Chapter 11: The Parent Trap – part 3
The wall of Jake’s bedroom shuddered from something slamming into it on the other side. His hold on the emotionless void shuddered as well. Jake hugged his knees to his chest and waited.
“And throwing things is so responsible!” Dad shouted.
The walls and closed door muffled his mother’s aggravated sigh. “I’m not the one who let our son give himself second degree burns because I wasn’t watching him closely enough!”
“I healed him. He’s fine, and he understands that if he ever plays mad scientist again unsupervised he’ll replace the housekeeper for a month. What more do you want?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Contrition, maybe?”
Jake put his hands over his ears and struggled to hold on to his alien calm. Lynn? Get me out of here. Please.
A wave of sympathy from his sister pierced the void. Sure, Jakey. Familiar energy enveloped him, and his bedroom at his father’s quarters dissolved into Ashlynn’s at their mother’s.
Jake found himself beside his sister, who sat cross-legged on her bed. She set her organic chemistry textbook aside and put one arm around his shoulders. Tears stung his eyes, but he refused to shed them. Although he should have been able to deal with this bullshit himself—he was almost a teenager, for Christ’s sake!—Jake leaned into Ashlynn, resting his head on her shoulder. “I hate them sometimes,” he muttered. “Sort of.”
“Me too.” She rested her head on his. “You should tell Shane you left.”
Jake scowled. “Why bother? It’ll just start another round of ‘It’s okay, Jake. I’m sorry. You know that I’m not mad at you, right?’ Screw it.” Although Ashlynn didn’t reply, he felt her resignation.
They sat quietly while Jake calmed down. Once his balance had returned he sat up and caught Ashlynn’s eye. “Lab?”
She smiled. “Lab.”
After stopping at the commissary for brownies—Mrs. Harte made the best ever—brother and sister walked to their basement lab. Upon entering they set about their usual routine: Jake scanned the room for bugs while Ashlynn cast an anti-scrying spell.
With their space secured, Jake opened the lock box that housed their data pad and earlier versions of the copper bands. As the data pad booted up Ashlynn asked, “How are Wenzler and Almodovar doing?”
“Well.” Jake brought up the observations he’d entered the previous day and handed the pad to his sister. “Much better than the first two sets of subjects.”
Ashlynn nodded as she skimmed the data. “Because of their psionics?”
“Looks like. Almodovar is an empath, and Wenzler is telekinetic.”
Ashlynn chewed her lip thoughtfully. “Neither seems dominant?”
Jake shook his head. “Nope. I don’t think they work that way.”
“That’s too bad.” Ashlynn commented. She handed the data pad to Jake. “The bands are still on them?”
“Yeah. I want to collect another week of data. See if their heart rates sync up. They’re close now. Then you can retrieve them and convince them that none of this ever happened.”
Ashlynn nodded, frowning. She leaned against the work bench with her arms crossed under her breasts. “It’s a shame. All that work, and no good application for the things.”
An idea occurred to Jake that made him grin. “I’ve got an application.”
“Oh?” Jake’s smile grew wider, and Ashlynn’s face fell. “You can’t be serious.”
“They’re making each other miserable, Lynn. And us!”
Ashlynn chewed her lip for two whole minutes. Then she met Jake’s eyes. “I’ll handle Mum. But you’re on your own with your father.”