Lor’s birthday was coming up, and he still hadn’t decided what he wanted to do with his life. He would graduate and then… what? He’d tried his hand at all sorts of things over the past years.
Painting was fun, but he could see himself becoming bored of it eventually. He wasn’t the creative type, if he was honest with himself. Still, it was worth a try. It was a shame that he couldn’t stay on at his labourer job, but they only hired teenagers.
“How did you decide to go into gardening, Mama?”
“Well,at first it was out of necessity, but I enjoyed it so much that I kept going. I’ve had a couple of job offers over the years, but this is what I love. What do you love, Lor?”
Yoga always helped him focus. The wind through the trees and the soft music from the radio behind him wrapped themselves around his mind and cleared away the clutter. What did he love?
“How do I look?”
Morgan just squealed and hugged him. “You look so cute! You look like a small version of me – only with blue skin and purple eyes. And male.”
“Soooo… not like you?”
“You have the ‘Fyres’ vibe, dear. Embrace it – I pass that ‘torch’ onto you.” Morgan said, nudging him with her elbow and winking.
He grinned at her and nudged her back. She was getting old, but her sense of humour was the same as ever. He hoped that would never change.
“Well, we should probably be off. Don’t want to be late for your own party, do you?”
“I am the Llama king!”
“Are you really sure you want that to be your name?” Lor said, walking over to the group
Malik looked up and smiled, excusing himself from the table.
“Hey. How does it feel to be an old man now?”
“Wow, dude. Thanks.”
Malik grinned at him. “You are really suiting the eyeliner though, is this going to be a regular thing?”
“I’m not sure. I tried to put it on without my glasses, and ended up poking myself in the eye about a million times.”
“Don’t you wear contacts?”
“Only for special occasions. If you see me without my glasses on at any other time I’m probably just hoping not to walk into anything. I know my glasses make me look like a nerd, but-”
“Your glasses look great, Lor.”
Lor smiled and hugged his friend.
“Hang on… so how did you get the eyeliner on?”
“I got my mum to do it”
“I won’t tell.”
“I’m really glad you could make it, Sergio.” Lissa said, smiling across the chess table.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Besides, it does me good to get out of the house – I haven’t really done so as much since Siobhan…”
“I know. I miss her too.”
Sergio coughed and surreptitiously wiped his eyes.
“So, what are his future plans?”
“He’s not sure, yet. I just want him to be happy.”
“If he wants me to put in a good word for him with the tech companies, he only needs to ask.”
“I’ll be sure to let him know.”
Lissa got up, stretching her limbs. She’d been working all day to get everything ready, but this made it worthwhile. True, she’d created more work by snacking on the first birthday cake, but she had managed to bake another in plenty of time. And it had been delicious.
It had been nice to see Summer again, too – though she hadn’t been able to stay very long. She’d missed her company.
As for Morgan, she took the opportunity to spend time with her Brother-in-Law. She cared about him far more than she’d expected to.
“…and then the machine caught fire! It was amazing.”
Lor listened, fascinated. He’d never talked to Cassandra properly before. He’d been too young the first time they’d met, and it had been rather scary to know that this was the woman who had made his birth possible. Still, as he listened things began to fit into place.
He wanted to be out there, too. He wanted to see and learn and do everything.
“Are there any job openings at the lab?”
“Honestly, we throw you a birthday party and you come back with a job. What kind of teenager are you?”
“I’m not a teenager anymore, mum.”
“You had fun, though, right?”
“I really did.” He smiled, and turned to hug Lissa.
“Will you be happy at this job?”
“I think so. It just feels… right.”
“Then I’m happy for you.”
Lor watched his parents go inside, and then lay down on the floor. He gazed up at the stars, and smiled. Soon.