â€œAh! Good, you’re here!â€ Sonia said as they jumped in. â€œI know our guests aren’t due for half an hour, but we should be ready before then in case some of them arrive early. How many people are coming?â€
â€œWell if it’s just the club members and their parents, then fifteen or so,â€ Andrew said. â€œI did tell George just the club, but in the circumstances I wouldn’t be surprised if he tells more people about it.â€
â€œIt would be understandable,â€ Mattias said, â€œbut I hope not. We can handle more but it would be a bit crowded.â€
â€œI’m going to open the double doors between the lounge and conservatory so we can use both,â€ Sonia said. â€œDrew, there’s some squash in the kitchen; make up a couple of pitchers and put out some biscuits and crisps. I doubt people will be much interested in eating with all we have to tell them but we should be hospitable anyway.â€
â€œYes, mum.â€ Andrew headed into the kitchen but he had barely grabbed the squash when there was a knock at the front door. He stopped and looked towards it.
â€œYou should get that,â€ Sonia said. â€œThey’re your friends after all. Worry about the snacks after that.â€
Andrew nodded and went to the door. George and his father were standing there.
â€œAre we here first?â€ George asked as Andrew ushered them inside. â€œDad wanted to come early because he wants to talk to your parents without everyone else here.â€
â€œYou are,â€ Andrew said. â€œMum and Dad are in here.â€ He led them into the lounge where his parents waited along with Sarah, Lucas and Naria.
â€œHello, George,â€ Matthias said. â€œNice to see you again. This must be your fathe–â€ He stopped abruptly, staring at George’s father. Andrew glanced at his mother and saw her doing the same.
What’s wrong? Andrew asked.
Nothing really, Sonia said. Except your friend’s father is a wild.
That’s not that surprising. Matthias said. We knew there was fair chance any ember would have a wild parent. What’s more curious is that he’s trained and I know it’s not by us.
George’s father tilted his head at them. â€œThat took you less time to spot than I expected.â€ He extended his hand. â€œAlan Marshall.â€
â€œPleased to meet you.â€ Matthias said. â€œI’m Matthias Morgan, though that’s not the name your son knows me by, and this is my wife, Sonia.â€ He hesitated. â€œI was sorry to hear about your wife.â€
â€œThank you,â€ Alan looked down sadly. â€œI know it’s not your fault. I have a fair idea that you tried to stop it.â€
â€œMay I ask who taught you to use your abilities?â€ Sonia asked.
Alan frowned. â€œI honestly don’t know. I want to say my mother, but I’ve never met my mother. She dumped me off on my father just after I was born and disappeared, so it can’t have been.â€
â€œYet you feel like it was,â€ Matthias said. â€œThat’s interesting. If you want we’ll look into it later, but for now we don’t have time before the others arrive, especially not if youwish to speak with us first.â€
â€œWell mostly I had an inkling you’d recognise I had powers and wanted to get that out of the way first,â€ he said. â€œBut also I’m worried about George.â€ He laid a hand on his son’s shoulder. â€œI think he’s heading for an explosion like those kids in the news. I’ve been trying to help but it’s not my skill.â€
â€œHe’s not the only one,â€ Matthias said. â€œThere’s a lot of Embers in Drew’s little club. That’s one of the reasons we’re here.â€
â€œThe other being that you do deserve an explanation of why we were concealing our identities before,â€ Sonia said.
â€œI thought as much,â€ Alan said. â€œAlso, can you keep this from the government? I don’t trust them.â€
â€œBy avoiding explosions, we hope to do just that,â€ Matthias said.
Sarah in the meantime had taken George’s hand. â€œCome on young man, let’s get you sorted out before the others get here.â€ She led him to one of the sofas.