49 - Where They Enter a Forest

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         I hadn’t woken up to the smell of a McDonald’s breakfast for the longest time, and before my eyes even opened, my mouth was watering already.


         I heard someone laughing, and I cracked an eye open and found a McMuffin floating in front of my face. I wondered if I was dreaming, if, when I reached a hand out to grab it, it would vanish and leave me with a mouth full of saliva.

         My arm rose of its own volition, and to my delight, the breakfast sandwich didn’t disappear, though it did float further away.

         “Come get it,” a taunting voice sang.

         I debated on going back to sleep, or sitting up to chase the sandwich.

         I decided on the latter.

         “That’s it, come on, Jasslyn, come on…”

         I stumbled out of bed and stuffed my feet into hotel slippers, snagging my foot on the leg of the bed, but catching myself before I face-planted on the carpet.

         “Don’t hurt yourself,” a sarcastic voice drawled from my right.

         I rubbed my fists against my eyes and blinked a couple times. My eyes fell on Jacoby, his hand outstretched, the McMuffin perched on his palm like a trophy.

         “Yay, she did it!” he said with a grin, though he was unable to keep it in place, as usual.

         I scowled and snatched the delectable prize off his hand. “Not funny, guys.”

         Beatrice laughed from her bed, already dressed with her hair braided nicely, make-up on her face.

         “Now I know what to use to get you out of bed,” Jacoby said. He pointed at the space beside a bulky TV sitting on a dresser. “Your chocolate milk’s over there, and so is your hash brown. Enjoy.”

         “Are you guys ready to leave already?” I asked, baffled they would let me sleep for so long.

         “Yup,” they answered at the same time.

         I frowned and checked the time. “It’s nine. How long have you guys been awake?” I cried.

         “Since around seven. Now come on, Sleepyhead,” Bee said. Their bags sat on a chair, packed and waiting.

         “Oh, so it’s Sleepyhead now, not Princess?” Despite the wakeup call and the unpleasant surprise of finding that I was lagging behind again, I was glad yesterday’s quarrels had, if only momentarily, been set aside.

         She shook her head. “I can always combine the two if you want,” she offered.

         I sewed my lips shut and ate my breakfast. I’d usually skipped breakfast while on my own. Now, I wondered how I had done without it.

         “Jasslyn, if it’s okay with you, can we show Beatrice the letter?” Jacoby asked, watching me scarf down the food.

         I stopped chewing and looked at him. He was perched on the armrest of the couch, his legs tucked into his chest, arms hanging over his knees.

         “What? What letter?” Bee demanded.

         I held a hand up and handed it to Bee once I’d found it. If she ripped it so much as a single millimetre, I would take a pair of blunt scissors and cut off all her hair. I told her so, but she waved my threat away.

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