believe him, but how could she? Other worlds? Magical powers? "Um. I don't know what to say." "Do you believe me?" She gave him an apologetic look. Ander looked out into the yard, trying to think of what else he could say. Would he believe her if the roles were reversed? No. He needed evidence. Then he got an idea. "You know how Dad doesn't seem to be aging? How he acts like he's half his age?" Mary patted his hand. "He's taken good care of himself." Ander nodded. "That's true. But he has an advantage that you and Pam and everyone else from this world don't have. The people from his mother's world—Raisal's world—live ... hundreds of years. Now, I don't know how long we will live, but we will live longer than most. That's what you're seeing in dad." Mary glanced at the window, as if looking through to the kitchen, knowing Caille was there. Ander could see her processing all those times when Caille didn't get tired and how he looked younger than most his age. He assumed her thoughts were w andering to his father's successes, how he always knew when a client wasn't buying his sell, and how he could always find a way to get through to them. She returned her gaze to Ander. He could see her disbelief battling with all the unexplainable truths. He watched her intently and saw her aura flutter. "Are you okay , Mom?" Just then, the door from the kitchen opened and the screen door spring creaked. Caille approached and sat next to his wife. "I think I should take over from here , Son." Ander returned to the kitchen. Pam asked, "How did it go?" Ander replied, "She'll be okay." He hoped. Daen stepped away from the wall where he'd been leaning, watching the family secrets being revealed. "I feel like this is my fault. The last thing I wanted was to upset your family." Ander waved him off. "Nonsense. We've wanted him to tell her for a long time now. If anything, it's good that you're here." Pam put the lunch on the table as Mary and Caille came in from the porch. Trying not to make a big deal out of what had just happened, Pam asked Mary, "Do you want tea, water, cola?" "Tea , please." "Grandma! Isn't it exciting?" Randell held the chair for her. "I was here when he came through. At first I thought it was because I was cleaning Great -Grandma's dagger. Did you know she had a dagger? I'll go get it." Randell attempted to dash from the kitchen but Ander intercepted. "Let's hold off on the dagger. Eat first." Randell hesitated; his desire to share everything he'd learned and seen had him vibrating like a plastic wind-up toy. But he heeded his father's warning look and took his seat at the table. Ander motioned for Daen to sit. "Mom, Dad. You know who this is , but let me introduce him anyway. Daen Mallaur, Guardian from Luxatra." Caille reached out his hand to Daen. "Welcome." Mary did the same. "Nice to meet you." "Hello." Daen shook their hands, a tradition he'd seen performed on several shows he'd started to watch, trying to understand the behavior and language of the people in this world.
Once everyone had their plates full, Ander started the discussion he knew Daen was anxious to have. "I want to hear all about your trip, but before that, I was hoping to talk about Grandma Raisal. I don't remember hearing that she passed away. What happened to her?" Caille dusted the cobwebs from his memories before answering. "It was shortly after my father died. You were about ten , I think. She was sitting with us in the living room one night. Out of the blue, she said she needed some fresh air and went out back." He paused, looking at the faces in the room all watching him. He'd never told anyone the story he was about to tell and wasn't sure how he felt about it after all these years. After a moment he continued, "I found her a few minutes later standing at the tree line out back, staring into the woods. When I asked her what she was doing, she told me she was going home. Of course I didn't