Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day Six-Hundred-Eighteen: Slappity Slap, Don't Talk Back

My mom slaps hard. You wouldn't think so, but she totally does. My cheek is still stinging. wtf.

I spent most of Monday and Tuesday avoiding mom's tree. She's been busy carefully steering us away from Trademore anyway - don't want the Imperium's troops to catch on to an enormous, moving pile of snow - but she's not been busy enough to note my absence. Hell, she is outright pestering my sister to drag me to mumsy's side.

Like I've said before, it's tough to say no to Celine. She's kind of a freak. With... ninja escorts. I'm faster than one or two of them at a time, but all... uh... however many there are? Sadly not. So, yeah, today I was forced to visit.

The first thing ex-Queen Daena did was slap me. And hug me. And cry. Not the first time this has happened in the past week.

"Why are you avoiding me?" she blubbered, tears rolling strategically down her cheeks. "Why, Logan? I've missed you so much!"

"Yeah, I missed you too, ma." I patted her on the back. "I'm, uh, sorry. Again. Really. Sorry."

"You don't sound so sorry." She sniffed and pushed me away a few steps, watery eyes turning cold. "You sound like you want to be out of here as quickly as you can manage. Do you have any idea how long we looked for you, Logan? How many places we searched in that rickety old Matriach? Gods, the trouble we endured..."

"I bet." I shuffled my feet, looking bashful. "I... had issues. Needed to work 'em out."

My mother scanned me for a moment. The only sound she made came from the thump, thump, thump of her legs, forever in motion. You'd think after so many years I'd be accustomed to my mother being embedded in a tree - hell, I was born from this tree - but, nope. Just too weird. Her analytic gaze, coupled by the inate weirdness of her situation, forced me into legitimate foot shuffling. Discomfort and all that.

"I remember that." She brushed the last of her tears away. Seemed almost casual about it. "That look. Whenever you or your kangaroo did something wrong, that was the look. Full cheeks, little rosy pricks under the eyes...  I bet you practiced it all the time. Didn't you?"

Even more discomfort. "Uhhhhh... maybe. You... you know I wanted to be an actor."

"You wanted to be something different every day of the week." A sly smile split through some of the coldness. "When you were growing up, you wanted so badly to be king. When you first met The Baron, may he rot, you wanted to be a bureaucrat. When you got the kangaroo -"

"Just so you know, it was a werewolf, ma."

"I know it was a werewolf, but you wanted to be a kangaroo." She shook her head. "And when you met Dragomir, you wanted to be a guard. I thought that was adorable. You're even dressing a bit like him these days! Or the way he used to look, anyway. I like the pants."

I heard a faint scuffling from somewhere behind us. Dragomir himself, of course, no doubt grinning like an idiot. He can't keep his nose out of other people's business.

"They're comfy." I dug my hands into the pockets. "Much better than that stuff you guys used to make me wear."

"Ah, ah, that was your father. I wasn't around to dress you up. It's difficult to enforce clothing when you're attached to a tree."

"But you would've decked me out in finery. Admit it."

"Well, yes, obviously. You were a prince." Her smile remained, but the edges of her eyes tugged downward half an inch. "One of the few things you never wanted to be."

I felt like a little boy again. It hasn't been that long since I was two feet shorter and curly-haired, mind, but... 

"And now," she continued, a few moments later, "you're a... thief. Logan the Thief. Mr. L, I hear. That's... so wonderful, Logan. I couldn't be prouder."

Each word, a jab at my pride. I puffed out my chest, scratching at the stubble on my face. "Yeah. I am. So what? Everybody has to earn a living somehow. That's how I do it. And I'm good at it. Helluva lot better stealing things than I ever was at being a prince. At least it's something I enjoy."

Mom could've broken down crying again. She could have cited my 'moral obligations', or told me I was a profound disappointment, or threatened to have me arrested. By whom? I dunno. Imperium officials, maybe, or, hell, Dragomir. I guess he's kinda in charge of security on this tub. What she ultimately chose to say, though, cut me to my very soul.

"It's so nice to see you taking after your father." Her tone was light, conversational, and biting. "He was deluded, too. Perhaps ethical bankruptcy grows along with facial hair in our family."

That was the hardest slap of all. I haven't spoken to her since.

I want off this thing. Right now. Why the hell does it have to be snowing so hard outside?


Logan the Thief

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