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Rembrandt Brown looked over the top of his coffee cup at Wade. Something was eating at her, no doubt. She'd come home from her walk the day before and had gone straight to bed. She hadn't even come downstairs to eat supper with the rest of them. She claimed she was just tired, but Rembrandt knew better.

Rembrandt watched as Wade pushed her eggs listlessly around and around her plate, noticing how she occasionally glanced up at the kitchen, where Quinn and Maggie were doing the breakfast dishes and talking. Quinn was washing, and Maggie, due to her ankle, was sitting on the kitchen counter while she dried them. Rembrandt had his back to the kitchen, so he couldn't see what was going on, but he almost didn't have to. He'd hear either Quinn or Maggie's voice, followed by a short burst of laughter from the two of them. This would result in a quick flash of pain registering across Wade's face. It didn't take a mind reader to figure out what was wrong.

Rembrandt twisted around in his chair to get a better view of the kitchen. As he did so, he saw Maggie reaching over to gently brush a cluster of dishsoap bubbles from Quinn's cheek. As she did so, she rested her hand briefly on Quinn's face as they locked eyes. Rembrandt felt the table shake slightly as Wade suddenly pushed her chair away walked quickly toward the staircase.

Quinn looked away from Maggie and watched as Wade climbed the stairs. His face became worried, and he started to follow her. Rembrandt cut him off as he entered the dining area.

"Come on, Remmie. Move outta my way," Quinn said, attempting to sidestep Rembrandt.

"Quinn, you better let me talk to her first, " Rembrandt answered. He handed Quinn his coffee cup and Wade's plate. "I've got a feeling that you might just upset her more."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Quinn said defensively, trying to keep his voice low so Maggie wouldn't hear. "I'm worried about her too, you know!"

"I know ya are Q-Ball. All I'm saying is that I think it'll be easier if she talks to me. I've got a good idea what's going on with her, and if I'm right, she's not gonna open up to you as easily. Trust me on this, man." Rembrandt said matter of factly.

Quinn studied his friend's face for a few moments, then nodded silently. Rembrandt squeezed Quinn shoulder and smiled at him.

"You just concentrate on getting everything ready to go back home. I've got a feeling that once the three of us are back home, things are gonna start lookin' up," Rembrandt said as he moved toward the staircase.

Quinn turned back to the kitchen, his face troubled. He wondered if Rembrandt and Wade suspected he was having doubts about joining them in their trip back home. He felt guilty because he figured his doubts were what was causing Wade to be so upset. The more he thought about everything, the more unsure he became. He wanted to see his mother again, of course, but this thing with Maggie was something he had to think about. Where would it lead? Could they have a chance of a future?

Quinn rejoined Maggie in the kitchen, but his thoughts were on Wade. Every question he asked himself about his future with Maggie could also be asked about Wade. Even though she'd pulled away from him, he couldn't just shut off the feelings he had for her, no more than he could shut off his feelings for Maggie. The only difference was he was pretty good at suppressing his feelings for Wade. He'd been doing it for years, even before they'd started sliding.

Quinn picked up a shiny metal pan out of the dishwater and stared at it. "What am I going to do? What should I do?" he silently asked. Unfortunately, his distorted reflection offered him no answers.

Go to part 5