Maximilian woke up a few seconds after the bus had stopped. Sleeping in a moving transport was easy for him, it always made him sleepy, but whenever the engine stopped it woke him up almost immediately. He yawned and got off the bus. The sun was up and shining but the air was still fresh as he walked along the sidewalk leading from his bus stop to the school. He had his headphones on and listened to some pop music as his steps led him almost automatically to Hawkland’s, he let his thoughts drift to what he had done earlier. He still couldn’t believe it. What if it was all a dream? He suddenly thought, panicking a little. It had felt so real, it couldn’t be a dream… But now that the doubt had taken hold of his mind he couldn’t let it go
He checked his pocket and sighed in relief as he took out the coin, at least there was indeed a coin in there. He stopped a leaned on the wall next to him and focused on the coin. This time it took him only a minute to push back everything else than the coin. He focused on the coin floating in his hand and nothing else (which required some quite the effort from his part with all the parasite noise around him) and after a few long seconds he felt the familiar tingle in his right arm and opened his eyes. The coin was floating half a centimeter over his palm, moving slightly with the flow of the air around. He smiled and let out another sigh of relief as he let his concentration break and put the coin that had fallen in his palm back in his pocket.
He felt a little dizzy as he did so but not as tired as earlier in the bus, though he took a small pause and stayed against the wall for a few seconds before starting to walk again. This feels like running or lifting something really heavy, I might need some practice before I can move it as I want to… He thought with a smile. He didn’t understand at all how or why he could do those things but right now he didn’t care, all he wanted was to see how far he could go with his power. As the teenager approached the high school he saw his friend waiting for him near the main gates and walked to him with a smile.
“So” Said Simon as they walked along the corridor to their next class. “Are you going tomorrow ?”
“Huh ? Oh yeah. Dad, well Jeff, called my father’s lawyer and apparently he did say in his will that the house would be mine if ever something happened to him.” Answered Maximilian with a smile. “So we’ll be going there tomorrow to see it and the lawyer will meet us there because there is some paperwork to be taken care of. Apparently the house shouldn’t be very far from here, I’ll see that tomorrow.”
“Man, that’s so cool, inheriting a house at sixteen…” Simon said thoughtfully.
“Yeah, but the condition is to lose your parents at a young age…” Replied the teenager.
“Oh! Yeah… sorry…” Apologized Simon, looking a bit ashamed of himself for having said that.
“Nah, don’t worry Simon, it’s okay, I know you didn’t mean ill. I didn’t even know them.”
“Yeah, well it wasn’t appropriate anyway.” He apologized again as they walked past the science and chemistry labs.
“I have no idea what I’ll find out there but I really want to go, they lived there, both of them. It’s so weird, it’s feels a bit like visiting a grave. I have absolutely no idea what I’ll do with a house right now…” Maximilian was looking at the blue sky through the large windows as he said that.
“I don’t know what you’ll find either Max, but I’m sure the answers will come. And seriously, you could live in that house man, all on your own ! Imagine that !” Said Simon, trying cheer his friend up a bit.
“Yeah, I hope so…” Maximilian agreed with a smile though he was still thoughtful. He really wanted to see that house but it also scared him quite a bit. What if he didn’t like what he would fin ? Or worse what if he found nothing ? He was about to ask his friend what he would do if he inherited a house like that when they walked around a corner and he bumped into someone. He barely had time to register what had happened when he found himself faced with dark blue eyes as he caught hold of the person who had run into him. Maya ?! He thought as he recognised the face he had not forgotten after all this time. They locked eyes and for a few seconds Maximilian was too captivated by the blue depth of her eyes and the sweet scent of her perfume to do anything else than stare. He swore he could hear the sound of the waves and the cries of seagulls. Only when he saw movement at the corner of his eye did he break eye contact. As Simon was standing back up and helping another girl up he noticed that he held the tanned young woman in a tight embrace. His cheeks were taking a pink shade as he locked eyes with her again and he let her go as quickly as he could without falling again.
“Umh…” He cleared his throat. “Are- are you okay ?” The young woman looked around her before nodding.
“Yeah… yeah, I think I’m fine…Thanks. I think…” She added with a little smile.
“Ouch ! That hurts !” Said Simon as he rubbed his back. The redhead had fallen straight back when he had collided with the second girl. “Are you okay ?” He asked the blonde who was also trying to get back up.
“Yeah, but no thanks to you ! You should be more careful…” She started but she didn’t have time to finish her sentence.
“Oh stop it Rebecca !” Exclaimed the brunette. “They didn’t see us coming and neither did we, no one is to blame !” The blonde girl called Rebecca looked at her friend and then at the two boys before sighing.
“Alright Maya, I’ll stop… I’m sorry guys…”
“Yeah, no problem, sorry too. But we really didn’t see you coming…” Replied Simon with a bright smile. Maximilian could have sworn he had seen the blonde blush a little. He looked at Maya again as she was straightening her dress and replacing her bag on her shoulders.
“I’m sorry” She started. “but we have to go, physics don’t wait. Come on Beckie!” She said as she hurried past the boys, encouraging her blonde friend to do the same. As they were already twenty meters away Simon decided to ask what class they were in.
“Group C!” Shouted back the blonde with a wink, and with that she ran after her friend.
“Did she just wink at me?” He asked with a broad smile.
“Yep, I think so.” Answered the dark-haired teenager as he started walking again in the opposite direction of the girls.
“Well that must be your lucky day mate !” Exclaimed Simon, his smile transforming into a mischievous grin.
“Oh I see where you are going with that, but you can talk Dom Juan!” He retorted.
“So, did the ‘staring in each other’s eyes’ part go well?”
“Oh shut up !” Exclaimed Maximilian as he playfully tried to shove his friend backwards. But the redhead managed to evade his friend and ran off laughing madly, scaring some of the other students they passed. Tch, idiot… Thought the teenager as he watched his friend enjoying his moment of insanity. But did she recognize me though ? He had known as soon as he had set eyes on her but did she remember him ? It had been only a few weeks… If she did remember the young man had seen no sign of it. He on the other hand could still feel the heat radiating from his cheeks. Idiot ! he thought to himself. Maybe I’ll go talk to her later… The young man was busy thinking about what had just happened and didn’t notice the young brunette looking back at him across the corridor, neither did he notice her dismissing the curious look her friend gave her.
“We should be there soon, I think it was somewhere around here.” Said Jeff as he turned left in the quiet street of a residential area. The couple had left Arthur in the care of a neighbor before they had left with Maximilian to go to his parent’s house, they didn’t want the young boy to know what was going on just yet. It was something they wanted to explain to him when he was a little older and more capable to understand these sorts of things. They had been driving for almost and hour when they had reached the quiet street, it was bordered by tall trees and large ground floored houses. A few children were playing on the front yard of one of the house and stopped momentarily to look at the car before resuming their activities. They drove through two blocks before arriving in front of a large metal gate surrounded by an old-looking stone wall and high hedges.
“Yes, here we are!” The light-haired man finally announced as he parked the car near the gate. “Wow, it sure has changed since the time we came here last, hasn’t it?” He added towards his wife as they both got out of the car.
“Mmm hmm, it did change. I don’t remember the hedge being so high nor the neighborhood being so lively. It’s surprising but not a bad change.” She nodded with a smile before turning towards the young man who had just stepped out of the car. “This is where Alexander and Sophia lived, it was also where you lived before they disappeared… Welcome home!” She added after a short pause. Maximilian looked at the imposing gates and at the house that could be seen behind them, it was big and seemed more like a manor than a house. What surprised him, either than the scale, was the state in which it was. If one had looked at the house without knowing that no one had lived in it for years now the fact that it was in such a good state would have certainly made an impression. The dark and light gray stones that composed the wall were completely devoid of moss, the dark blue paint on the door seemed as new as when it had been applied and only the permanently shut windows’ shutters indicated that it was not inhabited. The garden might need a bit of work though… Thought the teenager as he peered through the gate and saw the tall grass that covered the garden, though even as tall as it had grown it still seemed tidy, as if it simply grew in a man-made way.
“It’s big.” He finally said as he turned back towards Jeff and Doris. “I expected something… I don’t know, smaller?” Jeff chuckled at that remarked.
“It’s actually more a manor that a house, you’ll see when we get inside, but your parents really liked that type of house. They bought it for almost nothing, which was almost all that they had at the time, and renovated it to what it has become. I thought it would be in a worse shape than that though…” The middle-aged man replied with a smile as he too peered through the gate.
“When were we supposed to meet Mr. Jones again?” Asked Doris as she took out a small bottle of water out of her handbag to drink a sip.
“Um, half past three I think.” Replied Jeff as he took a look at his watch. “We still have about half an hour, why not go take a look around the garden while we wait?” He asked before trying to open the metal gate, he found they were locked with a simple dead bolt on the other side and unlocked it before opening the gate without difficulty.
“Are you sure we can?” Asked Doris, unsure if she should follow her husband inside or not.
“Yeah, it’s okay, we’re just looking around, we’re not here to rob the place!” He laughed slightly before stepping inside the property, soon followed by his wife and the teenager. As they walked around the garden and arrived behind the house Maximilian saw a rusted swing near an old shed on the other hand of the garden. It was protected from the sun by a tall tree which cast its shadow over it.
“Oh look at that!” Suddenly exclaimed Jeff turning towards Doris as he pointed at the metallic structure. “The old swing is still here! I remember your father loved to sit on it for hours with you on his knees.” He added as they walked towards it. Doris nodded before speaking.
“Yes, he spent the whole evening on it once because you wouldn’t stop crying if he tried to get up.” She said with a small smile. Maximilian walked over to it and sat on one of the two swings, Jeff sat next to him while Doris went to look at the small wood cabin on their right.
“I don’t remember any of this. This house seems amazing.” The teenager admitted after a moment of silence where they both swung their legs lightly while looking at the sky. He was fascinated by the wooden columns sculpted with animals that framed the large windows and the back door leading to the backyard. What also surprised Maximilian was the size of his parent’s house. While Jeff and Doris’s house wasn’t small, this one had about half more ground surface and it went up three floors. It was surrounded on all sides by tall hedges, which he thought would at least need a ladder to cut, and a few tall trees were growing here and there, covering a bit more than a third of the garden in an agreeable shade.
“That it is…” Smiled the light-haired man. “I wish you could’ve seen it while your parents were still here, it’s huge but they had the nick to make it so lively. I think you’ll be able to take a complete tour later so you’ll be able to see from up close just how impressive it is from the inside. You know, when they bought this house, I told Alex that they were crazy but he would hear none of it. He insisted that he knew what he was doing, and fortunately for them, your parents did know what they were doing. It was almost a ruin but they managed to make it what it is now in less than four months. They worked their asses off of course and we didn’t see them for half a year at that time. But it was worth it and they proved it to us when they invited us to officially inaugurate it, since then I truly believe your parents could achieve anything they wanted!” Maximilian smiled as Jeff spoke, the way he bragged about knowing the people who had brought him to this world made him happy. His parents were really awesome, all four of them!
“I can’t wait to go and check it out then!” He exclaimed with a large smile.
“Well, in about fifteen minutes you’ll be able to do just that kiddo.” Replied Jeff with a huff as he put a hand on his son’s shoulder before getting up and walking towards Doris who was calling him. The teenager looked at him as he approached his wife who was standing near the shed and trying to peer through a dirty window, then he locked his eyes on the manor-like house in front of him once more. He threw his legs with a bit more force in front of him and the swing swept into motion as it swayed forwards then backwards. Somehow he was going to have the luck to take a look inside the house that his parent’s had left behind after disappearing, a mix of feelings overwhelmed him. He felt excited to be able to step where his parents had stepped years before but he also felt anxious at the idea of finally having the answers to many of his questions at the tip of his fingers. Finally Maximilian felt sad not to be able to share this experience with his real parents. The smiling image of Sophia and Alexander Desrhodes came back to his mind from the picture Jeff had given him, they seemed so happy at the time. Why had fate chosen to put an end to this happiness? He thought with a bittersweet taste in his mouth.
Maximilian was still unconsciously swinging his legs but his eyes had drifted towards the blue sky when Doris called to him. The teenager looked around for a moment and noticed the couple at the other end of the garden, both looking at him as if waiting.
“I said, are you coming?” Asked the woman as he gave them a puzzled look. “We’re going back to the front to wait for Mr. Jones.”
“Nah, I want to stay here a bit more. I’ll join you later!” Replied the teenager with a small smile before resuming his swinging as Doris nodded and followed Jeff to the other side of the garden with a simple ‘Okay’. When they disappeared behind the corner he put his hands in his pockets and felt something under his right hand. As he pulled it out he noticed it was the key he had found in the box that his father had left him. As he turned the small object in the palm of his hand, Maximilian couldn’t help but wonder what it was supposed to open. It seemed to be made to open a door or a lock but something told him it wouldn’t be a simple lock, it held a meaning I still couldn’t quite grasp and I knew it would remain secret until I had found what exactly it was made to unlock.