Through the Looking Glass, Part Fourteen

In the madhouse that is dinner at the Scarlotti’s seating is ‘first come, first served’. Jack was working out his ‘getting Sofia near Lisa’ strategy in his head as they entered the dinning room. He grinned as he saw Crystal and grinned even wider when he realized she was sitting on the corner of the chair next to Lisa. Crystal nodded to him almost imperceptibly as she continued to chat with Lisa. Crystal was getting the hang of this.

Jack took Sofia around to them, "Hey, Sis. This is Ms Rishova. She’s visiting tonight."

Crystal silently got up and let Sofia have the chair.

"Oh? That’s nice." Lisa looked expectantly at her brother as Sofia seated herself.

"One of her boys is in med school, too." Jack explained. The trip across the hall had been put to good use.

"Oh!" Lisa brightened at the prospect. "Where?"

"Manners, girl!" Jack chided gently as he pushed the chair in for Sofia, "Mrs Rishova, this is my little sister Lisa, who is gonna be a doctor one day."

"Da? That’s good. I am Sofia. My son Illya is studying in Moscow. Where do you…" Sofia took over the conversation.

Crystal had reseated herself by Tim. Jack went to her and was surprised as Tim vacated his seat for Jack. Crystal had evidently enlisted help – this story he’s have to hear, but later. With a wry grin for Crystal, Jack took his place and went to work snagging food as it passed for them both.

Dinner passed pleasantly. Company was the norm at the Scarlotti table so no one thought twice about Jack inviting someone and no one bothered to ask how they’d met. Jack noticed that his mother had joined the conversation between Sofia and Lisa. He couldn’t have planned it better – Sofia would have all the time she needed with Lisa now.

Jack turned his attention to Crystal, who was more than happy to turn her attention to him. Crystal noticed a few glances from Jack toward his sister but that was to be expected. For her own part, Crystal would have loved to spend the evening talking shop with Sofia. Crystal had never before met a slayer from a different Period. Since that was not and option, she made sure to exchange numbers with Sofia after dinner.

Sofia stayed a polite time after dinner before taking her leave. Jack saw her to the outer door and watched her walk down the sidewalk then returned to escort Crystal home.

Crystal was no sooner in her front door than she was running out the back. She was beginning to really regret not living on the same side of the street.

Jack locked his apartment door behind him. That would stop all but the most determined of his family members from barging in. He went straight for the fire escape and climbed quickly to the roof.

Sofia sat on an old, blocked off chimney, "Is good thing I got new knee last year. I’m too old for this climbing on buildings."

Jack grinned, "Sorry about that. We couldn’t think of a good way to get you to Crystal’s without causing any suspicion."

Sofia laughed merrily, "Is all right. Good exercise. Need it now – you momma, she a good cook!"

Jack smiled, "Thanks, I’ll tell her you said so." He replied, taking a seat on the ledge.

"What’d I miss?" Crystal asked breathlessly as she climbed over the far side ledge.

"Not a thing, Mistress Crystal. We just get started now." Sofia grew serious as Crystal joined them, "You sister she a good kid. But I no find any trace of fairy on her. I no sense one around here. No fairy, no imp, no brownie – no ting of the Day at all. I may be old, but I still sharp. I no think you sister be under fairy sway. Boy sway, that another matter. She pretty crazy ’bout this boy. All she talk about be medicine and that boy. One thing is funny, she no say his name until I ask."

Jack pushed back his hair, "Darn, I was hoping… You know, now that you mention it, she didn’t tell me his name at all. That is weird."

Crystal shrugged, "His name is James Thompkins. He’s originally from Brooklyn, has an apartment in Queens, likes jazz, contemporary and heavy metal. He’s attending Julliard on a scholarship, not full ride. He plays six instruments, dances tap and swing and is taking voice this semester. He’s 6’2", brown hair, muscular and very tan. He says he tans twice a week – Lisa is trying to talk him out of that because of the skin cancer risk."

Jack gaped at her. Sofia laughed.

"What?" Crystal shrugged again, "Girls talk."

"Da, that we do." Sofia affirmed. "But whatever dis guy is, he is not a Fay or any other Day beastie. I know that not a lot of help, Kid."

Jack waved her off, "No, every bit of information helps."

"Well, I be in town another week. You sister and I gonna get together for lunch Wednesday. I see can I get her to introduce me to him then. I no can sense a Dawn beastie’s tracks but I can tell if I get close enough. But Kid, I no thing it gonna be that, either. Most Dawn beasties are pretty weak – this no sound like one."

Jack nodded, "Thank you. I appreciate the help – a lot."

Sofia got up, "Is no problem, Kid. Ethan help me out a bunch of times. I happy to help. You got my number, so call me if you need me. I gonna go get some sleep. Got a fairy mound to deal with tomorrow…"

Jack stood politely, "Would you like me to see you to your hotel?"

Sofia shook her head as she stepped up on the ledge, "No, thanks, Kid. It only a few blocks – Ethan get me one close to you. You Night’s stay up later than we Day’s, you know." She winked then leapt the concrete chasm to the next building, "Good night, Kids!"

"Good night, Sofia!" Jack and Crystal called in unison.

"You know," Jack started as he turned to Crystal, "normal people don’t leave like that."

Crystal gave him a wry grin, "You get used to it. Wait until you see the Mistresses’ horses – they are really weird. Slayers are pretty ho-hum in comparison.

Jack chuckled, "If you say so. Except for the being a guy thing, I feel like Alice chasing the white rabbit. The weird part is that I’m not freaking out like I should be."

Crystal smiled, "That’s probably a good thing. So, what do you think? Maybe she’s just boy crazy?"

Jack shook his head emphatically, "No, no way. It’s too big a coincidence. Bad enough there are…"

"Are what?" Crystal asked.

"Er, nothing."

"Huh?"

"Something just dawned on me but I need to think about it. I’ll tell you tomorrow, okay?"

Crystal shrugged, "Sure. I better get back, then. I have some more studying to do."

Jack caught her arm as she turned, "You’re not mad, are you?"

A genuine smile crossed her lips, "No, of course not. But I still have to climb down and run around two blocks – next time, we meet on my roof!"

Jack laughed, "You got it…"

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