Frank and Josephine watched the twins race off on their bikes. “Come on,” Frank grinned at her, holding out his hand for her to take as they continued on their hike.
When they got to the top they found a flat, smooth rock to sit so they could look out at the city below. They chatted and laughed for awhile, but Josephine was distant and distracted.
“Are you okay?” Frank asked, after awhile, looking at her with concern.
“Sorry, I just have a lot on my mind today.” She twisted her hands in lap. Finally, she said, “Maybe we should head back down before the sun goes down and we’re stuck hiking in the dark.”
“Just a minute.” He reached into his pocked and pulled out a ring. Before she could process what was happening, he was on his knee looking at her. Her face broke into a nervous smile.
“Will you marry me?” he asked.
“Yes, of course I will,” she said. He slipped the ring on her finger and they hugged, but her smile was still strained and her eyes kept darting at the trees all around them.
Frank couldn’t stop smiling the whole way down the hill. He discussed when they’d get married and how many kids they’d have, and she quietly agreed to what he was saying, not really taking it in.
“Twin boys,” Frank said, as they walked through the woods back to the road. “We’ll have twin boys.”
“Wait what did you say?” she stopped him by placing a hand on his chest.
“Twin boys?” he hesitated. “I mean, they don’t have to be boys. Or twins.”
“Hey mister!” a voice called behind them.
They turned around to see the boys were back. “You want to see something really neat?”
“What is it?” Frank asked.
“Ricky found a bat in our fort!”
Josephine’s face took on a determined look. “Sure.”
They turned off the path and followed the boys to their fort. As they pushed through the brush into the clearing, the boys were already standing outside the fort which was a collection of broken sticks and boards propped up and leaning haphazardly against each other for support.
“It’s in here,” one of the boys said.
Frank was about to duck into the fort, when Josephine pushed past him. She kicked at the boards near the entrance and shoved them to the ground causing the whole structure to collapse in on itself burying the bat.
“Hey!” One brother shouted.
“What’er you doing?” the other asked.
“Opps,” she said.
“Opps?” Frank asked, looking at her with wide eyes.
She shrugged. “I don’t like bats. They scare me. And that one looked sick. I didn’t want anyone getting sick.”
“You can’t get sick from a bat,” one of the brothers said, glaring at her.
“We were going to show Phillip,” the other said, kicking at the dirt. “That’s what we get for showing a stupid girl.”
“Sorry,” Frank said to them holding his hands up in the air. The twins glared back.
“What was all that about?” Frank asked, once he and Josephine were back on the path.
“Just fixing the future.” She smiled and took his hand as they walked home.
“Okay,” he said, tentatively, raising his eyebrow.
* * *
Earl sighed with relief. Their plan had worked.
“I think it must have worked a little too good,” Sam said. “We should have been locked away for centuries. We extracted a civilian without any preparation, and then reinserted her. That goes against all of our laws. What else changed?”
Someone knocked at the door. A moment later Larry, Earl’s boss popped his head in. “Oh good. You’re both here. I have a new assignment for you. Sam, you’re officially done you’re training, and you both will be working together from now on.”