I slept in Friday Morning and woke to find the owl perched on my headboard, feathers fluffed as it slept cozily. I opened the windows in my bedroom, giving it the chance to fly out when it was ready, and went to take a shower. I grabbed a few things from the kitchen to have as a late breakfast without having to cook, then sat at my computer. I ate as I finished the writing piece that was due in a few days and reviewed my e-mails.
With work taken care of, I headed back to my room to pack my bag for the next couple nights. I had a kit already prepared with miniature versions of all my toiletries, so that part was ready to go. Before I headed out to my car, I made sure the owl had gotten outside. Thankfully, it was now huddled on the branch of a tree near my window; I didn’t want to have to chase it out. With the windows secured, I headed out the front door and locked up.
The drive down the mountain was fairly smooth. There wasn’t too much traffic, and wildlife seemed good about staying off the road. I stopped in Vancouver for lunch, and for that Stefan had started a group chat with Killian and me.
It’s going to be great having the group together again! Stefan texted.
It’s been way too long, Killian replied.
He was on a short break between clients, and I was glad that it coincided with my lunch. Well, it was a late lunch, but for me that’s what it was.
When time are you coming to Killian’s apt, Stefan? I asked.
You better not be texting and driving, was Stefan’s reply.
Definitely not, I assured him. I stopped for lunch.
Okay, Stefan texted. I need you to be safe. I’m off work at 7, then I just have to stop by my place to change.
You could have just packed some clothes to change into, I pointed out, and come straight over in your work clothes.
You make it sound like you’ve missed him, Killian sent.
I missed both of you.
Don’t fight over me, guys, Stefan texted. I took the light rail to work, so I couldn’t bring my whole overnight bag to with me. Once I’m home, I can take my car over to Killian’s place, seeing as how you want me there ASAP.
I chuckled and shook my head.
Okay, guys, I texted as I got up to refill my soda. I’m getting back on the road. I’ll see you in a few hours.
Drive safe, Killian sent. Back to work for me!
Me, too, Stefan added.
The drive down the I-5 started to slow down as the time approached 4 P.M. I relaxed and listened to the playlist Stefan had sent me. It had bands like Heilung, Wardruna, and Danheim in it, which were definitely his type. He was also great at creating music, especially stuff with a beat you could dance to. I’d heard a lot of his songs over the years, but he had a few new ones he was saving for Saturday night.
Stefan worked at a shop that sold music and instruments. He loved making recommendations to people and help tune the instruments he knew how to. He didn’t have the patience to teach anyone how to play, but he did like to make custom songs for people, as long as he could make it electronically. He would also picks up gigs now and then when a group needed an oboe player, like with the upcoming symphony has was joining Killian with.
Killian had the patience of a saint. Okay, that makes it sound like Stefan isn’t patient; he’s cool and can be laid back when the group he’s with is cool, too, but if things start to get heated or otherwise ridiculous, he was quick to put a stop to it. Killian, though, has this charisma that helps him through almost anything, which is great because he gives private lessons in between symphonic concerts. He’ll also help with sound editing online, which gets him extra income.
I had agreed to pick up Killian at the practice hall that day. He usually took the light rail to practice unless the group was meeting somewhere further out. He’d considered selling his car in favor of other forms of transit– carpooling was fairly reliable for him– but there had been times when others were passed up for positions because they didn’t have a vehicle, so he kept it just in case.
By the time I pulled into the parking lot at the concert hall, Killian was already waiting outside, and most of the cars were gone. I took a space near where he was standing and bounced out of the car.
“I hope you weren’t waiting for too long,” I said as I hurried over to him. “The I-5 was a mess!”
Killian ignored what I’d said and instead wrapped his arms around me and practically lifted me off the ground as he spun me around. “Tha’s okay, lass,” he said, still holding me close. He was warm and smelled of sage and earth. “Don’ worry aboot a thing; I’s jess good tae see ye again!”
I laughed; his Irish accent was always thicker when he was excited. “I missed you, too, Killian.”
One of my favorite Heilung songs: