The footsteps a child follows are most likely to be the ones his parents thought they covered up.
"I guess I'll start," Rebekah remarked, leaning back against the wall. "I have two children, Wren being the eldest, and Robyn being the youngest, Wren is 17 and Robyn is 14." Ava nodded then looked to Chairzhong.
"What about you?" She asked, taking another drag from her cigarette.
Chairzhong chuckled then began talking, "I also have two, they are both adopted, my eldest is Melanie, she is 15, then Damion, he is eight. I believe they are the ones who set this all up." Chairzhong then pulled out a leather-bound book with a lock on the front. "I had three of these, they are all the details of our travels, they took the other two."
Eli opened his mouth and began to talk next, "I have twins, Row and Judith, they are both ten. They are weird and slightly retarded, I highly doubt that they planned anything, just went along with it." He pulled an empty water bottle to his lips and spit in it, a thick brown substance slid down the side of the bottle making Rebekah cringe.
Ava turned to Brayden who was the only one that hadn't spoken, "Brayden?" He looked to her and cleared his throat.
"I have two boys, Elton and Ronald, they are five and seven." Ava scoffed at the name choices and flicked her cigarette to the ground, smashing it under her heel.
Ava closed her eyes and mulled over each age.
Her eyes snapped open and she narrowed in on Chairzhong, "Do you watch where she spends her money?" Chairzhong nodded but her face took on a worried look.
"Apparently, she bought the plane tickets with cash, shes' a smart girl, no trail for me to follow. The only thing she used her card for was a car to the castle. I believe all of them chipped in for supplies because she only spent about 100 bucks on lanterns and bug spray along with some first aid kits, I would think they would all be smart enough to know they would need food, so."
Ava pulled a piece of gum from her bag and pushed it into her mouth, a few minutes of silence passed before Ava began speaking again, "Wait a second." She took a couple more bites and swallowed thickly, "You're telling me, that a 15-year-old had enough money to pay for this all that night, in one big chunk? ~because I'm a grown-ass adult and I don't. On top of that find everyone, call everyone, tell them their parents time travelled, which, if I was them, I would not believe, then convince them that they needed to pay for things and go time travelling with her all in one night, the same night she herself found the journal and had to wrap her own head around it?"
Ava saw the moment all of the parents' faces fell. Ava smirked and continued to chew her gum, "I'm sorry to tell you buttercups, but, they have been planning this for quite some time, behind all your backs as well." Ava paused and a look of appreciation came across her face, "Damn, they are good at keeping secrets."
"Merissa is going to kill me." Ava looked over to Brayden, wondering who Merissa might be.
"How soon can we get a flight to Scottland?" Ava pulled her phone from her raincoat pocket and clicked onto her web browser, she had an app for the airport back home in Paris but not for the one in Atlantia, Georgia. "Tomorrow." She replied still looking down at her phone.
In return, she got a collective groan. "They will probably already be in another time by then."
Ava winced and turned to look at Chairzhong. "Well, it took us almost a year to find the lake to travel and another couple of months to figure it out," Eli remarked hopefully.
"Let me guess," Ava chirped sarcastically, "You wrote about the location and how it worked in your journal." Chairzhong nodded slowly.
"Well, how was I supposed to know that our children would read about our pain and suffering and decide 'yeah, sounds cool' and try to go back in time?" Ava leaned back against the wall and clicked back onto her phone.
"There is a hotel not too far from here that has vacant rooms." She paused and a large smile took over her face, "They also have a bar."
Later that night, once they were checked in, all five tucked themselves in a booth at the back of the hotel bar for privacy. They ordered drinks, Eli's being an Octoberfest, Rebekah's being a sweet red wine, Chairzhong's a fruity cocktail, Brayden's a tumbler of whiskey, and Ava's being a rum and coke.
"I really thought you would be a beer drinker Brayden," Ava commented, taking a sip of her drip through a tiny straw. Brayden shrugged.
"I am, sometimes, just needed something a bit stronger this time around." Ava nodded and rested her elbows on the table.
"Any idea why they might all," Ava put emphasis on the word all, "Want to travel through time?" Eli, Chairzhong, Brayden, and Rebekah all shrugged at once.
Rebekah sighed and pushed her drink forward on the table, taking up a similar position to Ava, "This might make me sound like a bad mother, but, I think I might have been the one to push Wren to do this. She's kind of a trouble maker, she doesn't listen to me or Phoenix, my husband, so she's constantly in trouble at home."
Ava frowned, "That doesn't sound like something that's your fault."
"Yeah, but, still, it makes you feel as if you have failed as a parent ya know?" Ava shook her head and took another sip of her drink.
"No, I don't, what about you guys?"
"Other than sheer curiosity, I don't know why, Melanie and Damion both are smart kids, I don't actually have the faintest idea of why they would want to do this." Chairzhong was staring down at the table.
Eli let out a low chuckle, "I guess the twins would do it because everyone else was, so, the figured, why the hell not?" Ava smiled at Eli then turned her attention to Brayden.
Brayden sighed, "No clue why they would want to. Maybe because of-" But he trailed off and instead took to looking at the ground. Ava placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Let's go smoke." She said, standing up she grabbed the coat she had hung over a chair at the table over. Slipping it over her arms she waited until Brayden was standing, she then hooked an arm through his and pulled him towards the door.
Once they were outside she took out a pack of cigarettes and her lighter. "You know that studies show vaping is worse than just plain old smoking?" Brayden brought his vape pen to his lips and clicked the button, inhaling deeply.
"Well smoking, in general, is bad, what is it they say, 'killing your lunges one cigarette at a time', not one vape flavour at a time."
Ava pulled her red-stained cigarette down to her hip, flicking the end of it she sent ashes scattering to the ground.
"So, are you going to tell me who Merissa is? Or am I going to have to stalk her on social media?" She pulled her phone from her pocket and waved it in front of the other man's face.
"She's my wife, well, my now, officially, ex-wife." Brayden swallowed and turned to Ava. "I'm guessing you're not married." Ava smiled and shook her head.
"Something about being trapped in an unwavering, perpetual tie to another person just doesn't sound like my forte." Ava then smiled sadly at Brayden, "I am sorry though, I know what its like, divorce I mean, it's horrid." Ava parents got divorced when she was young, and her birth mother was crazy. "Are you thinking that because its rocky at home your boys would want to travel through time?"
Brayden's eyes were glued to the ground as he nodded.
"Mmmm," Ava hummed thoughtfully, "Well, I can't say that that is not one of the factors, but I doubt that that is the whole reason. They are young, and boys, I'm betting they just wanted an adventure."
Brayden laughed and took another drag of his vape pen, Ava smiled and pulled her cigarette to her lips, staining it further as she took another puff from it.
"May I ask why you are getting a divorce?"
Brayden rolled his eyes and leaned back against the wall, "She cheated on me with one of her co-workers, but we were having marital problems before that, pretty much from the day we were married."
Ava laughed, "Sorry but, that's another very good reason I don't want to get married...people suck ass more than half the time." Brayden smiled and nodded.
"I guess that's what I get though, marring practically the first person I dated when we came back." He shrugged and pushed himself off the wall turning to go back inside.
"I'm going to have to order a couple more drinks to go through with tomorrow," Ava remarked as they re-entered the building.