Invitation 2

The limo ride started off fairly empty, quiet, and awkward, just Casper, Simon, Elizabeth, and the driver, but soon enough, they pulled up to house in the suburbs where two more joined the party. A small teen boy with curly hair and his mother, a woman with long red hair and glasses.

Introductions were made. “Zoe, Quinn,” Simon was smiling sweetly. “I'd like you to meet my girlfriend, Elizabeth.”

The woman, Zoe, was both delighted to meet Elizabeth, and a little confused. She was sure she would've heard about her sooner. “It's very nice to meet you, Elizabeth,” she hummed politely.

The boy Quinn, on the other hand, just kind of stared with his big pretty brown eyes, a very neutral expression on his face. He flipped open the small notebook he carried, and showed Elizabeth the first page. The word ‘hello’ was written on it.

“Elizabeth, this is my colleague, Zoe, and her son, Quinn.”

Taking Zoe’s hand, Caroline watched their reactions, hoping that Casper wasn’t joking about the camouflage.
“Nice to meet you.”
Looking over to Quinn, she was curious why he remained silent, but didn’t voice the question. Instead she extended her hand and smiled.
“Hello, nice to meet you too.”

The small boy shrank back a bit, looking a bit concerned by the outstretched hand, but with a glance at his mother he took her hand, giving her a small static shock as he shook it. Then he pulled his hand back, flipping through the notebook for another page. This time it read, 'Nice to meet you. :)'

She continued to smile at the boys odd habit, leaning back in the seat.
“So, Simon has told me you work in...what was it...genetics? I am sorry, I can be a bit of an airhead sometimes.”
Forcing a rather convincing laugh, she looked to Zoe and placed a hand on Simons.

Zoe gave Elizabeth a polite smile. "I do indeed work in genetics. I believe my best work has to be-" She paused and motioned to Quinn, her smile softening.

Quinn, in response to being mentioned, gave a tiny awkward wave.

"My pride and joy," Zoe continued. "One of the reasons I get up in the morning."

Quinn shrank back a little in embarrassment. Zoe was always embarrassing when she got all motherly and gushy.

Looking between the two, Caroline tried not to jump to conclusions.
“So then I am guessing you and his father are separated?”

Zoe made a small glance at Casper before putting an arm around Quinn, suppressing the urge to recoil from the shock of touching him. "Yes, we are. He left when Quinn was very young, he doesn't remember much of him."

Quinn gave a small nod in agreement.

Feeling bad for the boy, she shook her head in sympathy.
“Always such a shame when families separate, especially when there is a child involved.”
She couldn’t help but see similarities between Quinn and Dillon, a fact that gave her a pang of guilt. She wasn’t thrilled to see the kid again, but was glad she would be disguised.
“I’m surprised you were able to take time off, Simon is always so busy. Must be nice to know your employer so well in that case.”

Zoe smiled again. "Ah, yes. It is very fortunate."

Quinn held up another page of the notebook. He'd been scribbling the words down during Zoe and Caroline's conversation. 'Christmas is my favorite holiday.'

Quinn’s shy nature was growing on her, reminding her of how she once was.
“It is a nice holiday, though I have to admit, I’m more of a Halloween gal.”
Having a thought, she looked to Zoe while making gestures with her hands.
“Does he sign?”

"He does," Zoe replied. "With me, at least. He prefers writing with others because more people can read than understand sign language."

'There aren't classes for it at school so barely anyone understands it' Quinn wrote.

While everybody got to know Simon's new girlfriend better, they came to the last stop before their destination; Dillon and Theo's apartment complex.

Apparently the limousine was seen from a window, because Dillon's door opened and three young men and a beautiful young woman, all smiling and horsing around, came out with their bags. The driver helped them get their luggage positioned among the rest and they all piled into the remaining seats, Dillon seating himself next to Quinn.

"Quinn! Missed you buddy!" He gave his smaller cousin a hug.

Quinn's face had lit up (even more than normal) and he was very eager to give the taller boy a hug. The static shock was still present, even a little stronger because of his excitement.

Zoe smiled at the four climbing into the limousine, giving them all a little hello once they'd found their seats.

Theo got in the car after Dillon, letting Elias deal with her bags. He had offered, after all. Her hair was much longer than how Caroline-- Elizabeth?-- was probably used to seeing, and she had more than just eyeliner on. Regardless, it was obvious that the lady sitting across from Elizabeth was still Theo. She smiled as the last two men got into the limo and sat next to her.
Just like Theo, they had changed quite a bit as well. Elias had newer scars, and Cain looked a lot more confident than before. Though, only Cain was obviously a creature, since he didn't feel like hiding his golden eyes and sharp teeth.
"Hello, Mr. Davis, Dr. Merchante." The dragon smiled, and though his teeth got in the way of his words a bit, he didn't stutter or mumble like he did only a few months ago. In fact, he sounded quite happy and excited for the trip.
Elias turned to look at Cain for a few moments. "Why... teeth?"
"Because, I'm lazy."
Elias rolled his eyes and smiled. The three waited patiently for Dillon to introduce them, both out of politeness and nervousness.

Dillon was smiling, just happy and excited with the situation in general. “Alright… I'm the middle man, so I guess I'll do the introductions.” He gestured over at his three friends. “This is my friend Cain, my boyfriend Elias, and my girlfriend Theo.” He turned back to the rest of the car. “Guys, this my aunt Zoe, the one who makes the BEST apple pie, my cousin Quinn I've told you about, my doctor, Simon, and my dad, Casper.” There was only one new face. “You must be Elizabeth!” he held out a hand.

After the handshake, there was a squeak from inside Dillon's shirt. “Almost forgot…” he'd grown so used to the familiar's presence that he'd often forget she was there. She was like a part of him. The magpie crawled her way out of his shirt to perch on his shoulder. She took in all of the new faces, jabbering a hello. “Here's Lisa. Lisa?” She turned her attention back to him. “Give a kiss!” Lisa gave him a peck on the cheek with her signature kiss squeak. “Give Quinn a kiss?” He pointed out Quinn sitting next to him. She had a weakness for curly hair. He sent her a bit of a warning through the bond they'd developed and she gave Quinn a quick kiss, resulting in only a minimal static pop she didn't seem to mind.

Caroline smiled at the antics unfolding around her, letting herself get wrapped up in the moment. It wasn’t until she locked eyes with Dillon that she snapped back to reality.
“So nice to finally meet you! Simon has told me so much about you.”
Shaking hands with those that allowed, she scooted closer to Simon. She didn’t feel any safer near him, but being so close to those she had hunted made her feel claustrophobic.
Introductions also allowed her to see Theo for the first time since… He, They?, She looked great. Definitely better than when she had saved their butts from the safe house.

After shaking Caroline's hand, Cain and Elias were too busy fawning over Lisa's little bird kisses to talk to anyone, really.

Elias grinned. “Lisa is the sweetest bird in the world, oh my goodness.” He laughed a bit before looking at Quinn. “Also, hello Quinn! It's nice to meet you. I've heard a lot about you from Dillon. You like video games, yeah? Do you have a favorite?” He had been really excited when he heard Quinn was coming on the trip with them. Knowing Dillon cared so much about Quinn wanted to make Elias meet him.

Quinn smiled widely made a soft and unexpectedly audible giggle at the kiss from Lisa. When the little bird turned her attention somewhere else, he turned to Elias, giving an excited wave before madly writing a bunch of words on a blank page. Then he lifted it to show Elias.

'Hello! I do love video games! My favorite is Resident Evil!'

It seemed like such a polar opposite to the small adorable boy.

“Really?” Elias grinned again. “I was going to play it, but my…. Friend…? Decided it would be funny to more or less break my laptop, and then steal my other gaming consoles, so… I haven't played Resident Evil. I've heard of it, though, and it sounds really interesting!”

Quinn looked a little sad and worried by hearing this. He flipped through the pages of his notebook, looking for a certain phrase of response. Then he just wrote it.

'That doesn't sound fun. I'm sorry that happened. Maybe you could come to my house sometime and play it?'

“Oh, no, it's alright, the laptop was an accident, and I got back at them for the other thing.” Elias laughed. “It sounds bad, but I'm not upset about it. Reese will probably get bored and just give them back to me at some point.” He shrugged. “But I'd love to! That sounds like fun. Do you have any other games you like?”

As Elias and Quinn went on about video games, Theo giggled and looked back at Caroline.
“It's nice to meet you, Miss Elizabeth. Are you excited for the trip?” She smiled warmly, eyes kind and full of excitement. She loved meeting new people.

Being so close to Theo made Caroline feel uneasy. She tried her best to look excited too.
“I have heard so much about everyone, though not so much about you and..Elias was it?”
Trying to get herself out of the conversation, she grabbed Simons hand.
“Dear, have you met Theo?”

Theo opened her mouth to respond, but when Caroline turned to Simon, she took a moment to just look at her. She could tell something was off, and instead of pushing it or apologizing for making Caroline feel uncomfortable, Theo tried for another smile and directed it at Simon. I haven't met him, but I've heard about him. Hello, Dr. Merchante. It's nice to meet you.” She was just a bit quieter this time, and while she noticed it, she doubted anyone else could.

“Theo! Likewise. You can just call me Simon if you'd like.” Simon did a fair job keeping things light. “We're all so delighted you could all come along. You'll love the lodge. Have any of you been to Alaska before?”

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