XXXVI

Missives

Their day for departing with London had finally arrived. Wang remained quite perturbed about the ordeal. He busied himself with his puzzle box until their buggy was ready. When he was near close to finishing the puzzle, he had fallen victim once again to Roy's unscrupulous habit of taking over.

"I must have patience." Wang protested, clinging to his box.

"Oh come on, you just tear off the lid. Come on, I'll show you," Roy snatched for the box. The two played tug-o'-war until the lid snapped off and a stone flipped out.

"You broke it!" Wang cried, kneeling to pick up the fallen stone.

Rather disappointed, Roy chucked the broken lid aside, "It's just a rock with some scribbles on it."

"That's Chinese!" Wang turned the smooth skipping stone over and read the message. "'Family is forever my son. I am glad you cast your own stone.'" Touched by the meaning, he felt a rush of relief that his father had not truly forsaken him.

"Oh wow. That's a great message." Roy quipped before he turned to regard the waiting buggy.

Lin lingered by the back trunk, grinning with her newfound rebelliousness at her brother's wishes.

Wang recognized that smileā€¦it was telling him that she had a secret.

Roy's voice interrupted his glaring, "I'd like to cast my own stone."

They looked to one another. Roy's interest in Lin suddenly seemed harmless. It could be worse. It could have been Lord Rathbone. Still disapproving of his sister's available suitors, he nodded the go-ahead for Roy to follow her into the buggy.

Lin stepped into the carriage, adjusting the crimson gown. The gown, a gift from one of the duchesses who had witnessed the events of the Jubilee. In fact, the trio had received a great deal many things as gifts of thanks. She smiled, knowing just what other secret lay hidden in the trunk.

As she had been lingering beside the back of the buggy, Charlie had poked his head out and passed her a small fold of paper. Charlie ducked in time before he could be spotted by the pair of bickering men. Lin smiled with protest, unwilling to yield to her brother's temper as he glared at her and as she stepped to the buggy and seated herself, she slipped out the paper from her hip pocket.

In small, but familiar handwriting, she read the missive in silence.

'Our private page, the boy, will be keeping me updated until I can find you.'

The buggy bounced with the sudden weight of two men climbing in. Lin shoved the note into her pocket, folded her hands and beamed. She would wait for him, and not Wang, or Roy or the end of the Earth would keep her from welcoming him in America.