Bella spent the next week jumping at every sound. She didn’t know when they’d appear but she had no doubts her brothers were coming and like a swarm of locusts they would destroy anything they thought might impede their goal. Right now their goal appeared to be to make Bella a queen. She hoped to dissuade them when she saw them.
Unfortunately the first sight she had of Tyme made her heart skip a beat. Her enormous muscle bound brother had the Varren clinging to his back as he bounced into the kitchen.
“Hey Bella,” they said simultaneously.
“Hello Varren.” Bella said raising an eyebrow at her brother.
“Now don’t be that way Bella Bear,” Tyme said with a wide smile. Since he easily topped six feet and had an arsenal strapped to his body he really shouldn’t have been able to project such an air of innocence. Luckily Bella was immune to her brother’s charm.
“Don’t you Bella Bear me. What are you doing here? And put down the prince.”
“I told you we were going to come. Besides we had to?”
“We, all of you are here?” Bella had hoped she misunderstood but the twinkle in her oldest brother’s eyes told her before she heard the words.
“Of course. Did you know this kingdom is one of the United Worlds? As part of our coordination between planets we’ve been assigned as the king’s private soldiers.”
“Uh, huh.” If any of this was a happy coincidence she’d eat her brothers cooking. She shuddered at the thought.
“Besides as common soldiers we have to go where our commanding officer orders us to and the colonel is concerned about lawlessness in this part of the galaxy.”
Bella nodded. “So dad thought I needed babysitting and abused his authority to assign my big brothers to watch over me,” she translated.
Tyme shrugged. “Well if you want to put it that way.”
“I do. Don’t think I won’t call him,” Bella threatened.
“I’m sure he’d be happy to hear from his only daughter,” Tyme said smoothly.
Bella looked up from her pan and caught the look in her brother’s eyes. “He wants me to call doesn’t he?”
“He said he’d be happy to discuss your assignment with you.”
“I just bet he would.” Bella muttered. The mushroom didn’t come out in its usual uniform pieces beneath her knife but in her agitation for once she didn’t care. “Why don’t you get Varren to his tutor and then we can have a little chat.”
She flashed her brother a completely insincere smile. It became more real once he paled beneath his dark tan. Maybe it was the knife she waved in the air while she talked.
“We’ll confab after dinner. We all have assignments until then. I don’t suppose…” he trailed off as he looked meaningfully at the food displayed on her counter.
“Oh no, sorry. As visiting soldiers it would be wrong of me to show favoritism,” Bella said.
Tyme shook his head. “It’s a sad day when a girl won’t give her brother a bite to eat.”
“Yes. It is a sad day,” Bella agreed waving them off with her hand.
With a last wistful look at her food, Tyme followed Varren out the door. The prince waved goodbye as they left. Bella heard Varren ask as they walked away. “What did you do to make Bella angry?”