“That was,” Jaime said, trying to blink his living room into focus, “a little rockier than usual.”
“Sorry!” Traci replied, unclenching her right hand from around the staff of Arion and shaking it out. “36,000 kilometers is a little further then I usually go, especially with three people. And I didn’t have El Paso to give me a boost coming back.”
“That was amazing!” Milagro shouted, dropping Traci’s other hand and hugging her tightly around the waist. “That was the best thing ever, Traci, thank you so, so much!”
“Hey, shrimp,” Jaime grinned at both of them. “Whose idea was it, huh? And who got you permission to go?”
“Thank you, Jaime,” She said in a sing song voice, grinning up at him. “For not leaving me all by myself when it was your turn—”
“What’s this about permission?” Jaime winced and turned to see his mother standing, arms crossed, in the kitchen doorway.
“Mama!” Milagro exclaimed, running to her. “I went into space! I met Black Canary and the Green Arrow showed me where Tokyo and Shanghai and Singapore are. I could see them because it’s night there and I could see their lights on the Earth out the window. It was so cool!”
“All right, all right, mi hija.” Bianca laughed, smoothing her daughter’s hair and kissing her head. “You can tell us all about it at dinner. Why don’t you go set the table? I need to talk to your brother.”
Milagro nodded and ducked around her into the kitchen. Bianca looked back up at Jaime and Traci.
“I’m sorry, Mom.” Jaime said—it was always better to lead with an apology. “There was this alien robot that was beat up pretty bad and no one could talk to it, so they asked Kaji Dha to try. But I didn’t want to leave Milagro alone and no one was answering their phones and Traci said she could teleport three as easily as two and Black Canary said it was fine to bring her up, so. I left you a voice mail. And a note.” Traci squeezed his hand and he took a breath. It had seemed like the right thing to do at the time. . .
“This note?” Bianca held up a slip of paper. “‘BRB going to space, PS check voicemail’ is not a note. It’s also not as funny as you think it is.”
“Not even a little?” Jaime asked, going for ‘charming’ and probably ending up closer to ‘endearing idiot’. Whatever worked.
His mom sighed. “New rule. From now on, no taking your sister off planet—or out of the state, for that matter—unless you have explicit permission or it’s an emergency. Understood?”
“Same goes for you, Traci.”
“Yes, Mrs. Reyes.”
“Good.” She paused, then smiled softly at both of them, “It’s not that I don’t trust you, you know that. But when your eight year old visits the Justice League satellite, you like to know in advance. Now that that’s settled,” she turned to head into the kitchen, saying over her shoulder, “Traci, are you staying for dinner? I picked up tamales from Pepe’s on the way home.”
“The very best mom,” Traci said once she was gone, taking his hand and squeezing it. “And what are tamales?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll like them,” He replied, leaning in to brush a kiss against her mouth. “Pepe’s tamales are out of this world.”
She smacked him on the arm, laughing, and pulled him into the kitchen.