play a game

“So what is this called again?”

“Monopoly.” The blank look on his face amuses me more than it should and I can’t help it. Yael looks almost just as blank-faced but he hides it well enough. I chuckle softly and Quentin huffs at me. I shrug and Eoghan sticks his tongue out.

“I’m surrounded by children, what am I supposed to do with the lot of you?” I laugh again but shake my head somewhat. Yael blushes and I can’t help but wonder. I suppose he might still be intimidated by my size but I’m rather hoping it’s more along the lines of respect and a bit of awe, maybe.

I’ve already explained three times how the game is played and our two newest players still don’t seem to understand. Maybe I should try another game, something simpler, like ropes and ladders. Or maybe twister, Eoghan would love twister and that could turn out to be fun but I don’t believe Quentin is quite that ready to be physically open with anyone other than Yael. I don’t know what other games we could play. This evening is going to drag on if we don’t find something to do. I’m not normally restless but it’s just one of those things tonight.

“Oh! Eoghan told me about the garden you’ve got growing on the upper floors, would you care to show me while these two figure out what other game we can play that might not require so many rules?” He blushes again lightly, this time I can tell it’s in pleasure that someone else might be interested in his garden and he nods, standing to his feet. He brushes himself clean of invisible dust and motions to the back.

I move to follow him, reaching down to muss Eoghan’s hair as I pass by. He huffs indignantly before looking back down to the almost dozen or so boxes of games we’d brought over. Yael was the one who had invited us, something about how he wanted to get to know us a little better still and it felt good to have guests now and again.

He walks down the hallway and to a small corridor, or at least I had mistaken it as a corridor but it’s a small staircase that leads up to a door. I follow him quietly, not much minding the quiet at this point. He pulls the first door open, towards himself and I find it a bit strange before I realize that the second door opens towards the garden and I have to assume that the screen door is there to keep the cats out while they still keep the inner door open for a breeze or the scent of the earthy growth there.

There is a scent, it is deep but not overwhelming. I follow him up the stairs and he closes the lower half of the inner door, then reaches out and closes the screen door. I was right on that, at least.

I’m not sure what I had been expecting, a small little garden with a few flowers, something closer to the front yard of some folks who put up a few plants for decoration. I was startled, I was speechless, I was in absolute awe. I could see vegetables growing on one side, small fruits on the other, some trees even in the area that was open to the second floor. That made no sense. I can’t see how anything of the sort could grow indoor with so little soil though it could have been deeper than I could see. Maybe his gift really was with nature, it would make sense. There was no way this could be left behind when the world went to hell.

“Wow, Yael, this is beautiful. I have to admit I had expected something like a front yard set up with a few plants, nothing quite of this size. I could spend my afternoons here and I’d feel at such peace.” Oh but he blushed and he blushed deeply. He ducked his head and fussed with the sleeves of his long shirt. I laughed gently and touched the small of his back lightly. This guys really wasn’t used to compliments, it was sweet.

He breathes in and out as if to calm himself as he looks his garden over. My attention moves towards something in the far back and I slowly start that way. He follows me easily, blinking almost in confusion. I stop next to a small little gathering of stems, it can’t be more than four feet tall but it is filled with little golden fruits. I look back to him, my hand out to pluck just one and he smiles before laughing. It is such a clear sound. I pluck one of the golden raspberries from its stem and put it into my mouth. It is just perfect! “Now you have just made me a very hooked fan. These are my favourites, I might just be snagging some off of here every few days if that’s all right with you.”

He laughs again, his eyes bright and pleased. His smile is ever present and still there is a hint of colour to his cheeks. “I don’t mind. I prefer the deeper red kind and they’re just about ready. I planted a little bit of everything. So much I haven’t ever eaten yet, I wanted to try a bit of everything. I even planted cucamelons.”

I’m the one with the confused look this time and he’s laughing, it’s a playful sort of sound and I shake my head. “It’s a tiny cucumber, the size of a grape and they say it has a bit of a sour taste.”

Though now he pauses and looks out the window and from where we’re standing I can see the other warehouse. It is its closest and only neighbour on this side. On the other side there’s nothing else and on the back, like this property, there’s just grass and weeds and trees. “Eoghan said something about how you bought the land and the warehouse, are you going to fix it up like this one?”

Ah, sneaky little lover of mine. I smile and turn, setting my hand to the small of Yael’s back once more to half-lead him back towards the door and the ground floor. “The apartment we live in has too many tenants. Because of his gift, he needs a bit of a quieter place and I thought that building up the warehouse the way you two have here would be a wonderful idea. It would mean more space for him to work on whatever projects he wants and I’d have more room for Adela, too.”

“Adela?” He looks puzzled as I open the doors and he steps down lightly. I close the lower half of the inner door and the screen door. The soft earthy scent is a good thing. “My snake, she’s still small but she’ll grow and she’s very friendly.”

His eyes grow in size and he looks surprised. There’s not a single hint of fear in those wide, too pale orbs though. “Maybe I could meet her?”

“Of course, we can do that. We have an exchange of goods to see through as is, I think you’re just about done?”

“Just about, putting on the finishing touches in the next few days.” He looks so pleased with himself, it’s sweet. We walk back to the living room where they’re still discussing games and none has been pulled out yet.

“So, what game are we playing after all?”

“Twister!”

Well this is going to be an interesting evening.

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