reminded him. “Not that we don’t like it—”

Father grunted, then turned his attention to a waiter who was informing us our table was ready. After we’d been seated and our drink orders taken, Javis nudged me under the table.

I swallowed. “So, why did you bring us here?”

I expected Father to roll his eyes or show some other sign of impatience with us. But his face softened. He looked almost worried.

Oh no. Maybe he has met someone. My stomach filled with butterflies. But why would he bring us to Chascadia where his wife and Healer were from? Was this new person in his life also Chascadian? And why would this bother me so much? Surely, there worse things to happen in the worlds.

I wanted Father to be happy, didn’t I?

He frowned. “Our family is under attack.”

My heart crawled into my throat. I coughed, then looked around. Fortunately, our waiter had shown up with a tray of drinks. I gratefully accepted the tall glass of frothy iced chocolate.

But I was unable to return the waiter’s smile. His eyes and lips didn’t seem to be on the same page. I sensed distrust from him. I detected a shade of pain, with my healing talent.

I looked him up and down. He wore a tuxedo with a sash and cummerbund, similar to how the men were dressed at Grandpa Plaka’s funeral. His dark curls were tied back in a tail. Everything about him was clean, neat, and respectable.

“Thank you,” Father said.

“Are you ready to order?” The waiter spoke politely enough, but there was a tightness to his voice.

“Could we have a few minutes?” I’d barely had time to look at the menu.

The waiter nodded and moved on to another table.

I sighed through my teeth. “Father, what is going on?”

“I brought you to Chascadia because everyone of Chascadian descent is being watched carefully. I thought this would be a safe place to explain to you and Javis what’s happening.”

“Why couldn’t you have told us at home?” said Javis. The exasperation and frustration in his voice was notable. But Father didn’t seem to mind.

“I wanted to see for myself what the climate was like here,” Father calmly explained. “What the local citizens’ reactions would be…”

He sighed and lowered his voice. “There’s been a sudden rise in attacks on travelers who possess unofficial objects. At first, insiders at the TSTA were the most obvious suspects. Whoever is stealing them is doing a good job of hiding.”

“Okay, but what does that have to do with Chascadia?”

“The most recent travel object to be stolen was found here, in this restaurant. The man who was arrested is Chascadian.”

Involuntary shudders made their way from my neck down my arms.

“Since this is the first of the travel objects to be found, the Chascadian people’s reputation has been gravely harmed.”

Father sat back and cleared grit from his voice. The waiter had returned, and was looking at us expectantly.

“I’ll have the daily special,” I said, not knowing if such a thing existed at Nakos Kitchen. My menu sat there unread.

The waiter raised his eyebrows, not saying anything as he scribbled my order on a notepad.

“Um, I’ll have the same,” said Javis, his eyes focused on his tea. Steam had stopped rising from the teacup, so I guessed it had cooled to room temperature. He’d barely touched it.

Father gathered the menus into a pile and handed them to the waiter. “I’ll have the daily special as well. Three daily specials, please.”

“It will be our pleasure,” said the waiter, looking anything but pleased.

I smoothed my napkin across my lap, and frowned as the waiter marched off with our orders.

Stolen travel objects. My baglamas immediately came to mind. It was safe now, or so I’d thought.

Last I’d heard, Yannan and the cloaked men had been taken away. The TSTA escorted them to their headquarters. All three men had appeared for their hearings and were convicted. I didn’t know what their punishments had been, but I couldn’t imagine the TSTA let them walk freely to wreak havoc all across the worlds. But, then, the TSTA didn’t have the power it once had.

“Do you think Yannan has anything to do with the stolen travel objects?” I said. “I remember his fascination with the baglamas. He could be at it again.”

“The man who was arrested was from the family that owned this restaurant,” said Father. “He told the authorities of a young woman who masked her identity behind a hood.”

“That could be anyone,” said Javis. “But I still think this reeks of Yannan.”

Father frowned. “With so many objects stolen in such a short period of time, I doubt he’d be working alone. None of the descriptions match Yannan, or the cloaked men.”

“And the only person arrested so far was Chascadian?” I said.

“Yes.”

“So, the waiter…the distrust I’m sensing from him isn’t of me?”

“You and Javis are descendants of Chascadia, Silvie.” Father adjusted the dark glasses that concealed his eyes. “If there’s anyone for the waiter to distrust, it would be me.”

* * *

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Read the beginning of Silvie’s story in Darker Stars (The Song of Everywhen, #1)

Read the beginning of Calla’s story in Travel Glasses (The Call to Search Everywhen, #1)

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