“I’ll wake you when I come to bed,” Ed winked at her luridly.
“Very likely you will, Edmund, but don’t expect much!” She threw a dishtowel she had been taking to the wash at him and walked off, muttering all the way to her room.
“So, Tilda, tell me specifically what you felt on your way to the camp.” Her father seemed calm, but excitement seethed under the surface.
She described the sensation as accurately as she could. Wil sat quietly, smoking thoughtfully, listening with an intensity she had never seen.
“Do you remember where you were?”
“Yes, it struck me as odd, so I glanced at my position.”
“When you crossed it later, did it happen again?”
“No, just once. Why?”
Wil looked slightly discouraged. “Still moving,” he told Ed. “But it gives us something to go on. You ever thought of mining Trimagnite? You’d be good at it, as a natural sensitive.”
“No daughter of mine will ever be a Trimmie,” Ed said with finality.
“Trimmies are seriously spooky, Uncle Wil.” She shuddered reflexively.
“No they aren’t, baby, they are just like you and me. The rest of us just think they are spooky because we don’t understand them.”
“One guy I met said the walls spoke to him!”
She had met an old Trimmie in a local pub when she was twelve. He had made a terrifying impression; wild eyed, gray haired, muttering to himself about the voices.
“Maybe they did. Some people are taken that way. You felt that tingle, others hear it resonate or sing, I can smell it. Does that make us spooky too?”
“No, I guess not.”
“Honey, working that stuff is enough to make anyone a little crazy.”
She could not meet the weight of his stare anymore. Blushing deeply, she looked away. A gentle, light fingered touch from his hand brought her eyes back to his.
“Tilda, I need you to show me the spot tomorrow.”
Matilda glanced at her father for confirmation. He nodded slowly, giving his permission. “I don’t have a cycle.”
“It’s all right, I have one. We’ll fly out there after I meet with Mac.”
“You’d better go to bed now, missy,” her father said firmly.
Matilda rose quickly, nearly knocking over her chair. She kissed her father on the cheek and leaned over to kiss Wil goodnight. For the first time in her life, she felt oddly self-conscious around him.
She made her way to bed, fumbling with her pajamas. Bobby’s kiss had left a memory on her lips. His face flitted before her as her eyes drifted shut, feeling his arms around her. In her dreams, however, the blue eyes turned dark and foreboding. Cute, immature teenage features took on a hard edged, lean and hungry look. Bobby’s face melted away, replaced by Wil’s.
Wil walked toward her, arms enfolding her, bringing her into his masculine embrace. Full lips pressed on hers, making her weak in the knees, and warm in all kinds of deliciously unfamiliar places. Suddenly, she was falling and he was yanked away. She reached for him, calling his name.
She woke with a start. Someone stood in the doorway. At first she thought it was her father who usually heard her nightmares and came to reassure her, but it was too tall, broad shouldered and muscular to be her father.
“You okay, Tilda?” Wil’s soft, deep voice held a note of concern. “I heard you calling my name.”
“I’m okay, Uncle Wil. It was just a bad dream.”
“Want to talk about it?” He eased into the room, thinking how furiously un-understanding Ed would be if he caught him there.
“I don’t remember it,” she lied poorly.
Wil sat on the end of her bed. “Why were you calling me?”
“It was so real...” She could not look him in the face. “I felt like I was falling and you reached out to grab me, but you got yanked away and I fell... It felt like forever....”
He didn’t really see at all. In fact, he had no idea how to handle this, but it seemed like the right thing to say; vaguely non-committal. She made him feel awkward and shy around her self-confidence, like a teenager on his first date. He had to keep reminding himself she was a child. He was godfather to her little sister, for God’s sake!
She was staring at him with that disconcerting expression which made him feel as if she stripped away layer after layer of his psyche.
“You all right, Uncle Wil?”
The sound of her voice startled him as he was still trying to sort out what he felt.
“Yes,” he croaked slightly, clearing his throat. “I was just thinking what this might mean. I think we’d better be extra careful tomorrow when we go out. I’ll double check the floater cycle and call up a weather report. Don’t worry, Matilda, it was just a dream.”
He leaned forward, forcing himself to kiss her on the forehead. His heart lurched uncomfortably and there were stirrings in him which no full grown woman had ever woken in him.
“Night, honey,” he reminded himself she called him Uncle Wil for a reason. Her father was his closest friend.
Part 6 http://www.myspace.com/dellanioakes