"I already told you 'no'."
"But you said..."
"I said some time in the next week or so. I did not say I would take you today. You're coming with me to your first council meeting on Monday anyway...can't you just wait until then?"
"Won't the meeting last all day?"
"You'll only be in there for the first ten minutes. They want to meet you, see how far along you are in your law studies and go from there. Once they've spoken with you to their satisfaction they will dismiss you. You'll be able to go into the astronomy lab and study until I come and retrieve you. It will be worth the wait, I promise."
I sighed and looked down at the dull, gray carpet of our living room, one of two rooms that I had been spending most, if not all of the last month in, poring over books on our laws and government policies. I'd finished all three of them and moved on to the scientific studies that the SSC (Surface-Seer Council) was in charge of. I was really intrigued by the astronomy books, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on some of the technology that the government had that allowed council members to look at activity on the surface. The people that came before us had created a special window that looked through the tops of our tunnels and into the sky. It has always been our government's job to give the common people of Caldera progress updates on radiation levels among other physical properties of the Earth's surface. Through their research, government officials have found that the levels are slowly diffusing, but it could take a large number of years before the surface would be safe enough to support human life again. However, the possibility of a new life on the surface is rather intimidating to people who have lived their whole lives shut away from broad daylight and open air, so they have remained disinterested in what lies above their heads and have left all research to the government. I could hardly wait to start my own research, and I was very disappointed when my father said I couldn't come with him until next week after I had worked so hard to get all work done ahead of time to leave ample time for reading up on astronomy.
"Alright," I mumbled.
"Oh, honestly, Nova! Don't look so down...why don't you go see Estelle? The first wave of interviews should be over by now, and I think she'd like some support from her best friend for whatever task they've given her. The entertainment council has high expectations for anyone who wants to get in. Maybe getting out of the house and taking a break will keep you from being so restless for the rest of the week."
I nodded, but I was only half listening. It wasn't being in the house that made me restless...it was the fact that, for the last month, my days had begun to run together; it was the same thing, 24/7. Wake up, study law, eat, study law some more, go into town, fetch a couple things for the house, eat lunch, sometimes hang out with a few people for a bit, go back home, cook dinner, study law even more, serve and eat dinner and go to sleep ( nine times out of ten,exhaustion would have overtaken me by that point). Getting my hands on those lab tools had been the only thing that really motivated me to get my work done. Well, that and the opportunity to see my friends, but even with all of my friends I felt a disconnect; all except Estelle. She was the only one who wouldn't badger me with questions about what the government was like "behind the scenes". The rest of them didn't understand that I didn't know much about the government at all, and that I was only home-schooled for the first nine years of my required education, because my father wanted me to develop skills in working alone, which I would be doing the majority of the time as a government head, before I learned how to work with others and create relationships.
"Don't tell me that you don't deserve a break. You've finished all of those law books in two weeks, meaning you're a very far ahead in your work. Go talk to Estelle. It will distract you for a while."
I nodded, but just barely, still looking down at my feet.
"Nova, I want you to know I'm proud of you; extremely proud of you and what you've already accomplished. Now, for crying out loud, go see your friend and try to have a good time. Those labs will be there when you come with me next week."
I couldn't help but smile at the prideful (although somewhat exasperated) tone in his voice. I grabbed my phone and keys, leaving my backpack in an armchair, and walking out with my father.
"Okay, I'll go. Do good things at work!"
"I always do! I'll see you at dinner!"
We walked off in different directions. My father was not right about a lot of things when it came to me, especially of late, but this time he had hit the nail on the head, because a distraction from Estelle was exactly what I needed. And, coincidentally, my help was exactly what Estelle needed.
Funny, how fate works in convenient ways.