A/N - Note, this is the sequel to "Time of Our Lives - Part 1" I just thought I'd be annoying with the titles and experiment to see if I could find one that was any better, but alas, as you can see the search will continue. Also, this is going to have to go through a lot of editing and rewriting as well and the grammar is probably dreadful, but anyways, have fun!
(hehe, thought I might just sneakily slip this in before the next review day starts)
Wenton fell to the ground, hugging his face and cursing, in a very inclusive manner to all the world religions. The pavement felt coarse and gritty beneath him, but it was difficult to see its exact condition as a result of the darkness of the night. Before him, a figure stood haloed by the luminescent glow of a doorway. Presumably, the doorway the offending door had belonged to.
“Baker’s biscuits! Where did you pop out from?” The figure stooped and placed a hand on his shoulder, guiding him back to his feet.
Wenton would have sneered at the blurred face, but the pain searing through his nose halted him from doing anything more than a furrow of his eyebrows. Beside him, Cody was still hooked to his wrist with fingers curled so tightly they were beginning to cut off his arm’s circulation.
“Oh,” The word was not clipped, but stretched to capacitate the full confusion of seeing his altered surroundings. “that’s not a watch, is it?”
Wenton rolled his eyes and hardly spared a glance at the darkened street they had appeared in. It was rather dank. Certainly not among the more exciting places he had visited.
The road was coated in gloom, but shape of the buildings seemed reassuringly to be of an architecture the boy would be accustomed to. At least they hadn’t appeared anywhere that would have had him screaming his head off, or, anywhere his head could be taken off.
“Are you alright?” the figure asked, though they weren’t a blurry figure anymore now that Wenton’s eyes had time to focus.
The first word he could think of to describe the woman that stood before him was: cherubic, though he rarely used such theological words. The comparison ended, however, when it reached her eyes. Grey, like concrete. The giant coat she had wrapped around herself didn’t help very much either with the description; so bulky like she had wrapped a mattress around herself.
“Perfectly dandy,” said Wenton, though the sarcasm of the words was lost as it commonly is when you are speaking with bleeding nose.
The woman bit her lip and swung her head, her gazing running up and down the street. Her caramel curls bunching freely around her face as it turned. “You should probably come in, I’ll get some tissues for, uh,” she gestured at his nose, “that.”
Wenton tried to step away, shaking his head, but Cody dragged him forward. His hands clamped like iron around his arm with the strength of a small child who knows what they want and isn’t willing to let it go so easily. “Do you have hot chocolate?”
The woman nodded hesitantly, “Yes, as far as I know.”
“One marshmallow please,” said Cody and scuttled past her through the door, towing an averse Wenton behind.
Behind the door were bookshelves, a lot of bookshelves. A great hall of bookshelves. There was no single passageway across the wooden expanse, instead, a myriad of paths curved around and through the maze of shelves. With winding staircases woven throughout like strands leading up and down to other worlds. All through the hall, stacks of paper bound in their leather envelopes pushed and shoved one another for a perch, cramming against each other on their crowded ledges.
The place, however, was in no way messy, with all the books maintaining the good sense to keep themselves filed away neatly without any paper spilling down onto the floor; but Wenton would never have defined it as tidy either. Though all surfaces looked freshly swept, the books were kept dust free more from constant use than any regular cleaning.
There was no sound or movement as he walked amongst the literary towers, but the place didn’t hold the same dead stillness as so many other libraries he had frequented. It felt alive, almost. The impatient shuffling about of thoughts, ideas and stories always restless from where they rested upon their yellowing pages waiting to be read.
There was a buzz from his wrist, but he ignored it, enraptured by the wilderness before him.
The woman moved, faster than Wenton thought her coat would have allowed, ahead of Cody, who had slowed his scamper to crawl when viewing the magnitude of the hall. She led them to another, smaller door, tucked away as to not draw attention to itself between the shelves, opening it to reveal a cluttered kitchenette.
“My name’s Maria by the way,” said the woman, opening a small fridge to take out a bottle of milk.
Cody examined her and the tiny kitchen with a hesitant gaze. Looking back up at Wenton, he shrugged, relaxed his grip and bounced over to a spindly, three-legged table in the center of the room.
“I’m Cody,” he chirped, setting himself on an available stool to watch Maria.
Wenton grunted politely from where he remained leaning against the door frame.
“That’s Wenton,” said Cody.
Maria handed him a handkerchief with a dramatic flounce. “A definite pleasure to meet you.”
Accepting the cloth, Wenton brought it to his nose and looked to the floor with a mumbled, ‘thanks.’
The room fell silent as Maria moved about the kitchen, setting the kettle to boil as she stirred a mixture in two mugs of milk and chocolate powder.
Cody kicked his feet against the legs of the chair and patted his palms across the table. “Do you live here?”
The question sat waiting like an earnest terrier as the kettle squealed; Maria’s own cry blending with the screech as her hand passed against its metal shell.
“Me, live here?” Maria turned, rubbing the reddening skin, she stared at him incredulously, her words cheeringly caped with sarcasm. “Of course not! I live with the little Vikings in the sewers, feasting on our pillaging’s of croissants and French wines whilst we roar and rollick the night away to a ballad of dragons dancing skywards.”
Wenton raised his eyebrows.
Maria’s smile dissipated till it appeared to be hung across her mouth by only a handful of clothes pegs, with the capability of falling at any moment. “Maybe that was a tad too far.”
“Croissants and French wines?” Wenton grinned behind his handkerchief.
“Well, I assume some of them must have taste.”
“In a sewer?”
Maria shook her head and shrugged, her lips still curled but the curtain had been closed. Cody looked between them and continued his pattered tap across the tabletop.
“So, you do live here?” he asked.
A frown passed behind her eyes but never came to light as Maria stared at him. “Yes, yes I do. I have my whole life.”
Cody nodded with approval at the answer, before tilting his head to one side, speaking, “I like Vikings.”
“Do you?” Maria returned to the kitchenette, pouring steaming water into the two mugs she had prepared.
“Yeah, did you know they got to America and that one of them even ruled England!” Cody’s eyes widened, watching the burly warriors storming through his mind.
Maria carried the mugs to the table, setting them down with a clank as the scent of cocoa wafted through the air. “You’re quite a man of history, aren’t you?”
“My grandmother more than me,” Cody shrugged, “Some nights, when the windows are getting hammered by the rain, she’ll get me on her lap and say, ‘Remember your history, Cody, never forget it. Because history’s had enough idiots in it without you becoming one of them too.’”
“How wise,” said Maria, sparing a glance at Wenton who shrugged in reply.
A beep echoed through the kitchen.
Instinctually, Wenton glanced down at his wrist as he muttered gruffly, “I really should fix that.”
He let his eyes graze across the series of words that rolled over the screen of the device:
…Hostile device detected in vicinity…
…The device is currently inactive…
…Level of danger: high…
“What is that?” asked Maria, rising from where she was sitting.
“That’s Wenton’s magic watch,” said Cody, unperturbed as he slurped his hot chocolate.
Wenton frowned. “It is not a magic-”
His eyes meeting Maria’s curious gaze, he faltered and bit his lip as she took hold of his wrist for closer inspection of the messages flashing across the devices screen. “Yeah magic watch, why not.”
“What- what does? Hostile?” Maria stuttered.
“It means there’s a bomb under your library.” Wenton explained with a grimace.
Something inside him felt, off. Gritting his teeth, this twinge grew as he watched her shake her head in confusion. Scrunching and contorting her cherubic features as a tumult of thoughts staged a bloody battle in her mind.
“I can fix it,” said Wenton, pushing her away.
“Well disable, I’m assuming it’s remote controlled, so I could just disconnect the, ah… connection, between it and whatever maniac thought it was a good idea to stick a bomb under a library.”
In her head Wenton assumed some thought must have gained the upper hand and wasn’t going to relent its position of power too easily, her expression setting to the same hardness of the concrete in her eyes.
“Right,” he said, taking a step away from her. “Well, I’ll just go off and do that while you and Cody continue your conversation outside. I hear the night time air is excellent for children.”
“I’m not a child,” Maria’s eyes connected with his, pushing him against the wall.
Wenton gulped and stumbled at his misstep, “that’s not what I meant, I wasn’t-”
She pushed past him through the doorway. If it weren’t for her coat, she could have been a soldier striding resolutely off into a war zone, the wearable mattress though put a damper on this image.
Leaving his now empty mug on the table, Cody skipped after her, shrugging as he passed Wenton, “Maybe next time, Romeo?”
“Romeo,” Wenton gagged.