The ward of castoria, p.36
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       The Ward of Castoria, p.36

           Robin Silverglate

  Chapter 14

  Puzzling Behavior

  Bryn was treating herself to a Jane Austen book. The last of her Advanced Placement exams had taken place a few days ago and her teachers had not assigned homework for a week. She read while lounging in her favorite chair in her father’s study. They had spent the evening in comfortable silence, each engrossed in quiet activity. Bryn with her book and her father on the computer. Even when she finished reading, she had little desire to get up from her comfortable seat and go to bed.

  She perused the books on her father’s shelf in order to see if there was something else that peaked her interest. His tastes were more eclectic than hers. There were books on history, but there were also mysteries and science fiction. Her eyes fell on one she had not thought about in over a month. The Prince had once been the subject of much discord between Dane and her. She remembered how he had so vehemently supported Machiavelli’s advice to the princes. She opened to a page in the book and decided to re-read a section or two. It was such a small book that it didn’t take long. She found passages which definitively showed Machiavelli’s cruel nature. Bryn felt even more confident in her harsh opinion of the author when she read them.

  But as she continued to read, she was able to more clearly see Dane’s opinion as well. She reluctantly admitted that Dane was correct when he said Machiavelli was not giving the princes a blanket approval to be cruel. He had definitely said it was best to be feared only if being loved was not an option. Bryn tried to recall every point Dane had made that night long ago. He had said something about being armed is a good thing, too. She wondered if that was why he was usually holding a weapon whenever she dreamed about him.

  Even though she had not seen him in over a month, he had never left her thoughts. He appeared in her dreams several nights a week and they were always perplexing to Bryn. She felt she wasn’t remembering the entire dream. She was only able to recall bits and pieces of it. The underlying theme was that she was terrified of something, but she had no idea what or who it was. Even though Dane usually held either a sword or bow, she never felt afraid of him. Bryn felt he was trying to protect her in some way. In her dream, she saw him as a hero rather than the annoying person she thought him to be in real life. In fact, whenever she thought about him now, she would usually picture the Dane of her dreams.

  Over the past month, Bryn would often wonder how Dane was doing in his new school. Had he made any friends? She hoped so. Were he and Beck settled in their new apartment? Probably. But whenever she wondered whether Dane had a girlfriend, she would quickly move onto another question before answering it. And when she wondered why she did that, she told herself it was because she did not want to think about how hurt he had looked when she rejected him.

  Her quiet thoughts were interrupted by her father saying, “I just booked our last hotel.” He had spent the evening finding places to stay on their vacation. They were planning a New England road trip during the summer break. Her father had called it their “Last Hurrah” before she went off to college.

  “That’s great,” Bryn said with a yawn. While she was excited about the family outing, she really didn’t care much about the preparations for it.

  “You look tired. Why don’t you go to bed?”

  Bryn stood up and stretched. “I think I will. Goodnight, Dad.”

  “Goodnight, Brynie Bird,” said her father before returning his attention to the computer screen.

  When Bryn was upstairs in her room, she fell asleep within minutes. Her dreams were mostly the same as before. She still could not figure out where she was hiding. All she could ascertain was it was someplace high up off the ground. However, in tonight’s dream, there was a new element. She was hanging onto something while being violently shaken back and forth. Dane sat right next to her and told her to hold on as tightly as she could.

  She woke up with a start soon after that. Bryn saw from her alarm clock that it was a little past four in the morning. She did not have to wake up for school for another hour and a half. Even though Bryn felt sleep pulling her back into unconsciousness, she forced herself to sit up and turn on the light by her bed. She made herself recall the new parts of the dream over and over again. She did not want to risk forgetting them. Around five o’clock in the morning, she asked herself why she was losing sleep over a silly dream, but, deep down, she felt it was important that she remember. It was her obligation to piece back together this fractured dream that seemed so real.

  When it came time to officially get ready for school, Bryn hopped out of bed and got dressed. She grabbed her backpack and went to the desk to get a textbook she needed to return. Since the class had already taken the final exam, there was no point in keeping it anymore. Something caught her eye when she picked it up. The necklace Dane had given her had been pushed to an out-of-the-way corner of her desk. Bryn picked it up and looked at its unique design. She really did like the circular line which surrounded the leafless tree.

  She held it in her hands for a few moments and then made a decision to wear it. Dane had been so much in her thoughts lately that she believed it was the right thing to do. He had asked her to wear it even after she had been so mean to him. This is what he wanted. And, for some reason, she was feeling very grateful to him.
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