Despite being extremely busy all weekend between packing, work, and my graduation, I kept thinking back to Aaliyah’s crazy birthday party. I still couldn’t believe the insanely expensive looking tiara that Slayer family gave to Aaliyah. With how the tiara fit her so perfectly, I had to believe they made it specifically for her, but how old could that “old friend” actually be? Well, Aaliyah did converse with quite a few adults in different fields of study. What type of names were Adelmar and Anwen though? They sounded foreign. Given that Chad was a translator for Emma’s mother’s company, they probably were. I couldn’t argue that Aaliyah truly left an impression with everyone with whom she spent time, but still… The idea of giving a twelve-year-old a gem-encrusted tiara seemed very excessive. Regina’s family was quite rich, and she seemed to agree with me when I had asked. My timing probably hadn’t been the best though. Most of my class had been rather emotionally charged at the graduation ceremony. Regina’s speech had been quite moving, but I couldn’t help feeling distracted. I still couldn’t believe that I was moving, especially into my own house with five girls.
My parents were more than a little shocked on Saturday when I told them that I owned a house and would be moving Wednesday… er…today. Father was seeming especially dubious about my house when I admitted that I had no clue whether or not the place would need furnished. His dubiousness turned more sour when I told him that I hadn’t checked the house out in person. I carefully avoided mentioning any of the details about the expenses of the house, only partially due to not feeling well-versed in them myself. I had immense faith in Aaliyah’s abilities and judgement about finances, with good reason between what she had done for my business and hearing how she was the one responsible for her father’s funds. Father knew Aaliyah was extremely talented, but having built his own business through careful planning and diligent oversight, he had strong opinions about the necessity of giving every aspect of one’s life careful consideration. Telling him that I promised Aaliyah not to look at the house until the renovations were complete only incited father further. Nonetheless, my parents were helping me move. Father surprised me by renting the moving truck for me and offering to help furnish the place. He also offered to help me fix the place up if it turned out to be too much of a death trap.
When we were within a mile of my house, I started recognizing the area. If I had been paying more attention when Aaliyah was first telling me about my house, I might have realized that it was located across the large park from her building. I probably had only missed seeing it from Chad’s condo due to the enormous amount of land around it, easily blending the property into the park from that great of a distance. Though I was dumbfounded by the monstrosity still hundreds of yards down the drive from the “Somerset Estate” sign and past the fountain, I treasured the look of bewilderment on my father’s face. I wished I could see mother’s expression, but Jarod was driving her behind us in Mila. I was somewhat surprised that he had shown up to help me move after he disappeared at Aaliyah’s party. She had apparently given him a gift on her birthday, but he kept putting off telling me any details of what it was beyond “plans for a new type of armor”. Whatever the plans were, they had taken up most of his time all weekend. When he showed up at the house today, he simply told me “Hey, you’re the boss. You might cut my pay if I don’t show up for the grand opening of the new headquarters!” and gave me a self-satisfied smile. He was a brave man to drive mother when she seemed so teary-eyed about me moving out. She could have convinced father to let me stay if she really didn’t want me moving out.
Looking up at where I would be living, I was perfectly content that she hadn’t. “Son, umm…” Father cleared his throat again. “Well, I… You see. Might this be a tad excessive?” I shrugged and told him, “Did I mention that I won’t actually be paying for it? Aaliyah had worked out rent with my roommates, …er… tenants, that will actually cover the expense.” He looked at me more shocked than I ever had seen him and then gave me a hug. “I’d say don’t forget to visit, son, but your mother and I may be coming to visit you more often than not. I truly don’t understand how this is even possible.” he stated, gesturing to the manor at the end. I didn’t honestly either, but who was I to question Aaliyah’s math? “What’s being done to the two sides?” asked mother as she and Jarod joined us. “Well, the twins wanted to put their own touch on the east wing, and their cousin is making additions to the west. Shall we take a look around before we haul anything inside? I’m not honestly sure where my bedroom is even yet.” After my parents agreed and Jarod grinned, I opened one of the doors to the entryway. My parents stepped through before me after the second set, and stared upward. The picture Aaliyah had shown me didn’t do the view justice. The wooden rail of the twin staircases was polished to a shine, as was the tile floor which created a large, elaborate pattern.
“Is that a ballroom?” asked mother, drawing my gaze from the elaborately painted ceiling that depicted dragons at war. “The octagon ballroom is four thousand eight hundred square feet,” said a familiar voice that came from all around us. “Mila?” I inquired. “Yes, boss-man, sir?” she replied. “What are you doing in the house?” I asked. “The princess thought I was the logical choice for running Somerset Estate’s automated services.” she stated. “James, who is Mila?” asked mother. I hadn’t ever mentioned that my car could speak, so I told her “Mila’s a very sophisticated A.I. that Aaliyah wrote for fun.” Then I asked “Mila, did Aaliyah give you a tour program?” Before long, we were following a light system hidden in the wall to guide us to each room. Mila provided light background music as we progressed, and we discovered that every mirror in the place was a touchscreen computer interface. By the time we walked two of the three stories that made up the main body of the house, mother was feeling thirsty, so Mila showed us down to the kitchen where we met Marco Rossi, the chef. He apparently wasn’t officially starting until tomorrow, but he was done moving in and was getting to know the kitchen. I didn’t know if mother was more jealous of the kitchen or of my chef after she tasted his cooking. I was too shocked over having a professional chef in the manor to comment much.
After lunch, we found my bedroom on the third floor and discovered that I definitely didn’t need anything more than my clothes and electronics, minus the television. The master bedroom was luxurious to say the least. I had an enormous bathroom with a hot tub and walk-in shower as well as an equally large walk-in closet off the other wall. Even Aaliyah with her princess room might approve of this bedroom. Father requisitioned my old furniture for the “new guestroom” at his house, but we went ahead and carried the rest of my stuff up the back staircase, discovering the eight car garage and small parking lot when we drove around to the back. I assured my parents that I could take care of unpacking myself, so we dumped my things in my new room and went to check out the northeast wing. Before we even took a step into the upper floor of the wing, Mila chimed in, saying, “Boss-man, sir, shall I bring Regina up on the intercom before you enter her domain?” I hadn’t realized that any of the girls were moving here already. “Yes, please.” I told her. A moment later, I heard Regina’s voice from behind me. “Back here, guys!” We all turned to find Regina talking to us from the mirror on the wall. “My dad’s going to want one of these systems installed in the house. This place has video calling available everywhere! Did you know you can watch TV on these?”
Regina had apparently moved earlier that morning, and Emma, whom Regina invited up to her floor after inviting us in, had moved yesterday, taking the whole lower floor of this wing. “Yeah. The twins let me borrow their movers yesterday, so I had an easy time. I’ll need to get some more furniture though. None of the wings were furnished at all, man-slave, and I have way more space than I did.” Emma stated. “Wait. Ai and Mai have already moved in? Their wing is still being renovated!” I exclaimed. Emma shrugged and Regina said while rolling her eyes, “One more thing for them to complain about.” I knew she was right. They probably planned precisely for this. Then I remembered how well the twins and Mila always got along and couldn’t help smiling. Ai and Mai would surely find plenty of reasons to give me grief for their own amusement, but the entire house was on my side. Things should be a little more evened out this way. My parents stayed and chatted for a while before deciding to head back home… well, to their home. Jarod called his parents and told them he’d be staying the night after telling me he wasn’t going to miss the housewarming party. With Regina’s permission, I had Mila bring up the twins on her mirror, so we could see if they wanted to join us for dinner. After carrying on about how they were hurt by being ignored, they agreed to join us. As I laid in my new bed in my new home that night, I was still wondering if I was only dreaming.