Chapter 5: Isabel

We go inside to have dinner with Mum. Me, Arkarian, and Mum! I just can't believe this is happening. I don't like to lie to her about my second life, but right now I'm too ecstatic to care. Arkarian pulls out a chair for me and I sit down. Mum notices and shoots me an 'eyebrows raised' glance. Mum places spaghetti plates in front of us and I dig in. Arkarian follows suit, stopping to tell mum how delicious it is. The front door opens and Jimmy walks in, shutting the door behind him. When he walks into the kitchen, his eyes stop and stay on Arkarian. His mouth gapes a bit, but eventually he pulls himself together.

"Hello, hun," mum says, kissing Jimmy's cheek, "This is Isabel's friend, Andy. Apparently Ethan, Matt's friend introduced them."

Jimmy's eyes flick back to Arkarian. "Hello, sir." Arkarian says, respectfully. I can see a glint of a smile flicker in his eyes.

"Hey, kid." Jimmy says in his joking voice. Sometimes it is difficult to believe that the Jimmy I see at home is really the same man who I work with in the Guard, "So what do you two have planned for tonight?"

"Probably a walk, then I'm spending the night over Neriah's house," I lie with my mouth full. I will not be staying at Neriah's but she will know to cover for me. I will of course me with Arkarian. I turn to look at my mum, "That okay, mum?"

"Yes," she says, coming to sit down and eat her spaghetti. Jimmy, too, joins the table.

We eat and chit-chat through the meal like having Arkarian in the house is the most normal thing of all. Afterwards, he obviously has won mum over. She smiles and nods, deep into conversation about the history of Britain. Mum loves Britain and will discuss the topic for hours on end. Arkarian tells her how much of a history buff he is and that someday he hopes to major in that course. She flashes me a glance that says she obviously approves of him. I smile back, appreciatively. As I look across the table, I have to wonder where Matt is. Usually he's here for dinner, but he must be somewhere with the guard. Arkarian's voice sounds in my head, "He's with Neriah and Dartemis." Well, that explains it. That also means I have some time when Matt will leave me and my boyfriend alone.

When dinner is over, we say goodbye and Arkarian tells mum how wonderful dinner was and how he hopes to see them again soon. We walk outside and after we're out of sight, I jump onto Arkarian in excitement. He's quick to catch me and swing me around in circles. We walk up to the mountain chambers, but instead of going inside, we sit in the open grassy field above. I lie down and look at the stars twinkling overhead. Arkarian lies down too, moving his arm behind my head as a pillow.

For the first time in a while today, my thoughts are thrust back to my vision and the moment in the woods. What force is drawing Arkarian to that house? I make sure my thoughts are blocked to him before I continue thinking. Tonight when Arkarian sleeps, I'll go to the old house and find out what dwells within it. I felt no evil when we were there, though the powerful sense was unmistakable.

"I don't know what happened there, Isabel, but I promise you I will be safe. We won't go near that house." Arkarian whispers by my side. I nod, though I know I will not promise this.

We lay here for a while, and eventually, Arkarian's breathing slows as he falls into a sleep. I gently wiggle out of his arms and stand up. I look down at my sleeping love, bending over to kiss his cheek gently, and then jog off towards the location of the house.