“No, dear sister. There is no need for you to referee here. There will be no war of wills. Denim has set his path and now he will walk it at whatever cost. And part of that cost is my final rebuke.” The glare in his obsidian eyes was unrelenting, burning with a fire that Denim had never seen before.
Something flickered within it as foreign in its place as smooth skin was a farmer of twenty years. Was Denim thinking about Charis Joba again? And was that fear he saw in his father’s eyes.
He swallowed down the tang of his dry tongue and did not back down from his father’s glare, but allowed himself to soak it in. Too much had been done that day and far too much said and yet unsaid by those at the conference table, and now he was witnessing fear in the eyes of a man who held just about the entire world in his hand, and all because of a moment’s flirtation with a sneaky farmer girl.
Aunt Hennelly’s face muscles did their usual dance when she was frustrated, a kaleidoscope of expressions before settling on a pointed grimace. “I do not intend to play referee, Meekus Claudius,” She all but spat his name. “I do however want to point out that time is short, and life . . . life is cursedly shorter, especially for those who are not aware of it.”
Aunt Hennelly’s gaze flitted to Denim’s and then back to his father’s, her words somehow managing to knock just a bit of the starch from the Congressman’s stance. Satisfied she continued. “Denim is being held accountable for all of his infractions, those done in his ignorance and foolishness, and those prescribed to him by desperate hands.” Meekus Claudius flinched this time, the dark of his eyes narrowing at his sister-in-law. “Nevertheless, the truth remains that Denim here has indeed set his course and another will not be had. If we are to have any hope that he is to find success in what he endeavors to do,”
Meekus Claudius erupted with a short-lived derisive laugh, turning his back on the two of them before planting his palms on the large desk behind him, his shoulders rising and falling with the deep, forced breaths he took.
Aunt Henelly took that as her cue, closing the gap between herself and her brother-in-law and placing her hand upon his shoulder, a show of tenderness Denim had never seen between the two of them. He all but believed he was in a fog of hallucination when he saw his father’s dark brown hand, cover hers.