They left the terminal, now carrying their suitcases, and looked around for the limousine Neal had said their Mr. Lamb would send.  Zoë looked, rather, while Hope stared dismally at her sneakers.  She didn’t want to see him, but she did, but she didn’t…  The argument raged in her mind.  Zoë, oblivious to her friend’s internal conflict, was waving at someone. 

            Hope looked up, her heart pounding, and then felt sudden relief.  Disappointment.  Both, as she saw not Ethan, but Neal and Genevieve, smiling as they came forward towards her and Zoë.  She found herself wrapped in a warm embrace from Eve, while Neal hugged his sister.  There were hellos and smiles and laughter from the others, but Hope felt as if she were miles away from them, hearing and seeing it all from a great distance.  As Neal took their bags and Genevieve led them to the car, she hardly noticed, for she was asking herself the question:  Where is he?  Why didn’t he come? 

            As they drove out of the airport and down the highway out of Vancouver, Hope stared out the window of the limo.  Neal and Genevieve were telling them about how fantastic Lamb’s house was, how fantastic he was being about the band and the possibility of starting a church, a new church that would surprise everyone because it was so fantastic, and Hope heard none of it.  She just kept staring out the window, at a sun-filled sky she didn’t really see.  She kept wondering where Ethan was, and whether or not she really wanted to see him.

Lamb stood with the young man in question on the balcony that went around the perimeter of the second floor.  They were looking out at the garden beneath them.  The younger half of the pair had his arms draped casually over the balcony railing, while the older man stood next to him, his hands in the pockets of his perfectly tailored pants.

            “She’s coming.”  Lamb said.  His voice had none of his habitual warmth and charisma.  It was as cold as the look the younger man’s eyes held for him, as he looked away from the garden to lock gazes with Lamb.  Those eyes were a cold blue, like a clear morning sky, or like icebergs shining in the sun, but the coldness was more than that today.  His eyes held death in them, and had since the companions had come down from the mountain.  He had been sending inexplicable shivers of fear through the others ever since because of his cold, heartless stare.

            Lamb felt none of this, however, he just returned the stare with one just as cold.

            “I know.”  The young man said.  He then returned his eyes to the garden.

            “She could be a danger to us.  The others think that your behaviour is a result of the crash, that you received a concussion.  For now they are willing to pretend that you’ll return to the way you were before.  But she may detect the truth, if she knows Ethan Pitney as well as you say she does.”  Lamb said.

            “Let me worry about that.”  The younger man continued to stare at the garden.

            “What if…” Lamb started to say. 

            The younger man turned from the garden and said again, “Let me worry about that.”  Something in his gaze seemed to appease Lamb, for he let up.

            “Good.  So long as we’re clear.”  Lamb said, and walked away.

            The younger man continued to stare at the garden beneath him, and he was smiling.  The smile was grim, as it never reached his cold eyes.

Once they arrived back at the house, Zoë and Neal went into the common room where the others waited.  This room was where the boys spent a lot of their time, as it had the big television, the stereo, and video games.  Dan was currently teaching Evan and Jay how to play James Bond on the Nintendo, only his version of teaching was to blow their characters away.  The only person who was currently any challenge for him was Alex, but for now Alexander was simply watching and laughing as his friends failed to evade Dan’s deadly attacks.  He turned in surprise to see his beloved cousin and Hope could hear the beginnings of warm greetings, laughter and embraces.

            Hope was about to follow, but Genevieve pulled her aside and out a sliding glass door to the deck in the backyard.

            “You and I should talk.”  She said secretively, whispering.  “About Ethan.”

            “What is it?”  Hope asked in hushed tones.  Eve seemed genuinely concerned about something and so Hope went along with the apparent need to keep their conversation private.

            “He’s been acting strangely.  The others are content to believe it’s because he was unconscious for two days, they say he probably bumped his head and will be fine soon enough.  But I don’t think so, not anymore.”

            “Well, what do you think, then?”  Hope asked.

            “I’m not sure yet.  I just know that he’s different.  He beat a man the other day, beat him until he bled, just because this guy tried to dance with me.  And he’s been brooding a lot, like he used to years ago.  I’m worried.”

            “What can I do?”  Hope asked.  She felt a strange flutter of fear when she heard that Ethan had been violent.  Ethan, who once caught a fly out of the air and then carried it to a window to let it go, rather than squash it.  Ethan beating a man seemed not just strange, but impossible.

            “Just keep an eye out.  I don’t know for sure that anything’s wrong, but maybe together we can figure it out.  We know him better than the others do, so if anyone can figure it out, I’m guessing that it would be the two of us.  I’m glad that you’re here.”  Genevieve said, and the relief was evident in her eyes.  She no longer had to worry alone, as she had ever since Jay had been swept up in the possibility of being the centre of a new church.

            Hope, however, felt worse than ever.

Directly above them, the subject of their conversation was smiling as he looked down at their hushed conversation, listening very carefully. 

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