Warning: This work has been rated 16+.
Already wanting to get out of the house, Rayne thought of all the movies that were playing at the theater and began walking to the door. She stopped at the mirror for a quick inspection. Rucksack draped on her shoulder, her dark amber hair combed through with her fingers, she considered herself good enough and reached for the lion door handle when Maurice caught her by the arm.
“Your father has instructed me not to let you out for the rest of the night,” he said, his voice gravelly like the grits he made for breakfast this morning.
“I’ll pay you fifty dollars to keep mum,” Rayne said fishing through her purse for the bill. Maurice shook his head slowly. She imagined his bones breaking with frailty.
“Your father is paying me to match your price,” he said and cackled at the roll of her eyes.
“Where is he?”
“The study of course,” Maurice moved like a snake in front of her as she made her way to the stairs. “And he has asked to be alone for the rest of the night.”
“What is this treason?” Rayne said looking at the butler incredulously. “I thought we were a team. Bonnie and Clyde.”
“I’m a poor man,”
“You live with us in a mansion,” Rayne countered. “You can hardly say you’re middle class.” She thought a moment. “What will it take to let me see my own father and or get out tonight?” Rayne searched the old man’s creased face. “I’ll make my own breakfast for a week.”
“A month and I’ll let you go to your father,” Maurice began to raise his hand before slamming it down again. “And if he asks, I was knocked out by your overrated Christmas decoration’s music.”
“Elvis Presley is not a Christmas decoration nor is he overrated,” taking mock offense of her favorite singer. “But you’ve got a deal”
Maurice gave another cackle, something like a hacking cough mixed with the sound someone makes when punched in the gut, and raised his arm off the stair banister.
Rayne raced past Maurice and up to her father’s study. Bursting through its thick artisan doors, she let them bang against the walls to announce her arrival.
Sebastian looked up from his mess of papers, pens, and ink and stared at her in bewilderment. “Are you excited or angry?”
“Both,” she said. “I think that Cael’s in some sort of gang,” That had been her only conclusion as to how weird he had acted after the mention of the gray man. Crack addicts turned gray didn’t they? “And I want to go out tonight.”
“Do you honestly believe that I’d let a miscreant teenage boy sit at a table with my darling daughter?”
“There-you-have-it.” he slurred. “Now leave me alone and close the doors behind you. And no, you may not go out tonight. It’s nearly ten.”
Rayne narrowed her eyes at her father. He had been drinking even more from the last she’d seen him. He was ghoulish looking and bloodshot in the eyes making his already startling blue ones pop like fluorescents.
“You promised you’d stop drinking,” Rayne decided to put away the theory of ghosts for a moment and took the unfinished beer, one among the twelve, from his desk.
Sebastian clawed after it, his fingers only brushing against the glass as Rayne pulled it out of reach. He made an angry grunt in his throat as if to clear it. “Rayne, don’t treat me like your child.”
“Because it’s not like you don’t act like one when you’re drinking. Maurice doesn’t stop you and Mom’s not here to punish you either.”
“Well you don’t need to fillacquiramatate her role,” he said. She assumed he meant “fill” but didn’t correct him.
Sebastian quickly reached under the thick antique desk and acquired another Space Barley and opened it by banging it against his fist, an odd technique for a retired college professor.
“You’re getting beer all over the maps,” Rayne said, quickly moving to take them, but her father pushed her hands away. And then, like a dog with a raggedy-Ann, he began tearing at his delicately drawn maps, his beer spilling all over them as he knocked into them.
“These damn maps will be the death of me,” he said, not paying attention to Rayne’s horrified state.
“Dad,” she screamed, ripping the three years worth of his work from his hands. “Stop! Daddy!”
“No,” he shouted at her and got up, knocking his chair back in the process. “Rayne give me those maps now!”
“I won’t,” she said. She backed away from her father, the papers pressed protectively to her chest. She had to think of something that would make her father cease the havoc he was creating. “Mom wouldn’t want you to destroy these.”
“Yes she would,” he was still yelling. “And don’t you dare bring your mother into this Lorrayne.”
Rayne squeezed her eyes shut at the sound of the detested name. She then opened them. Her eyes, just as blue as her father’s, were beginning to sting again. She felt the tugging at her heart making her words as she spoke quiver. “But I miss her.”
Through her tears she could see her father shrink. He was no longer breathing fire but soft cooing noises as he trudged through the battle field of precious maps to her. She tensed when he wrapped his lanky arms around her, as she usually tried to ward off affection from him, but she was feeling vulnerable and in need for comfort, something she hadn’t had for three years.
“I miss her too,” Sebastian whispered. “Do you want to talk about it? Dr. Cross said you’d probably open up to me eventually about what happened.”
Rayne closed her eyes for a moment, the gruesome scene quickly relaying on the back of her eyelids. It had been three years and it was like it just happened.
“If you don’t want to talk about it,” Sebastian said. “I’ll understand. It might be too soon. ”
“I don’t know if I can,” Rayne said quietly.
Sebastian had stopped hugging her, making her feel like a clam that had just been touched. All she wanted to do was close her shell now and never see daylight again.
Rayne looked up at her father. “Do you miss them?”
He was looking back at her, her question jumpstarting a few of his tears that dripped down his pale cheeks. He reeked of alcohol but his eyes had begun to see logic. “Of course I do mon loup.”
Her breath caught in her throat. She hadn’t been called her pet name since that horrible afternoon. She suspected because she grew up fast within the next few years, a pet name was hardly suitable.
“I sometimes can’t stop thinking about it,” Rayne offered. If she was going to open up to her father, she was going to feed to him in pieces. “And when I can’t stop thinking about it I-”
“Yes.” Sebastian said. It was all he had to say in order for her to get the hint. If there was one thing he hated more than magic it was the fact that she had tried to take her life 12 times. She knew he wasn’t mad at her, but at the person who had done it. She was just caught in the crossfire.
“I need to go,” Rayne said, taking in a shaky breath. This happened every time she talked about her mother and brothers. It was suffocating. “I just need some air.”
“I will not let you walk out of this house,” Sebastian said. “If you so much as step foot outside that door you will be severely punished-”
“Unless you found a punishment worse than living in this hell which I’m sure you haven’t then I guess I’ll just go.” Rayne twisted away from her father and stormed angrily out of the study. For a moment she thought he was still standing there, letting her go, but when she turned around at the foot of the stairs he was right behind her, wobbling down them with his cane.
Part of her wanted to help her crippled father, the other wanted to snatch the cane and watch him tumble.
“I suppose you’re trying to stop me,” Rayne said as he came to stand in front of her. She hadn’t noticed how much she’d grown. She was now at least four inches taller than her father. She suspected years hunched over obsessively writing could do that to a man.
Noticing the height he tried to straighten, cracking his back in the process. “What did Beau tell you after Liam was born?”
“Are you ready to love this kid as much as you’re going to hate him?” Rayne recited.
“Can you love me as much as you hate me?” Sebastian put an ink-stained hand on top of her head as if by doing so it would prevent her from moving. “Please don’t go out. I’m begging you.”
Rayne walked out from under his hand, letting it flop lifelessly to his side. She saw the hurt in the eyes which gnawed at her guilt, but her anguish and suffocated mind were overbearing.
I’ll be back before midnight. She had promised herself and turned towards the door. “Goodbye Dad.”