This was not just another Easter Sunday for Ethan Stanwood. This was the first day that he was truly allowed out of the house since January. The Stanwood family was headed to church, and while many people would not think of attending services as any sort of liberation, Ethan was happy to leave nonetheless.
He was eager to see his cousin Theodore. He was not as eager to see his Aunt Beatrice, but if he wanted to spend time with his favorite cousin, he'd have to tolerate her. Besides, Ethan was quite sure he'd rather be at church with his aunt than his bedroom, where he had just spent months trapped in a sickbed. That room was filled with memories of illness and pain he'd endured in his twelve years of life.
He examined his pale-faced reflection in the mirror. His facial features were very like his father's, and had Marcus Stanwood's deep brown hair as well. He fixed his tie. Ethan was glad that he was taught at an early age to dress himself. He knew of many others who did not have the skill, including his own father. He could barely tie his shoes. It just showed that, sometimes, even a doctorate from Cambridge was not enough to help a man do the simplest of tasks.
"Sam, I wish we could take you with us, but they still don't let androids in the church," Ethan said to his companion, who sat on the chair beside the bed. Sam, at little over three feet in height, was way too short to be of any assistance to Ethan as far as helping him dress.
Sam leaped off the chair and clung to Ethan's leg. His metallic body and squat head were hard and sometimes chilly to the touch. However, this did not matter in the least to Ethan; he was completely accustomed to getting embraced by an automaton. Sam had been doing that since the day he was created, a day Ethan remembered very well. His father had built Sam, but for some reason was nervous about how Sam would behave around Ethan. It turned out that his father had nothing to worry about; Sam had been devoted, especially to Ethan, since the very beginning.
"Aren't you dressed yet?" his father called up the stairs. "Malcolm's already here!"
Ethan opened his bedroom door slightly so he could yell down, "I'm coming!"
"I've heard that Christmas is coming someday as well!" Marcus retorted.
Ethan groaned. His father had this tendency to rush everything, and constantly badgered Ethan for being too slow. All he had to do now was find an appropriate hat to wear. His shoes were tight, but they were the shiniest pair he owned, so he had to deal with it.
Ethan threw himself down the stairs to get there fast enough to please his father. Uncle Malcolm was indeed already there, and stood next to Marcus. "Ethan, it is so good to see you looking well again," Malcolm told him.
"He only just recently began to show a little more color in his face," Marcus reported.
"Yes, I can see." Ethan faced the twins' hazel-eyed gazes. Those hazel eyes were the very things that Ethan did not inherit from his father; his eyes were cobalt blue rather than the traditional color of all the Stanwood men's eyes.
In that moment, he could see why most people could not tell the difference between Marcus and Malcolm. When they made an effort to dress alike, it was especially difficult for most people.
"Where's Theo?" Ethan asked.
"He's waiting in our carriage," Uncle Malcolm told him.
Ethan looked up to Marcus. "May I ride with them, Father?"
"No, but Theodore could ride with us," Marcus suggested.
"I'll get him." Malcolm strode off, and Marcus followed. Ethan turned to see his grandmother, Sophia Ballard, standing in the doorway of her parlor. She was splendid in her Easter finery, even going so far as to wear a bonnet over her gray hair. Ethan felt a bit under dressed on account of how bedecked everyone else seemed to be.
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