Mark’s door was closed when I arrived but I could hear the scribbling of a pen against paper and when I opened the door. He looked up right as the door opened, surprised but smiled, no doubt at my odd appearance. He seemed to of had a bit more stubble on his face but the same childish charm in his eyes. He set down his pen ever so gently and rested his head on his hands, grinning.
Another Pepsi can sat on the desk but I could hear the fizzing as the blue and white striped straw twirled around in the carbonated drink, unsure of the direction it wanted to go in. The bowl was long gone and things seemed a bit neater since the last time I was in there.
Mark smiled at me again and waved at me to sit down, which I obliged. My eyes kept scanning the room, looking at the books and trying to rummage through my thoughts so that I could say something without messing it up.
“What do you need, Nayleth? I thought you’d be relaxing but instead you came running in here like a Chala that smelled peanut butter!” Mark exclaimed, throwing his hands back which made him seem even more eccentric as his eyes popped.
I looked at him for a moment, wondering how I was related to him. It really did intrigued me. Asking Auggie wasn’t too bad of an idea.
Shaking my head, I opened my mouth finally answer him. “My father’s case. You know about it right? Seems like everyone here does.” I prompted as he started chewing on a pen.
Mark stopped chewing on the pen, setting it down on the desk. “Yes, of course. And it was world-wide news. You father was more than just a full-meta that married a human. Of course, you should really ask Auggie about things like this. Why come to me?” He then prompted me and I opened my mouth to speak but stopped, unsure as to why I did.
Why did I? I trusted my uncle and I knew where the Julius Caesar statue was thanks to me bolting down hallways but why?
“I don’t… I don’t know.” I replied, eyes falling as I began to tap my foot.
Mark smiled at me and I couldn’t help but smile back. “It’s ok to not know something, just make sure to always figure out that something sometime soon. Now,” He stated, picking back up the pen and taking a sip from his Pepsi. “What is your question?”
I took a deep breath, staring at the can of Pepsi but eventually met his eyes. “I was thinking about when I was in the courtroom. No doubt whatever kind of reporters you have here made reviews or whatever you call them of the case. I was thinking about how there was this oddly tattooed couple there, how they were the only ones that even showed a hint of believing what I said.
“The faces are fuzzy though. But I remember my father greeting them with great happiness. I just… I have feeling it’s Ace and Blitz and I want to talk to them about it but I think I’m gonna wait. I need to just… relax.” I finished, staring at the ground and wiggling my toes as I tried to breath.
Looking back up, I could see Mark had a blank face. He was thinking, was my best guess. But I wondered what about. His eyes glazed over a second but he snapped back, looking at me for a second then taking another swig of his soda.
He tapped his fingers against the desk and started chewing on the pen, staring into space behind me. Apparently, space was very interested in a book about the war of Redcliffe.
“Go talk to Auggie. Or relax in the garden. We have a garden you know, filled with butterfly bushes and Rapplesnaps and-” But he stopped, furrowing his brow in disgust as blue ink trailed down his lips and onto his stubble covered chin.
He practically kicked his chair out of the window behind him and out the door to the left, the pen laying on his desk as the blue liquid slowly flowed out and dripped onto the carpeted floor. Which was a shame, it was a nice carpet.
I listened for Mark but took the time to think, as I figure he would be a while. Have you ever chewed a pen and then it broke and then it’s just ink everywhere? It sucks. Trust me. It sucks.
If that couple was Ace and Blitz, why were they there? I mean, I knew they got along with my dad. I think? Either way, why go? It only brought people more pain.
Maybe I should go talk to my uncle. He knew more than most. My only issue was if he would tell me. He tends to get nervous about telling people things, especially if it could hurt them.
Then again, maybe I should let things simmer? Too much has happened that I didn’t think I could handle anything else. I didn’t want to bring those memories back either; the ones trapped in Pandora’s box, laced with poison and shimmering with hope. Not yet.
I got up, almost tripping over the chair leg as Mark came back. Blue ink stained his button-up shirt but he didn’t seem to mind as he smiled at me, teeth still rather white.
“Leaving so soon?” He asked me, walking over to his desk.
I paused, looking at him. “Um, yeah. I’m just gonna… let things simmer.” I mumbled, looking out the door. I saw a boot-cladded foot quickly shuffle out of the way of the door and I grinned to myself.
They weren’t the best at hiding, apparently. But it was amusing.
Mark looked at me and nodded his head, settling a stain remover bottle on his desk. “I’ve broken so many pens it’s not even funny at this point. But yes, let things simmer. It’s never good to rush things, just like rushing a cook can lead to spoiled food.
“Auggie will see you in class tomorrow with J. I do hope you enjoy it here. But please, talk to Muluth soon. She needs to know you’re ok.” He told me, frowning at a tarot card that fluttered on his desk. It was covered in snow and the ice framework sparkled in the sunlight that poured through the window like carmel.
“Oh, ok. Thank you, by the way.” I told him and shoved my hands in my pockets again. He grinned at me and then waved me out, glaring at the tarot card sitting on his desk.
"Ace and Blitz are with your grandmother. They'll be staying with her until they can figure out where to re-camp." He told as I started toward the door. I nodded a thank you and left.
After softly shutting the door, I glared down at the three stooges sitting outside the door. Griffin’s face was pale but showed a face that said I’m-sorta-sorry-but-not-really while J just looked at me, her face contorted in deep thought. And then there was Sully. His face didn’t even give me any clue as to what he was feeling.
I rubbed my temples, taking a deep breath. I just need to pass some time. How hard could that be? Very. Considering past experience.
We didn’t talk much after we got back to the room. And I was ok with that. People needed time to process things and that makes complete sense; no matter where you’re from or who you are.
I just curled up in bed again, listening to the breathing of J who was baking a cake. It looked like she was trying to make it a three-stack cake and she wasn’t doing to bad of a job. I watched her from a little peak-hole I made while buried under covers, watching as she cracked an egg, shell going everywhere. So much for cake.
It was warm under my quilt. Obviously. But it was the comforting warmth that makes you feel happy, you know? The kind that drifts you off to sleep and coddles you in hugs that aren’t really there. It was nice.
Was being the key word.
Watching J try to layer the cake into a three stack was painful. But I figured she could use the learning experience. I looked at how she clumsily put the cake layers on top of one another, not sure as to how to make them stick.
I hoarsely told her to use icing, rubbing my neck as my voice surprised me. She laughed but scrounged around and soon found a half-eaten container of chocolate and vanilla icing.
Either way, there was cake.
I took my time to look around the room, the ceiling now clear so that we could see the blue sky marked with clouds like freckles. Weird birds with abnormally long tails flew overhead from time to time and you could hear their chime-like singing.
Rolling over, I was greeted by a clock sitting on my bedside desk, a little post-it note taped onto the front. It was a wooden clock, darkly colored. The hands of the item were laced with a silvery outline that glowed a bright blue each time I touched it or, what I later figured out, at the hour.
The post-it note had a little smiley face on it, written in blue ink. An address was written on it too, the words in handwriting that seem to of been written very quickly. And familiar.
I turned onto my back, holding the well-crafted alarm clock in my hands. It was pretty. But why give me a clock?
Looking back down at the note, I shriveled up my nose. J had burnt a layer of the cake. That’s never good, nor does it smell good. Sully complained about her baking mishap, J just shrugging it off and saying it would be a two-layered cake instead.
Griffin was sleeping, his hair all over the place as his feet dangled off the bed and the covers wrapped around them; he wasn’t going to wake up anytime soon. Sully was drawing in his book again, fingers dancing across the page like figure skaters. J was still working on the cake but had now pulled out mini-marshmallows and read-to-pour caramel that slowly oozed from the container.
Thank God she had made chocolate cake, otherwise I would have questioned her choice of caramel and marshmallows as they cascaded down the side of the white-frosted cake.
I looked at the clock, figuring I would question the person later. It was late evening. I was tired. We all were. The cake was tempting but we figured we could save it for breakfast the next morning.
Griffin was the first to fall asleep. It didn’t take him long either. He was out like a lightbulb that had been smacked with a bat. That’s pretty quick, if you don’t know. Sully fell asleep next, giving J a goodnight hug. It seemed like something he would do, to be quite honest.
Before J went to bed, she said she would wake me up so that we could go to class together and that afterwards we could go for lunch or visit the person that gave me the clock. I told her that it sounded wonderful and we agreed on the plan as I prepped for bed.
And by that I mean I curled around my covers and fell right to sleep, trying to not freakout from the nightmares.