229 Days Until Celebration and the Uncertain End (Part 6)
The After Party was particularly boring sober. Buzz gone, Evester was simply tired. He wanted to go home, and away from this nonsense. There was nothing keeping him here other than the will and motivation to find his target, and even that will was dwindling as he listened to the drabble of the upperclass conversations
“And so I tell her, please. You don’t even know Celesia.” Hester laughed and the others followed. As if the joke were funny, as if Evester wanted to laugh.
“Ah what some people will do to fit in.” Karly made it seem as if it were some pointed statement. At him.
“We’ve been there.” Kim agreed, in a way defending Evester from their ire. “Trust me, I have. Evester once asked me if I had jumped from a cliff before and I lied.”
“You did?” Evester found this fact to be news to him. He knew exactly when she was talking about too. She gave him a wink before laughing at her own joke.
“Have you?” Graceon asked Evester. The man was sobering up, and would soon realize that Evester and the others were. He would become the first problem, if he wasn’t already. Evester didn’t even hate Graceon… much.
“Lied? Why would I? I say I know Evester and everyone thinks I’m lying.” The words created a resounding laugh, and Evester hoped it would give him a pass.
“Is there anything you’ve wished you could say?” Kim asked leaning close, pretending.
“Not really.” Evester leaned back, because Aether would. Aether was not as confident as Evester.
“Living a full life them.” Kim ran her hand along his shoulder.
“Not as full as yours.” Plucking his hand off, Evester resisted the temptation to flirt back. She was testing him.
“I bet not.” She pulled back her had with a whimsical and drunk appearing smile. “You don’t seem like the type to break the rules anyway. What happened?”
“I didn’t grow up with you.” Evester shrugged, trying to refocus. “I’d rather not get in trouble. Especially not these days. I don’t have someone who can get me out easily.”
“Shame.” Graceon laughed. “Sometimes a bit of rule breaking is necessary.”
“How long are you in Valaria?” Karly asked.
“A few more weeks. I plan to try to get in contact with my one Star friend, before I head home.” Evester needed this to be the moment.
“Oh a friend?” Karly continued.
“Yeah he’s a Star named Zeydar. We knew each other when I lived in Arcadia.” And this was where the ploy began. Endwin and Kim relaxed at the name, almost giving away the plot altogether. No one seemed to notice, perhaps it would be shoved aside as them relaxing for “Aether” wasn’t looking for Evester.
“I’ve heard of him.” Endwin nodded. “Why was it?”
“Some kid from Arcadia, only one to survive.” Graceon wove his hand. Graceon was sober or nearly there, Evester saw it in his eyes. “You haven’t talked to him since then?”
“I’m not good at staying in contact.” Evester tried to keep his words even, tried to add a quiver as if he were hiding something that they would be able to guess easier. “He is here? I’ve been trying to get to Star Campus but they have denied me.”
“They are going to.” Osta groaned. “Something about a security risk. You have to have a lot of connections to get on now.”
Not ones like this Aether would have.
“I know a few people.” Graceon gave Evester the smile of a contract. Graceon was asking what he’d get out of it. He was definitely sober.
“Don’t give things for free.” Endwin rolled his eyes.
“Any friend of Evester is a friend of mine.” Graceon said the words as if Evester and him were still friends. How easy this would be, if he could use his own name. “The royal family is our family.”
Evester had no doubts that if he revealed himself, that this man would out him immediately. “I really couldn’t ask for that. I’ll just put in another petition. If he just talked to them, they’d know.”
“If he talked to you, he’d recognize you?” Hester confirmed.
“Yes,” Evester lied. The goal was to get them to help. He needed to get them to help. “Or at least he should.”
“Well, perhaps I could help with that.” Graceon stood. “You look like you could get a pick me up. Come.”
Evester hesitated before he went to stand. Kim pulled back at him, warning him, but they all knew he would have to follow. This was their path in and Graceon would not bend.
“It’s fine. We could get him a temporary pass through May.” Karly suggested, trying to stop Graceon. Evester wondered just what he was about to get into. Perhaps it was a good thing he was sober as well. “She’s friends with Zeydar. It’s safer.”
“Yes, that is true, but Aether still needs more of a high, no?” Graceon ignored her and nodded for Evester to follow him towards another room.
“Yes.” Hand clenched tight, Evester trailed after Graceon to where the smoke was thick. People were passed out on the floor, dancing around, speaking to themselves, or laying on the floor conscious but dreaming. Evester knew dealers from the way they stood at parties, and these were Sweet Dream dealer. Dream Masters, selling their dreams to those who would pay. How would Evester get out of this?
“Graceon.” One gave Graceon a nod. “Sick party.”
“It was cool you could make it. This is my friend Aether. I was wondering if you could set us up. Everything is so mundane.” Graceon introduced Evester.
“On you?” Another asked.
“On me.” Graceon laughed.
This was a damn set up if Evester ever knew it. The man in charge was the one who handed Evester the Sweet Dreams. Evester didn’t mean to stare but he did. The drug in his hands weighed heavy. When was the last time he’d taken Sweet Dreams? Far too long ago. The two spoke inconsequential words as Evester tried to figure out a plan.
“Never had Dreams?” The lead Dream Master asked.
“Not in a while.” Evester answered.
“Shame.” He laughed.
“James is a close friend of Zeydar.” Friend not used in the way of friends. Zeydar’s Dream Master, which made the drug addict rumors that the others reported over headset true.
“You are looking for Zeydar?” James asked watching Evester, pressuring him.
“He’s one of Zeydar’s old friends.” Graceon was watching, taunting, telling Evester he knew something was wrong with his story. Or perhaps Graceon was trying to but “Aether” in his place. Evester did not know, but he did not want the Dreams.
“No way.” James and his friends laughed. “Hard to believe he has any other friends.”
“Speak of the devil, Zeydar.” One of James friends, who was partially high, started to laugh.
At first Evester wondered if the girl was in the middle of a dream when a hand was on his shoulder. Turning to the person who had come, Evester’s eyes locked on grey eyes that held magic within them. A spark of energy radiated off of him. In the dark, smoke, and soft changing lights Evester could remember a night that was long ago, a dream from yesteryear. A memory he had assumed was a dream of his making until the image of that memory stood before him.
Pale skin from staying inside all the time, bags under his eyes, hair that was pushed back, none of the designs from traditional party clothes. He was disguised to move through the city and back to star campus. He did not look the same, his facial shape had sharpened out a bit, but the eyes were the same. Evester’s name was on his lips, alerting that Zeydar knew him too. They had met in the past unbeknownst to Evester until that exact moment.
Then the recognition faded as he faked a smile, dropped his hand to shake Evester’s taking the Sweet Dreams from him, and then placed his hands in his pockets. “See ya later.” Zeydar said to him before glaring at James. “I came here for you James.”
“I figured you did.” James laughed. “Come on, I’ll see you out.”
Zeydar agreed, and walked after him. Before anyone could realize it was gone, Evester pretended to take it. Zeydar had taken it from him on purpose, regardless of what that purpose was. It wasn’t addiction, no. That was protection.
Protection from the drug. Recognition of each other. Alibi perfected. Zeydar had given him a gift in that short exchange, one that he may never know. The look on Graceon’s face was enough for Evester to know that he believed that Evester did, in fact, belong in their circle. It was clearly, infuriating for Graceon.
“I guess we really need to get you that approval, for I’m not sure he’s going to able to, after sneaking off campus.” Graceon words were like knives. Evester turned back to the door to try to find Zeydar’s figure. So close. They could still get him. Then he saw Heia with the others. Their eyes met. She was pissed.
Evester hoped Heia wasn’t so stupid to believe that Evester actually took the drug. She turned off with her signal to lead, and Evester wasn’t sure she was smart enough to know he wouldn’t dare.
“We get it?” Kim asked over the headset.
Yes.” Evester agreed to both Graceon and Kim. He then asked Graceon, putting his dominance on display. “It would be awesome if you could get your friend May to help me get a pass to talk to him.” Evester then backed up, letting his body sway and his feet stagger a but. “But I think that if I still catch him, I could probably see if that’s even the point.”
“Oh, sure.” Graceon agreed as Evester went towards the door. He spoke to his headset telling them that Zeydar was there. He knew the others had already begun their exit, but they could still get to him. The house was like a maze that confused Evester at every turn, and turned him around as he tried to get out. Leaving the house, Evester ran into James.
“He’s gone man. Disappears like smoke, but he did ask for me to tell you that you shouldn’t find him.” James shrugged.
“Real messed up.” Graceon agreed from behind. Had Graceon been following him? No. Graceon knew his own house and knew that Evester was chasing after. He must have taken a shortcut.
“He runs from anything that reminds him of his past.” James shrugged.
“Yet he falls to Sweet Dreams.” Evester said the words aloud by mistake.
“Reality is harder than dreams. Dreams you can control. It’s the past you can’t control.” Then James laughed as the irritated expression Evester had let bleed to his face. “What did you do?”
Evester wanted to say he had kissed Zeydar, but he didn’t remember. He kissed a lot of people at parties when he was inebriated. Still, that wouldn’t be a reason for Zeydar to say not to find him. It was a threat, a threat that Evester was right. Zeydar did know him, and somehow he knew that Evester was searching for him. It was a dare to get to him.
Shaking his head, he began to act. He had to pretend to be dreaming.
Sorry about last week guys. It was my last heavy week at work, and I just forgot to post these. This week you get four. Good for you, no?