Catching Smoke: Ch. 31

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Dinner is spectacular, considering the circumstances.

Emmalee's father has prepared a feast of steak with a side of fresh green beans and mashed potatoes. Colin can't remember the last time he had a meal so wonderful. Or perhaps that's just the head-trauma-induced hunger talking.

The dining room is as extravagant as the bedroom Colin woke up in a few hours earlier. Based on the architechture he's seen so far, he would guess they're somewhere in Europe now, Italy or France perhaps. But that can't be right. How would they have gotten here so quickly? How long had Colin been out? When did he wake up in the dark room?

He doesn't know anything. He hasn't been in touch with Harlem in ages. At least it feels like that to him. He's used to talking to Harlem at least once a day during a recruit mission. But this is beyond a recruit mission now.

And where is Lydia? Has she figured out they're gone? Would she even look for them? Colin doubts it. Lydia has only ever looked out for herself. Why would that change now? It's not like their relationship - or lack thereof - had improved at all.

"You two are awfully quiet," Emmalee's father says as he slices his steak with a knife.

"You still haven't answered my question, father. What. Do. You. Want," Emmalee says.

She snaps a green bean with her fingers, and takes a bite without looking away from her father. He stares back, and Colin looks back and forth at both of them. They appear to be having some sort of weird telepathic conversation.

Until Emmalee's father bursts out laughing.

"Oh, darling," Emmalee's father says. "Oh, you're just too much, dear. I've waited over a decade to dine with you. Do you really think I want to spoil it with such conversation? Tell me about your life, dear. I want to hear what you've been up to all this time."

Emmalee snorts and shakes her head.

"I don't believe you," she says. "You kidnap me and expect everything to be normal."

"Is it not? Should I have called you on the tele and invited you over instead?"

Emmalee doesn't answer. She pushes her food around with her fork. Colin doesn't know what to say or whether he should say anything at all. He feels completely out of place here. How did he get caught up in all this? Harlem should have warned him.

"What do you want, father, really?" Emmalee asks. "I don't have time to play your stupid guessing games."

"Well, actually, dear, you have all the time in the world."

And that's when the windows shattered and Harlem came to the rescue.

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