Chapter 196

After a few more jokes and jabs – some verbal some physical, Andie waved goodbye to her friends. She’d missed this sort of thing. She wouldn’t trade the feeling of the three of them having each other’s backs for the world, but ruffling each others feathers and pushing each others buttons was much more fun. Cedric and Dyllan seemed like they wanted to stay a little longer, but it was getting late – or perhaps early – and Andie needed to go home and wake up.
Andie reached her hand out in front of her, feeling the air thicken and push back against her. Then she waved her hand around a little, knocking aside patches of the mindscape like smoky clouds that opened up a path back into physical reality.
“Hey there, Sprout.” Finnegan’s voice rang out from behind Andie as soon as she stepped foot in the physical world. It seemed he’d been waiting for her on the roof of Cedric’s apartment building. “Another resounding success, I hope?”
“What? Oh, yeah.” Andie smiled gently. “Cedric seems… different, but still somehow the same? It’s weird, but I think it’s good. He’s for sure awakened properly, though.”
“…you seem uncharacteristically calm about this. Usually after something like this you’d be a lot more… dancey? I’m not really sure what to call it but you’re only really this quiet when…” Finn trailed off for a bit, a worried look growing on his face. “You’re still worried about Maddie, aren’t you?”
“Well now I am. Friggin’…” Andie groaned. “Sorry, I know you’re only trying to check in with me, but that kinda just… I’d finally stopped thinking about it, y’know?”
“Sprout… if mentioning it once was all it took to drop your mood like this, I don’t think you ever really did stop thinking about it. You just stopped hearing yourself thinking about it.”
“Okay, I’m…” Andie paused to think for a moment. “Yeah, I’m gonna need you to translate that one.”
“All it means is that we think a lot of thoughts we don’t know we’re thinking – and that it’s better when darker thoughts happen where we can see them… But if it makes you feel any better, Chip and Jamie have started helping me look for the poor girl.” Finnegan forced a smile. “The three of us keep meaning to retire, but it’s like my ma always used to say: Nobody is worse at minding their own business than old folks and McClydes!”


A note from the author:

The part that Finn tactfully neglects to mention, is that his mother usually said this after her husband’s third attempt to “help” with something.

The man really didn’t like “sitting around bein’ useless while everyone else ‘s workin’ hard” – and often either had to be placated with a simple task or distracted by chatting with someone more comfortable slacking off. The former strategy was the more reliable of the two tactics.

Thankfully, the stubborn old coot wasn’t exactly stupid – so his overly helpful nature was usually a boon people were grateful for. Even when it wasn’t, the sheer earnestness of his desire to be of use made it more of an “endearingly over-participatory golden retriever” type nuisance than an “insecure person who always needs to feel needed” type nuisance.

He has also been described as an “aggravatingly generous individual,” and “the sort of fellow you take one look at and immediately identify as a morning person.”

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