I lifted the trunk onto the roof of the car then I turned to say my farewells. Both Finnian and Lloyd shook my hand until I was sure I had at least one broken finger. Hugs from Oskan and Carm left me gasping and bruised, then I turned to Haines, hanging back behind them all.
“Aren’t you coming with us?” I asked.
“No; I have to stay here. I figured I’d stay here at the house.”
His words made me remember the emperor’s ruling about him. He had been exiled here for the rest of his life. From experience, I knew he would have friends aplenty, but it would still be a lonely existence.
“I’ll send for you. I’d like to have you standing beside me.”
He rested a hand on my shoulder. “No, it’s not going to happen and asking will only injure your relationship with the emperor. Send me messages once in a while; I’d like to be kept up to date.”
“I will,” I said and watched him turn toward the house. To make the parting easier for my friends, I too turned my back in order to hand Patricia into the car and secure the trunk to the top.
With a final wave at my friends, I slid in beside my bride and tapped the driver on the shoulder. “It’s time to go.”
“Aren’t you going to tie that trunk down? It’ll fall off the first bump we hit.”
“It’s not going anywhere; just drive.” I had glued it to the roof of the car. No one was going to move it until I separated them again.