The Timely Adventures of Rachel Evans: Hunter Enters the Forest
March 26, 2013
It was all Hunter’s fault. That was Rachel’s opinion, and she was sticking with it. If her little brother had any decency, he wouldn’t be here, and she could go time-traveling. It had been almost a month since her she and best friend Leigh had gone back in time and dealt with the ghost of George Bernard Shaw. After that there had been a steady stream of work. Leigh’s schedule was a complete opposite. They barely had a chance to exchange hellos, let alone plan a trip.
Every day, Rachel would come home, open her closet, and stare at the pocket dictionary’s hiding place, until she couldn’t bear it anymore and had to go do something else instead. She didn’t allow herself to even touch the cookie tin, figuring that would be giving in to temptation. They’d agreed to go together; she could wait. Rachel was good at waiting. She’d once waited in line 37 hours for Paramore tickets. Her mother had complained, but Rachel got them. It was all a matter of priorities.
Time-traveling was worth waiting for, but that didn’t mean the waiting wasn’t completely agonizing. Nearly four weeks was too long. Rachel couldn’t wait any longer. This was the first weekend where neither of them had to work, and they were finally going to get to go somewhere in some other time.
And then Hunter happened.
Rachel sent a disgusted look at her younger brother who was sprawled across her couch, reading A Storm of Swords. Her copy, naturally.
"Be careful with that." Rachel told him, picking up her coffee cup. "It’s signed."
"Yeah, yeah." Hunter didn’t even look up. "He’s pretty gung-ho about killing everyone. Is there even going to be anyone left at the end of the series?"
"Only the few who deserve to survive." Rachel sulked into her coffee. "Lannisters."
"I just want you to be prepared."
The front door banged open as Leigh entered the apartment. "Is there any more coffee?"
"Yes.” Rachel glared at Hunter, who ignored her. Leigh eyed them both and went to pour a cup. Rachel took this as a sign that this would be a good moment to have the conversation they needed to have.
"Psst." She jerked her head at Leigh and went into the kitchen.
"What’s going on?" Leigh whispered. "Why’s he here?"
"Apparently our parents thought this was the perfect weekend to have a romantic getaway." Rachel made a face. "And they don’t trust Hunter to be left on his own."
"Yes, well." Rachel looked guilty. "Remember…."
When Rachel had been sixteen, her parents had gone away for one night, and during the course of that particular night, the garden shed had somehow wound up getting set on fire. Rachel couldn’t even argue that it was an accident because she had meant to set it on fire. She just hadn’t planned on it burning so completely to the ground. It was a science experiment, one that failed to serve as a good excuse with her parents.
"Well, that’s not really Hunter’s fault." Leigh pointed out.
"I know, I know! But what are we going to do with him while we…” Rachel raised her eyebrows and made a little whirring gesture with her hands.
"I have no idea what you’re suggesting we do? Spinning classes? Base jumping?"
"Go on another trip."
Leigh sighed. "Are you sure we should with him here? We could wait until he’s gone."
"I am not postponing this any longer!" Rachel hissed. Way too loudly as it turned out. Hunter looked up, eying them through the kitchen window.
"What’s going on?"
"Nothing." Rachel and Leigh said in unison.
"Riiiiiiight." He went back to his book.
Rachel picked up her coffee and took a sip, subtly watching Hunter. When he definitely didn’t seem to be paying any attention, she turned back to Leigh.
"We take two seconds and slip into the bedroom. He’ll barely notice we’re gone. I even have the PD all ready to go." Rachel started to pat her pocket, only to remember she’d taken her hoodie off, and…left it on the couch where Hunter was currently reading.
She looked at Leigh, then cautiously at Hunter. "Be careful." Leigh muttered. "We don’t want to end up in Westeros."
"That’s not possible." Rachel paused. "Is it?"
"Westeros wouldn’t be so bad." Hunter said absently, picking up on half of their conversation. "There are dragons."
"You wouldn’t survive in Westeros, my sweet summer child," Leigh said ominously.
Rachel leaned over to reach for her hoodie just as Hunter leaned back against it. “Of course, if we were going to go anywhere, I wouldn’t wish to go there.”
"Oh?" Rachel tugged her hoodie out from behind him, just as the PD slipped out of the pocket.
"No." Hunter shook his head, setting his book down. His hand brushed across the PD just as he continued. "I’d rather we went somewhere really historical."
"Westeros is historical," Rachel argued even as she knew was wasting valuable time saying it. She grabbed at the book and Hunter rolled over on top of it.
"Stop trying to punch me!"
"I wasn’t going to punch you. I just want my book."
"You mean this?" Hunter picked it up.
"Yes, that, give it to me now." Rachel snatched it out of his hands.
"A please wouldn’t go amiss," Hunter sighed loftily. "I was only going to say I’d wish we could go somewhere more like Sherwood Forest..."
"Rachel!" Leigh grabbed her just as everything went black.
When Rachel came to, she was sitting in a leafy grove. Something was poking her in the side. Something like a stick, attached to a tree. She was sitting under a tree surrounded by other trees. Rachel had a very definite sense of being in a forest.
There was a slight crashing sound and then Hunter bowled through the brambles to land beside her. "Ow."
There were moments for punching people. This was such a moment, and Rachel took it, punching him in the shoulder.
"This," Rachel said succinctly, "is all your fault."
To be continued...