Chapter 14 Can I help You?
A shuffling sound accompanied by a thud, which was then followed by a whispered, “fuck!”
I opened one eye to peek and was greeted by a hunched over figure, desperately trying to pick up the fallen pens. The messed up mob of short dark red hair letting me know that Ember had decided to surprise me. I hadn’t seen her since I left Avalon.
I grinned in annoyance and sat up, her back still in my direction. I cleared my throat, “Can I help you?”
Ember straightened up immediately and slowly started to turn around.
The edges of her mouth turned upwards, crinkles appearing in the corners of her eyes.
“I had to make sure the rumors were true. The notorious run-away-daughter of the Queen has returned home at last.” Ember said the smile on her face not fading events slightest.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming home?” She asked.
I slowly got up out of bed and walked towards her.
“Because I’m not.”
Two lines between her eyebrows appeared and the corners other mouth fell.
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“I’m not coming home. Not now, not for a while.” I answered and bent down to pick up my discarded jeans.
“The Queen has summoned you. You can’t disobey her like this. The consequences would be unimaginable and you know this,” she said.
“My mother can find someone else,” I answered while pulling up my pants and buttoning them up.
“It would take her decades, if not centuries and even then, there would be no guarantee that they would work. I know you have had your disagreements with the Queen in the past, but please take the higher ground and don’t be selfish and childish,” Ember said in an urgent tone.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. It had been years since I had spoken to my biological mother. In the decades following our disagreement, she couldn’t be bothered enough to reach out to see how I was doing the Mundane World. No letters, no visits and certainly no phone calls even though I honestly doubted she understood how to use a telephone and much less a smartphone.
“I don’t care, even if she’s on the brink of death. I don’t want to know, I don’t care and I will not help her,” I said with a strong voice.
I had made this decision a while ago, for this exact purpose.
I walked towards the door leading out of my bedroom and walked into the kitchen, grabbing a mug and filling it up with coffee. Ember followed.
“Why are you here?” I asked her, not even glancing in her direction.
“I wanted to know how you were doing,” she answered.
I didn’t believe her. She had never been the type to worry about anyone but herself.
“Would it be mean to tell you that I don’t believe you?” I asked.
A look of confusion passed her face and her left hand reached up to comb through her fiery red hair.
“Come on, you know it’s not like that,” she said, the with freckles dotted nose twitching.
I sent her something in between a grimace and a smile back as an answer. Setting the now half-empty mug of coffee back down on the counter, I said, “We haven’t talked in years. Haven’t seen each other in centuries and you have the nerve to drop by unannounced wanting to convince me into helping my biological mother, who abandoned me to the maids and governesses days after I was born.”
Ember showed no reaction of having heard what I had just said.
“Leave,” I said.
She looked down to study her shoes, biting her bottom lip.
“Leave,” I repeated, “and don’t ever do something like this again.”
“I understand. But please hear me out. It’s important,” she said.
“I don’t doubt that. I just don’t have a bone in my body that I can force to care,” I answer. Why should I ride to their aid, when they have done nothing for me.
“Fine, you’ll regret this,” she said, her words laced with anger.She picked up one of the apples on the counter and walked out the door.
I shook my head and took a sip of my abandoned and now cold coffee. The nerve on that girl.
With the slamming of the front door, Jess and Thomas creeped out of their bedroom.
“Can we come out now? Is the coast clear?” Jess asked sarcastically with a smirk on her face.
“Did your lady friend finally leave?” Thomas asked with a mischievous grin on his face.
I rolled my eyes.
“You are so far from being right it’s embarrassing. And she is way too much work and commitment for me to handle her. She’s a goddam pixie, they are like hyper five-year-olds on steroids. And that’s on a good day,” I say laughing while shaking my head.
“Well, when she was at the front door, she said that you had asked her to come and talk. She said that you two go way back and made some sexual innuendoes, so I figured she must have been a girlfriend, maybe even a lover. But you had never mentioned her to me so honestly, I was just surprised that she knew you were here,” Jess said while taking a seat on the couch.
“Oh shit sorry. I didn’t even think about how she had gotten into the apartment, I just wanted her to leave,” I said. If Ember had heard rumors about me being in Paris, the rest of them had too. And if someone as moronic as Ember could find me, then the Queen and her dutiful brainwashed little helpers weren’t far behind. Good thing I was leaving tonight.
“Do you think you can find someone who can cloak your apartment?” I asked Jess.
“Yeah, don’t worry about it. This has happened before. Not with circumstances like these of course, but I’ve got someone on speed-dial,” she said with an understanding smile.
Thomas had been quietly making food next to me and turned around with a plate full of pancakes that smelled and looked like heaven. How he had managed to make that many in this short amount of time baffled me.
“Let’s sit down and eat. After breakfast, you two can visit Jess’ friend and figure out your tracking problem,” he said setting down the plate of pancakes and pulling out plates and silverware.