Just Once - Page 5

“Where was I?” Caleb asked his brother once the truck was safely back into the flow of traffic.

“About to tell me that you can be serious, I think,” Art answered with a sigh.

“Well, I can,” Caleb said with a grin that quickly faded into seriousness, “when it's important.” He took his eyes off the road to better focus on his brother. “And I can tell this is important.” He kept on looking at Art until Art began to fear for their mutual safety.

“Alright, alright, I'll tell you!” Art relented. “Just get your eyes back on the damn road!”

Caleb's grin returned as he complied with his brother's request.

“But only if you drop the bad ren faire crap,” Art added, “before you confuse a prithee with a privy.”

Caleb's grin got even wider. “In my defense, that only happened once, and it took seven beers to make it happen.”

“Eight,” Art corrected him. “I was the one who ended up paying for them, remember?”

“Not really,” Caleb admitted. “But I shall simply take that as further proof that you are a prince and a scholar among men, and that your wit and charm is exceeded only by my own.” Caleb's grin evaporated like mist in the face of the blazing sun. “Now tell me,” he demanded.

Art sighed, and resigned himself to the inevitable. “I talked to her once.”

“You? You talked to a real princess?” Caleb asked rhetorically, letting his skepticism be heard in his voice. “Was this on-line, perhaps?” he added. “Because if so, I may have some bad news for you O brother o' mine . . .”

Art resisted the urge to hit his brother for a third time. “Do you want to hear this or not?” he snapped. “It was in-person, you jackass!”

“Okaaay,” Caleb said slowly. “So . . . same basic question as before, but minus the on-line crack. When would you get the chance to talk to a real princess, particularly in-person?” he asked.

“Remember that summer we spent on Grandpa's farm when you were thirteen?” Art asked.

“Sure!” Caleb said cheerfully. “I spent all my time fishing while you spent all your time mooning over some girl . . .” Caleb trailed off as realization struck him with only slightly less force than his brother had. “No. Way!” he breathed.

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