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   Chapter 21 Haven

Haven: Book Four of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 12172

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:10

Chapter 21

Elena left port soon after her rather unsettling conversation with Evan. His words about Mother Nelson's children were a little too close to her dreams for comfort. She wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Like many other issues, she pushed it to the back of her mind as she dealt with the daily events.

Jennifer was getting better at opening the channel and was getting less tired the more she practiced it. She still could not hold it open long and Elena felt that would come in time and reminded her not to get discouraged. They docked at the DF and Elena noticed that many of the damaged hulls were repaired. There were fewer ships at dock than there were in the past and she wondered if the Theran and Matrovean settled their dispute. She knew that the trade routes would only open again if the Theran won.

"Either that or the stranded ships found new routes, " Elena said to herself as the docking procedures began. She suspected that many families did what her House did, or something similar, sharing safe routes temporarily in order to keep safe and still functioning. She would have to ask.

Elena smiled as the docking clamps locked down. Having Devon over for coffee on her trips to the DF was proving more valuable than she originally anticipated. Not only was she able to reassure him about the girls placed with her House, but as he never left the DF he was proving to be a valuable fount of current events.

The four of them descended through the docking tube and into port. Elena let Jennifer secure the tube this time and tried not to look as though she were double checking the girl's work as she went. Jennifer was always conscientious about her work, but Elena couldn't help the proprietary feeling. Elena flagged a messenger to send word to Peter of Thompson's presence, still puzzling over his dinner time statements.

Once dispatched, Elena sent a second runner to Devon, letting him know she was back on the DF and that he was welcome to join them if he wished. She knew that he prepared some sort of schedule for visiting and spaced them so that it did not appear that he was spending too much time with her.

Elena was careful to word the message so that it only appeared that she was letting him know of her presence in case he noticed some issues with the underage apprentices placed with her house while she was gone and felt they needed to be addressed. The wording was rather high handed and she fought to keep from frowning at it. She, Benjamin, and Devon worked on the wording, creating something that would not raise eyebrows should it be intercepted, but she always felt ridiculous sending it.

The four of them proceeded to the House quarters and Thompson let out a low whistle as he stepped inside. "Did you expand your business while I was gone?" he asked. "Maybe buy a dress shop or two?"

Elena frowned and stepped inside to take in the scene. All around them hung various garment bags, some black and hiding the contents and others clear and displaying the enclosed ball gowns. Various shoes were also visible and the coffee table was covered with a pirate's trove of glittering jewels as the various members of the House decided what jewelry went best with which dress. Elena laughed.

"We just had a delivery, " Jasmine told her. "Jen, I think yours is on the rack over there. Where the shoes are at this point is anyone's guess, we are still trying to sort them."

"Mateo's engagement party, " Elena explained as Thompson continued to stare in amused fascination. Both Benjamin and Thompson seemed glued in place just inside the doorframe as though terr

, someone will start to look into things. It may take a while as the document listing the Nelson House is coded for Librarians only, but eventually someone will find them."

Thompson was quiet for a while. "Could you protect them?" he asked. "Like the apprentices?"

"I might be able to, " Elena said. "Evan gave me a copy of all the laws pertaining to this sort of thing and there are several options."

"Can I see the laws, and the list of people?" he asked. He looked up from the House symbol. "I promise not to turn the information over. After all, they are my family." Elena pulled the flash drive from her pocket. She copied all of the documents to her reader, but left them on the drive. She added all of the information she had on Mother Nelson. She had also included a list of the options as she saw them.

"On the next trip out, we will be picking up those on planet who need to be at the celebration. We should arrive at the DF three days before the celebration occurs. No-one is to know that you have this."

"No one?" he asked.

Elena smiled. "Except Benjamin, " she told him. "I already spoke to him about this."

"I wondered what the two of you were whispering about on the way in." He slipped the flash drive into his pocket. "Even if I don't go, I will need to get a suit for the occasion. That way it will at least look like I am planning to attend if we take any of the other options." He stood and Elena followed suit.

"So if I do attend will that mean that I am declaring the Nelson House part of your…family or something?"

"No, " Elena told him. "You would be attending as my escort. Oddly enough, it is the safest option."

"Oh, " Thompson said, surprised. He looked as though he was thinking about it for a moment, then he flashed her a wicked grin. "It would certainly twist Peter's tail, " he told her.

Elena frowned. "I just hope you can waltz. Some of the dances are mandatory, " she told him.

"Luckily for you along with learning to sail, ballroom dancing was also a required skill in the Thompson household. I may not be Fred Astaire, but I can keep from turning your feet black and blue." He left Elena and headed toward Benjamin's room. She could hear him knocking and the door being opened for him.

"Ballroom dancing and sailing, " she mused as the sounds of the rest of the House filtered in. "It almost sounds like they always planned to return."

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