Jade and Grizz pulled into the parking lot of their establishment, utterly amazed that someone had taken the time to keep up with it. After completely falling off the face of the earth and with no way to get in touch with their old friends who helped run the place, it was more than they had hoped for.
Jade looked down at the silver wedding band encircling her left ring finger and twirled it nervously. "I don't know about this Grizz." She whispered. "What if no one remembers us or car--" she was cut off by a single gentle finger from Grizz. "Shush. It will be fine. Let's have a look around."
They climbed out of the car - Jade with more than a little trepidation - and headed toward the porch.
"Uh, Jade? Aren't you forgetting something?" Grizz asked, with that familiar grin on his face.
"Oh!" Jade skipped back to the car and opened the back door, scooping up a bundle into her arms. "My Precious."
Grizz, in looking around rather sadly at the place from which he and Jade had been so long absent, noted with some surprise that the place was in surprisingly good shape. There didn't even appear to be any dust anywhere. Almost as if someone had been clean....
A small sound interrupted his thoughts. He looked toward the sound, way up in the corner of the ceiling in the shadows above a little shelf attached to the wall there. There seemed to be a minor sort of dust hurricane going on up there, and... Yes! listening carefully he thought he heard a tiny voice uttering imprecations and worse. He touched Jade on the shoulder, with a finger on his lips, and pointed at the source of the disturbance.
"WELL...well..well...well...well....LOOK who finally decided to show up!" The minor dust hurricane, it appeared, had a voice and it belonged to one very pissed off little fairy.
"Hello, Tianna." Jade called brightly. "You certainly have done a marvelous job around here. Is EA in the kitchen? I'm starving!" Jade tried to breeze through into the kitchen, but she made it exactly one step before she was rooted to the spot by a tiny wave of Tianna's hand.
"No, as a matter of fact, EA is NOT in the kitchen." Tianna buzzed by Grizz, who offered a sheepish grin and received a smack on the nose for his efforts. "No one is in the kitchen. No one is in the Inn. No one is tending the garden. There are no guests. There haven't been any guests." She flew to the pedestal where the linking book lay open and pointed to the dark swirl in the middle of the page.
Jade sighed and with a deep, heart-felt regret she said, "I am so very sorry, Tianna. When you get sucked in by the Real Life Bar and Grille, the claws go deep and time seems to stand still. I had no idea so much time had passed. I am truly sor-REY!" The last bit of her apology was more of a squeal as the bundle that had been quiet and still in her arms up until now, made itself known quite violently by leaping from Jade's arms and onto the bar, sniffing the air excitedly.
"What in the heek is that?!" Tianna cried, shrinking back onto her little shelf.
"This is Precious. Isn't he adorable?" Jade reached out her hand to the little white ferret, scratching under his chin. "Who's my little precious..hmm?"
"Precious, my wing tips." Tianna muttered.
Grizz put his arm around Jade, and he was promptly nipped on his forearm. He yelped and pulled away. "Yeah, Precious my a -- hhh." Grizz moved back a couple of steps when the small creature looked to be about to lunge. "Jade's always had an affinity for ferrets. I'm not quite sure I understand it, but I'm trying to deal with it."
Grizz, absent mindedly rubbing his arm where Precious had nipped at him, raised one brow and watched the furry rascal scamper afterr Tianna. Then he turned slowly, cuaght Jades's eye, and looked a question at her.