Lily looked out the train window, nearly bursting with excitement. She was going back to Muffle Moutain, Shining time, her grandfather, and hopefully Sodor Island.

It had been two years since she had last visited, her mother and new baby brother having kept her busy. She was now fourteen, and if possible, more beautiful than before.

Tapping her foot impatiently, she watched as the outskirts of Shining time came into view. Of course, when the train pulled up to the station, Mutt and her Grandfather were wating for her.

Lily bounded off the train as soon as possible, almost tripping over her own feet in her haste to hug her Grandfather Burnett.

"I missed you" He whispered, kissing the top of her head.

"You surprised me when you told me to come to Shining Time, usually you don't come around this side of the Mountain" Lily replied, hitching her backpack higher on her shoulder.

"Well, a lot's changed in the two years you've been gone" Her Grandfather waved to Stacey in the window of the station, and Lily follwed suit.

They piled into his old blue truck and drove to the equally old white house, and Lily threw her backpack in her room, then skipped out to where her grandfather was in the kitchen.

"I know you're excited but we have to wait a little bit, i'm not quite ready" Her Grandfather said before she could even open her mouth to speak.

Lily grinned at how Grandfather seemed to know everything, even her not-so-secret desire to return to the land of trains.

She grabbed an apple off the counter and started out the door, then thought better of it and put the apple back; deciding she would get one out at the apple tree instead.

Grabbing the reddest fruit from the tree, Lily lay back in the grass to look at the clouds and the tire swing swaying in the breeze above her.

"I dare you to climb that tree" A voice said from behind her. Lily sat up so fast she almost gave herself whiplash while she tried to hide her smile.

"Easy" She said, putting her foot in the tire swing and shimmying up the rope to the branch above.

"Wow, that's some skill" The voice said. Lily giggled and started to climb back down the rope the way she came up.

Suddenly, the old rope snapped and Lily plummeted to the ground with a scream.

Lukcily for her, a pair fo strong arms caught her just before she hit the ground.

"You should be more careful" Patch said, his ocean blue eyes sparkling with concern.

"Why should I, when I have you here to catch me?" Lily teased. Patch set her down, only to be grabbed into a tight hug which he returned.

As Lily hugged him, she tried her best not to notice the slightly lower pitch to his voice and the rippling muscles underneath her jacket, but she found it quite hard.

"My, my patch. You've grown up" Lily said, holding him as arm's length.

Patch smiled in the lopsided way he always did. "You too"

Lily couldn't help but smile.

At that moment, Lily became painfully aware of Patch's hands; which had settled on her waist. Patch seemed to notice as well, because he let her go and cleared his throat.

Grandfather Burnett chose that moment to appear from one of the paths leading to the house.

"Let's load up" He said, starting off to his workshop.

Lily looked at Patch. Patch looked back. You could have cut the awkward silence with a knife.

"Er, we should get going" Lily said, avoiding him gaze and bluhing furiously.

"Yeah" Patch agreed, an equal shade of red.

When had it gotten to awkward for them, and why?

Those were the questions desperately running through the two teenagers minds as they walked to Grandfather Burnett's workshop, and the world that lay beyond.


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