"I'm wrecking this evening already and loving every minute of it;
Ruining this banquet for the mildly inspiring and?
When you're in black slacks with accentuating, off-white pin-stripes? Whoa-oh.
- 'There's a reason. . .' by Panic! At The Disco ((I couldn't find a decent quote.))
Formal Invitation Part 1:
The conversation following the finding of the letter was mainly centered around the signed name.
"The name Neil Allen is way too coincidental."
"You think it's connected to Allen Lucienne?"
"Remember that Gorillaman here overheard Abby talking to someone called 'Neil'."
"So it's more than likely. N.A. changed to A.L. and back?"
"So what should we do? Doyle, Wadi, and Ulraj can't go along with us." Doc sighed, rubbing the back of his neck.
Doyle uncrossed one of his arms as he spoke, pointing his thumb at Wadi and Ulraj. "The way I see it, I'll stay here with these two kiddos, Fisk can hang with us too, and we can send Komodo incognito with you guys. I think this is too important to skip out on - some of your other Science buddies might be there and in danger. Plus, Zon should be back soon; she can hang around the premises."
Doc was frowning, unsure.
Drew nudged him. "You know he's right."
Doc sighed. "I know."
The discussion pretty much ended there.
They didn't have much time - around three weeks to get ready. Anything formal Zak had had, had been destroyed in what was dubbed 'the Canada incident' (which, for the last time, was not his fault), and Drew had left most of her dresses at home.
(Plus, they were more for Date Nights or Weddings. She's really prefer something more simple in case there was a confrontation.)
Doc luckily still had his suit. His only, for-all-situations suit. It's a simple brown-black suit with a chocolate brown tie, and parchment white dress shirt, but it's still in passing condition.
Drew ends up buying a modest, cream-brown dress, that sits nicely on her frame. She chooses some pretty amber jewelry, the necklace curving nicely with the neckline of the dress. She decides to forgo heels, as her dress is long enough to hide some simple sandals.
Zak . . . wasn't sure how to feel about his outfit at first.
His suit was a darker navy color, rather than black, and the undershirt a soft white. But his tie was a bold - but not a screaming - orange, like his eyes could be.
He had always loved orange, ever since he could name colors. He bought orange pants and shirts, or at least wore accents with the color. It had always brought an overwhelming sense of comfort.
But after the whole first Kur-revealing debacle, he lost his love for it. He felt gross almost, being this powerful monster. Orange had been Kur's color, in his mind, and soiled the very hue for him.
But then he missed it. When he finally realized that despite he being Kur, and that the color associated with the ancient dragon-past life, he was Zak, and to Zak it was his color, not some Dragon of old's.
And, well, as he and his parents were prepared to leave, Doyle and the others seeing them out, he was really glad to have gone with an orange tie.
"It really brings out your eyes," Wadi said, as though the sentence had slipped out of her, and she looked at him with slightly rounded eyes.
"Too bad it can't fix your overall appearance," Ulraj teased.
Welp. There went that moment.
"You sure you guys will be okay here?" Drew asked, checking that her sword was compressed and in her purse. The two boys grappled in the background until Doc pulled them apart.
Doyle grinned. "Absolutely. We'll knock back and play some board games. Maybe eat some 'Mallows or something."
(Ulraj mouthed ' 'Mallows?' to Wadi and she simply shrugged.)
"Just keep your communicator close by." Doc fixed his cuffs. "And do not touch my chips."
"Ew, dad," Zak stuck out his tongue, "No one likes Vinegar Ranch."
Doc ruffled his hair. "Says the kid who likes Salt and Vinegar." Zak bat his father's hand away and tried to fix his fluffed folicles, hiding a grin.
"Boys, we've gotta go," Drew called. "We're supposed to be there by seven."
Doyle gave Drew a hug, and Doc a pat on the shoulder. After Zak got his hug from him, he last minute gave Ulraj and Wadi a hug together, and then slipped out the door, with an invisible Komodo right behind them.
The door clicked shut and they were left in silence.
"So," Doyle said, clasping his hands. "You kids ever play monopoly."
He got a pair raised eyebrows and eyeridges.
They arrived at seven o'clock on the dot, the sky dark around them. There had been a hall booked, a lone building in the woods. It wasn't far from a main road, nor a town, so emergency facilities could arrive with ease. Though the forest pressed in on most sides.
Upon entering, they saw it was well-lit and furnished. There was a fancy chandelier with what appeared to be candles in its holders, but nothing else was remotely exspensive or as fancy. A table with sophisticated snacks and drink lined the back wall, as well as drinks in chilled containers set up for the adult company, and guests already mingled amongst them. They saw normal Scientists as well as those of the more Secret group, but there was also those obviously of more wealthy origins (and more obnoxious natures) with wives draped on their husbands' arms.
There didn't appear to be any other young teens or children.
But most Scientists in these fields chose not to have any in the first place.
Zak muttered something unsavory under his breath and Doc gave him a look. "Zak; you know how important this is. Please don't offend anyone."
He opened his mouth but closed it just as fast, putting his hands in his pockets and sighing; his dad was right. He did tend to get in trouble more often than not and this was really important. Delicate situations called for his utmost focus.
Which sucks cause it was really hard.
Zak mostly tuned out of the conversations his parents had, rather letting his brown-orange gaze sweep around to find any subtle movements of Komodo. When he couldn't find the dragon, he let his powers tap the tiniest bit, making his eyes barely spark for the briefest moment.
He was pulled back to the conversation when none other than Miranda Grey appeared before the Saturdays, an obvious limp in her step, but not too bad.
"Saturdays!" She exclaimed. "I wondered if I would find you here!"
"Miranda?" Drew stepped towards her. "You were well enough to come?"
"Of course!" She said, smiling. "Not going to let some silly old injury keep me. Besides, after Arthur called me to see if I had been invited too, I just had to come."
"Arthur? Arthur Beeman?" Doc and Drew both said, Zak now really tuning in. "We haven't heard from him since he disappeared!" Doc exclaimed.
After the battle with Argost, and his less than favorable method to help that resulted in hurting Zak, he had been expelled from the Circle of Secret Scientists. There had been much fighting on Arthur's part, even from Zak's family, but the decision was ultimately made. The Saturdays, and Miranda's team had tried to seek him out to help him, but he hadn't left a single trace. It was though he didn't exist anymore.
The Saturdays had forgiven him and told him so before hand; he was panicking. He thought he was doing what was best for everyone. Arthur had been a great Babysitter to Zak in the past (he'd been called upon a few times after the Piecemeal incident and before the Kur reveal), and as well had been an ever-loyal friend, so when he was gone there was much concern.
Miranda may have even had past romantic interests in him, as well as being his friend, and his leave was painful for her.
But apparently he was doing well, as just then he strolled up. "Did someone mention me?"
Arthur Beeman looked good; his smile was almost lazy, and his demeanor relaxed. His suit was obviously of higher quality, so much so that Zak almost felt shabby in comparison.
"Doctor Beeman!" Doc gave him a hearty handshake and shoulder clasp, while Drew gave him a quick hug. "It's great to see you!"
Arthur laughed with a following shrug. "Same to you Saturdays! Although, it's just Arthur now. My Doctorate can't be public knowledge anymore."
He gave Miranda a warm hug, and even ruffled Zak's hair. " 'Sup Skunk-do?"
"So what have you been up to?"
"Oh, this and that. I work for a big company now - the pay is great. Can't beat studying the stars though." He glanced up with a wistful shrug.
Doc frowned. "I'm sorry to hear that. But I'm glad you're doing well."
"Thanks Saturday." Arthur was so different. But Doc could understand. Being a Secret Scientist was a tremendous amount of pressure, especially with the need for secrecy. While it must have been painful to leave, he could imagine the tremendous weight it lifted.
He went on to tell them how he worked in finances for a theoretical technology and pharmaceuticals company - they were working on developing simplified yet efficient prostetics as well as medications for diabetics and blood pressure problems. He even went into a whispered bit sharing that they had a seperate building looking into eradicating and preventing cancer, although they were far from their goal.
"Although I work in finances most of my co-workers like me," he answered with a shrug, when asked how he knew so much. "I don't know everything, after all."
It was almost surprising to see how happy he was; Doc knew the man to linger on old feelings, and he figured Arthur would have been more dejected about losing his Star-filled dreams. But apparently a decent job and settling back into ordinary life Could do wonders.
Could Doc ever let go of Cryptidzoology like that?
. . .no.
"So how have you been?" Arthur asked Miranda.
"Oh, you know; fixing Deadbolt for the eighteenth time this year. And I've also been-"
The conversation trailed on from there, as more and more guests arrived. Arthur even got to asking the Saturdys about their adventures, which they gladly shared some of, albeit watered down.
But even as they got into the swing of things with their friends, none of the three Saturdays let down their guard.
And soon enough, most of the Scientists they knew - those who had been invited - had arrived.
The party had begun.