And folks, the final part of Long Lost is here!
Thank you all so much for being along for the ride! Hope you enjoy the wrap up ❤
And if you’re new or behind, what a time to show up. It’s all here for you. -grand gestures-
Part 20: Back to the Past
The transport room was honestly a lot less impressive than I expected. It was a nice room, sure. There was a nice rack of silver scarves along one wall and pocketwatches sitting in small glass cases. But other than that, there was just a rug in the middle of the room, some bookshelves and paintings along the walls, and a few chairs.
I almost thought this would be just a sitting room, not where the magic happened for all the time travelling… everything. I guess they really weren’t big on playing up the futuristic aspect of what they were doing with a few chrome bases to stand on or anything.
Loughty nodded and gestured us forward and we all stepped into the middle of the room. I could feel the plush softness of the rug give underneath my feet as I stepped on and I bounced on my toes for a few seconds to enjoy the feel.
Honestly, it’s probably nicer to land on this when they come back than a metal platform, now that I think about it.
“You have all been here much too long already,” the director murmured as he took an ornate, coppery looking watch from one of the cases and snagged a few silver scarves. He turned back around and started towards us again, stepping onto the rug next to Demetrius and Jane.
He stopped as he looked up at Demetrius, who wasn’t crying anymore, but his eyes were still obviously red and his cheeks still wet. Demetrius nodded to him and smiled, one of his arms still around Jane and looking like he never planned on letting her go again.
It seemed like Loughty had just meant to glance, but then he just didn’t look away. His eyes got sadder. He swallowed, biting his lip for a second, then nodded back to Demetrius.
“I’m… sorry about everything, Demetrius. I hope you can forgive me someday.” His words were quiet and hoarse.
Demetrius blinked a couple of times, his smile staying in place. “What…?”
So he didn’t even remember the guy who did all this to him?
Chase grimaced a little and I braced myself for a continued crazy response.
But after a few seconds, the happy confusion slowly faded from Demetrius’s face, shifting into realization and then a more serious and sad expression. He looked at Jane, then back to the director. He was silent for a minute, then let out a breath. “At least you’re fixing it now, Tyler. I trust you to make the rule changes that need to be made.” Demetrius put a hand on the older man’s shoulder briefly, a hint of his smile coming back.
I was floored. He sounded almost… coherent. Now that he had Jane to ground him… since he’d been focusing so much on her all these years, I guessed getting her back sort of helped in more ways than one.
It was Loughty’s turn to look mildly confused. “Th-thank you.” He nodded again, his brow furrowing. “It’s… Thomas, not Tyler.”
Okay, so not completely, completely sane again, then. But he was better than before, at least. I held back a smile.
Demetrius didn’t seem to notice Loughty’s correction, but instead turned to Chase and me. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly as he looked between us. Another smile came across his face, so wide and so genuinely happy it made my heart feel like it grew a few sizes. He opened and closed his mouth a few times before a few words finally made it out.
“Thank you. Thank you both so, so very much.” His voice shook a little. “If I hadn’t happened across you on that lonely night… and if you hadn’t helped me…” He swallowed and shook his head, taking another breath. “Believe me, not many people would have done the same for an old madman like me.”
Chase pressed his lips together and smiled back. “It’s our pleasure.”
Demetrius let go of Jane, striding over and gathering us both into a crushing hug.
Chase made a surprised, strangled noise, but did his best to try and hug back. As unexpected and tightly squished as it was, I couldn’t help laughing a little.
I felt my own eyes stinging and swallowed as he pulled back, rubbing my sleeve on my nose. “We’ll…”
We’d what? It wasn’t like we were going to see each other again. In our time, he and Jane were long dead. We couldn’t be in touch, exactly. This was it.
I took a deep breath. “We won’t ever forget you.”
Chase chuckled. “No, I don’t think we will.”
“And we owe you our lives,” Jane put in, stepping over and beaming at us. “Thank you again, so much.”
Chase reached over to shake Demetrius’s hand and nodded. “Stay safe, man.”
“I will. I certainly will,” he smiled, clasping Chase’s hand tightly before letting it go. His brow furrowed slightly and he looked around the room again. “Wasn’t there…?” he blinked. “Where did Jonathan go? I owe him a debt of gratitude as well.”
“Jonah left, but…” I pulled on my sleeves a little, biting back another grin. “I think you’ll probably be seeing him.”
Demetrius’s expression lightened with more understanding than I expected. He nodded, putting his arm around Jane again and smiling down at her.
Director Loughty stepped over to our group again after respectfully standing off to the side as we exchanged our goodbyes. He wordlessly held out two silver scarves to Demetrius and Jane. They each wrapped the shimmering cloth around their necks.
Demetrius reached deep into one of his coat pockets and pulled his pocketwatch back out with a smile.
I blinked in surprise, feeling my own pocket where it had been the last time I’d checked. I guess that DNA lock thing worked to get it back to Demetrius better than I thought.
Loughty turned the dials on his own watch, the wrinkles on his face deepening with concentration. “Right back after your house in London was all cleared out from any… visitors…” he glanced over at Chase and me. “How long did you two stay when you went?”
“Less than an hour,” Chase responded. “And it was… in the morning, I think.”
The director grunted. “Best aim for the evening, then.”
Demetrius had finished with twisting his own watch dials much quicker and stood there waiting. Director Loughty looked up at him and nodded, holding up his own watch.
Chase gripped my arm and pulled me back a good few steps with him.
Jane looked back to us and smiled, giving one last wave before the three of them vanished from the room in a whoosh of silver.
My hair blew back and a few open books rustled their pages, then the room went silent. I just watched the spot for a few seconds. My mind running over all that had just happened. Or… was starting to. I was expecting a little longer for contemplation and getting all nostalgic while Loughty was back helping the Morrows get settled back in, but I forgot the whole thing about time travel and relative times.
The director was back in about ten seconds.
I jumped back, grabbing involuntarily for Chase’s arm. I missed, since he had jumped back too.
Director Loughty didn’t seem to notice. He looked a lot more tired now and heaved a big sigh as he came back into the room. In his hands were two things. Balled-up silver scarves and one teeny, pink tube.
I frowned, cautiously moving forward.
Loughty looked up and motioned to us. “Come along. Let’s get you two settled back where you should be. Where and when did you come from?”
“Um… Hillsdale, Michigan.” Chase shifted awkwardly, coming forward with me. “November, late at night on the nineteenth, twenty-eighteen.”
“I think it was more like early in the morning on the twentieth,” I corrected. “Do you need an… address?”
The director raised an eyebrow at me, looking slightly amused. “Unless you simply want me to drop you at some random location in your town in the very early morning, I’d say yes.”
“And what’s that?” I pointed to the pink thing in his hand.
He moved over and carefully set the tube down with a “clink” on top of the glass case holding the warpers. “That would be the material that enabled Professor Morrow’s pocketwatch to time travel. I decided it would be safest for everyone to remove it.” He gave a tired smile, “Now, his watch is simply a very old, very battered watch.” Loughty returned his attention to his own watch and turned the dials carefully.
So no more aggravating Demetrius’s time sickness. That was good. And it wasn’t like I expected anything else to happen with the watch, really.
It still kind of stung though, having that last avenue of seeing him again closed. I bit my lip and curled my toes inside my shoes, scuffing the carpet.
Chase cleared his throat a little and gave the director his address. And after a few more dials were twisted and the scarves handed out, we were ready to go.
“Will you two need any extra help, once you’ve arrived?” Director Loughty asked. “Anything that needs to be fixed to help you back into your place in time?”
Chase shook his head. “Unless you wanted to help with some engineering college test studies, I think we’ll be okay.” Loughty gave a single nod and looked between the two of us.
I grabbed Chase’s hand and nodded back.
And for one more time, the watch flipped open and the room melted away.
The whole “dropping us off in our own time” thing went a lot faster than I expected. And with the scarves in the mix, I was barely even disoriented when we landed on Chase’s rickety little front porch.
Director Loughty checked that he’d gotten us in the right place, took our scarves back, and then he was gone. We were left standing in the cold, yellowish light coming from a streetlight a little ways away.
My little Honda still sat parked out in front of the house, with the dent in the back where Demetrius had bashed into me on the road. Chase’s front door was still just a crack open.
Everything that had just happened almost felt like a big, crazy dream, now that we were standing back here.
And wow, I had forgotten how cold it was tonight. I rubbed on my arms and blew out a shaky breath, forming a cloud in front of my face.
Chase rubbed his hands together to warm them for a second, then pulled back the screen door before bumping his solid door completely open. “I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to go inside and get into some pants that are actually mine.”
I let out a shaky laugh, shivering as I stepped inside. “Kinda forgot we left my coat and your old pajama pants behind.”
“We were thinking about more important things, it’s understandable.” Chase stepped in after me and closed the door.
I took a deep breath in through my nose as the flow of cold air cut off from the outside. I never thought I’d be so relieved to step into Chase’s little house with its coffee and propane heater smell.
Blowing out my breath again, I moved over and flopped onto the couch that was still draped with the old blankets we’d put over Demetrius when he had been here. “What day of the week is it supposed to be, again?”
Chase rubbed a hand over his hair, muffling a yawn as he moved over to the Star Wars calendar he had tacked on the wall. “Tuesday.”
I dropped my head back against the couch, staring at the ceiling. “How can things be so exciting and we almost die and then all of a sudden it’s just… Tuesday?”
Chase laughed. “Time travel, Zo. You got your wish.”
I shook my head, just grinning at the ceiling. “I think I might just be good on travelling for now. Let’s just… stay still for a while.”
“Sounds like a plan to me.”
I whipped my head back up to look at Chase again. “And let’s try and find Jane and Demetrius in family history books and stuff. I know they’re there.”
Chase pointed a fingergun at me, raising his eyebrows. “That is a great idea for… tomorrow. Now, I’m gonna go get my pants.” He walked off down the hall towards his bedroom.
I slouched back into the couch again, sitting on my hands and looking around the familiar surroundings of the room. It was comfortingly modern and dingy. As much as I had liked the Historian Society, I was definitely glad to be out of there now. It was a lot more peaceful back here.
My gaze fell on the kitchen microwave’s digital clock, just as the number changed.
I stared for a few seconds, muffling the urge to just burst out laughing. I’d never been happier to see a number on the clock. Honestly, I’d never been happier to just be back in my hometown. To be sitting still in Chase’s rickety old house.
For once it didn’t feel like I was missing out on some huge adventure that was out there to just… stay where I was and settle down a little. Because as it turned out, just living your life with the people you loved was a plenty big adventure.
Chase’s footsteps thumped on the floor as he came back down the hall. He stopped and leaned on the doorway for a second. A giddy grin was spread across his face as he stuck his hands in his jeans pockets.
I raised my eyebrows, grinning back at him. “You got your pants.”
“I got my pants,” Chase confirmed. He pushed off the doorframe, walking over towards me. “And I also got what I was keeping in my pocket.”
I looked at his pockets as he came closer, tilting my head curiously. “Oh yeah?”
He cleared his throat slightly as he sat down on the couch next to me. “Something I’ve… sort of been saving for a while. And I sort of think now might be… the right time, since now we know…” he stopped and took a deep breath.
My heartbeat skipped a little and my eyes widened. “Chase?”
Chase gave me a nervous smile and carefully pulled his hand out of his pocket. In the center of his palm was a small, black box. He pulled it open to show a small ring that sparkled, even in the dim light.
“Zoey, would you…” he stopped for a second and his voice was steadier when he started again. “Zoey, would you marry me?”
And I hadn’t thought I was capable of grinning any bigger.
“Chase… heck, yeah.”
Two months later:
“Hey, was that a knock at the door?” Chase looked up from our card game, his brow furrowed in a frown.
I raised an eyebrow, smirking at him as I put a few more cards down on the coffee table. “Or are you just trying to distract yourself from the fact that I’m beating you?” In spite of myself, my gaze drifted over to the door.
Snow piled outside the windows. But instead of just the view of falling snow outside the window at the top of the door, I saw something else there.
A cowboy hat.
“No, seriously,” Chase argued, starting to turn. “I think I heard a…”
I jumped up from my seat before he could finish, throwing the rest of my cards down and running for the door. I yanked open the door, letting in a blast of cold, January air and confirming my suspicion.
There stood our favorite time travelling mercenary cowboy from the future.
A wide grin broke across my face. “Hey, Jonah.”
Chase spluttered somewhere in the background and I heard him scramble to catch up with me. “Jonah?”
Jonah grinned back, unfolding his arms from across his chest and tipping his snow-dusted hat. “Nice to see you two again. Mind if I come in?”
“Absolutely,” I stepped off to the side gesturing him in with a wide sweep of my arm. “I was wondering if you’d ever show up.”
Jonah chuckled as he bent down to pick up the battered old bag by his feet before stepping inside. “Always nice to be missed, I guess.”
Chase carefully closed the door behind Jonah, still eying him like he wasn’t sure if he was actually there. “You got here… how?”
“Got a better warper from the society this time, before I skipped town,” Jonah grinned. He pulled a small box out of his pocket and held it up for examination. It was similar to the one he’d had before, only this one was smaller, had fewer dials, and was silver.
I peered over at it. “Ooh, nice.”
Jonah nodded, sticking it back in his pocket. “And actually the society’s loosened up a little more. They’ve been more okay with me travelling around to help folks out than they used to be, so maybe they’re not as bad as all that. Anyway…” he pulled open his bag and pulled out a very dirty looking bundle, tossing it over to Chase.
Chase fumbled and dropped it on the floor, looking about to gag as he took in a breath to speak. “What… on earth is that?”
Hold on…I sort of recognized the colors of that cloth.
My eyes widened and I nudged it with my foot. “Are these our clothes?”
Jonah nodded and pushed his hat back on his head. “Yeah, they’ve been at my cabin for a while. They might be a little moldy by now, but I was stopping by anyway to check on you, so I thought I’d drop them off.”
“Thanks…” Chase winced, still looking down at the pile. “Yeah, I’ll… definitely wear those pajama pants again.”
He grinned, looking between us. “So.” His gaze rested on the ring on my finger and his eyebrows went up higher as his grin widened. “I see you’ve made some progress.”
Chase and I both stopped looking at the pile of our old, moldy clothes and exchanged a smile.
“About damn time, I’d say,” Jonah laughed, coming over to give out congratulatory handshakes and back slaps.
We laughed along with him and spent another few minutes catching up on what we’d been up to for the past… well… two months for us, and six months for him. We were just starting to go back over to sit down on the couch with him when he waved a hand for us to wait.
Jonah reached into his pocket again and pulled out his warper. “Okay, so… the catching up has been nice and everything…”
I felt a twinge of surprise and sadness. Sure we were lucky to see him at all, but ending the visit this quickly…?
Turns out, he didn’t end that sentence the way I thought he was going to.
“… but I think we need to get Demetrius in on the reunion too.” He pulled a couple of grubby, old, silver scarves out of the bottom of his bag and grinned.
In another few minutes, we were back in nineteen sixteen, London, England. Outside the city house I’d thought of so often, wondering how it looked now that it had some life and love inside it again.
It was almost dark out on the streets, and warm yellow light glowed from the windows, framed by lacy curtains. I could see shadows moving around inside.
Even with how cold it was out on the streets, I felt warm just looking at it. I bounced on my toes a little.
Chase rubbed his hands together and stuck them back in his pockets. “So how long afterwards is this, for them?”
“Should be about the same as for you two. Few months.” Jonah started down the street towards the Morrows’ house. A smile tugged at his mouth. “And you know who else is here by now?”
The sounds of London in the evening clamored around us, but one sweet sound came through loud and clear as we reached the small front yard of Demetrius’s house.
The cry of a baby.
I stopped in my tracks, clapping both my hands over my mouth to muffle the happy gasp that came out. “Oh, my gosh…”
The front door opened and the silhouette of a tall, thin man with a mop of curly hair appeared, framed by the light coming from inside. A wide smile stretched across his face and he raised a hand to wave.
“Zoey! Chase! Come in and meet my new little daughter!”
-hopefully a lot of happy applause-
Thank you all again so much, I’ve loved sharing this story with you and seriously, it wouldn’t happen without you guys. ❤ ❤ You’re awesome and I hope you enjoyed it! 😀
NOW. Who has short story/deleted scene ideas for me? xD Or suggestions on new projects?
I’ll see you all later! Have a great week. ❤