“Mr. Geiger,” Cayla starts, sitting at the round table at her house with Amanda, Catherine, and Theodore, 'Teddy/Mr. Geiger'. “Why weren't you at the ball last night?”
“I had to work. I'm always working... and attending classes, but that is beside the point. I didn't go because I had more important things to do.” He picks up his cup of tea, swishes it around once then takes a sip of it.
“Well, you missed out. The prince was there.” Cayla stirs her tea lightly as she adds cream and two clumps of sugar.
“He did? .... Is she lying?” He looks towards Amanda and Catherine, but they indicate with their shaking heads that 'no, she is not lying'.
“Why would I lie!?” Cayla puts down her cup harshly, making a loud, not very pleasant, clinking noise. She rights the tea cup by making sure she handle is on the correct side.
“You've been known to tease, to lie, to trick.” Teddy says, almost mentally counting how many times and who to. Cayla glares at him then pouts then sighs and looks into her cup of still moving tea.
“Yeah, she has, but it's never so serious... Well... no. I take that back. There was that one time.” Amanda starts, then finishes by not vouching for Cayla.
“She just doesn't mean to hurt people.” Catherine says, taking a sip of her tea then picking up a small strawberry tart Cayla made an hour before.
“I don't?” Cayla asks, taking a mini cake Teddy brought from home. She cuts it into four smaller pieces and stabs one of the squares and takes a bite. “Mmm. Yummy.” she smiles happily as the chocolate taste spreads in her mouth.
“I hope you don't.” Catherine shoots her a look then takes a bite of the tart.
“Why would you purposely hurt someone like that?” Amanda sets her cup down, confused.
“The same reason murderers kill, because they, including me, are not right in the head. Or because I don't know better.” Cayla shrugs and takes another bite, reveling in the soft, moist taste.
During these days, at least once a week, these four get together to talk, play games, or just enjoy non-family company. The girls and Teddy did once talk about any of them marrying him. In the end it turned out that if he did have to choose he would have to think about it for a year before he could probably choose. It's been six months and none of the girls think he's thought about it at all.
“Oh. I met another suitor yesterday.” Catherine says, all calmly and as if it didn't matter.
“What!? Another? So soon?” Teddy says, sounding shocked.
“What does he look like? Will it work out? He is cute, right?” Cayla asks, not exactly eagerly, but more like just curiosity.
“Black hair, blue eyes, a hint of tan skin.... I don't think it'll work out... I... suppose he was.... cute... But that depends on your taste.”
“What did you think?” Teddy asks, taking the last sip of the tea in his cup, reveling in what's left of the warmth. Cayla pours him more.
“Too..... Proper?” She questions, not sure what she felt or though, “and though I know I've never seen him, I felt like I knew him.... It was a weird feeling.”
“Maybe he's that Ethra person...” Cayla lightly suggests, as if it's the most normal thing to suggest that a person could have that weird of a name or anything similar.
“I thought, hoped, that we wouldn't bring up things like that here. I told you before to forget all that.” Catherine sighs, looking at her half-empty cup of tea.
“I was thinking about 'Moon' last night and it kept bringing random flashes of memories or... visions or something.”
“What are you talking about?” Teddy asks, confused.
“If you had been at the ball last night you would know.” Cayla says, teasing a bit, taking a sip of her tea as if she were the Queen or something. The other two are silent.
“... Fine, don't tell me. See if I care.” It's silent for a few moments. “Please tell?”
The girls smile and change the subject, what is Amanda's next creation going to be? Teddy huffs slightly, but doesn't mention it anymore. Instead his thoughts go to the prince and him being at that ball. He didn't know the Prince was going to be there, and he wonders just who knew that, that was going to happen. Because he didn't hear one word of it.
The girls decided to spend the night at Cayla's house, less traveling and time to spend just between the three of them. Her mother had no qualms, her father didn't care so long as they were quiet, and the little brother had no care either, just so long as he could actually fall asleep. Cayla was very happy that her family didn't care if her friends stayed or not, it meant she had a very light family, no huge rules or small rules that made no sense.
At one point during the night, around ten, the girls went out into Cayla's garden, fenced in and very safe the girls walked the paths in moonlight. At first they talked about the usual, gossip, telling the real story behind the gossip, and about the weirdness that the prince was at the ball last night. But speaking of the ball brought back that forbidden memory of Tolace and all the strange things that go with it.
“Think that guy will appear?” Cayla asks, sitting on her favorite stone bench under the large tree in the garden.
“Tolace?” Amanda asks, looking at the roses barely able to tell their color from the darkness.
“Yeah, that one.” Cayla stands up and walks to the trunk of the tree, putting her hand against it. Sometimes she likes to pretend she can feel all that is going on inside of things she touches, but she cannot really.
“I thought I told you to forget all of that.” Catherine heaves a sigh from her place, near the fountain that took Cayla years to get her parents to buy for her.
“It's hard to forget something like that, Cathi. And even if we could, we are all still thinking about the names and whatever he said.” Amanda pulls on one of the roses, inspecting it.
“Like the fact that he could easily kill us?” Catherine says, looking at the two.
“Well... He might be able to do that, but who would want to kill us? It's not like we can actually do anything.” Cayla turns her back to the tree and looks at Catherine, Amanda between the two.
“I'm a farmer’s daughter, I know tricks and I'm stronger than I look.” Catherine straightens and glares at Cayla.
“I'm a shopkeeper’s daughter and I'm just as weak as any other normal female.” Cayla glares right back.
“... I don't know what I could consider myself, but I'm just as weak as Cayla, probably weaker.” Amanda adds her part.
“That's because all you do is sew all day.” Catherine leans back against the fountain and crosses her arms.
“Well, yeah.” Amanda shrugs.
“Okay, look, we are getting off track. WAY off track. Why don't I just say what we are seriously trying to avoid saying? Hm?” The girls look at Cayla then at each other, then they shrug. Cayla takes a breath and lets out that one thought they all share on Tolace. “He's sortakindaMAYBE cute.” The air becomes still and silent.
“Yeah, I guess so.” Catherine adds after a moment.
“Sure, why not.” Amanda says, putting the rose back in place.
“It always seems to be that bad guys that are cute, that is so unfair! Why can't the good ones be just as cute? Or even more so?” Cayla looks a bit annoyed at the whole thing.
“I hope that by talking about him we didn't lead him here or something.” Catherine looks at her scar, wincing at the memory.
“How?” Amanda stands up and looks at Catherine.
“If he does have magic, as it seems, them anything is possible.”
“... How is he not in Maiaya?” Amanda asks.
“He's EVIL, all EVIL finds a way to get out, even if he was imprisoned there.” Cayla says in a 'know-it-all' tone, as if she really knew all of this.
“Cayla, calm down. First off you don't know what’s going on in there, second we don't actually know he's.... 'EVIL'” Catherine uses EVIL the same way Cayla does, Amanda laughs a bit at the mimicry.
“You’re just saying that because a cute, EVIL guy called you his 'fiery love'.” Cayla sticks her tongue out at Catherine, who has obviously become annoyed now. But instead of lashing out at Cayla she just sighs and gives her THE look.
“Can I agree with her?” Amanda asks, Catherine sighs again and turns away from the two girls, who giggle in response.
They returned back to the house a few moments later, feeling a small difference in what they talked about and what happened. It now seemed clearer, what happened the night before, but it wasn't crystal clear. They still had no idea who Ethra is, why this Tolace is after them or anything else that could be crucial to this riddle. What they did think they knew was that something was going to happen, or already has, and found it possible that they will have to fight whatever it is. What they know for sure is that it's something... EVIL.