Melissa sat on the hood of the hideous pink Cadillac and looked up at the dark moon. The mindcaster frowned at all the mind noise that had invaded Blue Time; new midnighters were waking up and exploring their newfound world all along the 36 N and 96 W latitude and longitude lines. The bitter taste of excitement tingled in her nose, making Melissa feel like she was chomping on rotten coffee beans. The new midnighters would have to wait though; Jonathan and Jess were currently attached at the hip (like always during Midnight) flying through the scrubland, not giving a thought about their mission.

"Oy! Flyboy!" Melissa called, the dark moon was setting, and the mindcaster preferred not to have to camp out in this wasteland, waiting for tomorrow's Midnight when Jessica would reappear, "Get Jessica in the car!"

The acrobat turned around slowly and the couple pirouetted down to earth before making large jumps that skimmed across the dusty land. Melissa was strongly reminded of the videos of astronauts on the moon they had been force fed in science. Quickly Jonathan stuffed Jessica into the back of the car and then claimed the driver's side for himself. Just in time for the dark moon to slip behind the horizon and take Jessica with it. The process still gave Melissa the heebie-jeebies, once Midnight's moon would rise, Jessica would suddenly reappear in the back of their car like she always did; unaware of whatever she had missed in the passing day.

Jonathan honked the Cadillac's horn and Melissa got a whiff of his springy acrobat taste, mixed with a mouthful of the putrid garbage of anger and sadness. A bad combination. The mindcaster hopped into the passenger side and Jonathan sped off down the deserted highway, leaving a cloud of dust in their wake.


"We should be coming into Nebraska soon," Melissa informed, looking at their map.

Jonathan grunted in response. Melissa's frown deepened; normally it was her who was playing the silent game, "Okay Flyboy, what's up?" She eyed him over the edge of the map.

"I don't know what you're talking about," the acrobat kept his attention focused on the road in front of them, not his emotions. They had turned into a whirling tornado of worry, worry that Melissa would find out what was bothering him and the worry of what was actually bothering him. Jessica.

"Look, Jess will be fine," Melissa sighed, she couldn't believe she was having this talk with Jonathan, "She always is."

"It's not that!" Jonathan cried after a few moments of awkward silence, "I was thinking about that darkling girl, Athena-"

"Anathea," the mindcaster corrected.

"Right, Anathea, she only aged like two years in the span of like fifty!" Flyboy was getting agitated now, "Which means that eventually I'll be an old man and Jess will still be a teenager. An underage teenager, which means I could go to jail!"

Melissa snorted, "I don't think you can go to jail in the unlikely event that someone happens to see you two kiss in the middle of the night when most people are frozen."

Jonathan furrowed his brow and shot a look at Melissa.

"Oh," Melissa said, after she got a clear view of Jonathan's thoughts, "Oh! Yuck!"

Flyboy chuckled, "For someone who knows what everyone is thinking, you're pretty pure."

"You would be too if you couldn't touch any people," Melissa defended herself.

"You touch Rex."

"But we haven't even thought about going past kissing," the mindcaster looked out the window and at the growing amount of trees.

"Sure youhaven't," Jonathan teased.

Melissa rolled her eyes, she didn't like where this conversation was going, "Back to the original topic, Jess will love you no matter how old you get."

"Or she could meet another young midnighter when I'm thirty and run off with him," Melissa sighed, Jonathan had just created a teen drama in his head, "She could become the Peter Pan of Midnight!"

"Jonathan, listen to me," the mindcaster said, "You're over thinking this, someday you'll be a lot older than Jessica–"

"I thought we just covered that."

"Listen–– But that won't be for a while now, enjoy the time you've got."

The occupants of the Cadillac fell silent, Melissa watched the miles and miles of cornfield flash by. The highway they were cruising on had strayed out of Blue Time and she marveled at the way her head cleared and what felt like soothingly, cool water washed over her. They would be turning soon, closing up on a town called Chandler, placed on the 96 W longitude line, where they would be brought inside again, according to Dess' maps. The mindcaster was rather in awe of the whole system and wondering why she had never thought of just leaving Bixby behind (a combination of Madeline's influence and Rex had probably been large contributing factors) as a child.

"Hey," Jonathan suddenly broke the silence, "You know that kind of zip! you get… like when you're around, well Jessica for me, Rex for you? Like you've suddenly been given a shot of caffeine?"

"Nature's coffee," she snorted, she couldn't suppress the grin and a snort that came with her thought of a previous conversation. It was interesting how much lighter she felt without the constant buzz of everyone in her mind.

"Excuse me?" he gave her a funny look, confused by both the sudden burst of emotion from his normally cold companion and the expression she had used.

"Nature's coffee," she explained, "That's what Rex calls it, the 'zip!' of a shot of caffeine as you call it."

"You know, you're alright," Jonathan said after another gap of silence, in which they had reemerged into the rip of Midnight.

"Don't start getting all mushy on me now, Flyboy," Melissa said gruffly, "We've still got time for you to change your mind."

The acrobat smirked and turned his thoughts back to driving, but he was projecting his thoughts rather loudly. He wouldn't be changing his mind anytime soon.


Author's Note: I hope I did the characters justice. The Midnighter's Trilogy has always held a special place in my heart.