Amarian's dad ordered pizza and while they were waiting Mom decided they should play a game.
"But there are only three of us." He automatically protested even though he had no better ideas.
"Yes… we're a party of three."
"Did you have any other plans?" She asked sweetly, reading his mind. He made a face at her and mumbled that he didn't. She nodded and began writing on some of the paper the hotel provided; tore it and shuffled them around in the kitchen pot she had taken out of the cabinet.
"Don't we have to use that for cooking?"
"Since when do 'we' cook? It's vacation time. I'm not doing any cooking." She shrugs. Then she explains the rules, "There are themes on these pieces of paper –some are blank which means you have to come up with your own theme. That being the case, you should tell us a minimum of three things about yourself and we have to guess not only the theme but also which one is the truth."
"Whoa… two lies and a truth with a twist. This sounds more challenging, I like that!"
"I thought you might ~ since it does require some… creativity. I think a maximum of five minutes should be given in those cases only… if need be, that is."
"Sounds good to me." Dad agrees. Then "So… who's going first?" They were both surprised when Amarian volunteered so readily for that honor.
"Who's this? He's not my son." Mom intones surprised.
"Ha, ha. I said I thought this was a pretty interesting twist! But you guys should try not to cry too much when you lose."
"Oh ~ a big talker. That's ok. It's all you have." Dad ribbed, "I'll try not to beat you too badly. You're my only son after all…"
"What? But you can't beat me." Amarian scoffs.
"If there's a lesson to be learned you can be sure I'm the one giving the lessons." Dad counters.
"…We all know scorekeepers are the winners. No contest." Mom joins the fray.
"No contest?! No game. Hey! Scorekeeper?!" Amarian gives mom the side eye.
"Oh." They both knew it was the end of that discussion… they all laugh.
"Honestly… you can tell me who you're going to give the extra points to, right?" Dad elbows her side.
"I'm not choosing sides. It's going to be a fair enough game."
"Oy, I did say I was the winner, didn't I?" evil grins.
"Mooom!" "Honey!" they whine at the same time.
Then they began the game and play until the pizza was delivered. They even played while eating and after finishing dinner- was STILL playing well until half past midnight.
"That's not fair ~ you have quite a few years advantage over me."
"Years have nothing to do with it ~ I'm lucky I did A LOT during those years. But you're not that bad a liar…"
Amarian wasn't sure if dad was being serious or not. Besides, that's not something he should be… praising… "Mom was always good at telling when I fibbed."
"Don't mention it. She's GREAT at that anyway." He says with fearful awe.
"I'm here you know."
"Right ~ you're good, mom… and right to be the scorekeeper too… [yawns] That was really fun though…don't go telling my friends that. [Glares intimidatingly, he hopes]"
"Don't worry. I’ll just tell their moms."
"What? They're my friends not your friends." She winked. He knew she wouldn't say anything.
"I'm going to bed now though ~ Night!"
"Night!" "Night, son"
They part ways prepare for bed and… sleep… Except for Amarian. He was tired but couldn’t fall asleep. Granted, he could sleep in but that meant nothing if he couldn’t SLEEP when he was fatigued. What was keeping him awake? There was someone poking about, an outsider in his town, he surmised.
?! SO what? Outsiders, er tourists are beneficial for business. They truly needed all the help they could get with their economic stagnation… He missed seeing different kinds of people visiting his town…But this new one was an unwanted guest –he was no visitor with pure intentions. …
SO WHAT?!! Arrgh ~~ just go to sleep already! There's no need for these kinds of thoughts.
By sheer stubbornness he pushed those thoughts aside and willed himself to sleep.
Mom enters the room and gently shakes Amarian. It was vacation, certainly but it was also lunch time and they needed to head out. He awoke with a start –he didn't look well apart from the usual grogginess that accompanies being woken up from a late night's rest… She implores him but he assures her that it's okay, he was just waking up from a deep slumber. She shakes her head, certain that it was more restless but he didn't know that and she decided not to inform him.
"Hey~ you look awful."
"Mornin' to you, too old man." Amarian grumbles, then, "What are we doing today?"
"Well, we were supposed to eat breakfast but decided to let you sleep a little while longer. Now we have to go scavenge for lunch and visit the college!"
"Oh… what restaurant?"
"I asked the desk clerk and she said there's a street of restaurants that were a little distance from the main part of town but not that far. There's free public parking, and we'll just walk down that street and decide."
"…You sure you ok?"
"…Y-yeah… why are you asking?"
"You're agreeing too readily to our plans… but also you do look like you were run over by a truck then dragged through the mud…"
"A writer, you're not. Stick to your day job."
"[Obviously ignoring the retort] What did you dream about?"
"…? I don't really remember…" That was odd. And he did feel like he slept the sleep of the dead… not that he knew what that entailed… and wasn't it only because his parents both kept suggesting it that he began to believe it?? He shook his head and returned to his room to get ready to leave. The headache became stronger every time he even attempted to revisit his dream so he pushed everything away and exited the hotel with his parents.