Molly Nichols has led a pretty much stable life—decent job at the local police department, a home she inherited from her uncle and one of her oldest friends Carrie, as her roommate. At least until recently – Carrie has time traveled back in time to be with the man she loves and her job is less than satisfying due to her boss who she refers to as the Red Queen. In her search for answers she ventures into Carrie’s favorite shop, the Treasures Antique Store and its proprietor, Mr. Arthur Merle. There she meets Mr. Merle’s nephew, a hunky, absolutely gorgeous blond named Gareth. But there is something a tad bit off about the handsome man and it’s not just his way of speaking. When he starts to talk about where he is from and that he has woken because it is our time of greatest need, Molly is pretty sure there’s something not quite right about him starting with what modern woman needs a knight in shining armor to rescue her?
Head spinning, Molly Nichols sat down on her roommate, Carrie Taylor’s bed unable to breathe let alone move. Something that just couldn’t happen, happened.
It just wasn’t possible. No how. No way
“This has to be a joke, a really bad joke.” She muttered, a photograph, an old photograph showing her roommate with a tall, handsome Indian, gripped tightly in her hand.
She looked around the room and weakly called, “You can come out now. The both of you. Really. Actually make that all three of you. Come on Taister, no playing silly cat games this morning.”
Shaking ever so slightly Molly scooched off the bed and slid on to the floor. Not that she was worried about Carrie finding her in her room. After all, the twosome had been friends since they were kids. Growing up with her dark-haired friend had been an adventure with Carrie always finding something new and different for them to get in to. Then one day, not so long ago, Carrie brought home a photograph.
A very old photograph.
The very photograph Molly now held.
And damn if Carrie and her cat Taister weren’t sitting in that very photograph this very minute looking like they’d both caught the canary.
Molly flipped it over and studied the paper. “Nope, this isn’t the photo-shopped version of you and Black Eagle. Nope, nope, not at all. This is the real deal. Carrie, you really did it this time. Or not.”
Lifting her hips off the floor Molly turned and peered under the white-eyelet comforter that covered Carrie’s bed and spied nothing but a few of Taister’s silky black cat hairs.
She sniffed. Nothing except the sulfur-like smell that greeted her when she first walked into Carrie’s room minutes ago permeated the air. She brought the photograph up to eye level and shook her head, “At least you could have left a note.”
She snickered to herself, “A note? That said what? Hi! I’m back in time with the man I love?”
She shook her head and then snapped her fingers. “Mr. Merle! I’ll talk to Mr. Merle and he’ll know what happened. Right? I mean, he’s the one who gave you this darn photograph in the first place. He’ll know where you’ve gone and if you’re coming back.”
She stood and walked over the Carrie’s closet. Peering inside it was as neat and orderly as ever. It didn’t appear that even a scarf was missing. Clearly Carrie hadn’t packed before taking off to where ever she went.
“Not that anyone has time to pack before time traveling,” Molly laughed, just short of hysterical. “Right. Like I have so much experience with time travel. Let’s see what or who I know whose done it? There’s Black Eagle coming here. And then there’s Black Eagle going back to his home and yup, that’s a lot of experience you have there, Molly. You’re a virtual expert.”
Molly turned to study her reflection in Carrie’s mirror. “I suppose that’s true though. I mean, how many people time travel or know people who do? Me and maybe Mr. Merle, if he’d admit to it. It’s not the kind of thing you can bring up in every day conversation, ‘say, Janice, did you happen to travel to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation? Liz the first I mean. What did you think?’ Nope can’t exactly do that. If people didn’t think you were crazy before they’d know it after a crack like that.”
She padded back to Carrie’s bed as if she carried the weight of the world in her hands rather than the yellowed photograph and sat. There they were, Carrie, Black Eagle and Taister, in the photograph... together, in time, forever. Carrie had made it back to her man.
“So now what do I do? Do I try to bring you home? Or let you live the rest of your life in the past sans latte’s, microwaves and Jacuzzi’s? Should I be happy for you or sad that I’ll never see you again?”
With a sigh she rose and wearily plodded out of the room. Arthur Merle better have the answers she sought. There was the one definite option on the horizon. “At least I’m working swings these days ...”
If nothing else, Molly Nichols was practical. She saw life in black and white with each event in its own box. If something didn’t fit in a box, you shelved it till it did. This deserved a shelf of its own. Shelf? Hell, an entire closet. A massive walk in one at that.
In a daze she hit the shower and waited for her head to clear. “Oh shit! Work! Holy crap. There’s no way Carrie called her office to say she’d be traveling back in time today.” Molly scrambled out of the shower and dripping wet, headed for the phone and quickly dialed Carrie’s office.
Fingers drumming on the table she contemplated the various stories she could and should tell her roommate’s boss. After all, in the event Carrie came back to the present she’d probably want her job back. Then again, she might not. Telling the truth was out of the question. They’d not only not believe the story about Carrie and Black Eagle and the photograph, but they’d think Molly was certifiable.
All too soon one of Carrie’s co-workers answered. After sputtering for a few seconds Molly managed to clear her throat and explain that she worked nights and with all the hubbub from the night before she forgot to set an alarm to call the office to let them know about Carrie. When asked what happened, the words that Carrie had a family emergency and had to leave town late the night before and they weren’t sure when she’d be back, just flowed.