‘Hey! You! Lady!’
Tristan and Katya looked up to see Robyn perched in the tree house, peering out at them.
‘Yes, my dear?’ Katya walked over to underneath the window. Tristan frowned, staring up at his niece.
‘Robyn, what are you -‘
He had barely started his sentence when a torrent of water fell down onto Katya, utterly drenching her!’
‘Gnomes alive!’ she cursed, staring down at her sopping clothes. Robyn snickered, before disappearing back into the treehouse.
‘Robyn Rivers, get down here this instant!’ Tristan shouted up angrily. ‘Katya, I am so sorry. I’ve no idea what’s got into her, she’s not usually like this!’
‘You don’t say!’ Katya wrung out the side of her jacket and wiped the water from her eyes. ‘It’s okay. My sister has three of them, I’m used to this kind of thing. Just not from strangers!’
‘Well, it’s still no excuse.’ Tristan thought for a moment, looking at Katya as she picked at her wet clothes. He decided to go for it.
‘Katya, please, let me make this up to you. Would you let me take you out for a drink later this week?’
Katya’s face lit up. ‘You certainly can! Although please, leave Robyn at home. I don’t want to end up with the drink in my lap!’ she joked, wiping a drop from her chin.
Tristan’s face lit up. ‘Oh, don’t worry, she’ll stay at home! I can’t imagine that she’ll be allowed out once her mother hears about this!’
‘Good to know! So, how do you fancy this Friday evening? Say, eight o’clock? Do you know Eugis’?’
‘I do indeed, my brother in law loves that place. I’ll see you there!’
‘I’ll hopefully be dry this time!’
Katya smiled at Tristan before handing over her mobile number and saying goodbye. Tristan watched as she walked away, head held high despite the fact that she was still dripping wet. He sighed, before turning his attention back to the treehouse.
‘Robyn! I believe I told you to get down from there!’
Moaning, Robyn scrambled down the ladder from the treehouse, jumping from the third rung from the bottom, and traipsed over to where Tristan was waiting. He gave her his best stern look.
‘So! What exactly was that all about, young lady?’
Robbie scuffed the mulch, playing with the hem of her dress. ‘Nothing.’
‘That wasn’t nothing, Robyn! Why did you feel the need to drop a bucket of water over that lady’s head?’
‘Because, I could tell that you liked her.’ Tristan was thrown. What?
‘What? No I… What does that have to do with anything?’
A sly smile crept onto Robyn’s face. ‘You liked her. You wanted to marry her and have babies with her, but you didn’t want to tell her that. So I gave you some extra time so you’d do it.’
Tristan was stunned. ‘But… What… That doesn’t excuse your behaviour, Robbie!’
‘But it worked!’
‘I don’t care! I’ll be telling your mother about this!’
* * *
It was the end of the weekend, and after spending the last couple of days taking their son out Ethan and Ivy were spending their final hour with Dylan before it was time to head home. They were sat in the prep room, a large hall filled with tables where students usually gathered to complete their homework.
‘I hope you’ve had a good weekend, Dylan,’ Ivy smiled. Dylan nodded enthusiastically.
‘Yeah I have, it’s been great! I missed you both,’ he beamed, looking from his mother to his father.
‘Good! I’m glad. It’ll be the holidays soon, and we can have lots more fun days like that, with Robbie and Uncle Tristan too!’
‘I can’t wait!’
Ethan leant forward onto the table. ‘Dylan, we need to talk to you about something. As you know, you’re nearly old enough to go to High School. You need to make a decision – would you like to continue here, or come home and go to school in Bridgeport?’
Dylan sat back. ‘You mean, I get to choose!’
‘Of course you do!’ Ivy exclaimed. ‘After a report like the one your teacher gave you, it seems only fair.’
Dylan pondered for a minute. ‘Well. I have had lots of fun here. I’m really pleased I came. But lots of my friends won’t be back next year… I think… Can I come home, please, Mum? Dad?’
‘You don’t need to ask permission, darling!’ Ivy exclaimed as she stood up to hug her son. ‘Of course you can come home!’
Ethan had pulled out his phone and was checking dates. ‘Hey, Dylan! You’ll be coming home on the day of your birthday! How’s that for a coincidence?’
‘Oh wow! Really, Dad?’
‘Yep! We’ll have to think of something big to celebrate your return!’
‘I really think it’s the right thing to do. He’ll be a teenager, Ethan, he’ll have outgrown this room!’
Standing in the middle of Dylan’s bedroom, Ivy and Ethan looked around at the childish decor and toys surrounding them. Ethan nodded. ‘You’re right. Plus it’ll be a nice surprise for him when he comes home! We’ll call a decorator to get an estimate first thing in the morning.’
‘And we can start by packing away some of his toys. We don’t need to get rid of them, I’m sure Robyn can have some of them and he can go through them when he gets home, but it’ll clear away some of this clutter.’ Ivy walked over to Dylan’s dresser and picked up a robot, playing with it’s movable limbs.
‘Hey, what about this!’ Ethan gestured to Dylan’s desk, where Puzzle had sat for the past eleven months. ‘I know it’s your favourite!’
‘Eurgh!’ Ivy shuddered. ‘I hope that’ll go! Still, it is his favourite. I won’t count on it.’
‘Oh, I don’t know, Dylan didn’t take it away with him. He didn’t even ask about it,’ Ethan mused. ‘I’ll leave it here for him though. It’s up to him what he does with it. Maybe he just didn’t want his friends to know he had a doll or something.’
‘Maybe. Maybe. Oh Ethan, I can’t wait! One more month, and Dylan will be home! I’m so excited!’
As Ivy and Ethan left the room, chattering away excitedly about Dylan’s impending return, Puzzle sat as he had done since the day Dylan had left, head tilted to one side as though he was listening.
He was listening. He’d heard everything Ivy and Ethan had said.
Dylan. His Dylan was coming home.
Just one month. One month to wait, just thirty days.
Thirty days until he was alive again, until he had a purpose. Thirty days until his life was complete once more…
He just had to wait. Just sit, and wait. He was good at waiting. He’d had eleven months practise.