We arrived at the estate in Champs Les Sims to lovely strains of a bass emanating from inside.
"So beautiful. Is that my mom?"
"It is, sweetheart. She's a wonderful musician, isn't she? Let's see if she'll answer the door."
Heather answered the door still dressed in the old outfit she had found, looking even more threadbare than before, if that was possible.
"Hello BrookandBrann.Who is that?" She pointed suspiciously at Cindy.
"Hi Heather. This is Hyacinth, your daughter. Remember I called and told you we would be bringing her?"
"Interesting. You remind me of Hyacinth." Heather was obviously off in another world. I exchanged glances with Brann. This wasn't going well.
"Um, I am Hyacinth?"
Cindy was confused, but Heather was oblivious, and continued speaking to the air next to her.
Heather suddenly turned her gaze to me.
"Brook! Hyacinth wants to know about your machine. It's important. The anomaly must be repaired."
Cindy was more confused than ever. "Wait. wait. What machine?"
Heather rolled her eyes impatiently and snapped at me, "The time machine, of course. You've been using it."
Now it was Brann's turn to chime in on the chaos.
"What!? Have you really been traveling in that thing?"
"Um, well, yes. Just once. I didn't say anything because I didn't want you to worry. Bennie watched to make sure it went well."
"I can't believe you would take such a risk! You could have been stuck somewhere - or somewhen - forever."
At that moment, Mathilde made a fortuitous entrance onto the chaotic scene.
"Bon Jour everyone! Is everything alright?"
I pounced on the opportunity to ask her to take Cindy down to the hot tub while Brann and I finished up our conversation with Heather.
After seeing them to the door, I turned back to find Brann in a heated argument with Heather.
"You must be nuts if you think I am going to ever climb into that crazy machine."
"Hyacinth says it is necessary to repair the anomaly, " Heather repeated slowly, as if talking to a child.
I had long ago decided that Heather is not nearly as crazy as everyone thinks she is. I believe she knows things, sees things, that no one else can. 'The Gift', my ancestor Gustave had called it in his book. If she thinks there is a temporal anomaly that needs to be repaired, most likely there is.
I managed to calm Brann down, and get a semi-coherent story from Heather. Her friend Hyacinth, who I assume is an ancient ghost, wants Brann and me to use the machine to travel back in time to see her. I'm not quite sure how to set the dial correctly for something so specific, but Heather says Hyacinth has that worked out. Now all I have to do is convince Brann. Yeah right.
I glanced over at Brann and could see that he was in no mood for discussing it any further today. I suggested a day at the art museum, to calm everyone down. It was first on Cindy's list of places to see, as she has been considering an art career.
We were pleased to find the museum almost empty. We wandered slowly through the top floor at our own pace. Cindy was especially fascinated by the Chinese exhibit.
"Look, Daddy! That looks just like yours!" She pointed to the obscure animal figure on the end.
I examined it closer.
"You're right. I still remember the day I pulled it up from the pond at the estate here. I never realized it might be valuable. Maybe I should have it appraised."
Alas, our quiet tour was not to last. Word had spread quickly that there was a famous actor at the museum, and soon the photographers showed up.
"I got the photo! I can't believe it. Brannon Greenbow here in our museum. Did you get one, Mademoiselle?"
"No, I can get one any time I want. He's my father," I heard Cindy reply dryly.
"Many pardons, I did not mean to offend. Let me introduce myself. I am Maurice Durand."
I pretended to examine one of the exhibits while I kept my eye on Cindy and her new friend.
"Geez, can't I go anywhere without being followed by photographers? Let's get out of here."
"These pancakes are delicious. Thank you so much! Aunt Mathilde is taking me to the Nectary today. Would you like to come?"
Cindy was trying again to connect with her mom, but again was not making much headway.
"Thanks for taking me to the Nectary, Aunt Mathilde. My dads didn't want to go because of all the publicity involved. So uh, do you know a boy named Maurice?""I do. He is a nice boy. He comes from a good family. Why?"
"I met him at the museum yesterday. I think he's kind of cute."
"Ah, I see. Would you like me to set up a date for you?"
"Ohhhh! Would you? That would be amazing!"
Cindy seems to be picking up the French way of greeting quickly.
"What would you like to do today, Mademoiselle Cindy?"
"Could we see the ruins?"
"They are so adorable together, aren't they? Don't worry, they'll be fine. Maurice is a good boy." Mathilde had assured me Maurice would be a complete gentleman,but it was still hard for me to see Cindy going on her first date. I insisted she leave me an itinerary so I'd know where she was all day.
First up: exploring the Celtic Ruins.
"Don't worry, daddy, Maurice has a map, we won't get lost."
I've been down in those ruins, so I wasn't worried about the 'getting lost' part. More like the 'two kids alone in the dark' part. Hopefully Maurice is the gentleman Mathilde assured me he is.
Next up: Off to the cafe for dinner. I'm jealous. I love that cafe, but I won't show up to spoil her evening.
Cindy was walking on air when she arrived home that evening.
"Oh, daddy. He is so wonderful. I think I am in love.."
Leave it to Mathilde to find a way to bring Heather and Cindy together.
"You are both such amazing musicians. I would love to hear you play together."
"Goodbye mom, can I come back and play your piano sometime?"
"Of course. Take good care of BrookandBrann for me, will you?"