As he woke, Lor decided that he was not really a morning person. At least, not on the weekend. He looked blearily around his room, fumbled for his glasses for a minute and then gave up. Who needs to see to be able to cook, anyway?
Mac and cheese for breakfast wasn’t something he could normally get away with, but he had a big day ahead of him and would rather not run out of energy half way through his shift. He wasn’t quite sure if the food he was stirring would be edible, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. Yesterday had worn him down emotionally, and he’d rather spend the energy he had left getting ready instead of worrying.
He looked at the clock on the wall. Thirty minutes until he had to leave – that was enough time for a shower, right? He picked up his plate, quickly rinsed it and went into the bathroom, locking the door behind him.
“Is he really going to do this?” Lissa said, mumbling the words into Morgan’s neck.
“He said it was important to him, so lets try to be supportive.”
“But he’s so young!”
“Lissi, I was a babysitter at his age. Sometimes it can do people good to get a bit of experience. He’s promised he won’t let it effect his grades.”
Lissa stepped back and sighed. She wanted him to be happy, and if working was the way to do that, then so be it. It was just… he seemed so focused on the money aspect.
“I’m going to go for a jog – it might help clear my head.”
Morgan smiled as she watched her wife rummage through her clothes to find her exercise gear. Maybe she’d do the same later. It would be nice to get to know the new area a bit better.
Lissa and Lor reached for the door handle at the same time.
“Allow me.” he said, hopening the door with his best impression of a courtly bow.
“NERD!” Morgan’s voice came clearly from her study.
“Thanks, mum.” he said, shaking his head as Lissa giggled.
“Thank you, love. Have a good day at work.”
“Don’t fall into any strange cow plants, Moo might get jealous.”
Good to know that’s her only worry, Lor thought as he set off. “No strange cow plants, got it.”
“Are you ok, Verixe?”
The older woman sighed, pushing her food around her plate. She’d been down since yesterday, though she hadn’t really talked to anyone about it.
“I just feel so awful about yesterday. I should have worn my disguise, then the fighting wouldn’t have happened.”
Morgan reached over and held Verixe’s hands, giving them a reassuring squeeze. “You shouldn’t have to hide, especially in your own house. It’s Clay’s fault, not yours.”
Verixe continued to gaze wretchedly at her hands, trying to believe what she was hearing. This is going to be harder than I’d hoped, Morgan thought.
Four hours and more games of chess than she was willing to count, Verixe was feeling a lot more cheerful.
It had been kind of her daughter-in-law to put aside the whole morning to cheering her up. Especially seeing as Verixe kept winning, which had to bruise the younger girl’s ego at least a little.
To Morgan, it was all worth it.
They turned from their game to see Lor, sweating but grinning as he ran back towards the house.
Morgan hugged him, and then wrinkled her nose slightly. He caught the motion, and sheepishly ran his fingers through his hair. “Sorry about the smell, we were working on a construction site right next door to a farm.”
“That would explain it” she said, smiling. He looked so vibrant – the work obviously suited him.
He turned to his grandma and wrapped her in a hug, too. “Miss me?”
“Of course. Welcome back.”
“I’m going to go and say hello to Moo, then I’ll get clean, I promise.”
Verixe watched as he jogged around to the back of the house, a weight lifting from her chest. He was going to be ok.
A quick shower later, and Lor jumped into the pool. Maybe he’d save up for a diving board at some point, he thought.
He stayed in the water and swam laps until he was pleasantly aching. He got out, stretched and shook the water off – relishing the warmth of the afternoon sunshine. He’d be dry soon enough.
“That’s a lovely way to greet your mama.”
He moved his hair out o his eyes and stifled the laughter that bubbled up. There was Lissa, covered in stray drops of pool water. He probably should have checked no-one was nearby before doing that.
Lissa tried to look stern, but seeing her son’s shoulders shaking with mirth she soon gave up.
“I’m sorry, mama.” he said, then his eyes lit up as he got an idea. “Can you teach me how to garden?” Seeing the surprised on her face, he quickly went on. “It’s for work.”
Lissa was confused, but flattered. She ad no idea that the work of a manual labourer was so varied.
“Certainly. When do you want to start?”
When she as certain that nothing in her garden would suffer under Lor’s care, she let him carry on alone. She remembered being a teenager – there was nothing quite as frustrating as a hovering parent when you were trying to concentrate.
“Lissa! You have to see this – that dog can dance!”
She had to agree – it was a better dancer than her, at any rate. Lissa, Verixe and Morgan spent the afternoon together watching videos on Verixe’s phone and attempting to understand Morgan’s explanation of the rules of ‘basketball’, which appeared to be a pretty popular sport. It was on television, after all. If Lissa took a peek over her shoulder at Lor every now and then, no one could prove it.
“I’m done, mama.”
“Well done, love. I made stir fry, so help yourself to as much as you want.”
Lor smiled and hugged her. “Thank you.”
She watched him go, and when she was sure he was out of sight she ran around to her garden. It was better to be safe than sorry, after all.
After eating, Lor paced his room. It was his first day of school tomorrow. He felt the frustration creep back into his body, and sighed. He wouldn’t be able to sleep like this.
He slipped into his workout clothes and fastened his new boxing gloves.
Thirty minutes later, he fell backwards onto his bed. Tomorrow would be whatever it was. He would face it with his head held high.