By the time Mr. Esler had been dropped off by the secretary Julie was sound asleep upstairs. Heather was sitting at the table waiting for him, and gave him a weary smile.
“Almost done Mr. Esler. We should have you back to normal in no time.”
“Thank you, really.” He sat down in the chair by the window, “I owe you so much.”
“No worries, Mr. Esler. But I think I’d best head to bed now. Today was a long day.” She stood up a little slowly and nodded politely at him before heading off to her room.
Bill had spent all day watching television and thinking. The secretary had kept him company when she could but for the most part he’d had nothing but time. Once they got all of this sorted he’d be back in his body and have forgotten all they had done for him. It hardly seemed fair that after all that he’d never know what he owed them. He picked up his book again and started reading from the beginning, knowing he wouldn’t have this much time again in the future.
Both sisters were silent during breakfast the next day and Julie barely ate before heading out the door. Heather seemed distracted and disappeared into her room again after eating, leaving Bill to sit and read by himself again. The phone rang as he finished the book again and Heather answered it, speaking in hushed tones. She hung up and straightened her clothes and hair quickly.
“I need to out for a bit on personal business, Julie will probably be home before me but you’ll be safe here.” She hesitated at the front door for a moment, “If anyone but me or Julie shows up don’t let them in.”
“Okay?” Billy wasn’t sure who she meant but he wouldn’t question it. Heather seemed satisfied and left, locking the door behind her. He put his book down and attempted to turn the television on. They had an older set but it wasn’t that hard to use. He found an old western and settled for that.
Julie got home halfway through the sequel and threw her backpack on the floor, startling him. She sat down on the floor in front of the television and yawned, “Where’s Heather?”
“Went out on personal business.”
“Ah.” She stared at the movie a bit, then blinked, “Wow this is old.”
“I watched it as a kid.”
“Yup, old.” She glanced up at him and shrugged, “No offense. Old isn’t bad.” She stretched out on the floor, staring up at the screen. He watched her for a moment before turning back to the screen. They watched the rest of the movie with little commentary and the third in the series was started by the time Heather returned. She glanced at the two of them, flashed a quick smile and retreated into her bedroom.
“Huh.” The sudden entrance had distracted him and Billy let the word echo a bit.
“I’m giving her half an hour before I start asking about dinner. Should work on my homework anyway.” Julie rolled across the floor to her backpack then carried it back to her previous spot, spreading several notebooks and worksheets out on the floor. Bill recognized some basic calculus on one of the pages. Another sheet was in Spanish and mostly gibberish to him. She busied herself filling out answers and he went back to watching the movie.
She was mostly finished when the half-hour had passed. The Spanish homework was all that remained, and she left it on the floor as she got up slowly and stretched. A quick knock on Heather’s door got her to poke her head out.
“Food.” Julie frowned at her.
“Uh… Yes?” Julie looked more energetic at the suggestion and Heather disappeared for a moment again, returning with her purse. She handed Julie a few bills and disappeared again.
Julie jumped on the phone to order and Bill couldn’t help smiling as she bounced on her toes while listing toppings. She hung up finally and sat down on the floor properly this time, “Forty-five minutes to pizza.” She focused on the final worksheet, writing out what looked like a paragraph response to whatever the question asked. The movie got to it’s climax as she was packing everything up again and the doorbell rang. She answered the door and through the window Bill could see a car from the same pizza place she had delivered fliers for. “Greg, you better not have skimped on toppings.”
“Wouldn’t want you to hex me, would I?” The man on the other end of the door chuckled a little and accepted the bills, “Say hi to your sis for me, okay?”
“Will do.” Julie closed the door again and carried two boxes to the table. The top one she made a face at and set aside, grabbing a couple pieces from the second box. Heather appeared at the sound of a plate being taken from the cupboard and grabbed the first box before disappearing again, “Must be doing something serious.” Julie commented, sitting down to enjoy the movie again.
The next time Bill looked away from the movie Julie was sound asleep on the floor with part of a crust left on her plate. The movie ended and Heather came out long enough to clean up, put away the food, and shoo her sister off to bed. She waved goodnight to Bill and again he was alone in the living room. He muted the movie and watched the rest of the marathon alone, waiting for morning.