Chapter Seven: The Reunion.
THE INTENSITY WITHIN THE ROOM definitely increased after that. I had seen my father before in old photographs, but well, he was much younger then. Admittedly, the man who stood before me did meet the image in my head, but he also had aged a bit, with hard lines engraved into his weathered skin—especially around those hazel-green eyes, which were now studying me intently.
“Dad . . ?” I questioned. I don’t know why, but it more or less just came out.
He smiled, but looked a little nervous as he nodded. “Yes, they contacted me upon your arrival. I’ve waited eighteen years for this day.”
For some reason, those words annoyed me.
“We’ll, um,” Zasekin gave Z a firm look. “We’ll give you two a moment.”
Zharov refused to budge, obviously picking up on my mixed emotions. “No,” he glared at my father, which I found most comical. “We’re not leaving.”
That sentence made Zasekin apologise to my dad, and leer at his brother.
“Anything you want to say in front of me, you can say in front of them,” I said.
It was even funnier when my soulmate mimicked my defensive attitude, also crossing his arms over his chest, as he eyed my father sceptically. Meanwhile, my father shifted uncomfortably. Clearly he had been picturing a more private reunion; or perhaps a scenario where his teenage daughter wasn’t impregnated.
Then, just like that, I turned into a rebellious teen. Then again, I suppose that’s called for when you meet the man who abandoned your mother with a baby. “What, you mean the day I’m knocked up?” My tone was oddly similar to Z’s.
My father eyed the Afantasy brothers again, obviously not wanting a crowd for this conversation, but ever so slowly he approached me. Meanwhile, Zasekin stood by the door, looking as though he wanted to leave. And his brother, Z, seemed to want nothing more than to stay. Overall it created a very awkward vibe in the room.
“No,” said my father. “The day we’re reunited . . .”
“Oh, that day,” I pursed my lips together. “Well, that could have been years ago if you put in a bit of effort. Heck, you might have even known your daughter, if you never walked out on my mum—that is.” I knew I was being rude, but I couldn’t control the resentment I felt over him leaving us. I mean; imagine how much easier my life could have been if I had of known who I really was—what I really was. Then there were the darker thoughts, like that my mum and I weren’t good enough. He didn’t want to know me back then, so why should I want to know him now?
“It was a part of my job—the mission,” he told me. “I was never meant to stay.”
“I guess all is well then,” I spoke sarcastically. “After all, work comes first.”
“It wasn’t like that,” he promised. “I loved your mother, very much.”
“Just not enough to stay with her, right?” I bit back.
“Please,” my father turned to face Zharov now. “Can I just have a moment alone with my daughter?” he asked Z, politely, but there was also a lot of ownership around the word ‘my’ – clearly my dad picked up on Z’s protective attitude, so he probably assumed the baby that was growing inside my stomach was his doing.
Zharov looked at me for a moment, and I didn’t have to nod for him to know that it was now okay to leave. It felt weird to be alone with the man who made me, but I always figured this day would come. Heck, sometimes I hoped it would.