It was about six in the morning when I prepared to go back home. It was now or never, if I didn’t face my problems head on I’d get caught up in the magic of the future and I’d never leave. I needed to get my act together, chasing after my childhood dreams was silly, I couldn’t be a rockstar or a hero from a sci-fi novel. I had to grow up.
It was gonna be hard. I’d screwed up a lot. I was gonna have to face my brother, I was gonna have to tell him about why I couldn’t save our sister. I was gonna have to face my dad, I was gonna have to tell him I failed at my musical career and I was gonna have to do something else. I hated to disappoint them both, but I needed to grow up.
My friends from the future had inspired me. Even though I had traveled through time, I realized I couldn’t change the past. What was done was done, I made a lot of mistakes and lost the one person I loved the most, but meddling with the past would only make things more complicated for me. I couldn’t focus on the past, I had to focus on my future.
“How’re you feeling, Lake? Are you ready?” Andromeda asked me.
“Yea, it’s now or never.” I responded with a smile. This wasn’t the last time I’d be seeing them, but it was still sad to say goodbye.
“I’m proud of you man, it’s hard to get your life back together.” Orion commented with a smile. I knew it’d be hard, but I was determined.
“Good luck, Lake. We’ll be rooting for you.” Canis nodded at me. I gave him a nod back and smiled.
“Don’t forget to visit, you’ll always have a room here!” Ursa smiled enthusiastically.
“I will, don’t worry. Thank you guys for being so welcoming.”
“It’s been fun. We’ll take care of Seven until you get back.” Lyra smiled at me and at the robot standing at the end of the line.
“Thank you, I won’t be gone too long.” I assured her, I wouldn’t want to burden her too much. “Oh, and don’t forget, I left the box of stuff for you guys in my room.”
“Take your time, and thank you.” She winked. I winked back then turned to my robot.
“Don’t worry, Seven, I’ll be back soon.”
“Yes, Master.” She gave me a small wave and I felt a little sad, it’s like I was dropping my pet off at the vet or something. I didn’t wanna leave her.
“I guess I should get going, before I change my mind.” I laughed, making the other chuckle slightly as well.
“Bye Lake!” They all called out as the doors of the machine slid open. I gave them all a big wave before jumping into the purple light of the time machine.
A few minutes later I was thrown from the darkness and into my brother’s room. He was sitting on the couch, staring anxiously at the machine.
“What the hell is going on, Lake? Where is she?” He bombarded me as soon as I found my footing.
“Not right now.” I waved him off, my head hurt from time travelling and I wanted to avoid this as long as possible.
“Lake, what the hell! Come back! Talk to me!” Stone called after me as I ran out the garage door. I couldn’t do this right now, I wasn’t ready.
I ran all the way to my room and collapsed on my bed. Even though I had just woken up, it felt like I’d been awake for a thousand years. Stress can do that to a person.
The next morning I had managed to avoid Stone before he went to work, but I didn’t think I could keep it up much longer, he had knocked on my door for at least an hour. I had to get out of this house as fast as possible. So I called Allium for a little advice on getting a job that wasn’t dealing drugs. We had talked, neither of us could come up with any ideas, so we were taking a break and hanging out with Thistle. He was doing better, but he was still practically living here. I didn’t mind though, he was a cool guy and I was glad I could at least make up with him.
“So what’re you guys gonna do now?” Thistle asked, referring to the breakup of the band.
“I have no idea.” I responded with a sigh. “That band was my future.”
“That sucks bro.” Thistle gave me a sad smile. “What about you, Al?”
“Dunno, might start taking some classes down at the community college.” Allium responded with a shrug.
“Have you considered that?” Thistle asked me. I knew he was trying to help but I felt a little patronized.
“Yea, I don’t really think that’s my thing.”
He was about to respond, but our conversation was interrupted by my dad coming down the stairs. None of us really knew how to respond, we hadn’t seen him down here in such a long time. He’s been worse since my sister died, he never came out of the attic, not even to go to work.
I decided to be bold, so I said, “Hey Dad, what’s up?”
“Not much, I’ve got a question for you boys though.” My dad stood over by us and I couldn’t read his expression. I wasn’t sure if he was angry with us or not. It was intimidating.
“Yea, sure Dad.” I responded with a gulp. My father was a scary man, he could flip his lid any second and we’d have no warning.
“Well, I’m reopening the bar soon, and I need some new bartenders, mine quit. I was wondering if any of you would be interested.”
I immediately jumped up. This was perfect, I would get a job, I’d be working nights so it’d be easier to avoid Stone, and I’d be working alongside my father. We never had a great relationship, I tried to not let it bother me but it always did. Now was my chance to get close to him.
“I’d love to.” I answered enthusiastically.
“Are you sure, what about the band?” He asked, making my stomach drop.
“Um, it broke up. It’s ok though, it was just a pipe dream.” I admitted.
“Well alright, meet me in the attic later so we can start training.” He gave me the first genuine smile I’d seen from him since mom left, before heading up the stairs. I sat back down on the couch with a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t believe how perfect this was.
Later that day after Al left I met my dad upstairs. I hadn’t been up here since I was younger and snuck up here with my sister. It seemed like a million years ago but the place still looked the same.
“Alright, now pour that one into there.” My dad instructed while pointing to the bottles. Mixing drinks was a lot harder than I thought, it was gonna take some time to learn all of this. But the busier the better, I suppose.
The bottle I was using slipped out of my hands and fell to the floor with a crash. “Whoops.” I smiled cheekily at my dad, hoping he wouldn’t freak out.
“That’s alright, keep going.” He encouraged. It was odd behavior from him, but I didn’t question it. It seemed like he was actually trying to be a father to me. Though it was a little late, it was still nice.
It took me a few hours to get the first drink right, but when I did I couldn’t help but feel extremely proud of myself. I was finally starting to get my life on track. It seemed like my dad was trying too. I just hoped we could stay on this path.