“Wow, little sister, what did you do to Aie?”
“Nothing, why? We went out to lunch.”
“Well, something happened to her, that’s for sure. She’s a bit off and I kind of like it. She seems…confused, but in a good way. Do you know what I mean?”
“You mean she’s thinking?”
“Yes, yes, that’s exactly what I mean,” he said, flapping his hands at her. “She’s thinking… about things.”
“You can be such a jerk sometimes.”
“Why? What did I do now?”
“She THINKS all the time, she’s just introspective right now because she’s fitting new ideas and experiences into her idea of what life is all about.”
“I thought you just went to lunch,” he said, staring at her.
“We went to lunch with a human.”
Raif started laughing. “No way. Aie would never do that.”
“Well she did and she liked it. That’s what she’s thinking about.”
“She liked it?”
Jasper nodded. “She wants to go again.”
“Now you’re just making things up.”
“Ask her yourself.”
“I will,” he said softly. “What’s going on, Jazz?”
“Nothing. I had a luncheon date, she popped in and I asked her to go with me, so that we could spend time together.”
Fluff walked into the room and kept going.
“She didn’t fall over or faint,” said Raif, shocked, staring at the cat.
“She has a new man in her life. Al is in love with her.”
“That’s the one.”
“She loves his CAT, more than she loves me?”
“Looks that way.”
“What’s happening to my world?” sighed Raif. “Everything is going in different directions. The women in my life are acting so…I don’t know.”
“Oh, poor baby,” said Jasper, patting him on the shoulder. “Kitty doesn’t go unconscious the second she sees you and Aie is reassessing her point of view on humans. You are having a very bad day, brother of mine. Let me make you a sundae.”
“Okay,” he said. “Lots of chocolate syrup and some cookies, please. The thin ones with the chocolate stripes.”
There was a knock on the front door. Raif opened it and waved Tommy inside.
“TOMMY’S HERE MAKE HIM A SUNDAE TOO, PLEASE,” he yelled toward the kitchen.
“Hey man,” said Tommy. “Why is your sister all up tight about me getting killed if I hang with her? Who is going to kill me and why? I don’t get it.”
“Well, she’s right,” said Raif, dropping onto a soft, comfy blue chair. “The more fairies who know about you, and your relationship with Jazz, the higher the risk. They might fairynap you and keep you in Fairy until they use you up, or just kill you. There’s no escape. Once you’re there, you’re there. Time moves differently in Fairy and you could never come back to this world because it wouldn’t be here.”
“But why would they do that?”
“Because they can. Because it’s fun. Because everyone is bored.”
“Seriously?” asked Tommy, rubbing his face with his hands. “That doesn’t even make sense.”
“Not from your perspective, I guess. But we live a very long time and we like toys. Humans are toys.”
“Pretty much,” said Jasper, handing them each a huge sundae. “Toys. That’s what you are to us. Playthings.”