Just as I am finishing the assignment, I hear the dinner bell ring and Claire and I both jump up. We race to the kitchen and sit around the dinner table, the delicious aroma wafting from the prepared fish.
“Thanks Mommy!” Claire says as she smells the halibut.
“Thank Marina! She was the one who caught it.” Heather says as she fills glasses of water and puts them on the table.
Finally, the kindhearted woman sits with us. Around the table are Claire, Annette, Heather, and I. No Finn. “Where’s Finn?”
We all shrug our shoulders.
“Hm.” Heather says. “Well, it’s not unusual for him to stay out late.”
“He’s probably hunting for lobsters with Caspian or Eric.” I offer.
“I don’t think he would’ve gone without telling us,” Annette says worriedly. “Should we go down to the beach to look for him?”
“He’ll be fine. Now let’s eat!” I say hungrily.
“Wha ‘bout Finn?” Claire asks, her mouth already full of fish.
“I’m sure Marina’s right about him. If he doesn’t come back by dinner, we’ll go search for him. Okay?” Heather says.
“Okay,” Annette says, way more reluctantly than I do. Claire can’t talk for the excessive amount of food in her mouth.
“Alright. Who would like to say grace?” Heather asks enthusiastically.
“I do!” Claire says cheerfully. “Dear God, Please help Finn to come back and for everyone to be happy and thank you for this food! A-men!”
“Wonderful prayer!” Annette says.
“Fank you!” Claire replies.
We all dig into the fish, which has been excellently cooked and seasoned by Heather.
“Very good!” I exclaim as I shovel more into my mouth.
“Yummy!” Claire shouts.
“Well done.” Annette praises.
“Thanks, sweat-hearts.” Heather says, and we continue eating in silence.
As I am halfway through my meal, the front door bangs open and Finn stands in the doorway, holding several lobsters. “Hi!” He says cheerfully. He dumps the lobsters in the ice chest before walking past us and disappearing into his room.
“What’d I tell you?” I say victoriously. No one replies. Finn reappears and sits next to me, immediately scarfing down the fish.
“So, you were lobster diving?” Annette asks Finn as she delicately forks fish into her mouth. She is twenty-two and although she isn't related to Heather, her entire family died in the plague and Heather has taken her in. I know that she is looking for a home of her own, but needs to save up a little more money from teaching and sewing.
“Yup! Me and Caspian went out because his dad got him new flashlights, and the season started today.” Finn replies.
“Next time, you better tell me where you’re going first, young man.” Heather says, attempting to be stern. But the upturned corners of her mouth blows her cover.
We all finish our meal in comfortable silence. I think about being Queen. Even though I try to pretend like I don’t care, I truly fantasize about being able to rule the prosperous Kingdom by the Sea.
I push back from the table and clear my place. “Thanks Heather!” I call over my shoulder as I head to bead. I had a long day, and tomorrow would prove to be even lengthier. But try as I might, I could not fall asleep. Tomorrow was the day that Queen Kylie would choose two citizens to get the chance to be ruler. After that, the citizens would vote between the two, and that person would become Queen or King of the Kingdom by the Sea. Although the odds of me getting picked are incredibly slim, there is still that slight chance. Claire comes in and gets on the top bunk. Heather tucks her in and turns off the light. I try to fall asleep and wind up settling into restless slumber.