His gaze finally met his father’s and the smile that played at his lips tightened into a frown, one he also chewed on to keep from sight. Meekus Claudius Rays would not appreciate the gesture any more than he appreciated the filth Denim had carried with him to the conference room or the purposeful tardiness he had come under.
The eyes that matched Denim’s in dark and depth narrowed with disapproval but suddenly stretched with crow’s feet. Was his father laughing at him? The tick at the side of his full mouth was a telltale sign.
Denim’s insides do a nasty somersault. The conversation he’d had with his father on the day his ship was found missing crashed into the forefront of his mind with such violence that it made the backs of his eyes ache.
Destiny, his father had told him he would walk the path of a congressman’s son and divorce himself of his trifling schemes or he would suffer the consequences. He’d had enough of being embarrassed by Denim’s ways and certainly had no stomach to tolerate the shame he’d brought upon the Rays name, and with a farmer no less.
Meekus Claudius had accused him of being polluted of mind and had even blamed himself for it. He had gotten Denim the position as RRS to prove a point, scare Denim back to the core of Solarium where he would shiver to think of anything but taking his place in the government. He hadn’t anticipated him excelling at his chosen post. . .loving it even. He certainly didn’t believe his son capable of cavorting with those born to forage in silt and solar.
There had been nothing that Meekus Claudius could do to remove Denim from that world, cause him to comply, nothing until Charis Joba and her pretty, lying, lips whispered in his too eager ears. Now his father believed he had just enough thread to pull Denim’s life apart and clothe him in the one he’d designed. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have sent a Teller to read him his last rights.
“Destiny!” Meekus Claudius’ voice echoed and rolled off the barrel walls like thunder shaking Denim out of his thoughts. The sparkle in his dark eyes made Denim’s stomach sour more than the thick scent that was embedded in his skin and clothes had.
Meekus Claudius stared down his son as he continued his opening argument, and it would be an argument. Denim was serving his sentence. He was paying his debt. He would fight tooth and nail against whatever scheme his father had concocted against him, even in the audience of his government friends.