By eleven o'clock following morning, after a leisurely breakfast, Lukas, MacKenzie and Jenna were on the road, heading towards Lancaster. Helen knew they were coming; Lukas had brought his twin up to speed the previous evening, after the show, and let her know his intentions, such as they were. He had also let her know that he would be bringing Jenna with them, and the empath in Helen was interested to see what she could make of her.
MacKenzie guided the car out of the city, and onto the motorway. Traffic was, for a change, fairly light, and they made reasonable time as they headed north along the M62 towards Lancaster. Ninety minutes later, they passed a sign telling them that the next junction led into Garstang, and the agent signaled her intention to leave the motorway.
Lukas glanced at his watch. 'We'll be there by one-thirty.'
'Just in time for lunch.' MacKenzie commented cheerfully. Lukas stared at her, and Jenna giggled daintily from her place on the rear seat.
'How,' he asked, 'can you even think about food, after the massive breakfast you ate?'
MacKenzie threw him a swift glance, then returned her attention to the road; her features a mask of innocence.
'A girl has to keep her strength up somehow, don't you think so, Jenna?' She glanced into her rear view mirror.
'Of course she does, Mrs Church.'
The agent eyed her reproachfully. 'Are you just agreeing with me?'
'Just being a good PA, Mrs Church.' The young woman replied seriously, then caught Lukas' eye, and tried to stifle another giggle. The medium grinned, and waggled his eyebrows ay her.
MacKenzie caught the interplay, and sighed theatrically. 'I thought Lukas was bad enough, on his own.' She said, into the car. 'Now he's got help, he'll be insufferable.' She pretend-frowned, at the sudden laughter she had caused, then joined in.
'Seriously though,' she continued, as the laughter from the other two eased a fraction, 'there's nothing worse, in my opinion, than a yes man.' She indicated the rear of the car. 'Or woman, for that matter. I much prefer directness, and plain speaking, to being told what a person thinks I want to hear; you'll be remembering that, young lady.'
'Yes ma'am.' Jenna replied demurely. The agent nodded.
'Good. And you can start by using my proper name.'
'That's better.' MacKenzie glanced into her mirror, and caught the impish gleam in the young girl's eye. She sighed, and returned her attention to the road, signaling her turn into Garstang. Lukas winked at Jenna, and settled back into his seat, looking through the glass at the slow moving scenery.
Lukas loved Garstang, a smallish market town situated almost equidistantly between the two main Lancastrian cities of Lancaster and Preston. He had visited the town with Helen several times, during his convalescence with Helen, and had fallen in love with the town and surrounding area, nestled as it was, in the lee of the low Bowland hills. And, as they always did, when they visited Helen, MacKenzie drove them past the cottage.
Their cottage. The symbol of the life they planned to spend together; should they survive the coming storm The neat, single story structure stood back from the road, set into its own small plot of land. As they passed, both pairs of eyes were drawn automatically to the whitewashed walls, dimly visible through the surrounding vegetation.
As if sensing the medium's thoughts, MacKenzie said softly, 'one day, Lukas.'
'That's my hope.' He replied, his head swiveling to catch a final glimpse of the cottage, as it dropped behind.
Ten minutes later, they stopped outside the barn conversion where Helen lived with Roger Bennet. Bennet, an army engineer who had established and then sold a highly successful business, and bought the old barn as a derelict ruin, and had spent the better part of the past decade refurbishing the building almost single-handedly.
Lukas exited the car, and opened the rear door for Jenna. Around him, the large cobbled courtyard attached to the barn was plain, fringed with potted shrubbery at the edges. In front of them, the barn sprawled easily away from them in both directions, a large, red brick structure, dominated by large picture windows that allowed for panoramic views of both the surrounding farmland, and the distant Bowland hills.
'Wow.' Jenna breathed, from somewhere behind Lukas. 'What a place.'
'It's something, isn't it?' Lukas smiled. 'You should have seen the place ten years ago. Roger showed me pictures; you wouldn't recognize this as the same place.'
'It must have cost him a fortune.'
'Not as much as you'd think. Roger bought the place as a ruin, and did most of the work himself. Worth a fortune now, of course, but, with Roger, it's not the money - it's the sense of creating something from almost nothing, with your own two hands.'
The front entrance door had opened and, as they approached, Helen strode out, wiping her hads upon her apron. Going directly to MacKenzie, she caught the smaller woman in an embrace, laughing happily as she repeatedly kissed the agents upturned face. Finally, she released MacKenzie, and turned towards them.
'Hello, little brother.' She embraced Lukas, and nuzzled his neck. 'MacKenzie still keeping you out of trouble?' She smiled over his shoulder at the young woman. 'And you must be Jenna. It's nice to meet you.' She released Lukas, and held out a hand, drawing Jenna into a swift hug. 'Come on in. Roger's around somewhere, I think, in one of the outbuildings, building something. I haven't seen him all morning. Tell him lunch won't be long.'
With Helen and MacKenzie taking the lead, they headed towards the house. 'I like your sister.' Jenna whispered, as she and Lukas followed the pair. 'She seems really friendly and caring; a lot like you do.' She smiled shyly at Lukas. 'She looks a little like you, as well - but prettier, of course.' She added quickly.
'She'll be glad you think so.' Lukas laughed. 'Helen's a good person. She's a good sister, and a great friend - to both me, and MacKenzie. And, I think you'll like Roger too. I have to warn you though, he's a little on the brash and boisterous side, until he gets to know you better. Then, he'll do anything to help. They both will.'
'You said that Helen can see spirits too.'
'When she chooses to.' Lukas steered Jenna towards the door. 'She can turn her ability off and on, as she sees fit. Usually, she leaves the spirit side of things to me.' He allowed Jenna to enter first, then followed, closing the door behind them. 'You'll find the girls in the kitchen,' He motioned towards a door. 'Just follow the sound of voices. I'm going to find Roger.' He turned in the opposite direction. 'We'll be in for coffee and food.'
'Okay.' Jenna nodded, and headed towards the kitchen area.