I have a special interview today. I’m not sure I’ll get through it.
A man walks into the office I’m using as an interview space. His bright blue eyes smiling at me. “Course, you can Pretty Boy. I’ll be here.”
I can’t help but smile through the anxiety as he sits down next to me. “You sure you won’t kill him?” The happy shining through the anxiety was foreign to me. So rare that anything pierced that veil so easily as the look he gave me.
He shrugs. “No, but I’ll do my best.”
It really is all I can ask. But I didn’t get a chance to say so before a man wearing ripped jeans and a faded t-shirt walked in. The slimey smile he always had for me splayed on his lips makes my breath quicken. And not in a good way. There is a slight touch on my hand and then my fingers entwined with his. I don’t even need to look at him to see the sneer on his face as he stared down my demon.
Garrett held out his hand. “As always a pleasure Nox.” But I didn’t take his hand. “Who is this?”Garrett asked as he offered his hand.
“You can call me John.” Which made me smirk cause that was so not his name. But John squeezed my hand and I felt slightly better with his hand in mine.
I started to speak and choked on my words. Garrett smiled at me and I shuddered as he wove a glass in front of himself and then wove water to fill it. “Here, drink this.”
I took the glass obediently and drank. I didn’t look at John. I didn’t need to see his face to know he didn’t like it. I couldn’t help it. I obeyed the best I could with Garrett around. But it surprised me more when John took my paper from my hand and looked at the questions. There was an audible smirk from his lips. “Pretty Boy these aren’t any fun.”
John wadded up the paper and leaned back in his chair letting go of my hand. I whimpered but his arm draped over my shoulder and his hand caressed my cheek before falling to my chest. “First question. It’s Garrett right?”
Garrett nodded. “It is.”
I listened to the sound of my own breathing and my heart pounding in my chest, it sounded like the others with me could hear it too, but neither of them seemed phased by the loud crushing sound. John smiled and squeezed my shoulder to reassure me. I loved that he knew I was freaking out. Garrett knew. He always knew. It didn’t mater if I had the fake smile – he always knew.
John asked, “How do you know Nox?”
“I was his very first instructor when he came to us after his mother dumped him with Dorian Vega. I taught him control.” Garrett looked at me with a knowing smile. I wanted to throw a fireball at that smirking face but I didn’t. I kept my feelings to myself – well mostly.
“How did you do that?” John returned the question. He was fishing.
Garrett’s smirk grew wider at the probing questing. “I found out what made Nox spark and I built a regime of rapidly increasing situations that required control to maintain the elements. Fire is the hardest element to train.”
“What did you do when he sparked out of control?”
I thought the beatings got worse, but Garrett shrugged. “Continued with the situation until he had control in it.”
“Did he learn control?” John asked.
“He did. But an accident at the end of his training with me saw Nox with another fire-starter mentor. He’d done so well up until that point. But Vega thought it best that he and I not work together anymore. Nox as a boy was far more volatile than he is now. The littlest things could set him off. But he did his best and I’m so very proud of him.”
“You think Nox is volatile?”
“Not in the sense that he’s violent. He only fights a battle he can win. Something else I taught him.” The gloating in his voice made me shudder. “Nox, has always been overly anxious. His lack of control was partially due to those emotions. Feelings of inferiority can cause depression and the abuse he took from his peers didn’t help. Half human genetics took it’s toll on the boy I was teaching. I helped him the best I could.”
John asked, “How many kids are you teaching now?”
Garrett smiled happily. “I have four students, two are graduating here in June. I’m proud of them. They aren’t nearly as powerful as Nox, but they show a lot of promise. The remaining two are twins. Excellent students and are exceptional for their age. Their mother saw their potential before either of them sparked so there has been excellent progress on control. Most non-Magnus parents don’t see the signs so early.”
I was about to stand up and tell “John” I couldn’t do this anymore. I can’t sit by and listen to him abuse poor innocent kids and I can’t do anything about it. But John spoke first, “I think this interview is done. I think Nox needs some alone time.”
Garrett laughed. “He usually does. Though I doubt he’ll be alone with you around.” There was a knowing smirk as they both stood up. John’s hand stayed on my shoulder and pressed me into my seat with very little pressure applied. His body separated me from Garrett’s as they shook hands. I didn’t see anything. But I felt it. If I opened myself to the patterns around me dared open my shields around Garrett I’d probably see it more than feel it. Whatever power display the two of them were doing Garrett’s smile faded and he was the first to release John’s hand and back towards the door. “It’s a pleasure as always chatting with my best pupil. And nice meeting you too John.” Garrett knew that wasn’t his name too. But he left it at that as he walked out the door closing it behind him.
John’s hand lifted from my shoulder but I clung to his hand. “It’s okay Pretty.” He said as he turned towards me, “He’s gone now.” I fell against his chest and took a deep breathe of his scent. He was home. So fucking home. I wasn’t sure how I’d handle things without him in my life now that I had him. And this only made it obvious to me. I just hoped I didn’t scare him away.