Chapter 8 – Another Proposal

The Major lies down beside Beth who is breathing peacefully. They have been back from Dalygaran in celebration for a comfortable quarter of an hour. He sits, then gets up and bends again to leave a kiss on her forehead. He goes silently out of the room only to face the two SmithsThe Major: She’s fallen asleep…
Paul: Has everything been ok?
The Major: Yes. I can assure you she really appreciated this day.
Sylvester: What about you?
The Major: Me? How’s that?
Sylvester: You’re in between two worlds now. Your heart must be shared out between here and there.
The Major still feeling a bit weak, sits in an armchair facing the two Smiths. He contemplates before speaking.
The Major: Going to Dalygaran is always a great joy. And I’ve always a twinge of sorrow when I have to come back, that’s true, each time. During all this month, I made returns, I’d have liked to stay there longer… But never ever do I regret coming back here, since it’s to be with her. I’m so happy living side-by-side with Beth. This is a second chance; it’s a heck of a gift you guys offered me … even if I know you didn’t really do it for me.
Paul: We wanted Beth to share her space traveler’s life with someone else able to understand what she’s living through. Maybe one day we’ll have to go home and we don’t want her to be alone. Neither Sylvester nor I had pictured such an attachment between you two. We relied on your military consciousness to keep an eye on her, to take over our role. I think neither he nor I are worried today about your investing yourself in protecting her, in the first place from herself…
The Major smiles.
The Major: We watch over each other.
Sylvester: And us over you two.
Paul: For now.
The Major: I know you can’t answer my questions. I’m almost certain that your presence here has to do with the future, yours and Beth’s. You can easily understand that I conducted my little investigations during my getaways to Dalygaran. As the Commander in Chief, I’m the time continuum keeper and I have access to a huge bank of data. And do you know what I found?
Paul and Sylvester look at him in silence.
The Major: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You don’t exist, neither in the past, nor in the future. Either that, or I didn’t look far enough.
Paul: Please, all you have to know is that we’ve come from a very far future and your queries could jeopardize our mission, if they haven’t already.
The Major: I…
Sylvester: David, we knew you wouldn’t be able to prevent yourself from investigating. We didn’t even try to deter you. We have to let things follow their course. But now that you’ve told us, we have to ask you to stop, for it can represent a danger. Don’t worry about us. Your single goal has to be Beth’s protection. We’ll take care of ourselves.
The Major: Try to prevent me from helping you if it happens to be…
The two Smiths smile.
Sylvester: David, we’d like to make Beth and you a proposal.
The Major looks at Sylvester with questioning eyes.
Paul: You two come here often, each time one of you has to go to Dalygaran–sometimes even both at the same time, as now.
Sylvester: We own the entire floor here, and we occupy only half.
Paul: We propose you move in.
Beth: Who’s going to move?

The three men turn to Beth who just then enters the room. She favors them with a large smile and comes to sit on the armrest of the armchair in which sits the Major. She stares at the two Smiths, waiting for an answer.
Paul: It’s just a proposal.
Beth: A proposal?
Sylvester: We’d like you two to occupy the flat adjoining this one. There’s even a common door that would allow you to come here discretely.
Paul: We are the owners, and you’ll be our guests.
Beth and the Major look at each other.
Sylvester: Please, don’t hesitate. In a way, this flat was more or less intended to be used by you.
Beth: Can you give me some explanation here? I’m a little lost.
The Major: I think you’d better explain a little bit…
Paul: Oh, thank you, Major.
Beth: Oh oh, Paul. You never call David so.
Sylvester: Paul, David’s right. We’ve a minimum of explanation to give.
Paul: I know. But I have a feeling it’s too early.
Sylvester: You know it’ll never be the right time.
Paul: Certainly, you’re right. So, you two, listen attentively and ask no more questions as we can tell you no more than this: Beth, we had looked for you, we found you, and our role is to protect you. We chose the Major to be someone who’ll guarantee your protection in case we’re not able to do it ourselves anymore. Our futures are linked and it’s why we can’t tell you too much. Having you near us would make your movements more discreet and this would suit us. I assure you, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the situation. It’d be easier for you to go to Dalygaran, no need to cross the whole town anymore.
Beth: Wow, that really threw me for a loop; why do you have to protect me, and from whom?
Paul: I said, no questions. All you have to know is that we’re here for you. You’re what we have that is most precious. We won’t allow anyone to hurt you.
The Major: Beth our futures are linked, so we have to know as little as possible. It’s totally true. There’re worse things in life than to be under the protection of a pair of Epsilons. These two are bubbling over with affection for you. As for me, nobody needs to tell me to take care of you.
And he smiles at her.

Beth: And you, the two Smiths, who is watching over you?
The Major: Us.
Beth: That suits me. May we have a look at our possible flat?
Sylvester: Is this a yes?
Beth: First, we both have to make the decision, and I said “possible”.
The Major: Come on Beth. Stop tormenting them. We can tell them now.
Paul: Tell us what?
Beth clears her throat.
Beth: Er, in fact, we were looking for something in the neighborhood, because we’re a little tired with these commutes across town. We started last week and we haven’t found anything yet.
Paul: And you planned to tell us…
Beth: Says the one of whom I mustn’t ask questions. Paul, Sylvester, we wanted to make you a surprise. One day, we would have come and told you we’re almost neighbors. That’s all.
Sylvester: And you David, you didn’t tell us anything either.
The Major: I have to let things follow their course too.
At these words, he can’t refrain a smile of satisfaction.
Beth: Basically, except if what you have to show us is really ugly, I think there is a good chance we’ll accept your proposal.
Paul: Come, let’s have a look then.


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