Chapter 12

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Aunt Mimi's house was much farther removed from Mr. Edwards's establishment than John would have preferred, the house being situated at the other side of the city, which made it difficult for him to travel between the two as much as he would have liked. Although he had been glad to leave to live on his own when Mr. Edwards had first offered him the room, the longer he was away from home, the more he missed his aunt and the more he wished he at least lived closer to her. He wasn't certain how long it had been since his last visit, the last couple of weeks having passed by too swiftly for him with all that had happened to keep proper track of time, and he felt nervous at the apprehension of what kind of welcome he would be given after such a long time of not having received as much as a word from him, never mind a proper visit. There was not a flicker of doubt in his mind, however, that she would not be happy to see him, and it was this knowledge that made John knock on the door of his aunt's house and not turn away soon after.

He held his breath as he waited for someone to answer to door, preparing himself for to odd chance that it was his aunt herself, which happened only rarely when either her servants were otherwise engaged or had a day off, and repeated the few rehearsed lines in his head that he had prepared as an excuse for his absence over the last couple of weeks, if not months. He could hear rattling behind the door and hushed voices talking to each other about something that John was unable to hear, the words coming muffled through the wooden door. Much to his surprise, it was not any of the servants nor his aunt herself who opened the door for him, but instead a young man who was a couple of years older than him and whom John had not seen before.

"Good morning," the young man said in an cheery voice, a large pleasant smile appearing on his lips as he looked John up and down. "What can I do for you?"

"I am here to see my aunt. Is she at home?" John replied in a firm voice, unsure what to think of the man before him, as he tended to be suspicious of anyone who seemed unusually cheery without apparent reason. Moreover, as far as he knew his aunt hadn't mentioned anything about employing a young man or anything along such lines, which was strange as she always told him everything about such matters, seeing as he in a way still lived here and left her a considerable amount of his weekly wages. What surprised him even more was when the man's face brightened at his words as he extended his hand for John to shake.

"You must be John Lennon, Mrs. Smith's nephew. Yes, she has told me about you. I am John Cavill. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Please, come in," he said in a kind voice and John shook the other man's hand politely before stepping inside, where he started unbuttoning his coat as he turned to the other man.

"And who, if I may ask, are you exactly, Mr. Cavill? I must admit I haven't heard my aunt make any kind of mention of you."

"I suppose you haven't, no. I haven't been here long, you see. Your aunt was kind enough to let me rent a room here. I'm a student at the university," Mr. Cavill explained as he offered to take John's coat from him, which he allowed, albeit with mistrust, still being unsure about him. He had to speak with his aunt first.

"Your aunt is in the parlour," Mr. Cavill added as he hung the coat on a peg, smiling as he noticed John watching him curiously, his eyes narrowed as he studied his features, trying to decide what he made of him. For a moment he did not reply, but then he nodded and thanked him as he turned around and made his way to the parlour, pushing the door open and stepping inside to see his aunt sitting in an armchair by the fire reading a book, her glasses riding low on her nose, daring to fall off, but kept in place only just by her nostrils. She glanced up at the sound of someone coming into the room unannounced and had been about to complain about wanting them to knock first when she saw it was none other than her nephew who was standing there, a nervous grimace on his lips as he closed the door behind him, his eyes never leaving his aunt's form. She was growing old, the light wrinkles in her face having deepened since he had last seen her, and she was growing thinner, her already slender form having slimmed to such an extent that John could see the bones of her wrists and fingers as she removed her glasses from her nose and laid down the book on the mantelpiece. Her voice, on the other hand, was still as forceful and demanding as before.

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