“You make me happy too,” he said, and he relished in the way those words felt.

The next day went by in a blur, the only clear memories in Everett’s mind were the moments before every meal when Rae would pull him around the side of the Mess Hall. Those memories were always clear to him. The day after that was a little slower, and a Wednesday, which made Everett feel a little better about the events that the next day held.

He was walking to lunch when he felt a small, cold hand grab his arm. It was Rae like it always was, but as she shoved him against the wall and kissed him deeply, she seemed more needy, more desperate. He wasn’t complaining for obvious reasons but after a few minutes, Rae came up for air, and Everett took what seemed to be his only opportunity.

“What’s up with you?” he asked with a smile.
Rae looked at him smirking. “Am I not allowed to kiss my Mood Ring?” she asked playfully as she moved to start kissing him again. Everett put a hand on her shoulder to hold her back. She looked down at his hand with mild frustration.

“Aren’t you a little hungry?” he asked, but Rae just kept ignoring him.

“I can eat later,” she said, pushing against him a little harder.

“Did you, the one who’s always hungry, just say food can wait?” When Rae began pressing soft kisses to his neck when she couldn’t reach his lips, Everett raised his eyebrows. “Hey I’m not complaining, but I am sorta kinda hungry, and I know that you are too, and I don’t have any classes after lunch or for the rest of the day, and neither do you… So tell you what. We go in there, we eat pretty good food, we go back to the cabin, and we watch a movie on the TV that Leia has been setting up,” he offered in an attempt to get her to stop for at least a little. Rae pulled away begrudgingly.

“I guess I am a little starving…” she said trailing off.

With a bright smile on his face, Everett grabbed her hand a pulled her into the Mess Hall. They ate quickly, barely tasting the food that went in their mouths, and after about fifteen minutes they were grabbing as much food as they could carry to take back to the cabin.

“So what movie?” Everett asked as they laid all the food out on the coffee table.

“Hmm. What movies do you have?”

Everett blushed. “All the great Disney movies, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings.”

Rae smirked. “Does ‘all the great Disney movies’ include Pirates of the Caribbean?”

“Of course!” Everett said as he grabbed the movie off of the shelf, and put it in. As the previews began to play, Everett plopped down on the couch and pulled Rae close. He was watching the movie intently when Rae had other ideas. Turning her head towards him she laid a kiss on his cheek, then his lips.

“What’s got you like this?” he asked as she kissed his nose, his face scrunching up on reflex.

Rae sighed, laying back against him. “I just don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow, and…” she trailed off as Everett started playing with her hair to get her to calm down.

“I know,” he whispered. “I know.” With another sigh, Rae fell asleep with her head on his chest. Everett kept stroking her head softly as he watched the movie. He laughed when Rae woke near the end when the major fight scene came on but fell asleep almost immediately after it ended.
When the movie finally ended Everett stopped fighting his drooping eyelids and gave into a blissful sleep.

→ ←

She woke up to birds chirping outside the window, her face pressed against his chest. Sitting up groggily, Rae rubbed at her eyes. The bell was chiming a good distance away in the middle of the campus, but here in the middle of the forest it was only a faint ring. She only vaguely worried about being late for class.

Looking down at Everett still asleep, an arm tucked under a pillow and his glasses skewed from where his face was pressed sideways on the pillow, Rae couldn’t help but smile at his peaceful state.

She glanced at the wall clock and was shocked to see that they had slept in till nearly eleven. Everett would not be pleased at having missed his morning classes, but now Rae was more worried about having to go meet Avery and her father for lunch.

Reaching a hand out, Rae went to wake him up, but then she stopped. Waking him up meant that she was going to say goodbye just in case she really did leave today. But that wasn’t going to happen. She was going to convince her dad to let them stay. There was no need to say goodbye.

So instead, she slid off the couch, leaned over, and kissed him gently on the forehead before pulling off his glasses and setting them close enough for him to find when he woke up.

Her heart was heavy as she slipped out of the cabin. The woods seemed lonelier as she walked to the Mess Hall.

***

He hadn’t changed one bit. He was still the same average height, the same graying, light brown hair, and the same worn, green eyes.

“Your headmaster said no one knew where you were this morning. Do you really skip classes that often, Rae?” he asked her at the table.

“I just overslept,” Rae said.

“Avery said she didn’t know where you were either. I thought you two shared a room.”

Rae shared a look with Avery to see if it was true. Her sister winced at Rae’s glance.

“Rae?” he asked again, using his fatherly tone.

“Why don’t we get to the point?” Rae retorted a bit defensively. “You want to disenroll us, but neither of us want you to do that.”

He looked taken aback, but he leaned forward as he said, “Well Amy and I thought it might be better for you two if you went to a normal school.”

Rae scoffed at him. “You and Amy?”

“Yes. Actually, it had been her idea.”

“I don’t believe it,” Rae said at the same time Avery said, “Why does she want that?”

“We just felt like sending you away might not have been the best decision we made. You girls are still apart of our family. I don’t have to justify that to you.” He folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. The position was almost identical to Rae’s across from him.

Always the mediator, Avery spoke. “We appreciate that you two want that for us, but the thing is… Rae and I have come to really love this school. We’ve made friends and we like our professors. We don’t feel like you need to make it up to us in anyway because you did us good just by sending us here.”

Rae had to hand it to her, it was a pretty convincing speech, but her father didn’t seem ready to let go of his control.

“I’m glad to hear it has worked out here, but let me do you some good again by taking you home. I’m thinking of your futures, girls. You won’t be able to live on your own without a job and this school certainly won’t pass on any resumes or enrollment forms.”

“That’s what you think,” Rae muttered.

Her father cut her a glare, letting her know that he wasn’t appreciating her cool demeanor towards him.

“Um, well, the headmaster is really good about ensuring good futures for all of the students here, but--” Avery started, only to be cut off.

“Yes but I’m talking about a real job acting like real people.”

“We are real people,” Rae gritted out, her fisted hands going icy.

But he just kept on as if he hadn’t heard her. “Listen. Just come home for a few days and we can talk about this more. If things don’t work out or something better comes up, we’ll discuss it.”

“No,” Rae said, again at the same time as Avery said, “Well…”

“This is the best I can offer you,” he said. “I am still your guardian and what I say goes. But I’m willing to be reasonable. I won’t disenroll you until a decision is final, but I must insist that you both come home for now.”

Rae was seething, but she knew that nothing could be done. “I’ll give you three days.”

“Well, that remains to be seen and it is ultimately my call, but…” He trailed off, noticing the look of hatred his daughter was casting at him. “Just go get your things.”

***

“Don’t pack everything,” Rae told her sister. “We’re coming back. Just pack what you need for a few days.”

“But what if we aren’t?” Avery asked, her voice starting to wobble.

Rae smirked. “If we leave most of things here, he’ll have to bring us back to get it.”

“I guess you’re right…”

Outside, Rae was taking her sweet time to walk towards the gate to where her father was waiting. She glanced around, hoping that she would spot Everett. It wasn’t until the gate was in eyesight that she heard it.

“Wait!” his voice rang out. Rae stopped immediately, whipping around to see Everett sprinting towards them.

Rae glanced back to see her father coming towards them when he saw they had stalled on the path.

Before Everett had reached them, Rae started talking. “We’ll just be gone for a few days. I don’t know when I’ll be back. We just have to see if he’s telling the truth.”

“What?” he asked, panting as he finally reached them, but before she could explain any further, her father had taken her by the arm and started pulling her away.