Things that throw Trucks in the Night 3: Getting Ready
Location: The Academy
As Drake drifted off he wondered what had instigated this sudden need for sleep. They'd gathered their things to get ready to go when the drowsiness over took them both. Drake could feel Bennie in his arms and he held her tight, not wanting to drop her as they traveled... traveled through cold blowing wind.... he dreamed of shadowy figures and his arms tightened around his sister protectively. Then suddenly he woke with a start, blinking furiously, they were at the Academy under the carport by the side entrance where people are dropped and picked up under cover. Their things were with them and Bennie was awake, yawning and squirming to get down.
Drake set her down and put her back pack on for her, she'd folded her blanket over her arm and pulled up the hood of her coat. Only then did he button his own coat and pick up their other bags. Jericho stood nearby, Eileen on the other and then placed their hands on both their shoulders and let themselves in.
Having never been here when it was just the residential students and the faculty, Drake wasn't prepared for the change in the place. It wasn't so much a small, or a sound or even lighting. There was something, a mood perhaps, as if the very castle itself was happier and it was subtly letting them know it. Still, the place was kinda spooky but all the negativity of the last semester and especially the last week were gone.
Summer came around the corner as if she was expecting them and in the day of cell phones and texting, she probably had been. She was dressed casually and a little... medieval. She wore no shoes and the pants she wore were laced up the outside of the leg to her knee and made of a green leather of some sort that in turn was made of wovem strips instead of larger pieces. She wore a long tunic that came to mid-thigh and was sleeveless, of woven strips of leather as well, this was in dark colorful shades: burgundy, cobalt, pine and earth. They weren't light and airy but still with her coloring and her usual bouncy personality, she managed to carry it. She bent down and wordlessly hugged Bennie and roped Drake into her arms as well, dragging him down to his sister's level and burying her face in their hair. She whispered, "You now join the most precious things to me that exists and no harm shall come to you while I draw breath."
Jericho and Eileen stood behind the children while Summer did this, neither speaking nor making a sound, observing solemnly as if this was some sort of formality that was required.
Drake managed a smile, leaning into the warm touch and feeling just a little better.
Bennie started to cry again softly, clinging to Summer.
"Its okay now," Summer whispered to them. "Today, it starts getting better again. Today you get three dozen new siblings and a bunch more family than you had before. We can't replace your mama and papa but we'll stand by you just as they would. This is my Oath," she said softly and the wind outside seemed to rattle the windows all over the castle at the same time, keening loudly in one heavy burst.
To Drake this was really coming home, he would miss his father and Carabella, and seeing Bennie in this much pain hurt, but this had been more of a home to him then the mansion and these people cared for him. They'd come to his rescue when he needed it most, saved him and his little sister a painful death. "Thank you," he said into Summer's hair.
She leaned back and cleared away Bennie's tears and caressed both of their cheeks as she smiled satisfied. "I hope you have appetites because it's Thanksgiving and here at the castle -NOT the Academy for anyone who noticed- its a high holiday."
"That's right," Jericho observed, "you're not dressed."
"Different clothes for different jobs milady Stark," Summer gave her a 'naughty girl' look over the children's heads, "and there is JUST about time. So," she rocked back and sinuously got to her feet from her knees and picked up Bennie, "A dress for you that comfortable and a suit for you that's not," she poked the tip of Drake's nose to amuse Bennie with her antics.
Bennie smiled but she wasn't ready to laugh.
"I have my dinner suit in my hanging bag and Bennie does have a formal dress in there as well," Drake said, not sure if they would be nice enough.
"We've had you measured in case the laundry did something with your clothes and we had to replace something though I will say Emberline is owed a huge hug from both of you for the alterations she did and got them done in time for dinner," she told them both. She offered her hand to Drake and looked over at Eileen and smiled, "Everything's in your new apartment. Get moving if you're going to shower and be ready on time, dinner is at five, sharp and the others are starving."
Eileen made a playful face at Summer, glanced at Jericho who nodded and together they headed up the spiral staircase to the right.
Drake nodded, taking her hand, "I can get Bennie ready, I've been doing her hair since she was a toddler, her mother was all thumbs and her nanny didn't have the patience."
Summer gave him an indulgent smile. "Oh Drake, such things as you are going to learn here."
"Ready and willing as always," Draco said with a charming smile.
"That was low voltage," she commented critically. "Anyway, let's get you two to my office where you can change and try on your outfits for dinner."
"Outfits?" Drake asked in confusion.
"You haven't seen how we dress for dinner have you?" she asked, suddenly realizing he really didn't have a clue. Paying students ate before residential students did and residential students ate in formal state wearing their Victorian costumes and observed proper etiquette. This was going to be interesting, to be sure.
"No, I am used to dressing for dinner at home, but I get the feeling it's more then that," Drake commented as they walked.
"I think I'll have to show you," Summer giggled and as they headed down the corridor and around the corner towards her Infirmary, they passed the dining hall doors. And despite being closed and locked, there were such smells coming from there that made the mouth water and the stomach suddenly consider how much room it had. Roasted meat of some sort, was that beef AND turkey? Vegetables, roasted and baked, creamy smells and sugary smells and warm yeasty smells. And clustered around the door trying to peek through the crack was a crowd of small children ranging from toddler through middle school, trying to see what was going on in there.
"Ahem," Summer said as she bent over behind them, making them spin around and stare at her in horror. "You've got less than thirty minutes to be dressed and I'm going to check for clean hands, ears and faces before you're allowed to touch anything." In a giggling mass, the children became like shadows and dispersed towards their own areas of the castle where they were housed.
"Their so quiet," Draco said, frowning, "I've never seen kids that young that could move like that."
Summer smiled fondly as she watched them go and then turned, "Hm? Oh yes well they get trained in all sorts of useful things from a young age. Stealth, tracking, survival, map reading, navigation," she gestured with one hand in a rolling motion as if counting off a list.
"Wow," was all Drake could say and wondered how he would ever fit in with this group.
"Here we are," she announced and they entered the Infirmary as Betsy was heading out.
"They're ready," she said in her soft English accent.
"Excellent," Summer smiled and gestured for them to head around the corner into the screened off areas where the semi-private beds were.
Drake kissed the top of Bennie's head as he went into his area and started undressing quickly. Thankfully they'd showered so it was just a matter of putting on the elaborate costume that was laid out for him. He had to strip down to nothing because there was no way his loose cotton boxers were going to fit under the fitted black silk ankle length pants. He pulled on the very soft thin socks first then the fitted pants over them before finally sitting to buckle the knee high black boots. He pulled on the black silk shirt leaving the starched collar up as he pulled the lace cuffs through the sleeves of the long gold-cream double-breasted coat with silver buttons. He shrugged it on the rest of the way before buttoning both and using the high collar to tame the lace of the dinner coat's collar. Finally he buckled the wide leather belt meant to cinch his waist and mind his stomach in the coat and shirt also held his pants in place. Only then did he find the ruby stud earrings like a set for his thumb-ring.
Despite her upset Bennedette let out a squeal of joy at the sight of her dress, it was a study in contrast to his with long skirts, there were four. The outer one in black with the three inner of crimson lace that came nearly to the floor with cream trim and a red sash belt. The bodice had lacy girly frills at the neck, cuffs that matched the ones at the edge of her skirts. The entire dress was modest and came with a crimson cameo with a man and a woman facing one another against the field meant to be worn at her neck and set off the tiny ruby earrings. A set of fabric epaulets in the collar were clearly designed to enfold and protect the necklace and for it to be worn on the outside but looped so it would be shorter and fall high on her chest. Under all the frills and girliness were cream hose and black saddle shoes with silver buckles.
Once he was dressed Drake came to help Bennie with the tiny buttons up the back of her dress and undo her long braid. He found a brush and a bowl of ruby topped hair pins and twisted her hair into a chignon with the ruby's sparkling a midst the dark curls of her hair.
Somewhere and some how, Summer had transformed as well and now wore a sort of feminine man's suit. She had a high collar and a bow tie, the long-tailed jacket and the pants but on her body, even the modestly of the garment was sexier than it should have been. Clearly the garment had been fitted for her as from the fitted jacket that hugged her curves to the spectacles she wore on her nose, it was all a complete set. Her long blonde hair had been pulled back from her head and piled atop it and a top hat sat on that.
"Make sure everything fits, that you can bend over comfortably and move about. Most of the fabrics are stretching so there's more flexibility than at first appears," Summer explained.
Drake put one last pin in Bennie's hair letting one curl fall over her shoulder then set her loose to bend and stretch and squat down and finally twirl around to send the skirts swishing with a happy laugh.
For himself he stretched his arms above his head, rolled his shoulders, bent up one leg and the other then stomped his feet so that the clothes fell back into place. Only once he did that did he ask, "Will we do?" with a single raised eyebrow.
She eyed them critically, adjusted a hair pin just so, straightened Bennie's cameo and then nodded. "One last thing," she said and she went to her worktable and came back with two small bottles wrapped in cages of silver with tiny stoppered glass plugs. "Each of these is a scent tailored just for you. When you run out, come to me for more. For young men at the cusp of manhood," she bestowed his vaguely greenish fluid, "the fresh scent of cedar and clear rain. For a young woman of discerning nature but fewer years, cinnamon and mint," and she offered it to Bennie.
Drake took it but looked at her skeptically.
"Take out the stopper and touch your chin then each wrist and you're done," she explained and mimed the procedure.
Both did as instructed, dobbing on the scents in the directed places. For a brief moment, they could smell the scents strongly and feel the emotions that accompanied them. For Drake felt the majesty of windswept mountain peaks covered in snow and cedar whereas Bennie could almost taste the cinnamon and mint of a candy shop for elite tastes where sugar is spun by hand to delight the eyes and the tongue.
Just then a soft chime on the workbench went off and Summer glanced at it, seeing the hands had moved to five. At the same time, timepieces all over the castle began to strike five from the old grandfather clock in the main entry to the chapel clock, the library piece and the ones in the offices to alert everyone it was time.
"We'd better move if we want to be on time but we need to be last," she said, stepping to the door and peeking outside as footsteps thundered past. She gathered them up, checked the distant noise level down the corridor and then nodded to them. "Come along, we have to present you to the others as one of them and impressively, so they'll respect your style and your potential as a sibling."
Drake took his sister's hand and a deep breath then nodded at her, she nodded back and they looked at Summer, "We're as ready as we'll ever be."