We walked away in silence. My father and Emilio waited at the end of the alleyway for us. They would carry the bad news to the woman who had passed in The Dragon’s fire. Emilio and Walker refused to let Kai tell me her name. Emilio making him promise to not tell me.
It didn’t matter either way. I would find out her name. When we joined Walker and Emilio pulled ahead of my father and I.
Kai watched me as we walked. Emilio and Walker went down the stairs to the subway station I didn’t feel like joining them, but I was surprised when my father kept walking with me. We walked two additional blocks in silence until Kai broke it. “I didn’t know you had it in you.”
“Know I had what in me?” I asked.
“To pull the trigger on a man.” Kai said. I could hear the concern in his voice. “What did he do to you?”
“He controlled me. What did it look like?” I said, my voice dripped with sarcasm.
“That should be weak inside of you – half human and all. He couldn’t control me.”
I sighed. “I’m Cesari you are not. You can’t bend all four elements.”
Kai nodded. “Still, you shouldn’t go up against dragons again until we explore it.”
“Whatever.” I moved forward at a faster pace but my father kept pace with ease. So I stopped instead. My father followed suit a few paces ahead of me. He turned to look at me. I asked him, “You aren’t great at this are you?”
“Good at what?” My father returned the question.
“At pretending you care.”
Kai closed the few paces between us and I took an involuntary step backwards as my father stepped into my personal space. He’d backed me up against the wall and held his finger in front of me to scold me. I stared back with a look of defiance etched on my features, but I could the fear in my pulse rise as he did it. But he didn’t scare me, not in my rational mind. But my mind was never rational. I felt like the child I had been before I knew Kai Viddens was my father. I felt five with Garrett standing over me wielding the same finger and the fury of his hidden powers with them. The intensity of the lessons that day would be worse. Flashes of my nightmares floated before my eyes.
I don’t know what my father saw on my face but his face softened as he took a step back and lowered his hand. “Who the fuck messed you up?”
I knew I should answer him or face his wrath but my mouth was dry I couldn’t speak even if I wanted to. I felt lost, even more so than before. All control was gone. My father could manipulate me like The Dragon except it was my fear, my memories that paralyzed my body from doing what I wanted it to do. “Those scars on your back. They aren’t just you were they?”
I shook my head. “I used to hide them.”
“Why don’t you now?” Kai asked his voice was softer now.
“No point. Too much work. I’m not required to disrobe in front of strangers. And I forget now I should when in the gym.”
Kai asked, “You okay?”
“No. I need to go home.” It was the truth. All I wanted was to curl up in my bed and cry. But I wouldn’t tell that to my absentee father.
“Let’s go then. We will take the next train.” Kai glanced at his watch and then reached for my shoulder which I pulled away from immediate. Kai dropped his hand to his sides. “Let’s go, son. I’ll make sure you make it to your apartment. Do you need me to tell someone?”
I only shrugged as we walked. I wanted Sage to be there. But I wasn’y about to put this on him. The next station was only half a block away and as we were going down I whispered, “Can you make sure Drake has a place to stay tonight?”
Kai nodded. “He can stay with me. Unlike most of my children you grant me that privilege occasionally.”
I gave my father a weak smile. “Don’t try to be a good father. Be a great grandfather for him. You and me, we’ll work on it through him.”
Kai laughed. “That’s exactly what Margo said.”
I gave him a genuine smile. “She’s a smart woman.”