“. . .You’re sure it’s tonight?”
“Aye. I’ve counted the nights, Maureen. It’s tonight.”
“Well, I guess it’s a good thing we’re in port, then.” Maureen looked at Sean and mustered a grin. She didn’t feel really glad. In fact, she had argued with the Dubh in the letter on countless occasions, citing this reason and that why they did belong in 1584 – 1585, now . . .
D: Is this a thing?
D: A thing, you know. . . a thing.
A: . . . .
D: Gods help me, I’ve been in your head too long, and I’m starting to express myself like you.
A: You say that like it’s a bad thing.
D: . . .
A: Fine, I’ll stop being me. I understand, but I don’t know what thing to which you are referring.
D: It’s Maureen. She’s arguing with me. In her head. Is this going to be a theme for you? Are you trying to spread the crazy around?
A: I would think you’d feel honored, having someone else chat with you in their head.
D: It’s not that, A – I’m just wondering if I’m going to have to start taking appointments. How many more people are going to be requesting an audience? Shall I hire a PA to take the calls?
A: . . . If I have to stop being me, could you stop being you?
A: And no, it’s not a theme, and I’m not feeling lonely for other crazy company (that’s what I have you for, after all). Maureen has little recourse but to argue with you in her head – you disappeared, remember? Remember how you left them with the pirate, in the 1580s, with just the one instruction to wait 4 months before they tried to get home? What is with you and leaving them to their own devices? What happens next is your own fault, D, just remember that.
D: Oh, I do, A. I do. . .
. . . Sean wasn’t eager to leave either, not eager to go back and be a grocer’s apprentice, his days ruled over by the sisters of St. Cormac’s parish. He did not want to leave Grania and her men; he did not want to miss the respect he saw in his fellows’ eyes. Yet, what he told Maureen was true. Dubhal – Dubh – had said to go back to 1958, had said that they did not belong in the sixteenth century. In Sean’s innermost heart, he believed Dubh. He knew it was true.
Sean rested a hand on Maureen’s arm, jostling her ever so slightly.
“It’s time, Maureen. It’s time to stop arguing with that letter. We have a life–”
“You have a life.”
Sean snorted derisively. “Aye – shop boy.”
“That’s only until next year, Sean. Then you’re going to University, and I’m . . .”