"Claire's been gone three weeks now. It sure is quiet around here," said Jed, snuggled against Maddie as the cold winds of the coming winter blew against the outside of their bedroom window.
Maddie held Jed close, her left leg over his body, the covers heavy over the two of them in their bed.
"She'll bring him back," she whispered.
"I know. I miss him, though. I know he's a lot older than I am, but he's like a big brother to me," said Jed, stroking Maddie's golden hair.
"Well, that's good to know," whispered Maddie, nibbling on Jed's ear, "because he's going to be an uncle soon."
A knock sounded through the house, a thunderous pounding that rolled and echoed into the living room. Everyone jumped up and Jed headed toward the door, Maddie close behind him. Nancy and Shelly nodded to each other and slid into the shadows on either side of the entry hall. Caru stepped into the shadows of the room. Lone Wolf disappeared. Fae sat at the table staring at the checkerboard. "What?" she muttered, sure that Shelly could hear her. "It's only one guy."
"Well, my lad, it's good to be home!" A middle-aged man stepped in the doorway, wrapping Jed in a huge hug. Snow clung to his clothes. He reached over and tugged Maddie into the embrace, kissing her on the forehead. He pulled a vial of golden liquid from his pocket and held it up. "But we have some big problems!" he said.