Dinner is waiting when Tom comes home. This is one of the benefits of being the son of a farmer – not only is there no need to wait for them to come home from work, but they also tend to eat dinner early. Of course, having your dinner prepared by a farmer is likely to mean it is very traditional. That's OK, Tom is not looking for excitement on the stove, but simply to still his hunger. He seems to vaguely remember that the food was more elaborate back when Mom was still alive, but it's so long ago, he may be mistaken. At least he remembers her, unlike Trine. Or that's what she says. He is not so sure ... she was two at the time.
Speak of the devil – or even just think of him – there is Trine. Of course, she was home earlier than him as usual and has already eaten. That means she is here for the talking. Not hard to guess about what.
"So ... did you see him?"
"You could say that." He deliberately picks one extra potato, finding one large enough to count.
"So ... how was he?"
"Who is 'he'?" asks their father, from the living room. The door is open as usual so he can hear them quite fine.
"Betelgeuse" replies Trine.
"The Starborn boy" says Tom at the same time.
"Oh. They in town?"
"Dad! He goes to the high school here now! Don't you read the papers?"
"Well, I use to skip the celebrity stuff."
"Dad! He's not just celebrity ... he's the most important person on Earth!"
"Uhm, sis? That would be his mother, I think."
"Well, perhaps for now. So ... you did see him?"
Tom hesitates. If he tells her that Benjamin Starborn sits at the desk next to him, she'll faint. Which would be kinda entertaining. But she will also go "squeeee!" for the next several days or weeks and try to make him deliver love letters to a boy she doesn't really know. On the other hand, if he lies, he is committing a small sin and besides she will be really angry when she finds out. Well, sooner or later she will be angry for something anyway. But not today. Evasion, then.
"Of course I saw him. We have classes in the same wing after all."
"Squeeee! He is incredible, right?"
"To be honest, I was mistaken. You won't hear me say that often, so enjoy it. He is not just a pretty-boy. He acted very polite and mature for his age."
"I knew it! I knew it! Everybody who has met him says he is fantastic."
"Of course. So is his mother, and probably his sister as well."
"TOM! She is just 13!"
"Huh? What do you...? No way! I'm just saying that they are all more than human. It's in the family. They are born to be fantastic."
"Puh. For a moment there, I thought you were, you know, perverted."
"I'm not! And neither is he, so calm down."
"That's not the same! I'm 15! Only two years younger."
"And the age of consent is 16 here in Norway. Besides, he is not the type to flirt with the locals. Even if you had been pretty, which you are not."
"But really, he is like a prince ... a prince of the world. He cannot just think about the girls here in Sugar Hill. He is going to marry some very important woman someday. Someone very deep and spiritual, no doubt, just like his father is. The best woman that humanity has produced in our generation. Somehow that doesn't sound like you, does it?"
Then again ... he is not the best boy that humanity has produced, or that Norway has produced, or probably even Sugar Hill. So why did the Starborn say what he did? In the lunch break. Not after the first class, when everyone was busy staring at him, and he took the time to shake everyone's hand. Not after the next class, when he met with boys and girls from other classes. But in the lunch break, when Tom sat down with his home-made pack of sandwiches, alone on a low concrete wall. And then suddenly Ben had come and sat down beside him. Nobody was following him, for some reason. Perhaps the famous magic field did it or something.
"You must be an important person to me" Benjamin Starborn had said, just like that.
"What?" Tom almost lost his sandwiches but managed to catch them.
"When I first saw you, you seemed familiar. But we have not met, have we?"
"No. I never saw you before, except in the papers and on InterView."
"I thought so. I would surely have remembered. Then it must be a glimpse of the future."
"Mom ... my mother says that when you meet someone who will be very important to you, it is a bit like you already know them. I'm not sure if that is just our family though."
"I don't know, I never heard it before."
"She felt that way with all the people who are working at the Manor. And most of all with my father."
"Well, we are going to be in the same class for the rest of high school, that might be it."
"Perhaps. But no one else in the room was familiar. Not even the teacher."
At some point the magic must have slipped, because at this time a couple teachers came running and escorted Benjamin to a lunch table that was prepared for him and some visiting dignitaries. Tom had been left behind with his sandwiches and his bafflement. He was Benjamin Starborn's important person? That just didn't sound right, somehow.
Tom looks up from his plate and finds that Trine has left. Well, that's probably for the best. He finishes, puts away the plate and walks into the living room.
"You made Trine upset" says his father. It does not sound like an accusation, although it is. It sounds like a simple statement of fact, as if talking about the weather.
"I had to. She has a crush on Ben... the Starborn boy."
"Is that so bad?"
How is that not bad? She can never have him. He is as far above us
as ... well, we are just not in the same league. We are just common
"Nobody said that she can have him."
"She needs to learn about her own feelings. Girls are different from us. For us men, love starts with wanting, and then we have to learn to give. For girls, it starts with romantic dreams, and only later do they learn the power of desire."
"Well, I'm not an expert on girls..."
"You need to become one. You're old enough that love should soon become part of your life. You need to understand girls. They are not like us."
"What does that have to do with her crush?"
"It is natural and good that they have crushes on someone they cannot get. Sure, they will be heartbroken, but not horribly, because they knew deep down all the time that it couldn't be. In fact, she would probably be scared out of her mind if he actually talked to her."
"I can imagine."
"So let her be, OK? Let her dream while she can. It's not like anyone will get hurt."