On a plane headed toward Haiti

4:46 pm

Pietro looked thoroughly depressed as he sat on the plane bound for the last place on earth he wanted to go right now. Wearing a form-fitting black dress shirt and a pair of blue jeans, the prince looked out of place in the group of dressed-down royals and millionaires he was with.

The seat to his left was unoccupied, and on his right sat his sister Wanda. She wore short khaki shorts and a green tanktop, with a large black sun hat gracing her head.

“Don’t be so glum,” she told him. “It’s not as if you’ll never see her again.” Wanda was referring to Crystal Amaquelin, object of Pietro’s affections, and currently a resident of the ground.

“When on earth will I have reason to see her again?”

“Well…can’t she come visit you?”

Pietro scoffed. “Yeah, that’s going to happen.”

“Maybe you could visit her,” offered a voice from the front of the elegantly-furnished private jet.

Pietro’s head spun around and he saw Crystal standing there, wearing a white tank top over a yellow one and a pair of jean shorts.

“Miss me?” she asked.

It took everything Pietro had not to use his super-speed, which she was unaware of, to run over to her.

“How did you get on the plane?” he asked after a long hug.

“Your mother hates Emma, that’s how.” She turned her head to where the blonde model was sitting. “No offense, Emma.”

“None taken,” said the girl. “She really does hate me.”

“I felt like something huge was missing when I thought you were gone.”

“Huge?” said the Attilian princess.

“Uh…I meant…”

“Relax, ‘Tro. I knew what you meant.”

Downtown Los Angeles, USA

3:07 pm

“Can I ask what we’re doing here, Lord Magnus?” Jean asked her boss. She sat across from him in the limo they were riding in. Jean usually didn’t ask too many questions, but then again, she had never been to the United States before, and couldn’t begin to imagine why her king would need there.

“We’re going to see some old friends, Jean,” answered the brooding monarch. “Some very old friends.”

“You have friends in L.A.?” Jean inquired of him, fixing her bright red hair into a tight bun.

“I have friends most place, my dear.”

Jean merely shrugged, seeing quite plainly that Magnus did not want the issue pressed any further.

After another few minutes of driving, the car stopped.

“Here we are, Jean,” said the well-dressed man as he got out of the car.

Jean’s white dress blew in the warm California wind as she re-fastened her black ballet flats to her feet. “Nice house,” she commented.

It certainly was a nice house. The large Malibu manor in front of them belonged to actors Frank and Leslie Dean. The large, modern abode was a pale blue color outside, though many of the walls were reflective glass.

“Come Jean.”

Magnus walked along the paved walkway, Jean strutting behind him. When he reached the large front porch, he strode across it to large black doors. Ringing the doorbell twice in quick succession, he stepped back to allow the door room to swing open.

When it did open, however, it swung in to reveal a blonde girl of about seventeen. She wore low-rise jeans and small white shirt that exposed her abdomen. Her long hair was tied into a four-strand braid, which was slumped over her shoulder like a snake waiting to strike its prey.

“Well well well,” she said. “If it isn’t our friends fro Genosha.”

“Hello Karolina,” said Magnus in a tone of vague familiarity. “I trust your parents and their associates are here already?”

“They’re in the basement awaiting your arrival, your highness,” Jean answered before Karolina could. And then to the girl in front of them, she added, “You have an interesting mind. But I’m too old for you, and plus, I live farther from land than any other spot on the planet, so it wouldn’t even be much of a relationship.”

As Magnus chuckled to himself, he and his assistant walked through the doorway, passed the speechless girl and toward a door on the other side of the foyer. When opened, the door led to a basement, and the two Genoshans walked down the steps into a large room, dimly lit room. A extremely large round table graced the room’s center,

“So, who are we meeting with?” asked Jean.

Magnus smiled. “The Pride.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next Issue: The young royals pair up to do some good deeds in Haiti, just as the After-shock hits. And as Emma attempts todown her sister, Pietro makes a startling discovery about Crystal. All in the next can’t-miss* issue of House of M!

*”Can’t-miss” is an embellishment meant to alert readers of shocking events within the story. Actual health and/or well-being will not be affected if the next issue is not read.

By Laudo