Chapter 3: Father
Andrew had wondered how one could live modestly in a place as grand as the Hospitality House. That night, he found his first answer, when he was brought outside of the main building and led to another, smaller house in the backyard.
This house was still big, but it did not give off the feel of an extravagant mansion. Rather, it looked like the type of house an average family might buy if they had a lot of children. Compared to the ornate decorations of the Hospitality House, this house was a lot more modest looking, with a simple design and few notable decorations outside of the paint and tiling. The house itself was tall, being three stories high, and looked fairly wide, too, but despite being big, it still looked like a normal house.
Going inside, Andrew felt even more like this was just a simple home. There were no lavish decorations, just basic furniture one might buy from a common carpenter, plus some simple lamps and a feel of being in a normal family’s home. In fact, if only to look even more like the place has been lived in, there were clear signs that not everything in the house has been cleaned up, as Andrew turned a corner into the kitchen and saw pans and dishes piled up in the sink.
“Whoops, forgot to do those,” Ganymede said when she saw that.
Going further into the house, Andrew saw such sights as socks strewn about the floor, books left open on side tables, and papers lying in a pile on an office desk.
“I thought I had put those away,” Winstrom remarked.
Another voice was heard coming down the stairs… the voice of a dog, which jumped on top of Corrine.
“Hey, Lupie!” Corrine said as the dog, a large golden reclaimer, licked her face in happiness.
“You allow pets in here?” Andrew asked Blair.
“Of course,” Blair said. “As long as we take care of them and they do not enter the main House without Father’s permission… in fact, as long as we do not cause this place to fall down, he lets us take care of this house however we want.”
At this point, both Andrew and Esther gave a large yawn.
“You two must be tired after everything today,” Blair said. “Let me take you to your rooms.”
Andrew and Esther followed Blair up two flights of stairs to the third floor of rooms. There were a large number of rooms spanning the width of the house, all in one hallway.
“Andrew, your room is here,” Blair said, pointing to a room three doors from the end of the hallway, “and Esther, your room is here,” he said, pointing to a room on the other side, one door from the end of the hallway. “There will be two beds in your room, but as we have yet to find roommates for you, you can choose which bed you will take. And the bathroom is the room right at the end of the hall, and there is another one in the center of the hallway.”
Andrew went into the room and saw that it was fairly large, but only to accommodate the two people that would live in it. There was one small bed on each side, as well as one desk, one nightstand, one dresser, and one closet on each side. Because of this, the room looked large enough to be comfortable in, though not so large that, even with no one else in the room, Andrew would feel lost in a large open space.
He took out all the various things he had packed into his wings and placed them in the dresser, on the desk, or in the closet. Taking out some sleeping clothes, he got changed, and then went to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Going back to his room, he took out a book, turned on the lamp on the nightstand, and got into bed to read. However, he found the bed surprisingly comfortable for how small and simple it looked, and within moments, he fell asleep with the light still on and the book dropping out of his hands onto the ground.
When he woke up the next morning, he noticed that the light was on and turned it off. He then saw the clock on the wall, which said that it was already the ninth hour of the early day. Wow, I think this is the first time I have ever slept in so late, he thought to himself. He got out of bed and quickly got dressed, thinking that he might have been keeping this Father he was going to meet waiting. I hope he will not be mad; it is my first day of work and I am already late, he thought.
As he left the room, he saw Esther emerge from her room as well. Just as yesterday, she was dressed up incredibly nice in a formal dress.
“Did you oversleep, too?” she asked Andrew. Andrew just nodded in response. “I wonder why no one woke us up,” Esther said.
Andrew shrugged and hurried downstairs to the dining room, with Esther following behind. Inside the dining room, the only person was Ganymede.
“Hello,” Ganymede said. “I have breakfast ready. Did you two have a good sleep?”
“Too good, I would say,” Esther replied. “Why did no one wake us up? Are we going to be in trouble for being late to work?”
Ganymede just smiled. “Having a good night’s rest is important,” she said.
Esther looked annoyed that Ganymede did not answer her question.
Ganymede was about Andrew’s age, and was an elfish human. Andrew could not help but notice that, compared to the other girls he had met in the Hospitality House so far, Ganymede had a significantly larger body build. She was not so big that she would be classified as what the Alian medical dictionaries considered “obese”, but she was definitely larger than normal. Of course, Andrew also knew not to say anything about her weight, knowing how similar girls from his school reacted when others brought up their weight.
Instead, Andrew figured that it was better to praise her for her cooking. “This is really good! I have never seen it before; what is it?” he asked.
“Oh, we take pig meat, cut it into thin strips, and then fry it,” Ganymede said.
“It is a food native to Kris,” Esther said. “We call it bacon. I am surprised you do not have it up in Alia, though. It has been becoming rather popular in the countries around Kris.”
“Hmm… I guess frying things is not popular yet in our country,” Andrew said.
“Oh my, look at the time!” Ganymede said. “I have to report to the kitchen! Where did I put those bags of rice…”
She disappeared into the food pantry, and then emerged, carrying six gigantic bags of rice, each the size of a small child.
“Uh… you okay with all of that?” Esther asked.
“Oh, this is nothing! These blobs on my body are not all fat!” Ganymede said, laughing as she quickly made her way out the door.
Andrew raised an eyebrow. That is definitely the happiest I have ever seen anyone talk about being fat, he thought.
He and Esther quickly finished their breakfast, and got up to put the dishes away. Next to the sink, they saw a note: “Please come to the living room after breakfast.”
“That must be from Father,” Esther said.
Andrew gulped. He had heard much about Father from everyone else, but he still had no idea what to expect from him. How everyone talked about him, he got the feeling that Father was a kind guy but at the same time someone to be respected. Not to mention, he was reporting late for work.”
Esther sighed. “I guess I am as ready to meet Father as I ever will be,” she said.
Andrew nodded, and the two slowly walked into the living room. They soon saw the man known as Father, sitting in one of the chairs.
Andrew found it hard to really get an impression of the type of person Father was. Somehow, he looked to him like all sorts of different people at once. He looked like a well respected businessman, the type that one could count on to run such a large endeavor as the Hospitality House. At the same time, he looked like an intimidating, powerful man that one did not want to get on the wrong side of. At yet the same time, he looked like a jovial man that enjoys traveling the world and having fun. And at the same time, he looked almost regal, like a member of royalty. There was also one other impression that Andrew got from Father, that he could not describe at all, other than that it was a strange desire to not sit opposite of him, but rather sit next to him.
“Good morning, children,” Father said, sounding both regal and jovial at the same time. “How do you like things here so far?” he asked.
“They are good, Father,” Andrew said, trying to speak as respectfully as possible.
“Were the baths the right temperature? Are the rooms the right size for you? Were the beds comfortable enough?” The questions from Father sounded almost businesslike.
“They were all just right,” Esther replied.
“That is good.” Father smiled. “I have received some information on you two from Blair and Zoe, but if I may, I would like to hear about your circumstances from your mouths directly. Ah, but if you are not comfortable sharing it with each other yet…”
“It is okay,” Andrew said. “At least in my case, there is nothing for me to share that I would be worried about if others heard.”
“Very well; we will start with you, then,” Father said.
Andrew retold his current circumstances to Father.
“I see,” Father said. He turned to Esther. “And how about you?”
“Um… is it okay if Andrew does not hear all of it?” Esther asked.
“Sure; I will use some magic so that only I can hear what you say,” Father said.
Suddenly, Andrew could no longer hear what Esther was saying. He could see her moving her lips, but that was all.
After some time, he heard Esther speak again. “So that is my life,” she said.
“Okay, I understand,” Father said. “Welcome to my family. You may call me Father. Feel free to come to me if you need anything. Even if I am not physically around, I will make sure what you need is provided for.”
“Uh, Father,” Andrew said, “I am sorry for being so late this morning.”
Father looked at Andrew curiously, and then suddenly broke out in jolly laughter. “You are not late at all, Andrew,” he replied, still laughing. “You see, I had instructed my children to not wake you up this morning.”
“So you told them not to wake us?” Esther said incredulously.
“Wait, so you wanted to see if we were responsible people who could wake up on our own,” Andrew said.
Father broke out in laughter again. “Why would I ask you to do something I know you have had no experience in doing? No, I just wanted to make sure you two had a good rest. Especially on the first night, having a good night’s rest is important.”
Andrew distinctly remembered that Ganymede had said the same thing. “But am I not late for work?” he asked him.
“Hmm…” Father thought for a moment. “You know, given your particular family background, I think it would be best if you did not work for a while,” he said.
“Wait, I thought I was being adopted into here to work,” Andrew said.
“You are? Most people get adopted because they want families, not work,” Father said. “Well, it is not like I am never going to let you work. But I want you to understand something: even if you never lift a single finger to help out around here, you are welcome in my family.” His voice had a tone of kindness that was so strong and so foreign to Andrew that he could not say anything in response.
“I think, given that I still have to finish Esther’s paperwork for adoption, I will let you start working when I complete her adoption, and I will have you two start working together,” Father continued.
“So, what should we do until then?” Esther asked.
“Whatever you want,” Father said. “Wander around the area, talk with people, go back to your room and sleep… just do not hurt anyone or tear anything down or do anything inappropriate, I suppose. I do not think I needed to tell you that, though.”
“Now then, I suppose I should go and get started on the process of adopting Esther,” Father said, getting up from his chair. He went over to Andrew and Esther and shook their hands. “Take care, you two,” he said, and then left the house.