“I think that was the last one!” Rory cried excitedly, kicking the empty box across the apartment’s hardwood floor. It struck sharply against the wall, passing between the couch and coffee table and landing directly in the corner. “GOAL!”
“Rory, don’t do that!” Florian scolded his daughter as he crossed the room to retrieve the box.
Remi laughed softly. “It’s fine, Papa. Rory was just practicing her football skills, right?” He winked down at his little sister. “Has Onkel Tobi been teaching you again?”
“Yup!” She beamed at him. “How’d you guess?!”
Her brother shrugged. “I’m psychic.”
“Like an Avesu?”
River shook her head. “It’s a Nimbus that can read minds, twerp.” She interjected with a smile. “Make sure you guys keep her up to date on her Voidcritter education while we’re gone.” River turned to her parents. “I expect this kid to have her Arcticorn up to level 12 by the next time we’re home.”
Her mother laughed. “We’ll do our best.” Clara promised.
In the months before her older siblings were leaving for school, Rory had taken a sudden interest in their love of videogames and Voidcritters. And Remi had a feeling he knew why. She tried so hard to put on a brave face, but he knew his little sister was upset that he and River would be moving out, and wanted a way to be close to them. Before they left home, he’d entrusted Rory with his entire collection of Voidcritter cards.
“So… I guess that’s it then.” Remi smiled kindly at his parents. “We’re all moved in!”
Florian nodded. “And we made pretty good time, too. Nice work, everyone!” He said with a laugh.
The little family fell into a strange silence for a few moments then. It seemed none of them were quite sure what to say. Guess it’s time to say goodbye… Remi thought.
At last, Clara cleared her throat softly. “So… do you guys wanna grab some lunch?” She asked her children with a forced smile. “Scout out the area a bit, find some good restaurants?”
River sighed. “Mama, no one’s hungry. We had breakfast like two hours ago.”
“Oh. Yeah. I guess we did, huh?”
Remi felt his heart sink. He knew exactly what his mother was doing. She’d done a poor job hiding her true feelings as their move-in day came closer and closer. And now that it was finally here… She doesn’t want to go.
“Mama.” He shook his head, smiling gently at her. “Come here.” He could hear her sniffling softly as he pulled her in for a tight hug. “We’re only like a half hour drive away.” Remi assured her. “And probably fifteen minutes from Tante Joce. We’re not far, Mama. And we’ll be sure to visit, okay?” He promised. Just probably not as often as you want us to. He added mentally.
“Yeah, Mama.” River rolled her eyes, but smiled. “And we’ll be home again for a couple weeks at Christmas. We’ll be back before you even know we’re gone.”
Clara nodded as she pulled away from him, wiping away a few tears with the back of her hand. “I know. I’m just being silly.”
Even Florian’s face had seemed to fall slightly. “We sure are gonna miss you guys… Have fun, okay?” It was his turn to hug his son now while Clara gave her eldest daughter a squeeze. “And be safe.”
“We will, Papa.”
Rory’s lower lip trembled. “I don’t want you to go away.” She said softly. “I want you to come back home with us.”
“We will.” Remi promised, bending down to give her a quick kiss on the cheek. “Really soon.”
River stepped forward then, pulling her little sister into a hug. “Be sure to drive Mama and Papa really crazy for us in the meantime though. Okay?” She whispered.
“Hey! I heard that!” Florian cried.
After one last round of hugs and a few more tears from Clara, the twins were finally alone at long last.
Remi and his sister exchanged a brief look as the door closed behind their parents and sister.
“Do you think they’re really gone?” River’s voice was a whisper.
Remi nodded seriously.
“HA! YES! FINALLY!” They did a little celebratory dance around the living room together, giggling the entire time.
“God, I thought they’d never leave.” River laughed. “I mean, I love them to death, but…”
“Oh trust me, I know.” Her brother agreed. “Free at last!”
For the past year or so, Remi and River had been practically counting down the days until they could finally move out and live on their own. The freedom, the independence, the excitement of it all… They couldn’t wait to experience it – together.
Sharing an apartment while they went to university was an easy decision for both of them. They knew each other better than anyone else, and had been the best of friends since the moment they were born. Plus, they’d survived their first eighteen years of life living together just fine. Remi thought. Why should this be any different?
“So… What now?” He finally broke the silence. “I mean, Mama and Papa are gone. We can basically do whatever we want.”
“Hmm…” His sister appeared thoughtful for a moment. “Well, did you see that flyer on the bulletin board downstairs? One of the apartments above us is having some kind of party tonight. We could crash it… Might be a good way to meet the neighbors?” She suggested with a small shrug. “I’m sure most of the people in this building are gonna be going to uni with us. This neighborhood is full of students.”
“True.” He paused for a moment, thinking. “And I guess meeting people sounds like a good idea… In theory.” Remi shrugged. “But the party’s not til tonight. What are we gonna do til then?”
River’s lips stretched into a smile. “Lock ourselves away in our rooms and ignore each other for the next six hours?”
A loud burst of laughter filled the air. “Perfect. You read my mind!”
“Aha, so I’m the Nimbus then, huh?”
“Hmm… More like Doofus, I think.”
His sister punched his arm. “Fuck you!”