Theo’s female was with him when I was finally granted an audience, as was Drew, Blaire’s younger sister. It took me a while to figure out that the sisters were named in alphabetical order, based on age. I don’t know why it did; it was simple, after all. She looked up when I entered, like she was actually glad to see me. I stepped closer, nerves filling me. I have tried to keep a distance from those who live on the same floor as I do, or one suite above or one suite below. Just to prevent reading them.
But Drew…I could not read her. I felt a great breath escape as relief filled me.
There were very few that I could not read now. I needed…
“Jume, you can go on in. Theo has been waiting for you. Mickey and I are sorting through old files.”
“A-any in particular you are looking for?” I was very meticulous with my filing system. It had served me well for almost fifty years, after all.
I did not miss this office at all.
“Just familiarizing ourselves with some of the older rulings. The more… archaic… ones,” Mickey said, drily. “It’s time to bring the Dardaptoans up into this century, especially when it comes to the rights of the women…”
I knew there was a reason I liked this female.
I forgot all about that when I stepped into Theo’s office.
And looked right into the face of the last Equan I ever wanted to see. Cormac Jareth stared back at me, looking very much like his cousin Cahum.
With the same intensity in his eyes.
Just as I suspected would happen, I felt his touch against my mind. Well, I have a surprise for him. I slammed the strongest shield Jayi had helped me develop down. Right in his own head. As hard as I could.
The jerk actually yelped and fell over! Right out of his chair, and to the floor. I wished I could do it again.
Talk about an extremely satisfying moment. Well worth the last fifty years of dealing with him.
“Jume, sit. We understand you have some questions,” Theo started.
Cormac just watched me—as if he didn’t trust me now. What have I ever done to the Jareths to warrant this?
“Y-yes. I want to go home. When will it be safe for me to do so? My family needs me. And… why am I being held restricted t-to my rooms? W-what is happening that you are not telling me?”
“Why the questions? Can you not be content with just knowing we are doing our best to keep you safe?” Cormac demanded.
“W-what have I ever done to you, Equan Jareth, to warrant this distrust?” Why should I keep my questions to myself now? They might think they held my future in their hands, but that was not good enough for me. Not any longer.
It was my fate, my destiny, they were trying to control. But they could—only if I let it.
I have let that happen long enough.
“T-tell me, Theo. You owe it to me. As family.”