Flynn Carsen bounded into the workroom, bellowing at the top of his lungs.
"Eve! I need your help with something!" He stopped and looked around for his Guardian-wife, but the only people he saw in the room were Jacob Stone and Ezekiel Jones, sitting at their desks with their feet propped up. Jones was engrossed in his phone, while Stone had a large Eugène Delacroix folio open and propped against his legs.
"Where's Eve?" Flynn asked, perplexed.
"Beats me, mate," answered Ezekiel with a shrug, his eyes never leaving his phone. "Last time I saw her, she said she was going to the Ancient Greece section for something about Apollo Creed." Stone looked up from his book to stare at the thief in disgust.
"No, Jones, you dumbass!" he growled in irritation. "She said she was going to the Space Exploration section to look up something about Apollo 13! Clean the chicken-shit outta your ears!" Ezekiel simply shrugged again.
"Apollo Creed, Apollo 13—it's all the same to me. If it doesn't involve something for me to steal, I couldn't care less." While Jake began to upbraid the Australian, Flynn frowned in consternation as he turned and headed up the spiral staircase to go to the Space Exploration section of the stacks. As soon as the Librarian was out of sight, Jake and Ezekiel exchanged grins and a fistbump.
Flynn quickly located the section he was looking for. As he walked along the main aisle between the huge ranges of books, he soon caught the sound of a feminine voice softly humming a gentle tune. Flynn slowed his steps and approached the humming woman on tiptoe. She was just ahead, only a few ranges away. Flynn grinned as he carefully crept forward to surprise her, his eyes shining in anticipation.
When he reached Eve's location, he took a moment to prepare himself, then rushed forward and around the end of the range.
"Gotcha!" he yelled. He closed his eyes as he grabbed her, then bent her backwards in a dramatic dip, bending low over the surprised woman. He found her lips and kissed her, deeply and passionately. The kiss lasted only a few seconds, then Flynn straightened up again, bringing Eve up with him.
He opened his eyes; they instantly widened in shock as he realized that he was staring at Cassandra Cillian Jenkins, and not Eve Baird.
Cassandra was gaping at him, a look of complete astonishment on her face, her hands in the air and her mouth hanging open. Looming directly behind her was Jenkins, with a look as black as a stormcloud on his face that sent a shudder up Flynn's spine and made the hair on his arms stand on end. Flynn raised his own hands up in surrender and began to slowly back away from the pair.
"Oh-h-h-h my god…Cassandra! I am so-o-o-o sorry!" he exhaled. "I…have made…a huge mistake!"
"You think so?!" squawked Jenkins sarcastically, his dark eyes blazing as he tilted his head to one side. He gently squeezed past the still-stunned Cassandra to stand in front of her protectively. "And here I thought I was going to have to explain it to you in detail by breaking your insolent neck!" Jenkins lowered his head and glared directly into Flynn's eyes.
"You know what? I think I'll explain it to you, anyway, just to make sure you understand!" Before Flynn could react, the Caretaker's right hand shot forward and seized the Librarian by his throat, effortlessly lifting the younger man from the floor. As Flynn clawed at Jenkins's hand and arm frantically, the immortal moved out into the aisle with the gasping, mewling Librarian and slammed him none too gently against the hard wooden end of a book range.
"Librarian or not, how dare you touch my wife in such a fashion!" the immortal roared.
"Jenkins, no!" Cassandra shouted, Flynn's flailing limbs and choked gasps finally snapping her out of her stupor. She rushed forward and grabbed her husband's arm and pulled on it hard. "Let him go!"
The angry immortal cast a sideways glance at his frightened wife.
"Let him go!" she ordered him again. Reluctantly, Jenkins lowered Flynn to the floor and released his hold on the Librarian's throat. Carsen immediately stumbled out of Jenkins's reach as he rubbed his throbbing neck, gulping in deep lungfuls of air. Cassandra was torn between staying next to Jenkins and hurrying over to the Flynn.
"Omigod, Flynn, are you all right?" she asked as she stepped cautiously away from her husband and placed herself between the two men. Flynn raised a hand and coughed.
"I'm fine!" he wheezed. "I'm…so sorry! I…thought you were…Eve!" Cassandra looked back at Jenkins, confused.
"Eve?" she repeated, turning back to Flynn. He was breathing more normally now, but he continued to massage his throat and neck.
"Yeah," he replied. "Jones said she was here in the…" A look of dawning understanding blanketed Carsen's face.
"Jones!" he breathed, his expression quickly turning to one of anger. "Jones!"
Without another word, he turned around and ran from the Exploration of Space section and disappeared, hollering Jones's name, along with several threats of violence as he pounded down the aisle. Cassandra turned to look at Jenkins. He caught her puzzled expression and smiled grimly.
"It seems that Mr. Jones has played a rather nasty prank on Mr. Carsen," he rumbled. "And a very dangerous one, too, in my opinion." He moved up and put his arms around his wife.
"Are you all right?" he asked anxiously. "Did he hurt you in any way?" She shook her head and smiled up at him to reassure him.
"No, I'm okay; I'm just a little freaked out, that's all," she said, snuggling against him. "But at least I learned something today!"
"And what was that, my love?" Jenkins asked. Cassandra giggled and tipped her head back to look knowingly up at him.
"I learned that you're a much better kisser than Flynn is!"