(4) The wood creaked

The wood creaked underfoot as Darren Debacle slipped through the hallways. He had a suspicion that after that evening’s disastrous news followed by an uncomfortable dinner that Montgomery would be overthinking things, and it was Darren’s self-proclaimed duty to stop that whenever possible. Montgomery lived up to all four syllables of his name. While Darren was racing horses and stealing extra desserts as a teenager, Montgomery was memorizing every known member of the royal house as far back as Tevyn’s founding. For every stolen sweet Darren had consumed there was a book Montgomery had gobbled down with equal enthusiasm.     Darren put his ear against Montgomery’s door, thankfully far away from the wing of the house that Mrs. Menace lived in. The only furnished neighboring room belonged to Montgomery’s long absent sister. In the quiet Darren could hear scuffing sounds coming from behind the door. He gave a very soft rap and they stopped.

“Mont? It’s me,” Darren mumbled through the door. He didn’t risk speaking loud enough for any of the downstairs staff to hear him. Most would be asleep, but a few would be up late prepping for the next day, especially since they had a visitor. Simon Gergrove had yet to leave, leading to this very visit to Montgomery’s room.

The door cracked open.

“Go away.” Montgomery tried to close the door but Darren had his foot blocking it. “I mean it Debacle. Get your chubby feet out of my door frame,” he muttered half-heartedly as Darren pushed his way into the room.

“My cherubic feet go wherever they damn well please,” responded Darren pleasantly, looking around the room. The normally immaculate room was scattered with books, clothes, and probably most of Montgomery’s favorite possessions. “Now tell me what the hell you have planned so I can talk you out of it.” His smile was razor sharp as he turned it on his best friend. Montgomery exhaled and collapsed into his single empty chair and Darren rearranged some books for a seat on the bed.

“I’m running from the law, obviously,” Montgomery mumbled while staring intently at the wall. He crossed his arms petulantly and turned to look at the other wall. He seemed intent to look anywhere except at Darren.

“You dickhead,” said Darren fondly. Montgomery looked up, startled. “Now,” said Darren as he cleared a larger area on the bed to lounge, “We need to make a pro-con list. Get some cheap paper you don’t mind burning later and find a pen.”

It was much later that the two slept.

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