Ch. 50.5 — A week later, Mary sat with Col, Bee and Felix at the edge of the valley. A crackling fire warmed their feet and lit up their faces with a rosy glow. Behind them a tent had been set up. Mary knew from peeking in the door that it was a lot bigger inside than outside. She wondered how Col and Bee had done that.
From across the valley, the lights of the castle glowed cheerfully in the dark. Faint music floated out over the valley: the kingdom of Nelsonia was celebrating the crowning of King Matthew. Mary had been told she was expected to attend the coronation, but when the queen’s messenger wasn’t looking, Mary had slipped away. She grew anxious in big crowds, and she’d had enough of living under stone.
Col and Bee watched with fondness as their little boy threaded squashy white objects onto a long stick and held them over the fire.
“They’re called marshmallows,” said Felix. “You roast them until they turn golden brown, and then you eat them. They’re especially good sandwiched between two graham crackers with a bar of chocolate – you call them S’mores.” He demonstrated and handed one to Col.
Col licked his fingers. “Amazing. And to think we’ve been missing out on such a delicacy all these years.” Col winked at his wife. “Life was so boring before you came along, Felix. I’m glad Bee decided to adopt you.”
Felix sniffed and turned away, but not before Mary saw him grin.
Mary was glad Felix had lived, and that he now had a home. In fact, everyone seemed to be moving ahead. Except her. This past week she’d helped bury the dead and take care of the sick, and she’d spent the nights wrapped in a cloak under one tree or another. Mary put her arms around her knees and wondered what she was going to do now. She couldn’t keep drifting from campfire to campfire.
A tall figure came out of the darkness into the firelight. “Is there room for one more?”
Col stood and shook Old Bob’s hand. “Always. Have a seat, my friend.” He gestured to the logs that ringed the campfire.
Old Bob sat down, stretched out his legs, and sighed.
Bee handed him a steaming cup. “Try this. It’s called hot chocolate and it’s very good.”
Old Bob looked at Felix. “I imagine it is. Felix has managed to stockpile quite a lot of interesting items from the future.”
Felix scowled at him. “What? I’m sharing.”
“I see that.” Old Bob chuckled and took a sip. “Delicious.” Then he turned back to Col and Bee. “Are you sure you want to keep this one? He will cause trouble. Now that my brother is dead, Felix is no longer in danger from his family. I can take him back into the Fey lands when my people leave.”
Felix looked dismayed. “But I don’t want to go back.”
Bee hugged Felix. “We want him right here with us, and we’ll teach him to be a good man.”
Felix grinned. “And don’t forget that Connie has promised me a lifetime supply of strawberry tarts. That’s worth sticking around for.”