Home Can Be You

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Chapter 22

After we told my family about the arson, my mom got into a defensive mood and dad lost it. He hired Zeno to be my bodyguard during the day, and for Elara, a professional bodyguard by her side at her school and at night, no one would leave the house, these were the rules. I understood where he was going with this, I really did. He wanted our safety but I thought that it was a bit too much because we knew how they’d strick again. We just didn’t know when or where. We had to keep an eye on a fire or any smoke near us, that was it. He even warned all the students that if anyone saw a suspicion figure lurking around the school, they had to inform their principal, my dad, immediately.

The first three classes went on smoothly and when the lunch break was over, Zeno and I went to dad’s office because we had a free period to spare. Andro and his friends sat outside under the sun, Franky and Emilia had to do the math exam that we did this morning. They came in late due to engine failure in Franky’s car and the teacher was kind enough to give them a second chance after the lunch break. He was so thoughtful and the girls agreed without hesitation. “Are you sure it’s okay for us to sit with your dad?” Zeno asked me before I put my hand on the door’s handle. I looked at him with a wicked smile and nodded.

“Even if it was not okay to sit with your principal in his office, he’s still my dad,” I stated then opened the door without knocking. We saw dad sitting in his chair behind his disk with his hands on his head. He looked troubled to the point of not noticing us and I instantly got worried. “Hey, dad! Are you okay?” I asked and got closer to him, looked at his face and saw it pale. “Dad?!” I called again in a higher tone and he finally looked my way.

He ruffled his hair and smiled. “Oh, hey sugar pie! Sorry, I was thinking... about stuff...” He trailed off and I narrowed my eyes and crossed my arms. Zeno sat on the small sofa, listening. “What stuff? I know you, dad, you are a tough person and you don’t pale from just thinking about stuff. What happened?” I asked once again and sat on the chair, in front of him. He gave me the look and sighed.

He gave up and placed his hands on the table. “Fine! Do you want to know? Okay, I found these on my laptop this morning and I have been thinking about it ever since. I actually don’t know who to tell, I’m torn!” He explained and Zeno and I gazed at where he pointed then I gasped. I looked at Zeno to see him in the same state that I was in. We were frozen. I rubbed my eyes to confirm that I was seeing a ribbon made of iron and not a normal one. It was there. A small ribbon with a gray material next to it. I stepped closer and touched it with confusion. “Dad, is that ash?” I asked and he nodded with a sad expression on his face. Zeno didn’t talk to me, he just pulled his phone, pressed some buttons and then put it on his ear.

Dad and I waited in silence. After a couple of seconds, Zeno cleared his throat. “Dad, hey... I need you for a favor... Yeah... Can you come to the Bamford’s high school? You know where.” He asked and I mentally thanked him. His dad was an FBI agent who knew about this case. He’d know what to do. “Thanks, dad,” he added and then closed the phone. “He said he’d be here in about 15 minutes, I hope he’d help.” Zeno countered and I just hugged him. He seemed a bit surprised at my action but then he hugged me back.

“Thank you, Zeno, you are a lifesaver!” I exclaimed and he chuckled. Dad came closer and gave him a quick hug as well. “She’s right, you are a lifesaver,” he stated and then looked at me. “Evelina, could you go and get your mom. Her phone is locked and she’s teaching, tell her it’s urgent. Zeno, go with her, I will call Andro.” He instructed and we applied. We walked side by side in silence until we got to her class. I knocked on the door and opened it. All eyes turned to us and I smiled.

“Hey, mom, sorry to interrupt but the principal wants you in his office, it’s urgent,” I said and mom arched her eyebrows, she gazed at Zeno and he nodded in a firm expression. Mom sighed and looked back at her students who had hopeful eyes. “Okay guys, you are dismissed but don’t forget to finish this report by next week. See you tomorrow,” she cleared and we all headed out. “What happened?” She asked me as we walked towards the office.

“Things happened, I called for my dad and he will be here any moment now,” Zeno answered and we met up with Andro on our way to the office, he also asked what was wrong and Zeno told him what he told my mom. I was scared, even frightened but I didn’t want to show it. I needed to be strong for my family. We needed to be prepared for the unknown.

The moment we stepped foot into my dad’s office, a tall man turned to us with a serious face. I assumed that he was Zeno’s father because they looked a lot like each other. “Hello, I’m Zeno’s dad, Alessio Toler,” he introduced and shook hands with all of us and when he reached Andro, he smiled. “Hey Andro, how are you son?” As Alessio said those words, we all looked at Andro, with questioning eyes. Did they know each other? I glaced at Zeno, only to see him facepalm himself. I was sure that they were hiding something and they were about to reveal it.

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