Beren took little persuading
when it came to the breakfast invitation, Richie was a likeable
person and she really had nothing else to do. He was the first
person she'd really got to know outside of her father's dig. In
the end it took just over three quarters of an hour to sort everything
out, this early in the morning there wasn't a rush on so they
were dealt with quickly, hence they were in good time at the restaurant.
It was coming up on eight o'clock and so the city was in full
swing, but they found a parking space anyway.
Chris knew the moment Richie
came anywhere near the building and he was waiting by the door
as the Immortal opened it for his new friend. The twin had in
all innocence chosen virtually the same outfit as his brother,
only the jeans were blue instead of black, and Beren couldn't
help, but do a double take when she saw him . In the car Richie
had explained that there would be five people at breakfast, but
it hadn't actually occurred to him to warn his companion that
one of the others would be his twin brother. He realised his mistake
as soon as the young English woman laid eyes on his newly acquired
sibling and her chin nearly hit the floor.
"If you manage to walk into
situations everytime you leave Mac's sight, you're going to be
very interesting to be around," Chris commented as the two
walked towards him.
"Beren, this is my long
lost brother, Chris," Richie introduced in an attempt to
cover the oversight. "You two should have something in common
because he was brought up in England. It's sort of a long story,
we were reunited yesterday, but don't let that bother you, I'll
vouch for him."
Both twins had the same killer
smile, and their companion recognised the habitual greeting before
the new half of the pair replied.
"Pleased to meet you,"
Richie's look-alike greeted amicably, "we were wondering
what could have induced my brother to break someone's arm. Now
I can quite see his point."
"If I didn't get myself
into trouble at least once a week," the other shot back glibly,
"the world would come to an end."
It was at that moment in the
conversation that Duncan chose to appear from where he had been
seeing Madelaine to the table, and he joined the small gathering.
"Well good morning,"
he welcomed brightly, indicating the direction from which he had
just come, "do join us."
"Thank you," the young
woman replied as she recovered from the second shock of the morning
and moved off in the desired route between the tables, "you
must be Duncan MacLeod ."
Among the conversations Richie
had had with the English electronics graduate he had slipped in
a description of Mac, and the Highlander was kind of hard to miss.
The mane of black hair he kept held back with a leather band was
distinctive enough, but he had an air about him that somehow his
young friend had managed to convey in his report, that was unmistakable.
Immortals weren't as anonymous as most of them would like to think
and Beren had already noticed there was something different about
her new friends.
"The very same," the
Scot replied charmingly, "please call me Duncan or Mac if
you prefer, I answer to just about anything."
"Beren," their guest
returned pleasantly with a warm smile.
"An unusual name,"
the dark haired Immortal commented chattily, and Richie had to
remind himself that Duncan would not poach, "is it short
The young woman looked a little
embarrassed at the enquiry, but bit her lip with practised fortitude.
"Well it is short for something,"
she replied, her cheeks slightly pink, "but before I tell
you, you have to realise my father is a historian and archaeologist,
he has peculiar taste."
"So noted," Duncan
assured her calmly as they neared the table.
The young woman looked at Richie
and he smiled reassuringly, he wouldn't have cared if her name
"Berengaria," she replied
with a wince.
"It's a while since I heard
that one," the Highlander told her with an appreciative grin,
"it's a beautiful name."
Quite frankly Beren was amazed
and she came to a dead stop, most people thought her full name
was archaic and somewhat amusing.
"You know someone with my
name?" she asked incredulously.
"I remember a fashion for
old names," Duncan assured her cheerfully, "a few years
ago now. I thought it was quite becoming for those blessed with
The young woman was really beginning
to warm to these people now.
"You're showing your age,
Duncan," Madelaine said quietly as she chose her time to
enter the conversation when the group paused in front of the table.
"Madelaine Seaton," she introduced herself with a smile.
Beren was beginning to think
that every one of her new companions had just walked out of the
movies, Madelaine was stunning and the young English woman didn't
really appreciate that so was she. Richie, however, distracted
her by nipping past and pulling out a chair for her to sit on,
and then they all took seats around the table.
"This really is very nice
of you," she said as she looked around at them all, "I
do hope I'm not intruding."
"Not at all," Richie
assured her very quickly and then grinned, "and besides you're
probably much more interesting than this lot."
Chris threw a serviette at him.
"Excuse my brother,"
the twin said with mock sincerity, "he can't help being a
"Now, now, children,"
Mac said lightly.
After that there was no stopping
them and with the ice broken they launched into breakfast and
light conversation with unbridled gusto.
Her stay in the United States
had been literally only a few days long. Beren was very glad to
spend a few hours in the company of welcoming strangers, who within
a few minutes were becoming cheerful friends. It amazed Duncan
that with so much else to think about Richie still had time to
be attracted to the young woman, no matter how beautiful she was.
Sometimes the young Immortal's libido surprised even Mac, who
had quite a considerable sensual side to his own character. Maybe
it had something to do with not being able to have children, but
most Immortals were obsessed with sex in some shape or form, but
MacLeod decided Richie had outdone himself this time.
It was sometime after the actual
meal had finished and they all cradled a cup of something, that
Richie suddenly looked aghast. Beren was animatedly explaining
all about her father's dig, belying her earlier affirmation that
she only knew about the subject in passing, that the young Immortal
scanned his wrist for the watch he'd forgotten to put on that
"Ange," he said and
stopped the whole conversation dead, "oh, god, what time
"Just after quarter to ten,"
Duncan provided helpfully, a quizzically amused look on his face.
The meal had been slow and leisurely
and Richie had forgotten more than his watch in all the morning's
"Where's the nearest phone?"
he asked Mac since he knew the restaurant, and the Highlander
pointed to just behind his friend. "I promised I'd be at
the shelter by nine to help out," he half explained, "she'll
kill me, in fact she'll probably get her fiancee to dissect me."
With an apologetic shrug he left
the table and fished in his pocket for some change which MacLeod
found hysterically funny. A sword wielding Immortal couldn't arouse
such a reaction in Richie, that Angie could was a great source
"Who's Ange," Beren
asked everyone in general as the young man picked up the phone.
She was clearly amused at the
situation as well.
"An old friend of Richie's,"
Mac supplied since Madelaine was also at a loss, "I've met
her once or twice and she's quite formidable."
His glee was catching and as
someone answered the other end of the phone call everyone's appreciation
of the joke increased.
"Yes it's me," Richie
said agitatedly after the first hello, "I know I'm late."
He was holding the phone a centimetre
or so away from his ear and he still winced.
"There are mitigating circumstances,"
he swore faithfully when he could finally hold the receiver in
it's normal position.
Angie obviously did not hold
with broken promises.
"I'll explain when I get
there," the young Immortal assured her, "I'm on my way."
He put the phone down before
any more abuse could be hurled in his direction and turned to
see four grinning faces.
"What's so bloody funny?"
he asked sarcastically, "You've never seen a furious Angie."
That finished Beren off, she
dissolved in a fit of giggles closely followed by MacLeod. Richie
picked up his jacket from the back of his chair and tried not
to smile, since he had the right to be indignant, but it didn't
"I'm sorry but I have to
fly," he apologised to all, "anyone fancy a trip down
"I wouldn't miss this for
the world," Chris told him cheerfully and the effect he'd
have on Ange was not lost on Richie.
"My fault you're late,"
Beren conceded amiably, "I couldn't possibly abandon you
to another woman's wrath, and besides I have a car."
Madelaine and Duncan saw them
off with buoyant enthusiasm.
It wasn't the best area in town
to leave a car, but the vehicle was insured by the rental company
so Beren locked it up and hoped no-one would take an interest.
The three individuals gained a few odd looks as they walked the
remaining few yards to the shelter, mostly because Chris and Richie
looked so much alike, but they took no notice. The former of the
two was wearing a denim jacket where Richie's was leather, but
they still appeared strange to the eye. The Immortal hadn't foreseen
anything in particular to do that day the previous afternoon and
so he had offered to help in the shelter when Angie had mentioned
some heavy lifting that needed doing, and he was not about to
back out now. They entered via the rear entrance since it could
still be construed as breakfast time and they didn't wish to get
in the way. Very quickly they came across Ange who had discarded
her suit jacket, donned an apron and was well into the washing
"Long time no see,"
she said sarcastically and fixed the man she thought was Richie
with a look that could have killed.
Unfortunately for Chris he had
come into her line of sight first and she hadn't noticed he was
duplicated just to his left.
"Um, Ange," Richie
said tentatively, "that's my brother you're glaring at."
It took a second for the young
woman to realised the voice didn't come from the man she was staring
at, then she noticed Beren and Richie, and then she comprehended
what the young Immortal had said. Angie looked completely stunned
and fixed her eyes on the correct one of the pair this time.
"I told you there were mitigating
circumstances," Richie said quietly and his old friend flicked
her eyes between the twins.
"Keep talking, Ryan,"
she said unashamedly, "and I may just forgive you for giving
me a coronary."
"Remember I told you once
about my imaginary friend Chris," Richie began hesitantly,
"well this is him and he turned out to be not so non-existent.
We met last night by pure chance for the first time since we were
three. Angie I'd like you to meet my twin brother."
Quite frankly the young woman
didn't know whether to kill Richie for springing this on her so
suddenly, or congratulate him on his good fortune.
"Hi there," Ange said
"And this is Beren,"
the young Immortal continued while he had the chance, "we
met in the park this morning."
"Richie retrieved my bag
from a thief," the English woman elaborated with a pleasant
smile. "I'm afraid I caused him to be late."
There was still a look of doubt
on Richie's friend's face, but it was in her eyesight not anything
said by the others.
"You always knew,"
she whispered almost silently as she recalled the weird kid she
had known for years.
Then quite suddenly her face
spread into a broad grin.
she said having finally decided what she was seeing was not a
dream, "the women of the world quake, there are now two of
Chris thought that was hilarious,
it appeared everyone knew what was usually on his brother's mind.
From there the situation had
to get better and they all spent a while talking before the newcomers
volunteered for work. They spent all day helping out and thoroughly
enjoying themselves and then arranged to go out in the evening
of Part 4