Lydia collapsed face down on her bed. She’d been able to ignore the weight in her stomach while they were planning what to do, but now that they were home and their parents were busy organising sleeping arrangements for their guests, the enormity of their loss struck her. She buried her face in her pillow and sobbed quietly. Would they ever see Andrew again? It shouldn’t have ended like this. They were the good guys, why hadn’t they won?
â€œCome on, Lyd, you’re not that naive.â€ Her mother sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed her shoulders soothingly.
Sonia’s eyes were also suspiciously red and there was a set to her jaw that suggested she had her emotions on a tight rein. â€œSorry. I would have been here sooner but Dan was spiking worse than you were. I thought he might actually lose control and damage something. And you know it doesn’t always work that way.â€ She blinked back tears and her eyes hardened. â€œWe’ll find Emms and rescue Andrew. We’ll just have to make sure that we’re not wrong-footed this time.â€
â€œI-I hope so,â€ Lydia said weakly.
â€œThink positive,â€ her mother said. â€œBut I need to talk to you about sleeping arrangements, Are you up to that?â€
Lydia scrubbed at her face with her hands and nodded. â€œI think so.â€
â€œGood. It’s going to be really crowded for a week or so while Matt briefs the Morgans about what’s happened. Then we can move to the old house and we’ll have plenty of room. Until then, would you mind sharing with Nephele? I’m letting Darya and Kyle use Drew’s room. Salia and Karilya are going to sleep in Kaz’s room and Alban can share with Dan. I still don’t know where I’m going to put Lyr, Mia and Tarian.â€
â€œOf course. She seems like a nice kid,â€ Lydia said. â€œAnd what about the attic? It’s large enough for three and I doubt we’ll have much chance to use it, right now.â€ Or want to, she appended mentally.
â€œNo, I suppose not. The attic it is.â€ Sonia rubbed at the bridge of her nose. â€œI hope no one takes exception to the two shetland ponies in the back garden.â€
â€œTwo shet… oh! Kenna and Ebona?â€
â€œExactly.â€ Sonia gave a weak smile. â€œWe’re going to discuss our next move over dinner. Matt’s taken over the kitchen. I think the dining room will be too small. Help me clear the lounge and get the big table in there?â€
â€œOf course.â€ Lydia rose to her feet and caught sight of her blotchy red face in the mirror. â€œI’d better wash my face first.â€
â€œYou always did cook the best meatballs, Matt.â€ Lyrrekka sniffed the air appreciatively as he brought a large bowl of meatballs in a rich sauce to the table. Sonia followed with an equally large bowl of pasta.
â€œI’m sure they won’t be as nice as yours, mummy,â€ Karilya said.
â€œDon’t bet on it, Kari,â€ she replied softly. â€œMatt’s a great cook.â€
Matt gave a chuckle and sat down. â€œI remembered they were your favourite. Help yourself, everyone, and then we’ll get down to business.â€
â€œSo what do we do?â€ Lydia asked once everyone was served. â€œHow can we rescue Andrew and Kimi when we have no idea where they are?â€
â€œI’m going to talk to Sarah this evening,â€ he replied. â€œShe might have sensed something. Then tomorrow, some of us will need to take a trip to Devon.â€
â€œDevon? Why?â€ Lyrrekka asked.
â€œJayden’s adoptive family live there. I think his sister may be able to help.â€
â€œMay be, but will she?â€ Lyrrekka asked.
â€œI think she will,â€ Sonia said. â€œI met her once. I was hardly at my best at the time but Catherine didn’t seem to think much of her brother’s ideas.â€
â€œAnyway, even if he’s got to her â€“ which is possible since she’s only an ember – I’m sure Lucas can talk her around,â€ Matthias said. â€œI think I’ll ask him to come along tomorrow, just in case.â€
â€œNot a bad idea,â€ Sonia said. â€œBut who else is going, and how are you getting there? It’s a long drive and I’m not sure jumping would be wise. It’s too easy to track if you’re looking for it. I suspect Emms will be looking.â€
â€œYou’re probably right,â€ he agreed. â€œWe’ll take the SUV and set out early. You and the kids can come with me as well as Lucas.â€ He looked over at Kyle and Darya. â€œAnd you two should come with me to Sal’s this evening. Darya owes his cousin an apology, and I expect he wants to check on his mother anyway.â€
â€œI do,â€ Darya admitted. â€œOn both counts, I guess.â€ He prodded a meatball. â€œI was trying to protect her.â€
â€œYou scared her out of her wits!â€ Daniel said.
â€œWell scaring people out of their wits while trying to protect them is something you’d know a lot about, Dan,â€ Lydia said sharply. â€œAt least he didn’t knock her out. Cut him some slack.â€
Daniel paled slightly and looked away but didn’t respond.
Matthias snorted at that. â€œShe’s got you there, Dan.â€ He looked over at Karilya who seemed more interested in her meatballs than the conversation. â€œSo are they better than Lyr’s?â€
Karilya shook her head solemnly. â€œNo, but they’re just as good. Thank you.â€
â€œI should hope so, we both learned the recipe from her father.â€ He looked around. â€œIf no one else has any ideas, let’s finish eating and I’ll go see Sal.â€