Faust gathered up more finished plates from the table & carried them back to the kitchen, carefully setting them down on the counter next to the others. Lyserg had already started in on the dishes, but he seemed a little unsteady, both on his feet & in his motor control. Faust watched him closely for a moment, sighing gently before taking another dishcloth & a plate. He glanced at the boy out of the corner of his eye, washing the dish & speaking lowly.
You put alcohol in the eggnog, didn’t you.
He didn’t speak it as a question because he didn’t mean it as one. He finished with the plate & rinsed it, putting it in the strainer, then took another one.
But you didn’t mean to have any. You have little to no resistance to it.
Faust kept his eyes on the dishes as he worked at them, directing his speech to Lyserg without looking at him.
So you consumed it accidentally. Which means you only spiked one of the pitchers.
The doctor sighed gently, finishing another plate & setting it down before turning to actually face the boy.
Lyserg, whatever made you think that was a good idea?
Lyserg continued to wash the dishes. When Faust came back into the room he tried to focus more so that he wouldn’t be quite so clumsy, but it was quite the challenge.
And then Faust spoke to him.
Guilt flooded Lyserg. Every word the doctor said was true, and Lyserg couldn’t believe himself. He’d gotten himself drunk…or at least partially. But all the same, he had done it, and he felt like a child that had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He lowered his face and avoided looking at Faust.
“Lyserg, whatever made you think that was a good idea?”
At first, Lyserg had no idea why he had done it. But then he realized that of course he had done it for a reason.
“I…haven’t had too many Christmases with others,” he admitted. “My parents would always make two pitchers and do the same…. And I guess I figured that…”
He hesitated. He realized that he hadn’t been scrubbing the dishes since Faust had asked him that question, but he didn’t start cleaning again.
He looked down at his shoes. “I’ve been feeling…just stressed lately…and nervous…”