Brook tried raising concerns such as money or recognition, but Will cheerfully shot them all down. Nathan didn’t say a word. It was soon clear that there wasn’t a single good reason for Brook not to go.
There was a short silence, and only the ten second countdown from the television filled the room.
10, 9, 8, 7-
Finally, she looked at Nathan for the first time since Will showed up. His face was impassive.
Their eyes met, and he sighed. Nathan leaned back into the sofa. “There is no way-” He hesitated.
The chandelier above them was almost completely blue. Brook found herself wishing that he’d say no. She didn’t want to leave. She wasn’t ready to have her life get flipped over all over again, lose everyone she loved again.
He finally said it. “There is no way that I’d hold her back.”
The countdown finished, and the crowd in the television roared. The speakers laughed and congratulated everyone, wishing a happy new year. Eva tried to say something, but Nathan silenced her with a look.
“Well?” Nathan said nonchalantly, bringing his gaze back to his brother. “Hurry up and get her out of here. Oh, but she can’t take Lily with her. It’d look too convenient, and rumors would start flying back and forth.”
He carefully weighed Brook’s reaction. Her face looked blank at first, but underneath that mask was a world of hurt. Nathan forced himself to let her go. He’d made a promise. What right did he hate to cage her up and tied her down? And yet…
Brook smiled. It wasn’t strained, it wasn’t sad, it was just… polite. “I’m glad this farce is already over,” she sighed with relief, walking over to the door where Eva stood. Brook put a hand on the doorframe.
“It’s kind of funny, how stupid this all is when you put it in retrospect. It seems that I was the only one who was serious. You really had me going for a moment there,” she laughed over her shoulder, not quite looking at his face, but the ground next to him. “I actually thought that we were friends… but I guess, in the end, indentures and humans can’t get along, huh? It’s too bad; I-” here her voice shook, but quickly hardened again.
Brook walked out the door before she could do something stupid, leaving her parting words to hang in the cold air. “I liked being next to you.”
Nathan sat still for a few moments, seeing nothing, hearing nothing but her voice ringing in his ears, when he suddenly stood up; but she was already gone. His tortured expression sank back into a mask of calm.
Will sighed and followed the indenture, leaving Eva and Nathan alone. “Why?” Eva asked after a few minutes.
Nathan didn’t reply, but continued to look at the doorway, as if hoping that Brook was coming back any second. He simply stood there, so relaxed and blank faced that one would think that he was half asleep, when in reality, the boy was half dead inside.
“Why?!” Eva shouted over the laughter from the blaring television. “You finally found someone to-”