“They’re making so much progress, Lex!” I’m nearly bouncing as I finish grading these exams. I hand them an exam to work through about once a month though it usually depends on how far ahead and how well they’re learning what they have to. I think they’re doing well, balancing studies with work. Mira of course is doing a little better than Agni though not in all subjects. Agni is learning faster in science where Mira is excelling in history and languages.

“Well you are the one teaching them.” He teases lightly and I roll my eyes at him. I’m barely teaching them at this point, I just give them the books filled with the information and exercises, the answer book with promises to not look at it unless to correct the done exercise. If they were just looking at the answer book, they wouldn’t exactly be helping themselves and they wouldn’t learn much of anything.

“Think about it though, before too long, probably next summer at this rate or even around spring, I’ll be able to get them through their final exams and they’ll get their general education diplomas!” I feel like a proud parent whose child is on the honour roll. It’s a strange sensation since I’ve never had kids before and I’ve never had to teach anyone much of anything, at least of that sort so it’s nice to feel accomplished.

“What I think is nice is that you’ve stopped fussing and fretting over the library plans for all of a few hours to correct their exam and make sure they had good grades.” He sounds amused but I know it’s his way of reminding me to slow down, that even if I rush through, the library won’t get fixed in a day and even if I call some folks now to get things scheduled, it won’t happen for a few months and things might just change then, too.

I shrug, a sheepish sort of motion out of me and I put away these exams. I’ll be heading back down in a little while to give these back to them so they can have a look and see what they know and what they might not grasp as well.

“I know, I can’t help it. It’s just so exciting to know I’m doing something like this. It’s not quite a half-way house or a home for the kids on the streets, that would take even more of my time away but this, at least this I can work on and not completely wipe myself out.” He quirks a brow and I blink at him. I suppose I might not be seeing it from his point of view.

“Eoghan, since you’ve been given the go ahead for the library, you’ve more or less been locked away in your office, only coming out for food when you do and once evening settles, you disappear straight into the bathroom for a long soak in the tub. You might not realize it but I do and you are wiping yourself out working endless hour after endless hour to make sure it all comes together clearly. I can understand where you’re coming from, I’ve been in a similar situation before but you’ll be completely wiped out before you even realize it and then who’ll take care of the building?”

I rub the back of my neck lightly and I shrug again, offering him an apologetic smile. I can do little else at this point but try to not get so focused on this that I forget everything else that surrounds me.

As I head down the stairs, my mind is already thinking of ways that I could prepare a sort of celebratory gathering in the eventual future when the twins will be done with their high school studying. I stop by their door, listening to the quiet inside and I knock gently. Everything remains quiet for a few moments before there are steps coming to the door and it slides open. There stands Agni with a cup of something in hand. He smiles at the sight of me and steps back to let me in.

“I finished correcting your exams.” His gaze is uncertain though I smile at him and he smiles back. He briefly excuses himself, to get his brother I imagine and I step a little further inside, closing the door behind me. Cyrille is settled on the couch in the living room, nose deep in a book and Agni comes back after a few moments with his brother in tow, Mira wiping his hands on a towel. Maybe in the middle of dishes.

I look at the two copies I have in my hands and hold each out to them. Mira takes his to look it over and he frowns softly while Agni goes bright-eyed over his results. Science really is one of Agni’s stronger subject though Mira is only a couple of points under his brother’s score. “You’ve both done well, I can’t tell you just how proud I am. I’m thinking that at the pace you’re both learning, by next spring or the end of next summer we’ll be able to get you two to take the final exams and we’ll be graduating you from Eoghan’s home school annoyance.”

Agni laughs but Mira still is looking at his corrected exam as if he’d failed to complete the most important test of his life. “Mira, don’t do this to yourself. It’s one particular question and I think it’s because you didn’t pay enough attention to the details, that’s all.”

He sighs, his shoulders sagging and I muss his hair gently. He tries to smile but it doesn’t reach his eyes. “Just look at the corrected answer, you’ll understand, okay?”

Finally, he nods but he sighs again as he turns and heads back to wherever he had been before Agni had fetched him. “Try not to let him get too worked up about this, okay?”

Agni nods, looking to where his brother has disappeared. “He’s just been worrying about a lot of things he shouldn’t even be thinking about, I think that’s all. I’m going to have a good, long talk with him and if that doesn’t work I’ll just tickle him until he pees himself.”

I suppose that’s one method to be used in cases like these. I shake my head and let myself out of the door. I know how seriously Mira takes all this studying and these exams and the rest. He’s like a little bookworm, trying to eat his way through all the glue and paper of an encyclopedia and going back in his tracks when he realize he’s forgotten to eat one particular passage he shouldn’t have skipped over.

I can’t say he reminds me of myself, I was never really that way with my studies. I suppose he might be closer to how Lex was when he first started to learn law or how he is every time he goes back to law as a living and has to study through whatever came out in the last decade or so since he was out in public. It’s not a bad thing but you have to remind them now and again that it’s not all about the grades or about how well you do, it’s mostly just about how well you understand the subject, in the long run.

As I close the door behind me, Lex comes up to me, hugging me to himself and resting his chin against the top of my head. I blink up to him but I close my eyes, relishing in the warmth of his presence. I guess I have somewhat been neglecting him since my library project got the all-clear. It’s just been so long since I had a project of my own to really focus on, this warehouse being renovated aside, that I forget about the simpler things in life. I’ll have to change that, of course.


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