Awaking with a pained, throbbing, headache, I laid there for a good amount of time before slowly making myself leave the warmth of the bed. Ezekiel' door was already slightly ajar. Peering in, I was surprised there wasn't too much to note; nearly a mirror image of mine except there were more clothing items scattered about.
As I walked down the hallway, I heard the water stop and noticed some steam creeping under the door. Blinking, it clicked that he must’ve been taking a shower and scurried the rest of the way down the hall to keep it from becoming awkward. Peeking around the wall from the stairs, I saw Ezekiel come out while still trying to dry his hair. Feeling eyes on him, he looked and smirked. "Morning Larcrion. You look like shit, do you want to borrow some clothes?" The demon offered..
"Oh, um, yeah, that would be nice," I stammered out. "Thank you, Ezekiel."
"Ya ya, just a sec," he slipped into his room and passed me some jeans and an oversized t-shirt. "Here. I'll meet you downstairs for breakfast."
The clothes didn’t fit me at all and when I went downstairs I had to hold up his pants. “Uh, can I have a belt?” I asked, scratching my cheek nervously.
He snickered and went back upstairs to grab one as Lorias’ face puckered with suppressed laughter. “How’d you sleep?” She asked after getting it under control.
“Alright, wasn’t terrible,” I answered honestly and she gave a small nod.
“That’s good, I was worried,” an honest smile gracing her face.
I returned it and she gestured for me to sit before placing the meal before me. Digging into the scrambled eggs, I slowly ate after sending up a silent prayer.
“I was thinking of taking you out shopping today, how does that sound?”
“Yeah, that makes sense,” I agreed, Ezekiel coming back and setting the belt on the back of my chair.
“What makes sense?” He asked and retook his seat.
“We’re going to go shopping to get Lark some clothes.”
“Ah sure, but todays’ also the deep clean day,” he reminded and she let out a loud groan.
“Is that a bad thing?” I inquired and she shook her head.
“I just hate cleaning is all,” she lamented and Ezekiel snickered.
“Think she was going to try using going shopping to slip out of that,” he gently rapped his knuckles against her head.
“Oh- I’m-” Ezekiel held up his hand.
“You’re not at fault. She just hates cleaning with a passion and will do anything to get out of it. Despite the fact she’s in charge of upkeep while her parents are on a trip.”
“Not my fault it's tedious as hell.”
“We can go shopping after lunch,” he poked her cheek as she pouted.
“Fine,” she grumbled and leaned back in her chair before sighing, looking at me which I’m sure didn’t look great with how slack jaw I was with their casual interaction. The easy going nature between them caught me completely off guard. “So Zeke mentioned that he already informed you that we have a rule here. That if you're staying here for an indefinite or a long time, you have to help out around the house. Help with the upkeep, with any chores and things of the like. And if you don't know how to do something, we'll help you learn.”
"That seems fair," I agreed. "I don't know if I can do anything, but I will be willing to help around, however I can," I offered and she gave a confirmed nod.
"We still need to get a faster way to get the mail, it's such a long as hell walk," now it was his turn to complain as he looked towards the front with a grimace.
"What do you mean?" I asked, having zero idea what mail even was.
"He complains every time when he goes to fetch the mail about the long walk up the driveway," Loria chided, giving him a stern look before standing. “Plus it’s my turn to go get it ya big baby.”
"You live on 6 acres of land, in the smack middle of it, so I think I have a right to complain about the long walk up the drive," the demon huffed, crossing his arms in a pout.
Watching the interactions was definitely a sight to behold. They were more like siblings than a mystical being talking to a human.
"Your point being? If we didn't live like this it would be impossible to house all of you. There would be too high of a chance of you being seen," she shouted from down the hall.
“Ya ya, I’ll get started with Ladon,” he called back and looked towards me. “Do you know how to wash dishes?”
“Uh, no,” I admitted weakly.
“Then that’ll be the first thing,” he stood up and gathered his and Lorias’ plates and I grabbed my own and trailed after him.
We nearly got done, though he seemed to be giving me a wide berth and I didn’t get it, when Loria returned. “Nothing of note. How’s the dishes?” she asked when she entered the kitchen and tossed the envelopes in the basket.
“He hasn’t broken anything,” he offered up with a shrug and I looked over confused.
“How do you break something in the sink?” I could feel my nose wrinkle with the disbelief.
“He’d have to tell you,” she laughed and he glared at her.
“I never intentionally broke something,” he huffed and she laughed.
“I know, it’s okay,” she grinned and I shook my head.
“Well, what else would you like me to do today?" I asked, deciding to change the subject for him.
"Well, there’s also dusting," she offered up with a meek smile. "Zeke, do you mind mowing the lawn? The side around the garden needs to be trimmed," she explained, a resigned sigh escaping the demon as I perked.
"Garden?" I hadn't noticed that on our trek up to the house yesterday.
"I can show you after we go clothes shopping," Loria answered and gestured to follow her as we went to the living room and she got the cleaner and rags for us to use.
Zeke grumbled as he went down another hallway and I watched him leave. “Is mowing that bad?”
“It can be exhausting,” she replied and gave a small shrug. “But add music and its not that bad actually.”
It took me a while to methodically work through the family room, trying to do a good job on my task, Loria opening a window to get the breeze flowing before going to finish the dishes.The sound of the lawn mower filtering through the window as we cleaned was a nice touch, a sense of contentment settling in my chest. "How's the living room coming along?" Loria pipped up as I cleaned around the computer desk.
"Oh, uh, good I think," I answered, pulling my head back to look at her in the kitchen. “Did you want to come check?” I inquired and she came around to where I could see her.
"It looks good! Did you want anything specific for lunch? I want to get it started so Zeke can have a cool drink when he comes in," she inquired with a tilt of her head.
“No, whatever is good for me and I’m sure he’d like that,” I replied with a faint smile and she grinned in return.
"Do you mind working on the living room while I do that?"
"Not at all, just call if you need something," I nodded my head before going to the other room that I saw when Zeke showed me the bedrooms. It was right near the door and the stairs heading upstairs.
The first thing I noticed was the amount of family photos. Smiling softly, I started to lift them up to view yet move them to the side so I can clean. Lorias’ family looked so close, and loving. When I lifted the one that had her with her parents and what I can guess is their parents, something tickled the back of my mind. Almost like a voice, but it wasn't like what happened with Uriel last night, this was something far different. Almost like a memory from a different time trying to make itself known.
I shouldn’t be having memories, I was an angel. But there was also a part of me that wanted to know what was going on. Taking a breath, I tried to shut the world out and let the memories take over.
But it didn’t work. The feeling of the memories faded away leaving me with a boney weary hollow feeling. Breathing shaky and heart clenching, I started to clean to try and calm down. I didn’t understand this profound loneliness I was feeling or why.
Drawing my bottom lip between my teeth, I felt a wetness rise in my eyes. A soft “why?" slipping out.
I hadn’ heard anyone come down the hall until, "What are you wondering about?" was asked and jolted me out of my spiral.
"Oh uh, nothing to worry about,” I tried to cover up with a smile. Loria was already doing so much for me that she didn’t deserve the extra pressure.
Who knew I was such a mess?
"Well, lunch is ready and I checked outside it seems that Ezekiel is nearly done," I could tell she didn’t buy my ‘nothing’ statement, but I couldn’t be happier that she wasn’t pushing for me to explain it more.
"Alright, thank you Loria," I bowed my head before moving to clean around the couch and coffee table before going to put everything back where it belonged..
As I stepped into the hallway, I heard a door shut and "I smell like grass," came Zeke's announcement.
Stepping into the dining room, I looked over at him with a wry smile. "Hey Ezekiel," I greeted,
"Where's Loria?" he inquired as he toed his shoes off and pushed them to be against the wall.
“I don’t know, she didn’t say she was going to do something else," I frowned as I looked and saw that she truly wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
But she didn’t have to tell me everything, so I headed to the fridge to see if there was something for him to drink to help him cool off and saw that there were sandwiches made up with some vegetables lying alongside them on plates.
"She might be in the basement then.” He offered up and opened the door to hollar down,
“Hey Loria, I'm done.”
"Alright, I'm nearly done with this room, go ahead and start eating and I’ll be up in a bit," she called back and he snorted.
"I know you waited for me, but I need to take another shower anyway, so go ahead and start without me." he retorted and pushed away from the door to face me, who was about to sit at the table. “Make sure she eats when she gets up here.”
"What is she doing?" I inquired, leaning in my chair as I cocked my head at him.
"Making sure all the rooms downstairs are ready in case we ever have any other guests," he explained and I nodded in understanding.
"How many guests can this home hold?"
"Around 9," he answered with a soft hum, seeming to mull it over for a moment. “I’m heading upstairs to rinse off real quick, make sure Loria does eat if I’m not back by the time she comes up. I really don’t mind you guys eating without me.”
"That's pretty spacious, and you wouldn't have guessed that from looking at it from the outside," I mused and looked at the door when I heard the steps creak. “I think she’s already coming up.” Which made him grumble, but he took quick steps to scurry up the stairs.
"Indeed, but we normally don't have more than two or three guests at a time," Loria explained with a wide smile, eyes crinkling in the corners. “He ran away didn’t he?”
I laughed softly at that, nodding in agreement as she shook her head with mirth. “He wants you to eat, he doesn’t mind the wait,” I informed and she huffed.
“Fine, I don’t want to deal with a grumpy demon today anyway.”
"I was wondering, are there more places like this around?" I inquired, digging into the vegetables while Loria got her own plate from the fridge.
"I don't know, but I think my mom mentioned that there are plenty scattered around the world. Normally angels and demons are working so they don’t need a place to stay," she answered and joined me at the table.
"If you don’t mind me asking, where are your parents?" I hoped that wasn’t an insensitive question, but they seemed like a close knit family from the photos and Ezekiel hadn’t threatened me to not ask.
She responded with a laugh before elaborating with a wide smile. "They're taking their 20th-anniversary honeymoon," she explained. “They were so excited about finally going on a proper vacation, so they haven’t kept in touch too much. But I have gotten some photos of them. Wanna see?”
She pulled out a weird device I hadn’t seen before. “What...is that?”
“It’s a phone! It's a way for people to communicate instantly over long distances. You can take photos as well and send them,” the screen went bright and soon she was showing me photos of the people on the piano.
An absolute marvel.