[Extra: Andrea and Lucas in Sims2 style:
Lucas packed his suitcase in reverse alphabetical order. He didn’t really notice what he was doing, for he had created the order so very long ago. And it meant that his shirts and trousers didn’t get in the way of his razor or cufflinks.
One suitcase didn’t seem like enough to pack years away into. Lucas tore his eyes away from the puddles of clothes for a moment to survey the empty flat. Empty. That word rang in his mind, hollow. Weird. Two weeks ago, the place had been crowded with clutter and draped in personals. Now all that remained was himself, the regular-sized suitcase and two letters.
In one hand, he clutched a formal letter of acceptance:
Dear Mr. Gorge, we are delighted to say that you have been accepted to study Theology at our university. We have studied your education credentials, and the only requirements we have are that you take a full-time position here at the Mature Student college, St. Anne’s. You will be provided with breakfast, lunch, and…
It went on for a while. Lucas didn’t need to read more. He remembered how it went.
In his other hand, he scrunched up an informal note of resignation:
I, Mr. Lucas Gorge, hereby offer my letter of resignation from the post of Religious Studies tutor of Corpus Christi College in Greater Redshire. I have decided to pursue my education into Theology further with a Master’s Degree, and as such will no longer be able to serve as a paid member of staff at Corpus Christi. I have appreciated the opportunity given to me here, and hope to still support the school until my departure.
That he had done, even going so far as to step in for the head of department when she was ill to supervise the hiring of a replacement for himself. A down-dressed twenty-something, with a stack of notes and no humour. Is that what they thought he himself had been like? Far from panicking, Lucas nodded to himself as he threw open the door to his flat. Maybe they had thought that, but he still had his comic impressions to bestow elsewhere.
Lucas’ flat was one of the second floor ones, which pleased him quite a bit – he didn’t have to trudge more than two flights of stairs, and when he had this suitcase, the lift was five metres from his flat and at his disposal. Not many people had lived on the second floor for as long as he had. Neighbours came and went and they didn’t bother him. It wasn’t as if he had served long enough at Corpus Christi to have formed keepable friendships there, either.
Having taken the lift, Lucas strolled across the ground floor. The furniture gleamed with polish, but not impeccablely. One wheel jolted over uneven ground. Lucas found himself thrown around with the blasted suitcase. It should have been motorised – that would have stopped him from being flung with tremors.
But Lucas knew that those tremors were for a different reason. He was getting old. But that wasn’t the reason. Thirty-three and taking time away from teaching. It was a risk. But he liked risks. At least, that’s what one side of his mind was protesting.
Lucas refrained from pressing his head against the cool plaster of the colonnade in the block lobby. No physical symptoms of a headache occurred, but all the mental turmoil raged there. Lucas thrust a hand in his pocket, stretching fingertips to reach for his rosary. The round beads tingled like pearls.
Pearls they were not. Lucas drew his hand back. It felt as though he had been shocked with the power of the rosary.
“Religion…” Lucas muttered to himself. Waiting in line to finally sign the waver of his lease, he rubbed his forehead with both hands. Religion just gave him a headache.
That’s what the one side of his mind attested. Lucas wasn’t so sure. He focused on the ornaments dangling in sets behind the concierge‘s desk. Nothing should have annoyed him less than the dripping lines and curving arcs. So, why did he want to throw himself over the desk and reassemble the pieces? Lucas knew, and it displeased him. Always, a distraction would come and snatch away any thoughts of trying to be his best. Religion didn’t annoy him. (The other part of his mind supposed this. It quickly dissolved into the mesh of thoughts).
Lucas snapped his eyes down to observe the concierge. He had been in conversation with Lucas as soon as there had been any possibility of the latter leaving. A spare flat meant a new person to move in – and money. They always wanted money. Begrudgingly, Lucas smiled a wan twitch of his lips and signed his scribble on the dotted line. The exchange was over in two minutes. Like nothing had even happened, the concierge went on ferrying himself to and fro, whilst Lucas shifted his suitcase towards the door.
He shot one final look at the lobby of the block of flats. One conversation and he no longer had a proper home. Well, St. Anne’s college had better be worth it. Lucas didn’t want to speculate. His destination could be a land broken and barren, for all he knew of the medium-sized town he was heading into.
He clutched his free hand to the bar of the door. The world spread wide, but it was about to grow a lot bigger. Maybe in this version of a new life, Lucas considered, he’d have a little more luck. The rosary shook in his pocket as he walked. Maybe, he had to be the one to bring the fortune. This time.