“I’m so utterly bored,” Zodiac complained thumbing through a book he had pulled off of the shelf beside him. “Is this what we’re supposed to do all day long?”
“You’re supposed to be watching the guardians. Anything new?” Mason asked.
Zodiac shook his head. “They just want me to keep an eye on Astra. They’re not too keen on how she’s behaving. But I’m sure you know all about that.”
“I do, but enlighten me anyway.”
Zodiac didn’t look up from his book but answered anyway. “She was supposed to stay far away from Lucky Palms. She was supposed to procreate with a human and hopefully breed the mage out of the Gray bloodline. But, she disappeared for two years from the guardian’s field of vision. These ten years in Moonlight Falls she has shown no boldness, so they didn’t see her as a threat.”
Mason smirked. “But now with her little rendezvous with the orange elf, their plans have another hole in them. Oh, I cannot wait until Audric finds out about this. It’s going to be hilarious. I even left him a little note to check up on her.”
Zodiac rolled his eyes. “I knew you’d be thrilled about that.”
“How long did he think he could keep the woman at arm’s length before she rebelled? If anything, Astra held on for a really long time. And Dionysus? In love with her for ten years? It was so utterly perfect. I just-”
“I don’t mean to interrupt whatever you guys are doing, but have you seen Audric? I’m due for our monthly meeting. I’ve got some news on how things have been in Moonlight Falls,” Zayne said.
“He’s probably in his quarters watching his beloved sleeping with another man. The best part is the fact that I had nothing to do with it. Like, at all.”
“I really am not in the mood for any of this.” Zayne rand his hand through his hair. “Wait…you don’t mean Astra do you?”
“Of course that’s who I mean,” Mason said. “She was hooking up with her knight in shining armor, none other than Dionysus Blaze.”
“As you can see, Mason is thrilled about that,” Zodiac said, eyes still on the pages of his book. “I, on the other hand, am not a fan of it. It makes more work for me.”
“Hmm, and why’s that?” Mason inquired. “What exactly do they want you to do to Astra?”
“I was given a few options. The easiest and most secure would be to kill her, but I don’t think Audric would like that too much. The other was to ensure that she has no children. That would have been fine if she had kept her sights on Audric. But if she continues to see Mr.Blaze I’ll have to go on the ground and have a word with her myself.”
“Woah woah woah,” Zayne said. “Wait a damn minute. Let me wrap my head around this. Shy little Astra had sex with Dionysus, the guy who has been missing for like a decade and you guys want to regulate her ability to have children? You can’t actually do that. You work for Audric right?”
“Audric would probably feel the same way about it. Dionysus is his brother.” Mason was now standing in front of Zayne. “How would you feel if your precious pink haired girlfriend had sex with your brother? And, not only that, she’s having his baby?”
“First of all,” Zayne began. “I thought it was clear that I never want you to speak about Millie. You may be watching over the Grays, but she is of no consequence to you. Millie is off limits. Second of all, Astra is family now. You or your little green friend here will not touch her. Let her live the life that she wants. If she wants Dionysus then thats her choice.”
Mason was smiling, but Zayne could see that his words had irked the man. “If I were you, Zayne, I’d know my place around here. Just because Audric brought you to life doesn’t mean anything. You’re a nonessential part of this plan. He just brought you here himself so I couldn’t use you as leverage over Jeffrey. And, if you think you’re family, you’re sadly mistaken. You don’t know anything about that family. MY family. So kindly think before you overstep your boundaries.”
Zayne glared at the man. Who the hell did he think he was? “Your family? Who even gave you the right to say that? You watch them for a few years and you think you know whats est for them?”
“I don’t care what happens to them,” Mason said frankly. “But they are my family. More-so than they are yours. They are descendants of my brother’s lineage. I guess you could call me their great uncle.” He smirked. “Well, except for one. My son. You know all about losing a son, don’t you? He was taken away from me.” Mason took a step back and waited for Zayne’s reply.
For all of Mason’s faults, and there were a lot of them, he could understand having to give up one’s son. When Zayne had died in his first life, his son was left to fend for himself. Everyday he thought about seeing him again. “I didn’t know you had a history with the Grays that ran that deep.”
“Oh yes.” Mason was smiling cheerfully as if the two hadn’t been arguing before at all. “I was devastated when my son was raised by another man. He called him dad…and that bastard never even bothered to tell him that he wasn’t his biological father, and why would he? But, I was content watching him grow up from afar. He had his whole life ahead of him…a beautiful girl he could one day call his wife…things didn’t turn out alright in his favor. Those Guardians killed the love of his life and made him suffer. Now, he’s off living a life of false hopes and dreams in another dimension. YOUR dimension.”
Mason didn’t have to say who it was, Zayne could see the resemblance in his face now that he looked closely. “Caleb Gray is your son?”
“Yes, my son. So excuse me if I’m bitter when it comes to you and that slimy dimension of yours!” Mason took a deep breath to calm himself down. “He should have lived a life here with Star. I…well, I could live with him never knowing me, because I got to know him as I watched him age. But, knowing he’s alive in another dimension and timeline and not being able to actually see what he’s up to…or, I guess was up to, is torture. I just…when you saw him last, was he alright? Happy? Really happy? Because Star made him light up, I don’t know how another person could ever do that.”
Zayne couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Did Mason have a heart? Being a cop, he was pretty good at reading people. He didn’t feel like Mason was pulling his leg. The man seriously missed his son. Of course, it didn’t excuse his shitty behavior but then again, he really didn’t know anything about the man and his family, or what he went through. How far back was Caleb’s death? How long had Mason been alive watching his family age and progress while he stayed the same? It did sound torturous. “Jeff was closer to Caleb than I was but I could tell you that he was happy with Drew. He loved her and would give anything to be with her. He has a wonderful family with kids…”
“Kids?” Mason smirked inwardly, knowing his sob story had captured Zayne’s attention. Had Jeff not said any of the specifics to him about why Mason brought him here to begin with? To take what the guardians wanted. Charlotte, and Jeff acted all on his own. It was almost too perfect. He didn’t have to do anything but unleash the man into the world with a false threat. Mason didn’t care too much about Caleb’s other life. One day, there’d be an opportunity for him, Caleb and Athena to live a normal life as it was intended. In Oasis Landing. With his parents. If he had to wait for the world to reset to get his family back, then so be it. Causing trouble was easy. “I wish…I wish I could see him. There were so many things I wish I could have said to him. I play the moment over and over in my head, what it would be like to meet my son as an adult. Face to face as his father and not some enemy that his mother painted me out to be.”
Zayne knew he should have stopped speaking but he couldn’t…he felt Mason’s pain. he wanted to see his son Charlie again, just to see how his life had turned out. Zayne had died too early, he wanted to spend more time with his son. “I’m so sorry.”
“Am I being too forward by suggesting this, Zayne?” Mason asked. “I find it highly possible to bring Caleb back here. He would have already passed away in the other dimension, so he wouldn’t be leaving anyone behind.”
“Funny you say that,” Zayne said, watching the man more closely now. There was the catch. “When I first came here, ten years ago, Jeff thought it was a good idea to bring Caleb here to help. I told Audric and who knew that bringing someone who is dead in this world, back to life will further destroy the world?”
“It is quite funny actually.” Mason was grinning widely. Zayne was smarter than he looked. “Because, you and Jeff existed in this dimension. Maybe not the same versions, but there are two people named Jeffrey Bennett and Zayne Thompson buried six feet underground.Yet, it’s perfectly safe for you and Jeff to waltz around and live almost normal lives. Who knows? Maybe bringing Caleb here will realign some broken timelines where he has been removed.”
“Discuss that with Audric. I know better than to make any deals with you,” Zayne said.
“I need your help, and I can make it worth your while. Say, your son? I’m sure Millie would love to meet him. He’d be quite a joy to have here.”
“Damn it Mason. I don’t want Charlie in a world like this. Look at Moonlight Falls. If you spent as much energy in saving the dimension then maybe, just maybe, those freaking evil vampires would be gone. I’ll tel you what I told Jeff. It’s a stupid plan that will end up getting us killed. No thank you.” With that, Zayne stalked off to find Audric.
Audric could feel the bile rising in his throat. He was apalled with what he saw on the magic mirror. “Mirror, is this some kind of joke that Mason is playing?”
“No, sir,” It replied. “This is from only a few days ago.”
“Tell me, did she willingly sleep with Dionysus or did he persuade her?” Audric asked.
“She persuaded him, sir.”
“What?” Audric couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “After we made a promise? It had to be Dionysus?”
“She looks pretty satisfied, sir. See the smile on er face?”
“Enough!” Audric boomed at the mirror. “Enough. I don’t want to see anymore. I am livid.” He wanted t blame her, but he couldn’t. He was more out of touch with the mrtal world than he had originally thought. Astra had warmed his heart, but apparently Dionysus knew more about the emotions of another person. All Audric could do was read thoughts. He had tried so desperately to be there for Astra. Why couldn’t she understand that he was saving the world so that her and her family could live for many more generations? He wanted to let her go in that moment. Not because he was angry. It wouldn’t be fair to project his heartbreak onto her when she was feeling her own. He just wished that she could understand. He knew asking her to be with him when she didn’t know what she was getting into was a lot…he just wanted to be happy for once. She had made him happy. He was working extra hard because of her.
He didn’t know how to maintain a relationship. He hadn’t been intimate with a person since…No. It was no use dwelling in the past. He should have known that trying to save a dimension and saving himself was impossible. This was his own undoing. He couldn’t blame Astra for wanting something more. But, she wouldn’t find it with Dionysus. He wasn’t who he said he was, and Alistair didn’t heed his warning when he told him about the elf. He ran a hand through his lilac hair and turned away from the mirror. There was someone he had to see before he would call on Astra to talk to her.