Author's Note: You guys. I'm so, so, SO sorry. If there's anyone out there who's not mad at me and is still willing to read this, have at it. I'm sorry about the length too. It'll get better, I promise.

Chapter 25:

"Jest tink on dat fer a bit, Jimbo. Jest tink." Silver had said before going inside, his Scottish rogue carrying on the breeze.

Jim's gaze rested once again on the docks, Silver's last statement resting heavily on his mind. She would never--He wouldn't allow her to. He wouldn't even allow himself to think it. He'd killed before he ever let anything like that happen. He would never be able to sit by and watch her on another man's arm, whispering to him, laughing at the things he said. He'd never be able to stand it. Ever. If she wasn't his, he'd lose his mind. And with that on mind, he jumped up and hurriedly climbed inside, dashed downstairs, and almost flew outside yelling something incoherent to Silver before slamming the door behind him.

Silver glanced up, and raised an eyebrow incredulously.

"Well....Waz gotten inta 'im?"

He stood up and watched Jim's tall silhouette expertly guide his solar surfer down the street and around the corner.

" 'Eaven only knows..." He answered himself, shaking his head.

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Zandra moved toward the house, her arms wrapped tightly about her lithe figure, head bent, hair hiding her face, a figure of defeat. Sarah was further up the worn path, trying to hide the worry etched on her face. She had seen Jim disappearing around the corner on his solar surfer and wondered if Zandra had noticed. She could only imagine the hurt the young woman would have once they entered the house. She prayed she wouldn't ask. Begged a higher Being that she'd be too angry still to ask about him. That she wouldn't want to talk first thing.

She did.

Once inside the inn, she instantly began to run up the stairs, but Silver's voice stopped her.

"He's not up dere ya know..." Zandra whirled around and Sarah quickly busied herself with hanging up her shawl and straightening out the other wraps on the pegs.

"What?" The hurt whisper made Sarah flinch.

"Took off not too long 'go. 'E'll be back soon. Jest wait." Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah could see that Zandra was trembling and her fists were tightly clenched.

"Fine, let him be that way!" She said, her voice chortled with pain. "Fine."

And with that, she spun on her heel and ran up the stairs.

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Jim slipped in the back door sometime very early the next morning, when there was just a hint of rose coloring the horizon. He was smiling, a tired, triumphant smile. It had taken him far longer than he'd expected, but at least he'd found the perfect one. He sighed contently and moved towards the back staircase and silently made his way to his room.