Home sweet home?
I navigate my way through the halls til I locate the classroom I'm looking for. This can't be happening, I must be dreaming. Right? Never in the past six years did I think I'd be getting out of this place to go to an actual home. My first few months here of course I'd pray my mother was found and she'd come for me, but the more time passed the easier it was to accept. Now, not only am I getting out, but my best friend gets to come with me. I may very well even have a safe place to make my first shift.
The thought brings me to a dead stop in the middle of the hallway, two doors away from my destination, I realize. How am I going to explain things to Tilly? Would she understand? Would she kick me out when she finds out? Oh God! Would she kick Farrah out? I shake my thoughts away and take tentative steps forward. I can deal with this. One day at a time, that's what mom always said anyway.
I knock on the door to our spells class, knowing Farrah would be pissed I'm dragging her out of the much anticipated topic. "Ms. Adams, so nice of you to finally join us." Ugh, Mr. Thorpe. Glad I wont have to be learning anything from him. He is possibly the worst teacher here. Plus he smells like a mixture of lizard spit and toad pee allll of the time. "Sorry to interrupt sir, but I was sent to get Farrah, Headmaster requests her." I glance at Farrah who has gone completely white at the mention of Headmaster. Mr. Thorpe makes a shooing motion and Farrah scrambles out of her seat and to the door.
Once outside I begin walking down the hall ignoring her sputtering questions of why the Headmaster could possibly want to see her. At the end of the hall I stop and take a right at the staircase and Farrah pulls to a dead stop. When I turn to look at her she's no longer worried but I can see the frusration pouring from her in waves. Then she takes two steps toward me and pokes a finger in my shoulder. " You cannot possibly be serious right now. Today, of all days to be a rebel and you choose today? During spells? How can you be so inconsiderate Gen? Like come on!" True to form she spins around and starts heading back to class.
"Farrah, wait." She stops in her tracks and whirls back toward me, rage in her eyes. "I'm not being rebellious, I have something to tell you, something really really good, I just wanted to be out of earshot of the nosy nellies around here." That's when she looked at me, actually looked at me. She finally saw the excitement bubbling over, the way my smile split my face in half. "Ok cut it out, that smile is creeping me out. Just tell me what it is."
I pull her further up the steps and in a low voice explain my time in Headmaster's office. When I'm done, she only looks at me like I've gone mad. No excitement. My own excitement quickly dies out, replaced by doubt. Did I wrongly assume that she would want to go with me?
"Say something. Please? You never go this long without talking, you're starting to worry me." I'm taken offguard when she throws her arms around me, nearly knocking me to the floor. "I don't know what to say. Thank you doesn't seem like enough." She pulls back and I see her wipe her eyes with the back of her hand, a grin palstered on her freckled face. She turns and starts taking the stairs two at a time. "Well come on Gen, let's get out of here."
Believe it or not, the packing process did not take long. Like literally no time at all. All we possessed were two pairs of canvas shoes and about five uniforms and two night dresses each. I know you're thinking ' y'all were rocking those converse sneakers' but no. The canvas shoes were not converse or vanns or anything like that, they were plain and non descript. Farrah had actually never even heard of the brand converse before I had brought it up awhile back. So with our meager belongings, we trudged back to the admin building to meet Tilly. Grandma? Gran? I don't know, we can figure that one out later.
Tilly couldn't stop fawning over Farrah and she was basking in the attention. I'd never seen her so shy before, but it only took two minutes or less of Tilly complimenting her for her to burst at the seams and start talking. When Tilly saw our one bag and what was inside it, she sent a hard look the Headmaster's way and tells us to leave it behind. She ushers us out the door quickly but not before letting him know he'll be seeing her soon. It's safe to say no one missed the underlying threat and the Solus institute will soon be under investigation. I'd always wondered if all the institutes were like this one and my guess is maybe, but it' not the way they are supposed to be.
So, two hours later, after a forty minute drive to the airport and an hour long plane ride, we're in yet another private car heading to Tilly's house. Farrah looks a little green around the edges considering this is her first time outside the institute, therefore her first time in moving vehicles. I hold in another laugh as she groans loudly beside me, one arm circling her stomach and the other covering her mouth.
"I'm sorry dear, we're almost there." Tilly assures her when the car makes another turn causing more groan. Shortly after, the car comes to a stop outside a massive gate and the driver leans forward and punches in a code before the gate swings open. He slowly moves the car down the long driveway and a gasp escapes me. It's just as my mother described it all those years ago. Blue hydrangeas flowers line the driveway, pruned and trimmed to perfection. The lawn is freshly cut and you could smell the trimming in the air. In the far distance, trees spaced evenly apart along the outer wall allows for shades on the benches beneath them. Somewhere on the property I know there is also a greenhouse filled with every plant and herb that one can ever need for a potion or spell, even the rare ones and some illegal ones.
The driver makes his way up the circular drive and comes to stop at the giant double doors, the fountain in the middle of the drive, a fairy pouring water from a bowl, trickling softly in the background. Tilly turns to us and before she could say anything, her door is opened and she's gently lifted from the car. I look on as an older gentleman embraces her and plants a smoldering kiss on her lips. She's drawn in by the male, who I'm hoping is my grandfather, Joseph, and completely forgets that she has two impressionable teens watching.
The man, with his mop of grey hair and twinkling green eyes, finally releases Tilly who is fully flustered from the encounter. That's when his eyes land on me and Farrah, the smile dropping from his face. Tilly smooths her hands down her dress once more and noticing his distraction turns to look a us. "Oh, that's right. Sorry girls." She motions for us to exit the vehicle and we do as she asks. Standing outside in the cool april air, I fidget from foot to foot under the man's extensive gaze. It's like he's looking straight through me all the way to my soul.
"Genesis, meet your grandfather, Joseph. Sweetheart, I told you I'd find her."