Of Roses and Thunder

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Untitled chapter

Watching Rome Fall

♦️

It was a stormy evening when William Townsend came back from Saint-Tropez.

William Townsend never did anything quietly, except suffer. Everyone knew when he arrived, for the helicopter settled on the landing pad on the roof of the compound. Maize had gotten time to process, but she was still angry at William and it would be the first time she had seen him since he left a few weeks ago. She wasn’t quite ready to close the door on him, so she kept it open, ready for an opportunity for the two of them to have a relationship, but she wasn’t sure if she was ready to let him in just yet.

Maize wondered what had happened in France. Had William found Talia’s baby mama? Did he tell her everything? How had he changed? The answer quickly came to them all.

The Gods had all decided to have a get-together, they were watching a movie, making their own pizzas and trying to move past everything that had happened. It was an unspoken question across the board about William, for everyone was curious as to what was going on in his head, but the answer was scary, and nobody really wanted to know. Talia, as mean as she was to everyone around her, was irreplaceable to William. He remembered taking her home from the hospital, bringing her to her softball games, making her a custom suit, watching her get accepted to a Master’s degree program, William remembered everything. But he wasn’t quite sure where he went wrong in the grand scheme of things.

What could he have done to prevent her death? What steps could he have taken as a father to prevent her from making the mistakes that she had that led her to her grave?

The Gods, gathered in the common room, had all heard the helicopter land and it was as if they had held a collective breath in their lungs. What did this mean for the team?

Maize jumped out of her seat and ran out of the common room, going back to a place where she wasn’t vulnerable. Thor followed her, knowing that the weeks William was gone weighed on her heavily for she didn’t have the answers she craved. She needed a getaway, and Thor knew just the place to take her.

Back in the common room, the Gods discussed if they should go talk to William. It had been a generous amount of time since the helicopter landed and he had yet to make an appearance. Dike decided to take one for the team and take the elevator up to William’s room, except for the fact that Jason was the biggest roadblock between Dike and William.

“Dike, Mr. Townsend’s floor is currently restricted.” The artificial voice spoke for everyone to hear.

“What do you mean, restricted?”

“Mr. Townsend has prevented access to his living quarters until further notice.”

“That’s bullshit!” Diana called.

“Language,” Dike responded. “But it’s true. Jason, can we contact him at all?”

“Unfortunately, not, Dike,” Jason responded.

“I say we kill Jason and then Townsend,” Diana suggested. “He left without explanation, and now he’s forcibly separating himself from us. Something’s wrong.”

“Yeah, and I know exactly what he’s doing.”

“Clue us in, Dike?” Artemis asked.

“He’s quitting the team and moving back to Malibu. That’s his safe house, and without Talia, he’s got nothing holding him down here, he thinks. Malibu was his backup plan.”

“If he does that, he’s hurting us and he’s murdering the remnants of his relationship with his other daughter, Maize.”

“I know, and we have to stop him.”

“How, Dike?”

“I don’t know. If he can’t see a reason to stay despite it being obvious, we can’t make him see it. There’s gotta be a way to keep him from running from us, and I’m going to figure it out. He brought these kids into this life and he can’t abandon them, leaving us all high and dry. But, he knows that if he leaves, he can’t ever come back again. He’s depending on that fact, actually. Whenever he decides to show up around here, we can handle that then.”

The group broke for the night, considering that nobody could just sit around, watching a movie and pretending like things were cool when William had locked himself away in his high tower.

William found Maize’s room empty. He was too late; she had already made the trip across the universe with Thor. He swallowed the lump in his throat and went up to his packed helicopter, ready to leave the compound for good, to find solace in his private villa in Malibu. But, there was one more thing he had to do before he left, and he ran downstairs to the very catacombs of the compound to see Erik. He wanted to see the face of his daughter’s killer one more time, ingraining his image into his brain so he would never forget. But, he ran into Ariel on his way down. Agitated, he made one final decision before he finally boarded his helicopter.

He watched everything he built, everything he thought he really wanted, disappear behind him.

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