THERE WAS STILL BLOOD on the floor, on the chair, on the towel... The gigantic amount of food on the table... And not to mention three mutants in the house. I looked at Luc, who returned my stare, and for once he seemed to almost panic. I didn't know what to do, but I moved towards the door.
"Stay here," I whispered despite the uncertainty in my gut.
I got out of the bathroom just as Dad turned around and took off his fall coat. The mini heart attack I harbored for the last couple of seconds transformed into confusion as I assessed the clean floorboards, no Devin or Ben in sight, and the absence of the chair Ben had been resting on. The snacks remained on display. I figured maybe they had just enough time to get rid of the incriminating stuff and scurry, but not sufficient to tend to the table or warn Luc.
Great, now I'd have to sneak him outside without Dad seeing him.
"Hey, kiddo," he greeted me. His puzzled expression mirrored mine as he observed the array of snacks from the fridge and from the cupboard. "Did you make yourself a little party mix or something?"
I snatched a brown shawl hanging on the living room chair and slid it on, hiding the scar on my arm. I folded my arms over my chest as if it wasn't enough.
"I got hungry."
"I can see that. You're practically eating for ten!"
He paced into the hallway, ruffling my hair in his path. I groaned loudly and hurried to replace my ponytail.
"How was your day?" I asked, facing him.
"Eh, so-so. Work is work, you know how that goes. You? You've been going out last week and all of a sudden, you've transformed into a hermit. Everything all right at school?"
"I scored an A at my first quiz in bio."
"That's my girl." Dad peered up from his cup of water. "And your new friends? Still nice?"
I stretched my lips to mimic a smile. "It's all fine, Dad. You don't have to worry about that."
I meant it, I didn't want him to be involved in all the ordeal. He'd be in danger, more than he already is, and I made a promise.
"Listen, Riles." He downed his cup of water and rubbed the top of his head. "I don't think I realized how much time I've been leaving you alone in the house until now, seeing what you're eating... I'm starting to feel like you don't even eat cooked meals because I'm gone."
"Dad, it's fine, really..."
"I'm going to try coming home earlier, I promise. I'm really sorry. And you should have told me about this."
Half of me was very happy to hear him say that even if I could cook for myself, but the other half couldn't stop thinking of a way to get Luc out of the bathroom. He must be on the verge of kicking the door down. Dad set his cup on the counter and walked towards the bathroom. I jumped, blocking the door with my arms spread out.
"What are you doing?" I demanded, voice shrill.
His nose crinkled. "Going to the bathroom, what are you doing?"
"I--you can't," I blurted out, sweat gathering in my palms.
"Because... I just washed it. Completely. With bleach and all. I just finished, and I'd hate it if I had to start over again."
My Dad gazed at me incredulously. "I just need to wash my hands, Suzy Homemaker. And since when do you do bathroom chores?"
Oh, my God, what could I do next?
"Well... I'm going to use this bathroom right now, so you're going to have to take the one in the basement," I said, mentally crossing my fingers he would let this go. "It's kind of an emergency."
He looked deeply befuddled, nostrils flaring. "You're acting weird, young lady. But whatever, I'll be going downstairs."
I threw my head back against the door in relief as he went down the staircase, and I waited almost a full minute before swinging it open. Luc gave the kitchen a circular glance and passed me a clean towel crunched into a ball.
"I put the dirty one inside so you can hide it somewhere until you can wash it," he said, and over his shoulder the sink was empty and spotless. "Now's my cue?"
I nodded, dropping the bundle in the laundry basket and noting to myself to do the laundry tonight before Dad beat me to it. I walked Luc to the entrance, then stopped him halfway.
"If Devin and Ben left, then who's watching the house?" I asked, thinking it was almost a miracle my father could make it out of the driveway without being attacked.
"I'll stick around until someone replaces me," he told me. "And uh... thanks for Ben."
"Weren't you the one that healed him?"
He shrugged one shoulder. "You let him inside and did all the rest."
I shook my head. This wasn't important to debate on at the moment. "Whatever, just go!"
"Riles?" Dad called while coming up. "I know it's late, but are you still hungry? 'Cause I can make some proper spaghetti bolognese if..." He slowed at the landing as his voice trailed off, and I knew he'd caught sight of Luc. It was too late. "Who's this?"
Tum tum TUM!
It's early morning in my city, but I'll be studying soon so I uploaded before. I also compensated for the long previous chapter with an shorter one :) How do you think Dad is going to react in the next chapter? Is Riley going to succeed at covering for Luc?
Find out tomorrow 😝
P.S. : Maybe some of you would like a visual of the main characters in the story. Let me know if you want a moodboard for Riley, Luc and Emma (I find aesthetics more interesting to create and look at rather than a simple portrait. I used to love making them in High School.) You can also request any other character and I'll consider it.
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