Author’s Note: Set about a month after “These Heather Hills.” Thanks to Nancy Taylor and Marianne Edison for beta reading, hand holding, and helping me fix the end.
“So, what did you think?” Ariel asked the two men as the three of them crossed the parking lot of Rainier Covenant Church.
Jim shook his head in wonder. “I will admit, I’ve never been to a church service like that before. They actually seem to…have fun.”
The redhead put a hand to her mouth to stifle a giggle. “I meant the song, Detective,” she teased. “Although you’re right–this church is a lot of fun. That’s one reason why I attend it.”
“Oh.” The Sentinel looked embarrassed, inspiring Blair to laughter.
“Well, I liked it,” the younger man responded while his partner was recouping. “I’ve never heard the Hallelujah Chorus performed with so much energy.”
“You would know about energy,” Jim murmured, his discomfiture fading into a smile as he unlocked the passenger door of the truck. “It was very nice, Red. I just wish you did everything else with as much confidence as you sang.”
“That’s because I am confident in my faith, I’m not about everything else,” she admitted, then did a double take. “Wait…you heard me?” Ariel had only known about Jim’s abilities for a month, so the rare occasion when he used them in her presence still had a tendency to catch her off-guard.
Both men nodded. “You’d be surprised what Jim can pick out when he wants to,” Blair added.
The distant, faint mechanical roar of a jet overhead drew all three pairs of eyes upward. “For example,” the anthropologist continued, suddenly getting excited. “Jim, what airline is that plane up there?”
“Southwest,” Ariel answered promptly.
Sandburg almost hit himself in the face with the truck door he was opening. He gaped at her, eyes wide and startled. “What?”
Jim focused on the far-away lettering, then smirked. “She’s right.”
Blair’s eyes bugged even more. “Ariel–?”
The redhead laughed. “Don’t get so excited, Blair.” She pointed to where the plane was disappearing from sight. How many airlines do you know that paint their planes orange and goldenrod?”
Looking upward, the anthropologist chuckled as well as he took in the color scheme. “Right.” He shot an admiring look back at her. “That was good. You really had me going there for a second.”
Ariel and Jim exchanged an evil look, which Blair caught out of the corner of his eyes.
“You two really do get some sort of perverse pleasure out of ganging up on me, don’t you?” he grumbled good-naturedly.
His only response was an innocent “Who, us?” look from the pair.
Sandburg rolled his eyes as he climbed into the truck. “Save it for someone who doesn’t know you as well as I do,” he shot over his shoulder.
The other two didn’t stop laughing until they reached the loft.