"The plane! The plane!" Tattoo's voice rang out over the excited chatter of the island natives. Roarke smiled at his assistant's enthusiastic announcement of the arrival of their guests, an enthusiasm that never seemed to wane. He watched with a smile as the little man ran to catch up with him.
"Hurry, Tattoo! We mustn't keep our guests waiting." They climbed into the car and started for the cove. "It should be a fairly quiet weekend. The fantasies that we will be hosting are reasonably simple and shouldn't require much attention on our part."
"That's good, boss," Tattoo commented with a smile. "I could use a little quiet time."
Roarke agreed silently, still nursing a certain amount of weariness after Ms. Corday's fantasy. Battling Elizabeth for the soul of an innocent woman had taken more energy than he had thought. He climbed out of the car and motioned to the islanders to start the welcoming music as the seaplane floated into place at the dock. But the first guest to exit the plane was the last person he had expected to see.
"Boss! Isn't that Miss Maggie – the lady who was here a few months ago?" Tattoo asked curiously. "She doesn't look too good."
Maggie glared at Roarke's assistant, her excellent hearing picking up his innocent comment. "Gee, thanks, Tattoo. Happy to see you too."
Roarke frowned, ignoring the rest of his new guests. Tattoo, in his outspoken way, had merely pointed out the obvious. The girl looked like she had been in a barroom brawl, sporting a black eye and one arm in a sling; and the way she gingerly picked her way towards her host convinced him there were other bruises that he could not see. "What happened?" he asked quietly.
"Long story – can we talk about it in your office? I'm sure your other guests would like to get unpacked and start on their adventures." Maggie waved off the offer of a drink and started towards the car.
Roarke watched her walk away, then turned back to his new guests with a sigh. "My dear guests, I'm your host, Mr. Roarke. Welcome to Fantasy Island."
"So tell me what happened," Roarke requested, settling behind his desk as Maggie dropped onto the nearby sofa. Tattoo took his place beside Roarke's chair.
"Byron and I were trying to contact a woman at the behest of her family. They had concerns for her safety because of stories they had heard about the man she was with. She and her new boyfriend had decided to renovate some old mansion in Wales and had essentially cut all family and friends out of their lives. Her boyfriend was a nut case – I swear he had an obsession with that old black-and-white movie 'The Werewolf'. He even changed his name to Lawrence Talbot – just like the main character in the movie."
"But he was not afflicted with lycanthropy?" Roarke looked at the young woman with concern.
"Not hardly. Byron would have been able to tell if he was a shifter. This guy was just nuts. We made the mistake of trying to get his girlfriend to realize just how crazy he was, without a backup plan. We split up so that one of us could get the girl out of harm's way and the other could run interference. Problem was, the guy was delusional. He really thought he had 'transformed' into a werewolf because of the full moon. Started howling at the moon and attacked me when I tried to sneak his girlfriend off the property. Byron joined the fray almost immediately, but I still got the worst of the fight. I ended up getting an elbow to the eye and a couple of cracked ribs. It could have been worse."
"Is Byron all right?" Roarke asked in concern.
"He's fine – kicking himself for not being there fast enough to protect me, but other than that he's fine. He's attending a family gathering in New Zealand right now. I suspect his father and brothers have dragged him off to pub-crawl for a few days, so he'll be pretty wasted for at least a week."
Roarke smiled. "So you decided to take a vacation?"
"Something like that," Maggie agreed. "I thought about going to the other island, but frankly, your buddy over there really gives me the creeps. So I thought I'd come back here and take another stab at cleaning out my grandfather's house."
"If you can wait a few hours, I can join you," Roarke offered, flipping open the files on his desk. "The current fantasies planned for this weekend can continue without my interference. Tattoo can keep track of them for me."
"I appreciate that offer," Maggie said, rising from the sofa with a wince. "If you really do have the time, I wouldn't mind the company. That place still makes me nervous, and frankly, I'm not in the best shape to catch a trap closing around me in time to get out of the way."
Roarke motioned for her to remain seated. "Then it's settled. We'll make our way to the house as soon as I've seen this weekend's guests settled into their fantasies. Let me suggest you rest here until we go. Tattoo will see to anything you need."
Maggie smiled wearily at the little man as she sank gratefully back onto the sofa. "That would be excellent. Thanks." She tucked her feet under her and stretched out with a relaxed sigh.