He’d enjoyed flirting with danger. Hanson had wanted to make it a life sentence.
And here Gregor was: Alone in a big bed after a night of stress and pleasure. The relief itself made him bone weary.
He had no plans to get out of bed. Not until he was good and ready.
The world can deal with itself, he thought. Today is for me alone.
Gregor thought of the things that made him peaceful or happy. He pushed away anything dreary or dark.
And with the relief of having found a comfortable position for his achy body, he fell back asleep. Someone would surely let him know if he was needed.
* * *
Dylan steepled his fingers under his chin and fought off a frown. “How did this happen?”
Second Prime Donella Miri shrugged, her armor creaking. “He was a very foolish boy. I don’t think he’ll ever be so young again.”
“What could he have been thinking?” Dylan wondered.
“Young, dumb, and far too trusting of someone outside the Family. The friend–Tiedo Rasmussen–was dragged out of the Longmarch River early this morning. He must have been killed right after the Acolytes got hold of him. The Figworth boy betrayed everything for nothing.”
Dylan sighed. “Micah Figworth is looking at some dark days ahead. There’s going to be an Inquisition. There has to be.”
Miri’s gaze dipped in momentary sympathy for the teenager.
There was no question that he’d betrayed the Duadenora Family. Even if he might not have realized the level of his betrayal when he gave confidential information, he’d still committed the act.
Lives had been lost. A rare Third had been risked along with the precious new life within.
Micah Figworth had threatened the future of the Duadenora Family. First for the life of an outsider, then for his own life, and never once did he seek out help.
“Kid’s screwed,” Miri observed.
“He most certainly is.” Dylan pushed away from the desk and stood up. “Thank you for handling this incident for me. I’ll find someone kind to break the news to Dr. Figworth that his son is facing serious legal troubles.”
“Aiding and abetting an S-class criminal and his terrorist organization isn’t the level of trouble you expect your child to get into.” Miri gathered her ePad and hardcover notebook into her shoulder bag and stood. She slung her pulse rifle across her other shoulder. “I feel sorry for the doctor. He’s a good person.”
“Yeah,” Dylan said quietly. He shook himself after a moment. “You should get back to your vacation. I’m sorry I interrupted.”
“Nah, it’s fine.” She waved a hand. “I know you’re good for the reciprocity. Plus we weren’t doing anything anyway. Noah wasn’t able to get the time off.”
“Still, thanks for the help. I’ll see you in two weeks,” he said.
“Unless you need me sooner.” She gave a goodbye nod and left the office, the door clicking shut behind her.
Dylan crossed to the window overlooking the lush green and flowered herb garden. It was an inviting view; paradise bathed in the morning light. The glass blocked the jarring mixture of scents where pleasant met astringent to become near overpowering.
This office had been his father’s once. He remembered playing on the thick rug that used to be where the second couch was now. There’d been a low decorative wall that he’d removed years ago. Curled up on the rug, he would be invisible to his father’s guests and could listen quietly to the business of the Family being conducted around him. He would fall asleep to the sound of his father’s voice, comforted and safe, his last view of the drawings he’d taped to the wall near his head.
Renalto Park had been a wonderful father. Dylan had loved him dearly and still ached with the memory of him. He had died much too young. Murdered at 32 years old.
I’m older than my father will ever be, he thought. And it was an exquisite sadness that bloomed in his chest and made his throat feel tight.
With every passing year he drew further away from the memory of his father. Someday he might forget him altogether, or remember him as someone he’d never been.
Dylan had never gotten to know his father as one adult to another. He only had the romanticized image of a man whose murder had become an international spectactle. He had his childhood memories and the loving reminiscences of his grandfather. But that was it.
Renalto Park was cast in the gold of memory. He would never grow older or be anything else.
Dylan clasped his hands behind his back. This was the same place where his father had once stood. The same sort of view. It made him wonder what his own child would think of him.
Of the secrets he protected the people from.
Of the acts he’d committed in the name of Law and Order.
Of the kind of father he would be.