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XIV. Simon Says

Frozen. That was how my feet felt upon seeing the man by the open door. He did not need any words to express his power. The mere look in his eyes caused intimidation and I felt reduced to nothingness before him.

“Why are you here? You’re not supposed to be here!” Lucian was quick on his feet.
“Lucian, I don’t think you of all people should have any opinion of where I am supposed to be.” His voice was calm like his son, but deeper. Like it came from a bottomless pit. I stood there, unsure what to do but my feet seemed to have planted itself on the ground. Lucian dared not to look at his father’s eyes. I could see his hands shake on his sides as he stared down at his father’s shoes.

“You must be Glory.” He turned to me with a smile. It was as comforting as needle pricking into your skin. Words were difficult to find so I nodded. “Speak,” he said. I stuttered, “Y-yes.”

“You are a very attractive young lady, I must say.” He looked at me from down below and up.

It was only then that I noticed his features. Spotless white hair brushed up like his son. He sported grayish-white beard and his facial skin displayed freckles of varying shades. His blood red suit fit him well as he stood probably an inch shorter than Lucian. His stance demanded respect and commanded attention. His face normally rested on intimidation and judgment that a slight change would be very disconcerting.

“As are you, Sir Gastrell.”
“Oh unlike you, I don’t really need validation.” He waltzed in past us both and looked around the dressing room. It was as if he was some guest in a museum, looking at anything that could catch his attention.

“Dad.” Lucian still had his head bowed down. “Dad,” he repeated.
And on the third time, “Dad!” I flinched at his sudden tone.

Sir Gastrell finally stopped moving around to face us again. He smiled one more time, awaiting Lucian to open his mouth.

“What are you doing here?”
“I’ve received news of your… more recent fuck ups. I just came here to see it myself. And I must say, I’m pretty disappointed. I was expecting much worse from you this time around.” He spun a chair around and settled down with his legs crossed.

“Glory, could you leave us a minute?” Lucian did not turn to me and probably expected me to leave.
“Oh no, stay. I want you to hear this.” His father had a condescending tone.
“Everything is under control.” Lucian quickly declared.
“Is it?” The old man’s eyebrow was raised.
“Yes and it will be very helpful if you stay out of it.”
“You see, that’s where you are asking the impossible. This isn’t your business. At least in the grand scheme of things.”
“We are on track. We may have had some hiccups along the way but we’re handling every situation better. It’s your presence here that’s setting the whole thing off balance. You shouldn’t even be here.” Lucian waved his hand to me, as if I was the subject of their conversation.

“Oh don’t worry about it. She’s not gonna remember any of this after another session right?”

My eyes widened and a whimper almost escaped my throat. He is in on it. Even Lucian’s father, Sir Gastrell, knew what was going on. What did I expect? From what I know, it’s been years since Lucian even saw his father and now he is here right in front of us.

“Unless, you’re stopping the sessions from happening. Am I wrong, Lucian?” He had that knowing smile, eager for his son to just admit what he already knows.
“Whatever the executives told you, they’re wrong.”
“Lucian, Lucian. Of all the things you would inherit from me, it just had to be bad taste in women.”
“Don’t drag my mother into this!” Lucian roared at him with clenched fists.
“What I’m saying is, you don’t fall for your slave. As much as you wouldn’t fuck your pets. You are letting your feelings get in the way of things. Aren’t you too old to be a victim of Lima? Is she that powerful that you, the captor has become the captive? Or have you been taking electroshock in her place?” The old man inquired quizzically.

I stood there unsure of what was taking place. There was an urge inside of me to leave but again, my feet seemed to not listen to my brain. It wanted to stay to hear everything. And it is the most I’ve learned in three years. Maybe I’ve already known before but something tells me, everything is new. With his head down, I could see the sudden change in Lucian’s face. He scoffed and grinned before lifting his head up.

“My feelings are irrelevant to my desire for success. It seems to me that you are more driven by your fear of failure for you to come all the way here. Unless you came here for other reasons, such as worrying about your son. Which seems to me that between us, it’s you who’s letting your feelings get in the way of your judgment.” Lucian finally sounded like his usually self. Calm and determined.

Upon hearing this, the old man gave him a smirk. His eyes brightened while he stood up from his seat. He walked up to his son who no longer puts his head down in front of him.

“Lucian, my son, I only want you to succeed.”
“I will. You just have to wait.”
“Well then,” Sir Gastrell nodded and went for the door. Before he walked out, he turned back around to give a final word for his son.

“You want to keep this charade. Might as well take her to The Grid.” His words struck Lucian, as it was visible in his eyes the shock of hearing his father say those words.

“And Ms. Glory. Before you reach for the door, remember your mother.”

My heart beat pounded right out of my chest all of a sudden. I felt weak in my stomach and my knees started to shake as we watched him close the door on his way out. The moment the door closed, Lucian started heaving. It was painful hearing him try to catch his breath while gripping on the nearest chair to support his weight.

Remember your mother, his voice haunted my skin. My mom, it felt like I have not seen her in years. Lucian told me then that she was going to be taken care of in a private facility. That was right after I signed my contract three years ago. A contract that gave Lucian and his family rights to my own in exchange for money and medical care for my mother, who fell mysteriously ill that time. No. The pieces started fitting in my head.

It was then that I realized, there is no escape.

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