"I'm a dragon, and so is my dad," Andi blurted out. "Don't hate me."
"If he hated you, or was even frightened by you, he'd be long gone," Mr. Thomas said. "Not sitting here sharing an afternoon snack. As meager as it is."
"Yes, Lee, I'm well aware you want me to go to the grocery store," Mrs. Thomas said as she rolled her eyes. "I'll do it tomorrow."
Ben and Andi's eyes met, and she gave him a shy smile before concentrating on her soda can. What Mr. Thomas said was true, though. Andi being a dragon, whatever that meant, didn't frighten him one bit. And he certainly didn't hate her. Quite the opposite. But it did confuse him to no end.
"Besides," Mr. Thomas said, "he's your guard. He's programmed to not hate you, and you him." He gave Ben a hard stare. "But just because I acknowledge it doesn't mean I condone you putting your hands all over my daughter."
Ben could only sit there and wonder what was going on. He hadn't even been close to putting his hands all over her. They'd almost kissed, sure, but she started that, not him. And what did he mean that Ben was her guard? None of this made any sense.
"What?" Mr. Thomas said to his wife. "I'm stating my feelings. I thought you liked it when I displayed them."
"I also know you understand the concept of tact, but you're choosing not to show any of that at the moment."
"Excuse me," Ben said, hoping he spoke loud enough to be heard. He had, as all three looked at him. "Uh, well, I mean…" He took a deep breath, and though Mr. Thomas kept his sour expression trained on him, smiles on the faces of both Mrs. Thomas, and more importantly, Andi urged him on. "What do you mean I'm her guard?"
"It's fate, dear," Mrs. Thomas said. "You're destined to be Alexandria's Dragon Guard."