Chapter 3: Moving Out

Not long after they have started, Ben, Nico, and John were finished putting the baggage in the van.

"Finally, it's done!" said Nico.

"Yeah!" said Ben, stretching his body a bit. "By the way, thanks, John."

"You’re welcome, Young Master Ben," replied John with a bow. "Of course, we couldn't have done it without Young Master Nico's moral support," he added in a tone that expressed genuine gratitude. However, as one may guess, the wording could be taken in another way.

"Hey! I would've helped if you guys didn't take like, half of the stuff each!"

John merely smiled and said, "I live to serve, Young Master Nico. I probably would have stopped you from doing so."

"Besides, it's my stuff. No biggie.” added Ben. “And there wasn't that much, anyway."

"Right," Nico thought. "This is a guy we're talking about, and one from the country too. Not really one for having too much stuff. Aside from the desktop and the laptop that I’m sure they all worked hard to give him, he mostly just has clothes."

“You’re done there, boys?” asked Eva from the front door. “I made a snack so you can eat before you go.”

To be honest, she was anxious about her son leaving the house and going to college. Not only that, but she still didn’t trust Nico, despite the latter not actually doing anything wrong as of the moment. In fact, she was so stressed out that she baked more cookies than anyone would ever consider as ‘just a snack.’

“Oh, that’s a lot, Mom,” said Ben as he looked at the large pile of the delicious baked goods on the big bowl. “Thanks!”

“That’s a snack?!” thought Nico, not wanting to say it aloud in fear of offending the already wary parents.

“Thank you very much, Mrs. Pine,” said John.

The three, along with Ben’s parents, ate their fill of the cookies. But while Peter took the time to mingle and chat, Eva mostly put herself at a distance, glaring at Nico’s direction. Ben, who was enjoying his last time with his family, was oblivious to what was happening. Nico, on the other hand, felt that the mom was even more dangerous than the dad.

“Was it even right to push through with this…?” he asked himself in his thoughts.

His sights then turned to his friend’s radiant smiling face and thought, “Oh hell yes!”

Soon, it was time for the soon-to-be college boys to go.

“I guess this is goodbye for now…” said Ben, in tears yet again.

Peter gave his son a pat on the back. “Don’t worry, son. It’s not like we won’t see each other again. And besides, you have your friend with you. Right, Nico?”

The father shot a glare at Nico before he was able to answer. “Yeah! I’m here.”

“Just be careful, all right dear? Don’t go with and do anything dangerous, okay?” said Eva, also shooting a death glare at her son’s friend afterward.

“Okay…” said Ben, whose vision was still a little too blurry with tears for him to see his parents’ threats to his friend. He gave them one last hug before he went to the van, sniffling.

“Hey, you okay, man?” asked Nico as he and his friend went inside the vehicle and closed the door.

“Yeah… It’s just that I didn’t think this kind of day would come. My parents have always kept me away from stuff like this, especially going to the city.”

“Really? Why?”

“Well, as far as I know, they moved here from there. I guess they didn’t want the city life for me or something.”

“Can’t blame them. It’s pretty fresh out here.”

They were somewhat interrupted by John, who was starting up the van. “We’re about to go soon, Young Masters.”

“Ah, just go on, man,” said Nico. “We’re good.”

“Yeah, we’re okay,” said Ben.

The country boy looked around then said, “You know, for a while, I thought you were going to arrive in a limo and be all fancy. I guess you’re not that kind of rich person, huh?”

“Ah, that… We actually have one. A limo, I mean. It’s just that a van is so much more practical for this kind of trip, you know. We didn’t know if we were going to encounter narrow roads and stuff, too.”

Ben nodded, thinking that what Nico said made sense. “I’m really happy,” he said. “But at the same time, I hope things will go well.”

“I’m pretty sure they would. For one, we have each other. We got each other’s back, yo!”


Back at Ben’s house, Peter and Eva cleaned up the mess that the boys and the butler left. Admittedly, there wasn’t much, as John had done a bit of picking up after the two young men.

As they were doing so, Eva asked, “So why exactly did you still let our son go with that… that… ugh!”

“Dear, I already gave him a talk. He swore and I am holding him to that.”

“Do you think he would actually hold up his end of the deal?”

“Look, if he intended to do… nefarious things to our son, he would do it with us as well. He would’ve just gone and done so.”

Eva had to admit to herself… Her husband was right.

“Besides, the butler is one of our own. If anything, he’d help our son if he’s put in danger.”

“Sure, but who’s to say that he’s not a slave? Against his will, he’d just harm him.”

“I’ve been checking. There was no such mark. Also, have you seen how he and Nico have been interacting? That can’t happen if he was a slave.”

The wife knew that she had lost this time. However, she still couldn’t shake her feeling of worry. Was this perhaps how it was to have your child leave the nest and realize that they’ve grown up? She held both of her arms and shivered as if she was in the cold.

“Tell me the truth…” she said. “You saw something, didn’t you?”

There was a pause before Peter answered. “Yes, dear. I also found it hard to take, but you have to admit, it was this sort of occurrence that saved our lives back then. I don’t think it would fail us now.”

Eva rushed to her husband’s arms to find comfort in his embrace.

As Ben admired the scenery while the vehicle passed by places that were unfamiliar to him, his friend simply sat, deep in thought.

“Gosh, to think that of all the kinds of people to encounter, it had to be that kind. And they’re aware, too,” he thought. “But what can I do? It would be awkward to just up and leave when I promised that I would pick him up and let him live in my house. Besides, I don’t care if I can order them around or not. I just don’t think that they’re any less of people…”

He looked at Ben, who looked at him back and smiled. He also smiled in return.

“Oh man, that’s just so damn pure,” he thought as his face blushed the best it could. “No way I’m gonna spoil this guy by turning him into some mindless minion.”

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