As spring approached, children and adults alike opened their windows and stepped outside to feel winter thaw and embrace the kiss of the gentle wind. Winter did thaw but the wind had no gentleness nor presence. The sun had sunk its hands into every region of the Earth so that heat released through the asphalt and soil, drying it up and burning your feet.
The sun and its powerful heat weren’t new guests in the home of Cairo, Egypt. But there existed something inherently angry about the way the air outside dragged you down. Cecelia Adler swore to herself as she wiped the sweat off her brow. She felt as dry and cracked as the Earth beneath her sandaled feet.
“You want some?” a deep, gruff voice broke through the thick veil of heat. Cecelia opened her eyes, the heavy heat bearing down on her once more and the constant chatter of the marketplace coming back to her. She looked to the side where her friend Amir sat on a wooden chair in the shade provided by the makeshift awning over their table of goods, his burly hands holding a bottle of water towards her. Cecelia nodded and took the water, murmuring her thanks before taking two long swallows. Pouring some water into her hands, she washed her face and relished the coolness against her skin before briefly freezing in horror. Seeing her expression, Amir let out a low laugh. “No, you’re not wearing makeup. Relax.”
Cecelia exhaled loudly, removing her baseball cap and smoothening the escaped tendrils of her silver and purple hair. “I always forget but you’re right. It’s too hot for lipstick and foundation and all that.”
Amir let out a low displeased sound in the base of his throat, his large arms crossed over his barrel chest.
“What are you grumbling about? You know how my lips get chapped in this heat—”
“No, you idiot, I didn’t mean you. And by the way, we’ve been over this, I tell you every time to get a lipstick with a moisturizing formula but—”
Cecelia waved him away. “I know, I know! Forget it, what were you saying?”
Amir nodded forward a few feet away where a tall Mediterranean man stared at her unabashedly. The man stood by another stall, a wooden carving of a bird in his hand as if he had been studying it before his eyes had found her. He wore sunglasses and clothes made for running, his muscular arms exposed with a sheen of sweat on them.
“Do you want me to chase him away?” Amir growled. “I don’t like how he’s staring at you.”
“No... it’s okay,” Cecelia said after a brief pause, turning away from the man though she felt a chill exert itself on her spine despite the suffocating heat. “He’s just looking, what harm can he do?”
“Sell you into sex trafficking, probably,” Amir responded with his usual cynicism.
Cecelia snorted. “You must be fun at parties.” She turned to their merchandise and arranged the various arrays of painted beaded bracelets, necklaces and wooden figures on their table in a neat formation, the colors shining in the impenetrable sunlight. “How many of these does your mother make in a day, Amir?”
Some of the bracelets had wooden beads painted meticulously with red and blue and a multitude of other colors. Some had plastic beads — the most popular being white and yellow — with scarab beetles carved out of jade stone on each. And others were made of brown leather and string. Most of the jewelry and products sold in the marketplace had images of the old Egyptian gods and for good reason. Those gods had left this place but when tourists came, they expected to find pagans and shrines to Amun-Ra or Osiris and the like. Amir’s mother and the locals were only using that expectation to put food on their tables. Who could blame them?
Amir scratched his beard, obscenely thick for this kind of heatwave. Cecelia remembered how burly Amir had looked to her when she had first arrived in Cairo five months ago as a part of the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) program. Amir had stood as broad as a mountain with his thick arms crossed over his chest, a gesture that had quickly become as familiar to her as her own.
Cecelia could remember feeling delighted at the sight of him, thinking of all the things they could get away with if he stood by her side.She could imagine he regretted choosing to volunteer to pick her up and show her the ropes that day. She had been a gnat circling his face ever since.
“She works on the bracelets a few hours a day, really,” Amir said in response to her question. “She’s got some time on her hands when she’s done with the housework and the cooking. My sisters help her out too but Ayah is getting married soon,” Amir scowled, swatting a fly away.
“No shit, Ayah’s getting hitched? Who’s the lucky guy?”
“Hassan Aten,” Amir said as if it took him great strength.
“Hassan? Perpetually-lost-Hassan, Hassan?”
“That’s the one,” Amir sighed. “She chose him, believe it or not.”
Cecelia snorted. “Everyone’s got their someone. When’s the wedding?”
“In a week.”
“A week? Isn’t that...soon?”
“She’s getting old, Cecelia. She can’t be sitting at home forever.”
Cecelia sighed without comment. She knew all too well the pressures cultures put on young people to get married. The second Jews hit their twenties, talk of marriage began. At the age of twenty-four, she too had begun to steadfastly approach her expiration date for marriage. She found herself feeling glad once more to be there in Cairo instead of back home where she would find no rest from her mother and many, many relatives who all wanted to know why a man hadn’t taken root in her life yet and brought with him the prospect of children on the horizon. Cecelia knew that the age of thirty had been generally accepted as the cut off age in most cultures but some took that more seriously than others, like Amir’s family.
“Does she love him?” she found herself asking, thinking of Ayah and her honey eyes contrasting with her dark skin and the way she could handle a knife.
Amir shrugged, picking a bit of lint off his t-shirt but Cecelia could see the furrow in his brow. “She says she does.”
“That’s all that matters then, isn’t it?”
“No, love isn’t enough. Is he going to support her? Is he going to afford a place of their own? Is he going to be good to her and treat her like she deserves? Is he going to let her be free? Those are the important questions.”
“Come on, he’s got a job, doesn’t he?”
“He’s a librarian.”
“So he’s educated!”
Amir gave her a stink eye. “Educated. Pah!”
“That’s a good thing, though. You can go far if you’ve got the brains for it.”
“But he’s stuck in that library with those dusty books! His income is low! Money is...tough at the moment.”
Amir looked away from Cecelia’s searching gaze. Cecelia felt, not for the first time, struck by how beautiful and booming each country she had been to seemed to be when underneath there almost always laid a struggling society.
“Amir,” Cecelia said. “What if we sold your mother’s jewelry in America?”
Amir laughed a high-pitched laugh that didn’t fit with the rest of him. “How in God’s name would we do that? I think the sun is in your eye, my friend.”
Cecelia opened her mouth to argue when a pot-bellied tourist stepped forward to their stall. He wore a typical Hawaiian shirt with green floral patterns and sweat stains under his arms and on his slumped back. The tourist eyed Amir warily— and not for reasons regarding his size— before picking up and putting down various bracelets, turning the neat formation Cecelia had put them in, to a messy display. Cecelia ignored it and instead pasted a smile on her face. Show time.
“Lookin’ for something particular, sir?” she said pleasantly, stepping around the table until she stood next to the tourist.
The tourist squinted at Cecelia’s elfish appearance: her pointed chin, sharp brows and glinting eyes, but he relaxed at her charming grin. They always do.
“Doesn’t seem like much to me,” the tourist remarked rather snootily.
“Doesn’t seem like much? Sir, these are premium handmade beads made out of real jade and palm trees, meticulously hand painted and carved by noble Egyptian mothers. And not only that, oh no, they’re magic too.”
The tourist scoffed. “Oh come on, don’t sell me that mumbo jumbo.”
“Would I lie to you, sir?” Cecelia said, putting her hand against her chest and ignoring the way the tourist’s eyes darted downwards. “Scout’s honor, these bracelets got some of that Egyptian spirit within them. The mothers who make them bless them in the temple of the goddess Isis so that whoever wears them will be forever protected by the Mother of the Gods. Her healing essence lingers within these beads and cures any sickness. Ain’t that right, Amir?”
“Sure is,” Amir held up his hairy wrist where one of the bracelets rested. “I had carpal tunnel for months and right when I put this on, I started to get better and better. It was like a miracle! Cured my mother’s arthritis too.”
“Arthritis, you say…” the tourist muttered. He looked to the side where a middle-aged white woman observing a pair of rugs at a nearby stall stood. Her blonde hair rose with the increasing humidity. Cecelia followed his gaze and smiled sweetly.
“You got a wife, sir? Or maybe a daughter or two?”
“Wife,” the tourist said, “Marcia, over there.” He nodded towards the woman. “Married thirty-three years.”
“Thirty-three years! Isn’t that somethin’? A feat like that deserves to be celebrated, now, don’t you think? Now, I know she’d appreciate a thoughtful, beautiful gift such as these.”
The tourist started to rifle through the jewelry with more interest, nodding along to Cecelia’s words. “And it really helps? Cure you, I mean.”
Three minutes later, Cecelia stood smugly as the tourist walked away with two bracelets and a necklace proven to bring luck and prosperity.
“I wouldn’t smile too much, idiot. You’re late for your shift at the inn,” Amir said with too much satisfaction in his voice.
“Oh, fuck!” Cecelia gathered her things and began to sprint out of Khan el-Khalili marketplace. She ran to the sound of Amir’s laughter and the hustle and bustle of the city, dust kicking up at her feet as she launched herself into a nearby bus. She stood cramped with twenty other people in the small vehicle and tried to ignore the collective feeling of exhaustion and smell of sweat. The bus stopped a few miles away in the heart of the city and she burst through the doors without hesitation, running across the street until she made it to the Cairo Inn. She passed bellboys, maids and cooks as she took the back entrance and dashed into the employee locker room to change into her uniform, a plain black button up and black slacks that were sure to be drenched in sweat by the end of the hour. She slid into the inn’s bar just around the corner and felt the force of the booming music and billowing smoke hit her in the face as she went further inside.
Sabra frowned at her as she slid shots of vodka across the bar to three bearded Muslim men, ignoring their accusing stares. Women generally didn’t belong in bars in Egypt, let alone working in one.
“Ten minutes late. Ten!”
“I know, I know. I’m so sorry. I’ll make it up to you.” Cecelia tied an apron around her waist and began to take orders and disperse drinks. The smell of acrid hookah and sweet perfume tickled her nose and recycled through her lungs. She felt sure she’d develop black lungs eventually from all of the secondhand smoke she had inhaled since she started bartending here.
“Cece, go change the coals while I finish up my shift,” Sabra said. Cecelia nodded and weaved into the crowd, moving in and out of the shadows and disco lights. The throbbing of the music pumped her heart, making her feel lucid and drugged at the same time. In this cramped, sweltering, dirty bar, she felt joy embrace her. She stood on the other side of the world, doing and experiencing things she never would’ve if she had let her culture keep her in that small-town box.
Cecelia made her way back to the bar a few moments later, discreetly pouring herself water and chugging it down, darting her eyes back and forth. Her manager tended to pop up in these moments and glare at her for taking a second’s worth of respite.
“Excuse me?” a smooth voice asked.
Cecelia looked up as she drank and choked instantly. She set the glass aside, water running down her chin as she coughed and spluttered. She felt a flush spread across her cheeks once she got herself under control and wiped her mouth hastily.
“Can I help you?” she hoarsely asked the man who had been staring at her in the bazaar. They stood at the same height. He had pushed his sunglasses to the top of his head where his hair grew golden brown and curly and fell into his eyes.
His eyes. A deep, forest green as all encompassing as the Amazon and so like her own.
Cecelia felt a quiver go straight through her as if she had been run through with a javelin.
“Hello, daughter,” he said, his voice calm but with a slight hint underneath it, as if he found something amusing. “I see you’ve been having a grand time here.”
Cecelia willed herself to keep a cool composure and cleared her throat. “What can I get for you? Sir,” she added firmly.
“Oh, a strawberry daiquiri will suffice.”
Cecelia blinked before she set to work making the cocktail, keeping her eyes firmly on what her hands did so as to not drift upwards and stare at her father. She had a tendency to keep her eyes on him, believing that her mind had come up with new and strange tricks to fool her and the tall, handsome stranger standing before her could never be her father. She already had a father and felt quite alright without another one. He exuded an energy of languid nonchalance as if nothing ever bothered him and never would but also an energy of movement, as if he had somewhere else to be and never stopped anywhere for long. She always felt unsettled from the force around him because it felt so inherently familiar and so understandable at the same time, though it shouldn’t have been.
“What are you doing here?” she found herself asking after sliding the cocktail towards him. He took up the pink drink in his hand and drank leisurely, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat.
Cecelia impatiently watched him drink the whole thing before he finally exhaled, satisfied. “What am I doing here, you asked? Why, just delivering a message.” He grinned as if he had just said some sort of joke.
He placed the cocktail glass on the counter, the glass making a tinkling sound that seemed to reverberate through the room. “He is awake. It’s time to go home.”
Then he turned around and disappeared into the crowd, the sound from the glass still ringing in her ears.
Someone had pushed him face down into the grass.
It tickled the side of his face, the dampness of the plant wetting his clothes. He shivered as the chill began to sink into his skin. Roman stood up, feeling a strange heaviness in his limbs that only ever occurred after waking from a deep sleep. But how could he have woken if he had fallen into a dream? He felt the whistling wind kiss his cheek and the damp grass prickling his bare feet but somehow, he felt sure that sleep still had its hold over him.
He turned a full three-sixty. He stood on what seemed to be a large patch of land too small to be classified as an island, with the ocean stretching out endlessly all around him. To his right, another patch of land stuck out, looking like a large crumb in the middle of a soup bowl. Behind his own tiny land, a curving island loomed over him. Roman wanted to snort when his brain said that this particular archipelago looked like a sideways happy face.
Looking down at his feet, he saw small flowers like dandelions and daisies poking out from between his toes. He stood on a piece of the island where the earth had flattened and the grass danced, the latter green and long as a woman’s hair. The patch ended a few feet away and gave away to a jutting triangle of rock that sloped downwards with the point facing the sun. Looking closer, Roman noticed small holes in the rock where one could use as a foothold to climb on top and an assortment of wild flowers lining the circumference.
Waves crashed on every side of him against the jagged sides of the islands, spraying seawater on his face and the back of his neck. As the sound of the waves grew louder and louder, Roman felt uncertainty begin to bloom within the center of his chest. There laid a restless energy within the air that he couldn’t translate. The sun shone down on the island, bright and watchful and he could taste summer air on his tongue...but the ever-reaching sea all around him undulated madly. There existed no forgiveness in the way the water pummelled itself against the rocks. No playfulness, no tentative touch, but a storm exercising its fury.
The contrast between the gentle sun and the raging ocean forced his anxiety into his throat, like a fishbone accidentally swallowed. Stepping back, his foot came down on something hard yet brittle and he slipped onto his back, the grass cushioning his fall slightly.
A skull, with decaying flesh still clinging to it around the cheeks and nose and now a large crack on the crown of the head, laid at his feet. Horror turned his veins to ice as he gazed at the maggots crawling in and out of the dark holes where the eyes once were. Roman quickly turned away, crawling to the edge of the island to vomit when his eyes connected with more empty sockets.
Roman felt as if lightning seared his flesh as he took in the sight of rotting dead bodies in sailor and peasant clothes. Bodies, skulls, bones, limbs — all lined the sides of the field, as if the dead were holding up the life of the earth.
“I know this place,” Roman whispered when his subconscious began to itch. He stood up, clutching his head as a headache started to make itself known. The pain flared from the back of his neck up to his forehead. Throbbing spread through his skull and he felt like someone had just thrown open a hidden door and had begun to strum a long-forgotten nerve in his brain like a guitar string. But everytime he tried to mute that nerve and close that opened door, the pain came back even stronger. A scream ripped through him but another sound cut him off—the sound of a child crying.
Roman froze, every muscle in his body locked and screaming at him not to look for the sound...but the crying grew louder and louder. That poor kid, he thought, his heart squeezing all of a sudden. Tears filled his eyes as he looked before him frantically for the weeping creature. Breathing became hard as every cell in his being yearned to...to protect the child, to care for it. The crying had taken on a desperate quality that tore at his conscious and gnawed on his bones.
Then he heard her voice. The tears that had gathered in his eyes finally spilled down his cheeks as he listened to her comfort the child in a language he never learned but somehow understood perfectly. Greek, she spoke Greek,, his mind whispered to him. What’s going on? What’s going on? He wanted to shout but nothing came out.
“Shh, little one. None will harm you, not while I am here. I will make sure of it,” the woman cooed, a hard edge embedded in her words despite itself.
He couldn’t do this anymore, he couldn’t. He needed to see.
Roman stepped towards the large rock, his hand bracing against its surprisingly slimy surface as he looked behind it where a large alcove curved inwards into the rock. A woman knelt there, her back slightly to him and her thin shoulders hunched over something she clutched in her arms. The sun brushed against her long hair so that the auburn color of it burned in the light and danced against the coming wind. She shifted to the side and Roman felt his breath leave his body at the sight of her.
Not a single blemish occurred on her skin. Her warm, tan coloring and proud, knife-blade nose gave her a Middle Eastern or European air that Roman couldn’t place. She had a strong chin and brow but the rest of her face formed a soft oval shape, giving her a strange look that appeared caught between innocent young girl and noble older woman. Tiny forget-me-nots were woven into the intricate braids of her hair, corresponding to the purple grecian dress she wore. The longer he looked at her, the more he felt the itch spread to the rest of his body.
Roman pulled his eyes away from her with difficulty and looked down at the infant held in her arms. The baby had been swaddled in a black cloak that flowed like silk against the grass and laid balanced on the woman’s knees.
She made to stand up but hesitated, looking to her side where the alcove sat. A strange chill seemed to be coming from within the hole but the woman did not shiver. She merely frowned, her eyes closing to hold back her despair. Melancholy aged the lines of her face. Reaching into her hair with one hand while the other held the child, she took out the forget-me-nots and laid them at the entrance of the alcove.
“I will watch over him, Parthenope. I swear to you, he will not go a day without love in his heart, no matter what lies in his blood. I swear it on the River Styx,” she spoke softly in Greek before leaning her head down and kissing the child’s head. Thunder rumbled loudly against the sky at her last words but the sun still hadn’t left the cloudless sky, though it nearly would. The sky darkened to a brilliant array of colors that Roman hadn’t seen the likes of ever in his life. The light dimmed around the woman but the last stretch of sun still left peeking out from the horizon shined on the child.
She continued, her eyes looking up to the sky while the child, who already had a head full of golden curls, squirmed without fuss in her arms, his eyes closed.
“He’ll be the light for us all, Parthenope. The night is closing in but he will be my dawn. My Anatolios.” She brought the child up and whispered the name against the side of his soft head. At the sound of his new name, the child opened his eyes and met Roman’s suddenly. Roman shouted and fell backwards as he felt his heart seize and go into cardiac arrest.
Roman wanted to scream, he wanted to make a sound but his voice had vanished. Fear squeezed his heart to such an extent that he fell to his knees but the child continued to keep him with its eyes. Its violet eyes, the same as his own.
As he gasped for breath, the coming dark of the night creeped towards him. But before it could, the woman turned and connected her dark green eyes with his just as the child did and whispered against the wind, “Find me, Anatolios.
Roman sat up in his bed, heart intact yet still pounding against his chest and sheets drenched in sweat. He tried to close his eyes to calm his overactive body but every time he did, he saw the faces of the woman and the child and felt their gazes burning into his skull. Looking at his surroundings, he realized he still laid in his room even though the last memory he had included him talking to the stranger a few blocks from the theatre. No, Roman shook his head. That isn’t my last memory…
Suddenly, images flashed through his mind’s eye like it had the moment Aidoneus had touched his forehead, sending him hunched on his bed, trying to slow it all down but failing.
“Stop, stop, stop,” he whispered fiercely, gripping his head. Then, it did.
His mind relaxed and he slumped back, keeping his eyes wide open to focus on the reality he knew and felt familiar with. Deep breathing filled the space of the otherwise silent room, making him realize that his clock read nearly six in the morning. Colors were just beginning to emerge through the morning fog that blanketed the city. Birds were making their daily rendezvous on telephone wires, keeping their chirping to a minimum as if they knew the time hadn’t come to obnoxiously wake the humans up yet. Roman unsteadily stood and strode over to the window, opening it and pulling back the curtains. Morning air filled his system, clearing his head until blissful silence took over. He closed his eyes and revelled in the sounds of the city.
Hang on, Roman thought, frowning. How did I get home last night? He looked down at himself. He still wore the same clothes from last night. “What the hell is going on?” he whispered.
He was having a perfectly good day yesterday— he was at the top of his career! Hell, there were whispers about him receiving a permanent position at the Met Opera! And then out of nowhere, this stranger pops up, looking like a freaking gladiator in a suit and touches him rather uncomfortably, showing him things that he couldn’t stop seeing. And what about those dreams? The baby’s face flashed through his head and the observation he made when he saw him came back to him. Roman rushed into his bathroom, flicking on the light and searching his reflection. His hands gripped the edge of the sink, his knuckles turning whiter and whiter as he looked at himself.
He always knew his eyes were unusual compared to that of his family. Genetics couldn’t give him an answer for it. His mother would say every time the color of his eyes had been brought up that something special had touched him, that God laid in his eyes.
His violet eyes.
They were a dark color, almost black in the dark but once in the light, they were noticeably violet. They were the same shade as the babies’ eyes, the only similarity between the pair of them. The child’s hair had been blonde and his skin fair, his features different than Roman’s at that age.
How many people existed in the world with violet eyes? He hadn’t met anyone else in his twenty-four years on Earth with the same genetic mutation as him. Maybe he had dreamed of a relation of some sort? Roman shook his head fiercely. Are you stupid? He thought to himself. It was just a dream! Anything can happen in a dream. A baby with my eyes is nothing special, it’s something my subconscious made up. I could have dreamt of a gremlin with my eyes, it wouldn’t mean it’s me or anything.
Roman felt a prick of annoyance. He felt as if he knew something but couldn’t grasp what it could possibly be, like he could feel it as a seed in the back of his head trying to grow and ground itself but the soil had become infertile. A headache consisted of all he gained from his efforts. Groaning, Roman splashed water on his face and completed the rest of his morning routine, which included changing into a fresh pair of jeans and a dark grey t-shirt, before padding towards the kitchen. He turned the light on and found a figure already there.
“You’re up early,” John’s nasal voice broke the silence of the room. He leaned against the kitchen counter with a mug of black coffee in his hand, the steam curling below his face. His tall, lean body took up the entirety of the small kitchen so he had to shuffle out for Roman to enter.
“Couldn’t sleep,” Roman muttered, curling his toes against the coolness of the linoleum floor as he poured himself a cup of herbal tea. His head had been throbbing faintly since he woke up but seemed to increase in strength with each passing minute until his eyes began to water from the pain. They stood facing the small window above the sink, each focusing on the warm beverages in their hands and their own thoughts. They watched New York carry on below their little apartment in the district of Hell’s Kitchen. At this time of day, laborers were already halfway through their tasks and rounds, restaurant and food service workers were beginning to make their way to their local businesses, and fitness enthusiasts were hitting the pavement. Everything else that lurked in between woke from the shadows with the first light.
“We got any advil?” Roman said suddenly, trying to pull his thoughts away from what could possibly be waking up at this very moment, and what could be waiting.
“Yeah, it’s in the fridge. Why?” John frowned. Roman didn’t reply until he took two pills from the fridge — the rattle of the bottle sending a spike of white hot pain through his temple — and washed them down his throat with his tea.
“Woke up with a damn headache. Like someone is taking a chisel to my head,” he grumbled.
“Was it because of a nightmare?”
“What?” Roman turned to him.
“You couldn’t sleep and you have a headache. Was it because of a nightmare?”
“Oh, right,” Roman looked down into his mug of tea, his fingers absentmindedly tapping on the side in a curious tune. “No, not really. Just a weird dream…” He glanced sideways at John before continuing. “There was a woman in it and she was holding this baby.”
“A woman with a baby?” John said, turning to Roman with curiosity blooming in his eyes.
“Yeah, and they were on this island — or rock, it was pretty small — in the middle of the ocean. The baby was crying and crying and the woman was just talking to it...” his voice trailed off, his eyes clenching shut against the light peeking out from behind the horizon.
“What did she say?”
Suddenly becoming conscious of what he almost said, Roman shook himself out of his stupor and cleared his throat. For some reason, to divulge the details of his dream felt wrong, as if he had begun to venture into a taboo territory. “Nothing. I couldn’t make it out.”
“Hm,” John made a noise in his throat as he usually did when he considered something curious and rubbed at his newly shaved face. “Maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you that your biological clock is ticking. You know, settle down and have some curly-haired Armenian babies and all that shit,” he waved his hand frivolously, his expression downright shameless.
Roman snorted into his mug before placing it in the sink. “You sound like my mom and every older relative I have. And I wouldn’t laugh if I were you! You’re Russian, you’re gonna go through the same nagging — if not by your mother then at least by my own.”
John suddenly grimaced as if he took a bite out of a sour lemon. “Thanks for the reminder.”
“Besides,” Roman said, washing his mug and putting it on the drying rack before moving out of the tiny kitchen. “Isn’t the biological clock thing mostly applied to women? Like — they got a certain number of eggs left as they get older or something but men just keep on making millions of little guys into their old age.”
“We don’t stick to gender roles in this household,” John quipped. “And look who decided to open up a book for once!”
“All right, all right. That’s the only bit of biology I remember from high school, smartass,” Roman said. “By the way, I think I’ll pop by for a little visit today at school before rehearsals. Is that cool?”
“Yeah, of course,” John’s voice carried from the kitchen above the sound of the running water from the faucet.
Roman walked into his room but not before calling behind him, “Speaking of which, aren’t you going to be late to class?”
He laughed, his headache easing, as the sound of glass breaking and loud curses circled back to him.