Breakfast With Family
I woke with a start curled against Rider on the bottom bunk. My back was sore and I was breathing harder because of the nightmare I’d just woken up to. But my back wasn’t bleeding. I shoved Rider and he groaned as he fell out of bed. “Shit, Nox!”
“Sorry. I can’t move.”
Laker hung down from the top bunk with a grin. “That was funny.”
I grinned at my brothers. “You hungry?”
Both of them said at the same time, “Always.”
“Grab showers and I’ll make you food. Mia and Sage are still here with Naya.”
“She’s a sweetie.” Rider said as he grabbed clean clothes.
Laker groaned. “I don’t wanna Dad.” Then burst into laughter. “Mind if I use your shower?”
“Don’t wake the baby.” I said as I crawled out of the bottom bunk bed. This was the first time cooking for real in my apartment. The pumpkin pie filling didn’t really count as cooking even though I did use a pan to make it.
The one good thing about my brothers is they were used to getting up at the ass crack of dawn with me. Mostly because that’s what they had to do on a normal day to get to school on time. Living in the middle of nowhere meant early rise for them and they only had one bathroom.
I made breakfast. It was simple eggs, bacon and toast. There was a roll of cinnamon rolls that someone had brought and I made them too. The soft scent of cinnamon permated my kitchen and the rest of my house and I knew exactly why they’d left them in my fridge – calming. I didn’t know who it was and it didn’t really matter. It was someone who knew me and knew me well enough to understand that I was a mess.
I glanced at my phone, still no response from Alex.
After I had everything finished I took a picture of a plate cinnamon roll and all. Then sent Alex a text.
N: Look what you are missing.
I shredded some bacon and left overs for Fee and then went to sit outside on my balcony. I was finding being outside more calming than sitting at my dining room table. On my plate was also a healthy scoop of my pumpkin pie filling. I was going to have to make more. I might never go to Bonnie’s again.
But I knew that was a lie. I heard the twins joking as they walked into the living space and grabbed their own food. I probably needed to make more than I did with two growing sixteen year old spending the next month or more with me. We’d get through this change together I guessed.
My brothers came out with me with their heaping plates. There was a scramble for the last seat which ended up with both of them laughing as they fought over the chair. Rider shoved Laker and Laker pushed at his brother. Rider won the chair when he licked his brothers hand. So gross.
Laker thought the same thing and jerked away relinquishing the chair to his cheating brother. He grumbled about cheating as he sat down with his back to the railing. “This is a nice place, Nox. And way up here it’s almost quiet.”
I nodded. “I like it up here.”
“And you are so afraid of heights too.”
I grinned. “Heights never stopped me.”
“That’s what Mom used to say too. Said that near death experience made you afraid, but if something happened you were always right there doing what needed to be done.”
I sighed. And Rider looked at me with a frown. “Mom was just afraid, Nox. She loved you. Couldn’t say enough good things about you. She hated it, every day. We were afraid we’d never live up to you.”
“She should have told me herself instead of hating me till the day she died.”
“She was afraid more. That’s all. But she forgot some days, but when you were there, she saw nothing but a monster. She couldn’t shake it. We know she loved you.”
I shrugged. “Doesn’t matter now.”
“No.” Rider said. “But it does matter to us, that you…”
I interrupted my little brother. “I would never hold it against you. Yeah at first I was mad that she had a whole other life without me. But I can’t be mad at you. Anymore than I’m mad at Jesse or at my Dad. I just wished she knew I’d forgiven her.”
My brothers smiled. “She knew.”
By the time we finished eating, Sage was shuffling out of the bedroom. “Nox?”
Rider took my plate and he pulled his brother to his feet. “We are going to go see what’s around the new neighborhood, maybe find a pick up game or something.”
“Make sure you take your phones.”
“Will do Dad.” Laker grinned as he closed the glass door behind him.
“You like it out here huh?” Sage asked.
Sage nodded, “No urge to jump?”
I shook my head. “No I’ll stay here where I don’t worry anyone, and I don’t accidentally die.”
Sage grinned. “Good.” He handed me the jump drive I’d given him two days ago. “I had it done yesterday morning before your brother’s called. I knew you weren’t going to work on your birthday, but I knew if I gave it back to you, you would work. You needed a chill day.”
“Thanks. What did you find out?” I asked.
“Well, it’s not really a means of stealing anything. It’s more like they were monitoring things, and setting up back doors all around the City. I think they are looking for a backdoor into the Stock Exchange. There were several key acronyms that I recognized. Like they were looking to take advantage of the fluctuations in the market. It’d be perfect to destabilize the economy as well as make someone rich. But I’m not stock man. I just know what the code was doing. The encryption was tight.”
“But you hacked it.”
Sage grinned, “Of course I did. Computers talk to me, doncha know.”
I echoed his grin and nodded. “Thanks Sage. I can’t imagine what the dragons would want to do with this particular device. They don’t usually hoard money. And destabilizing our world doesn’t seem like the best thing in the world to do.”
“Unless they want the supernatural world to take over – create a safety net of magic. We can fix things, run things, humans may be the dominant race but we unknown things can kill you in an instant.”
“But why now? And why dragons? They will outlive us all.”
Sage shrugged. “Dad and Adrian keep saying it’s the time of prophecy. So maybe the dragons are taking advantage of that.”
“Time of prophecy as, in things are already written? That’s bullshit.” I said.
Sage shook his head. “I don’t know. Fate, destiny, the will of god seems very Venatori if you ask me.”
I laughed. “Shows how much you know. The Venatori don’t believe in fate or destiny. There is no god. No divine providence.”
“But there is the Clandestine law.”
“Which only states that we are to stay hidden in order to protect humanity. And it’s not a Venatori thing, it’s a supernatural law. The minute the Clandestine Providence is broken is the minute that everything we know dies. Wolves will be hunted for their pelts. Vampires will kill all the humans for food. There will be chaos.”
“And if someone say the dragons were to be peacekeepers like the Venatori?”
I laughed, “You honestly think that the Dragons can do any better than the Venatori? Eventually it’ll all end up the same. We can’t have one race rule them all.”
“Your way is better, but still the humans.”
“The humans what? Need to know? Or do we keep them safe? They are such a fragile race, any one of us could hurt them.”
“But there are so many of them.”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. We each need to govern our own and have a unifying law to protect us all. Which is what the Clandestine Providence was supposed to be.”
Mia stuck her head out, “Hey Sage, you want a ride home? Me and Naya need to get back to Brooklyn.”
“Sure.” Sage stood up and placed a kiss on my right temple. “I love you, no matter what. Call me if you need anything Nox.”
“Thanks you two.”
Mia pressed a kiss to my forehead and dropped a small bundle in my lap and she giggled. “Hey sweetheart.” I gave her a big kiss on the cheek and she giggled a little more. “You be good for your mama.”
“I will.” She held her hands up for her mom to grab and Mia and Sage waved as they left me alone in my new apartment. I sighed as I stared at the USB drive in my hand. I didn’t know what their game was, but at least I knew I something more was going on.