The incident at Honeyduke’s seemed to set off a chain of erratic behavior in Sawyer.
He rendered the upstairs sink into a fountain of loose water pipes. When Sky demanded to know why, he claimed it was an important scientific experiment, and her primitive brain wouldn’t understand anyway. Xia had to spend an entire afternoon putting the thing back together.
She called the cops. They found him throwing raw eggs at the front door. He didn’t even try hide his behavior, but he put up a fight when they tried to escort him off the premises.
“What were you thinking?” he demanded. “Do you know what you’re doing to our family’s reputation?”
Sawyer was practically vibrating with agitation. “You’re too stupid to understand!” he shouted back. “They’re all too stupid to understand my intellect! You pathetic mouse-brained ape!”
Dylan stopped suddenly. “Is this about Amy Winter?” he asked quietly. “Because she doesn’t want to be your mom?”
“She’s stupid anyway,” Sawyer said. “Talking to her would be boring.” But his tone of voice betrayed the lie.
Sawyer was a mystery to Dylan, but for a moment he saw an emotion he understood. “Look,” he said to his troubled little brother. “I get that you’re mad at her. I’m mad at her too. But we have to find a better way.”
When Xia and Sky returned home, they read the police report and had a long talk with Sawyer. Then Xia went to the computer and filled out an application. It turned out that she had already done the research, but she and Sky had still been uncertain it was necessary.
Sawyer started an experimental education program at the Sufficiently Advanced Technology Center the following Monday.
Time would tell if it was the right thing for Sawyer. It was supposed to give him extra power to direct his studies while providing extra focus on skills to survive in a social world.
In the short term, with Sawyer’s attention focused on something constructive, things calmed down abruptly in the Sample house.
Sky’s cooking had actually gotten pretty good.
When he wasn’t on photography assignments, Dylan spent a lot of time with Riddle.
Soon the old dog had learned a lot of new tricks. Dylan was considering entering him in a few shows.
Dylan was also doing more independent photography.
The local consignment specialist was eagerly finding homes for his more artistic shots. In fact, he was hoping Dylan would provide him more stock.
With the proceeds of his first large art photography sale, Dylan escorted Andria out on the promised night on the town.
Dinner was at the newly opened Camelot Cafe.
Andria was delighted.
“All right,” she said. “You pass this test. Keep treating me like a queen, and I’ll keep waiting for you.”
“Are you really still angry with me?” Dylan asked. “I’m not trying to make you feel bad. It’s just a matter of, well, honor I guess. And propriety.”
“But it makes me suffer to have to wait for you while you still consider me a child. You have to understand that it’s in my nature to make you suffer too.”
“Come on, dear. I’m going to beat you at Gnubb.”
After a rousing game that Dylan actually won, Andria thanked him for the lovely date.
Then, before he could step back, she took him in her arms and kissed him soundly.
Dylan should have jumped back. No matter who initiated the kiss, he was the adult who shouldn’t be taking advantage. Instead, he found himself kissing her more deeply.
Andria released him, laughing. “See?” she said. “A little suffering builds character.”
Dylan’s head was addled and his heart was racing. He said a quick goodbye and headed home.
Dylan thought of Andria. He wasn’t sure what would happen when he saw her next, and the idea made him nervous. Every day he was on travel, the closer Andria’s birthday would get.
I am having SO MUCH FUN with Dylan’s LTW. But the complete lack of photography animations really gets to be a bummer.