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Thorson Episode 7 — Thunderclouds and Snails
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Thunderclouds. Most people know what they look like. So imagine how well the son of Thor can recognize them.

So, yes, thunderclouds. That was definitely what I saw in both Lucy and Luca’s faces the moment I stepped out of the house and started down the steps of the front stoop. They were standing at the bottom, glaring at each other. There was color high on Lucy’s cheeks, and Luca’s forehead was a washboard of furrows. Both had their hands balled into fists. It would have been foolhardy to step between them.

Want to guess what I did?

“Uh, hi guys. What’s up?” I said brightly, as I stepped off the bottom step winding up half-jammed between them.

Their gazes both turned to me. Ever heard the phrase “killing gnats with an elephant gun?” It felt something like that, if I were the gnat.

“Thorson.” Luca’s voice warmed before his eyes, but then they too, cleared. Brown and open and friendly.

Lucy’s flashing eyes sent a final bolt at Luca before she spoke. “Hi, Sean.” her hand lifted and then settled on one forearm.

“What’s with the camping gear, dude?” Luca asked, an eyebrow lifting in the direction of the well-worn and obviously full Scout backpack slung over one shoulder.

“Are you going hiking, Sean?” Lucy asked, her hand lifting from my forearm, to touch the walking stick on that side.

Well, damn. How to explain this? I didn’t know how long this was going to take, nor where, exactly, I was going. I’ve never been able to lie to Luca, and I didn’t want to start lying to Lucy now that we were getting closer.

“Uhm, sorta. I was just talking to my grandfather, and I need to run an errand for him. He, he lost something and wants me to go get it for him. He’s waiting for some people to show up at his home, so he can’t go himself.”

“Where’d he lose it? Alaska?” asked Luca, a smile dancing on his lips.

“He’s not entirely sure,” I said. “Just the general area it might be in. That’s why the backpack, it might take me a little while to find it.”

“Why don’t I come with you, then?” he asked. “Two heads are better than one, right?”

“Who are you, Zaphod Beeblebrox?” I countered.

He lifted both hands and waggled them. “Only two arms, Thorson.”

“Right, sorry.” Well, crap, he’d offered to help and I’d pretty much insulted him.

“If two heads are good, think how much better three will be,” said Lucy, her hand on my wrist, a slight pressure there turning me towards her.

“…” My lips moved, but nothing came out. I cleared my throat.

“You guys don’t need to come with me. It’s going to be pretty boring, and everything, you know?”

“Hey, Gardener!” echoed up from the end of the sidewalk before anyone had a chance to say anything else. I glanced at the street. A fire engine red Tesla Model S sat at the curb. Posed against it, her arms crossed, was a lean woman of indeterminate age.

She was wearing a sleeveless black leather vest, black denim skinny jeans, and black Doc Martins. A hammer with entwining lightning bolts rode high on the alabaster skin of her left shoulder. A red pork pie hat was tilted nonchalantly back on her long dark hair. Her sunglasses perched on the tip of her nose as her dark brown eyes glinted over them.

“Oh. Hi, Rose.” Röskva. She and her brother worked for my dad, doing whatever he needed done. Most of the time that meant delivering messages across the Nine Realms. The Tesla was one of Dad’s jokes. He was greatly amused by the idea of the God of Thunder (and lightning) owning an electric car. Dad jokes, right? Someone should make them illegal. They’re already unbearable.

“Rose?” There was something funny about Lucy’s tone, but I couldn’t quite pin it down. “You know her?”

“Yeah. She’s a friend of the family.” I answered.

Rose had eased herself fully upright. “Your grandfather thought you might want a ride.” She indicated the Tesla with a tilt of her head.

“Oh, yeah, I’d like a ride!” enthused Luca, before I could say anything.

“Oh, yes,” said Lucy. “If Sean’s going, I’m going.” There was still that funny undertone to it.

“Sure thing,” said Rose. “Gardener, you’re in front, so you can help navigate. Your friends can sit in back.”

Oh, great. I’ve heard of worse ideas than Luca and Lucy sitting in the back seat of the car, but the only one that came to mind right then was designing a Death Star with an easy bomb access for the Rebels. No, I thought of something even worse. Leaving them alone together on the sidewalk in front of the house.

I gritted my teeth. “All right.” I finished pushing between them, and walked down the sidewalk. I slipped into the front seat, pulling the backpack onto my lap. And then realized I’d left Lucy standing on the sidewalk with Luca. Crap. This being a boyfriend thing was all new to me. I started to climb out of the car.

“No worries, dude, I got it.” said Luca, and he opened the back door of the car, and issued Lucy into the back seat with a sweeping bow. Lucy glared at him again, and then climbed in. Luca circled behind the car and slipped in on the driver’s side, behind Rose, who was now behind the wheel.

A moment passed, and I glanced at Rose. She smiled and lifted one eyebrow at me.

“Really?!” I asked. She nodded, and her smile grew a little broader.

I sighed. I really wish my dad had a more mature sense of humor. Or that Rose didn’t share it. “Fine. Snail.” I said.

“Snail?” Luca inquired from the rear seat.

“Snail.” said Rose. “You know, like, S car go.” Her grin turned evil. Her foot went down. The Tesla left rubber patches on the street.
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