The house was lively when Jene came up the street. Every window was lit, and all the doors were open, as if they were eager to throw out the heat for a little more elbow room. Music hummed from the back wall, and conversation rolled through the house like a summer storm, laughter striking in the patterns of thunder and lightning. Everything inside was a happy dash and scramble, and no one noticed Jene for a long moment after he stepped through the front door.
Then: “Jene!” And Fayet pushed her way across the main room to hug him tight. “You’re home!”
“I didn’t know…” He glanced around at the crowd uncertainly.
“There’s always room for you,” she said without a thought, turning back to the room. She held onto his arm, ready to drag him farther inside.
He looked down at himself, at the thin bag in his hand, and smiled wryly. “I guess, I don’t take up that much space.”
Hearing him, Fayet turned back. Her smile faded just enough for her to look at him seriously, and she shook her head. “No,” she told him. “That will never be the reason.”
Jene blinked, then grinned at her for no good reason, and she squeezed his arm to pull him inside.