Alone in her room Meg poured over her history book without really absorbing a word.
The idea of having to do schoolwork after not only living as a fugitive for two months, but surviving kidnapping, a frigid mountain and attempted assassination. One would think she would get some educational pardon or something, but according to Aiden there was no such thing, so she was out of luck so now she was stuck with a history book the size of a steam boat, until her science club meeting at six.
Meg slammed her head on her desk with a tired groan, who cared about Benjamin Franklin's proclivity to write odd little stories and sold them to poor people or whatever, he did in spare time.
"Mom! I'm finished my work, is it time to leave yet?" She yelled, not really caring if she disturbed her brother's hopeless attempt at macrame next door.
A second later she heard her brother give a discontented sigh and couldn't help but feel a little guilty but not enough to keep her from smirking.
Instead of answering through her daughters method, Louise arrived at Meg's room a minute or so later wearing a frown and she shook her head lightly but Meg could tell her heart wasn't in it.
"What did I tell you about yelling inside Meg?"
"Sorry Mom." Meg said sheepishly. "But are we leaving soon?"
Crossing her arms Mom looked at the clock on Meg's desk pointedly, it read 4:59, Meg sighed. There went her quick escape plan...
"Not quite Meg," Mom said slowly her frown melting away and was replaced with and almost worried expression."but why don't you and your brother come downstairs in minute, your father and I want to talk to you guys about something. Okay?"
"Um, sure." Meg agreed warily looking at her mother for a clue as to what was going on, what ever it was it wasn't good. "Are we moving or something?"
"What? No! Just be downstairs in a little bit sweetie." With that her mother was gone leaving Meg to ponder what was going on.
Did something go wrong with the lawsuit?
Did some Falconer hater make break another window?
Or was it something with Aiden? Narrowing her eyes she pushed away from her seat and made her way to Aiden's room.
Aiden was staring at the lump of tangled yarn on the floor dejectedly, Meg flopped heavily onto his bed. "Hey bro, Mom wants us downstairs pronto."
"What? Oh okay." Aiden sighed, still looking at yarn. "There goes my chance at a C."
"Give it up Aiden, you cant be perfect at everything you know." Meg reminded, rolling onto her back she grabbed his pillow and began tossing it at the ceiling."Any idea what they might want to talk about?"
Aiden shrugged plopping down in his desk chair. "No not really, get in any trouble at school lately?"
Meg rolled her eyes. "I take offense to that you know." She joked. "But for real, is it about you?"
"Sense when do I get in trouble at school Meg?" Aiden asked incredulously, powering up his laptop. "Seriously name one time."
Meg hummed thoughtfully staring at her brother with extreme scrutiny and watched as he fidgeted under her gaze and confirmed her suspicions Meg sighed dramatically. "That's not what I meant and you know it."
Aiden shook his head, beginning to meticulously save and resave each of his book reports and essays. This was going no where fast and Meg knew she was going to have to take different approach, she glanced indifferently at her brothers phone which was face down on his desk but the occasional pulse of light it cast told her it was still on, Meg narrowed her eyes in thought, she knew her brother well but respected him enough not to call him out on what she knew was true, with a sigh she relented.
"You can actually do that stuff without falling asleep?" Meg asked motioning to the multiple documents on his screen.
"We have to Meg, if we want any college to accept us." Aiden said earnestly, finally he finished his saving and shut the laptop.
She almost pitied him, Aiden he still thought they actually had a chance of going college, Meg had lost her hope for that at Sunnydale, it seemed unlikely any college would be accepting a Falconer anytime soon and he thought she was the wide-eyed optimist.
"Yeah, I guess..." She reluctantly agreed not wanting to crush his dreams, he'd find out soon enough, they lapsed into a silence that wasn't quite awkward but bordering on it, Meg found herself staring at the phone again, and suddenly she thought about someone she who hadn't popped into her mind in weeks, Mickey well Sean.
The twenty year old, while he had played a major part in her kidnapping, in her opinion he had more than made up for it in the end by risking his life to help save her not to mention he was serving a negated prison sentence for his crimes. Maybe she should write him a letter and make sure he was okay.
"I warned him he wouldn't last." Meg whispered sadly.
"What?" Aiden asked in confusion.
"Nothing bro, nothing." Meg said shaking herself out of her reverie. "Are you still thinking of asking Mom and Dad to go to that banquet?"
Aiden looked taken aback and scooted further back from her, stuttering. "M-maybe," He regained his composure and shot her a suspicious glare.
"How did you know about that?"
Because you have a sucky password and I read your messages?
Meg shrugged, keeping her thoughts to herself, Aiden didn't need to know that.
He'd just change his password.
"Come on, Mom's gonna get mad if we don't come down soon." Meg said popping off the bed and stretching lazily she padded from the room with Aiden close behind.
If what mom and dad wanted to talk about wasn't about Aiden, she'd bug him about it later, even though her experience with Mickey tempered her boiling rage to a stewing irritation, she still couldn't fathom why Aiden would choose to form a friendship with the man who had ruined a large portion of their lives or at least she didn't want to understand.
She had a sinking feeling that is was his way of clinging onto their old life and not the happy one either, in a way Meg understood as she had told him once before, sometimes it seemed like the old life made more sense and in those mystifying tumultuous days she wished for a memento or anything to remind her of who she was and what she had stood for, that she was more than just a little twelve year old who was stumbling through life blindly, Meg supposed Harris might be that to Aiden, but just because she understood didn't mean she had to like.
Mom and Dad were waiting for them at the kitchen table, talking to each other lowly and nursing cups of steaming hot coffee.
"So what's this all about?" Meg asked curiously as she and Aiden took their seats.
Dad glanced at them for a moment then back at mom as if asking her for opinion on some unspoken subject, mom nodded in agreement. Aiden looked worried, Meg was confused.
"Well," Dad started. "recently we got a invitation to an event."
At this Aiden perked up and looked at Dad curiously as he continued. "Your cousins are throwing a reunion next month and want us to come, of course we'd like your input. So what do you guys think?"
Meg raised an eyebrow, that was all they needed to be called downstairs to be told about a reunion? "Sounds fun!" she quipped glancing at Aiden to see his take on the whole thing, honestly it was kind of humorous, but she couldn't help but notice he looked a bit disappointed.
"It sounds normal. Normal is good," Aiden said finally. "but why are they throwing it in the winter?"
"Well that's just it Aiden," Mom said joining the conversation. "their holding it Florida so no snow."
"Oh." Aiden mumbled, he chose not to comment where it was being held but he couldn't help but feel his cousin's were being incredibly insensitive to hold a a reunion in a state they not only didn't live in but where his and Meg's parents had been held in a maximum security prison, instead he directed his next question at his parents. "Do you want you go?"
"W-Well," His father stuttered trying to gather his thoughts. "It would be a new experience, traveling that is, we aren't really sure how well air travel will work for us."
At this Meg rolled her eyes but silently agreed even though her parents had proven innocent and her and Aiden had been cleared of all their crimes, they were still treated like criminals by many and avoided by the rest. Meg had lost count of how many people turned heel when they saw them in Walmart, of all places!
Their father continued on thoughtfully. "But it might be nice to see the family again, you two haven't seen your cousins in ages."
"Yeah." Aiden and Meg said in unison.
Sensing their indifference Mom tactfully intervened. "Think about it, there's no rush, your father and I are fine either way."
"Though Gregory might be offended if we reject-" John started but was stopped short by his wife's sharp look. "Your mother's right, whatever you decide is fine."
"I'm fine with whatever we do, driving will probably be best if we go though." Meg stated.
Aiden nodded slowly in agreement, most likely to the last part of her sentence though.
Looking over at the kitchen clock, Meg smiled at the time, 5:35.
"Mom, it's almost time to hit the road." She reminded her mother. "Wanna tag along this time bro?"
Aiden laughed halfheartedly. "Nah, as much I'd love to see what goes on the seventh grade science club, I'll pass." With a yawn he rose from his chair and stretched his arms widely. "In fact I'm probably going to turn in early."
"Suit yourself bro." Meg chirped.
Mom however looked worried. "Are you feeling sick Aiden?"
"What? No." Aiden said shying away from his mother's hand that was pressed gingerly against his forehead. "I just stayed up late finishing my reports."
"Well okay." Mom relented"Get some rest, we'll be back in around an hour, hows pizza sound for dinner?"
"Sounds great." Aiden agreed as he headed towards the staircase he was acutely aware of both his parent's eyes on him, Meg was much less concerned for her brother than her parent's and silently cheered at the prospect of pizza.
Cheesy deliciousness two times in a week!