Excerpt - 2
The next morning, Arlene had an early class, so Brian didn't have to work to avoid her. Arlene filled an empty plastic twenty ounce bottle with orange Kool-Aid and Brian offered to grab her bag for her. On his way back across the room Brian tripped over one of Josh's boots and dropped a couple of Arlene's books.
Together they slowly picked them up and Brian went ahead and took the plunge. "Look… If I'm distant, it doesn't mean I'm avoiding you. I just need some time to figure out what is going on inside me. It could take a while, so please don't take it personally."
Arlene pushed her science book in her bag and mumbled, "No problem."
Grabbing the book in his hand, she shoved it out of sight and started for the door. Brian catching sight of an escaped piece of paper told her to wait, while he retrieved it from under the corner of the couch.
Brian picked it up and started to pass it over when his eyes landed on the previous day's sketch. "What is this?"
Arlene shrugged, "Nothing really, just something I doodled in math class yesterday."
"I had no idea you were an artist. This is really pretty."
Arlene laughed, "I'm no artist, believe me, it's nothing. It's just a doodle that will end up in the trash."
Trying not to show to much interest and spook her, he asked in an offhanded way. "Well if that is really how you feel, you don't mind if I keep it?"
A surprised look crossed her face, but she just shrugged. "Sure," and with a small wave, "Catch you later." Then she was out the door.
As soon as the door shut behind her, Brian swung around and shook Josh violently awake. "Get up, I want to be out of here in five minutes. There has been a new development."
Eyes still half closed, shoes tied and yawning grumpily Josh was waiting at the door when Brian wrenched it open. "What's up, Brian?"
Not stopping Brian mumbled, "I'll explain when we get to Ginger's.
Behind him Josh turned a snort into a laugh. "Ginger's at this time of day, man you really got some nerve."
Brian understood Josh's meaning after pounding on Ginger's apartment door and getting the reply, "Who the hell is beating down my door at the crack of dawn? This had better be good or someone is going to wish they were never born."
The door opened and Ginger's angry face instantly turned to a look of concern. "What's wrong Pop?"
Closing the door behind them Brian walked over and dropped the sketch on Ginger's honey colored coffee table. "I found this in Arlene's school stuff this morning."
Josh and Ginger leaned in together, both giving back a simple, "OH!" Sam who was just opening his eyes on the couch next to the table leaned over blinking.
Brian saw Ginger's glance run over Sam as he sat up, long naked torso running down to meet his blue running shorts as Sam asked, "It looks like a math paper. So what's the big deal?"
Brian leaned over and pointed at the sketch that he had easily recognized. "Not the math, this so-called doodle."
Sam squinted down and shrugged, "Big deal, she drew a ring."
Brian shook his head. "This isn't just any ring. This is Colleen's wedding ring."
Sam snorted, "Yeah right, you gave her that ring over five hundred years ago. How could you recognize one ring from another?"
Ginger grinned as Brian answered, "I know that ring better than the back of my own hand."
Sam lifted an eyebrow as Brian reached into the neckline of his t-shirt and pulled out the soft silver necklace around his throat. Placing the end into the palm of his hand he held it out to show Sam. A man's black and gold wedding band covered in Celtic knots rested snuggly against an exact copy of Arlene's sketch.
"I had our rings cryogenically frozen with me. They are made of indestructible metal from the planet Calidar so they will last forever."
Sam gave him his, 'I'm impressed' look and said, "Wow, that is cool. Then this is supposed to be important?"
The other three groaned, then Brian held up the sketch next to the ring as Ginger vanished for a moment. The sketch was so perfect that it truly astonished Brian. The ring had been made with long straight line like wires that were intricately twirled together to make a piece of art representing the moons of Adrivar. Each little turn of the ring was drawn exactly right in Arlene's doodle.