229 Days Until Celebration and the Uncertain End (Part 2)
Evester walked through his house door, dropping his jacket on the rack before dragging himself through the halls. He wondered if running errands always been this tedious in the past, only to pause. Had he ever actually run errands before? With Adam? Maybe? All he could remember was hanging out with friends in his house or out and about doing nothing in particular.
The soft laughter of children and voices reverberated through the stark white walls telling Evester that people did in fact live there. He walked into the living room to see his friends teaching the others to play video games, or how to read books. There was no mother in sight, nor his siblings.
“Where did they go?” Evester asked Phil.
“Edwin and Europa? Who knows. We haven’t seen your mother in days either.” Phil shrugged.
“She has work.” Kim reminded them as she walked to Heiphillia and Evester with sandwiches. “Plus she has to make sure that all the servants are in on the secret no? Tight lips.”
“Or death.” His friends joked, but Heiphillia’s family didn’t see it as a joke. They were far too serious. Evester could not blame their apprehension. They’d see Edwin once, heard Europa’s voice maybe once, and never seen his mother.
“Or death?” The voice came from the hall, accompanied by the click of heels and the silence falling on the room as eyes went wide. Evester felt a groan growing in his throat, but he held it back.
“Mother.” Everster turned to the entry way as his mother entered the room and gave the children of the room a once over. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail. The heels she wore were low, shoes she’d remove as soon as she determined the floors were clean. She was in home clothes — loose blue slacks and a plain white blouse — not that these new comers or even his friends would know it. She must have changed before getting home. “How was work?”
“You don’t care about work.” His mother disagreed walking towards her office. Over the days Evester had seen many an individual try to open the door, to see inside. Only two — perhaps three but Evester had never asked his father — people had access to the room, and Evester was not one of them. The door burst open from the sensors, and all watched as the woman went inside, sat in her chair, kicked off her heels and held out her hand without another word.
“I have to get it.” Evester knew what she wanted.
“Mmm.” She dropped her hand and looked down at papers on her desk. Evester was out of the room and walking to get his backpack faster than anyone could place the pieces together. Hephilla chased after him.
“Is she always like this?” Heiphillia whispered to him.
“Unfortunately.” Evester answered as he found his safe in his room, opened it and pulled out the bag, leaving his travel clothes in there. Evester returned to the living room to find it emptied of children, with most of Everdanger and Heiphillia’s family having remained. Europa and Endwin stood in more formal day clothes in their mother’s office. White button downs, with navy slacks for his brother and deep red slacks for his sister. Simple, elegant, frightening. “You all look like this is an interrogation.”
“Is it not?” Europa asked following Evester into their mother’s office.
“I suppose it is.” Evester placed the bag on the table. “Must you be so calloused? My friends are worried by your appearances.”
“We are worried you brought traitors into the house. We get to be apprehensive Evester.” Endwin chastised him.
Evester watched as his mother opened the bag and pulled out documents. She eyed them, placing them to the side if it would take more time to read, another pile if she would never be able to understand them. One in specific, the list of names, written in hand by his father, he watched her hand hover over. Her fingers seemed to trace the letters in the air, savoring them, before it too was placed down. Her eyes did not leave the document.
“And these children are necessary for Heiphillia?” Estishia Igiliastal looked up from the list. Evester watched as his mother’s hands did not leave the paper, fingers tracing the words. “That is what she said I assume? I know better than to believe you would want to bring tens of X’s into the city.”
“It was not my plan, no.” Evester agreed.
Estishia Igiliastal stopped tracing, hands placed before her and, looked back to where Evester had to assume Heiphillia was standing. “I shall approve, so long as they cause no trouble.”
“Thank you.” Evester answered for them.
“I will take time to read these and shall ask you questions.”
“Of course.” Evester figured that out of everyone in the world there was only one person who knew and understood them better and that man was missing.
“When we find your father, I will have a stern talking to him about all of this, but for now be at ease.” Estishia spoke to no one in specific.
“We are going to a party tonight.” Evester decided to announce then. Little to the knowledge of any or everyone in the room. Evester had gotten wind of the party thanks to Uly that morning, and it was their shot in to get Zeydar.
“Of course you are.” Endwin rolled his eyes.
“You are too. I need your help getting onto Star Campus and getting those connections without mom’s help.” Evester smiled at his older brother watching as Endwin’s face went from mild annoyance to indignation.
“Me?” Endwin withheld what ever anger there was from his question.
“I suppose you are going to a party tonight Endwin.” Europa laughed knowing that there was no way out for him. “I hope it is as fun as the rumors say.”
It was as if a veil or spell had been lifted in that moment as Endwin realized just who he would be going to a party with. Any annoyance to the inconvenience was forgotten.
“It will be.” Evester let himself smile at his siblings. They weren’t the closest due to living apart, but he had talked to them quite often growing up: letters, video calls, messages on EverDanger videos. Evester just hoped that his brother would not get in his way.
“You are dismissed.” Estishia wove them off. “Shut the door on your way out.”
Evester did not have to be asked twice as he and his siblings left his mother’s side. It was then that Evester saw that no one else had entered his mother’s office. Shutting the doors, the room visibly relaxed.
“We should start preparing for the party then.” Kim agreed.
“Already?” Layla asked.
“We need ins, outs, outfits, communication, goals, we may be at a party, but we need a plan too.” Uly agreed. “We need to start now.”