Alistair stretched his arms over his head. How did he get roped into babysitting all these kids? Oh, that’s right. He laughed bitterly. His family was a bit of a mess at the moment. “I don’t want to go, grandpa,” Graciela said, tugging on his sleeve. “Please don’t make me.” Broken from his thoughts, he looked down at her.
“Huh?” He smiled. “It’s just a play date. You don’t want to meet the neighborhood kids?”
“I know Leon,” She stated calmly. “How many more do I need to know?”
“Leon will be there,” Alistair said. “With his friend Braylen.”
“Gross!” Pax exclaimed. “Now, I don’t want to go.”
“New friends,” Nerissa answered. “I say let’s go!”
“What do you think, Camilla?” Alistair asked. “Do you want to go?”
“Sure, I guess,” Camilla said. “I don’t care much either way.”
“I say no,” Graciela repeated. “Please.”
“Leon will be there,” Pax said with a smile. “I think it will be fun. We can talk to people and play video games.”
“Okay,” She whispered. “But only because Rissa really wants to go.”
Nerissa nodded. “Yay, Gracie! I can’t wait. It’s going to be so much fun.”
“I’m driving, so come on guys. Get your stuff.” Alistair ruffled Pax’s hair before leaving the room.
Leon frowned. “I don’t get it. Why are you guys being this way?”
“New faces mean trouble,” Shea said.
“Yeah,” Raina, agreed. “My mom said that their mom is a weak supernatural and has no business here.”
“We don’t know them,” Braylen said calmly. “My dad met their grandpa and he likes him.”
“That doesn’t matter,” Shea said. “They’re a family of mixed supernaturals. That’s weird.”
“My family is mixed too,” Leon said. “That doesn’t make me weird.”
“It does,” Raina said. She poked the dough with her left finger. “But we like your weird.”
Leon placed the rolling pin down and began to walk away. “Leon,” Braylen called after him. “You’re not weird.”
“I don’t care if you think I’m weird, but the Grays aren’t. I like them a lot. If you guys aren’t going to be nice to them, I don’t want to be here,” Leon stated, clenching his fists.
“Agreed.” All eyes landed on the new face, Callen. “I invited them over, and you are all going to be nice to the Grays. If you don’t like that plan, then please let me know so I can call your parents to pick you up.”
The girls grumbled but Braylen nodded. “I hope they like these cookies. Its taking me a while to make them.”
“Mr. Callen, sir?” Leon asked.
“Yes Leon?” He kneeled down by the boy’s side. “What is it?”
“My friend Gracie doesn’t really want to come over because I think that she’s afraid, but I convinced her to come. Do you think you can keep an eye on everything? Because I want her to feel safe. She doesn’t like the darkness.”
“Of course!” Callen answered with a big smile. “Absolutely. The lights will all be on and I will vanquish any monsters, like I always do.” He winked, pointing to his white wings. “I ooze brightness, don’t I?”
“Dad…” Braylen complained. “Just stop.”
Callen put his hands up in front of him. “Ok, ok. Fine.”
Alistair knocked on the door, conscious of the children gathered behind him. “This is a nice house,” Pax said. “It’s huge.”
“I know…” Alistair agreed. This house was much bigger than what he expected. Much much bigger. With Callen’s many tattoos, piercings and general relaxed attitude, he was expecting a humble abode, not this modern beauty.
“He’s loaded,” Camilla commented. “Wow.”
The door opened, revealing a disheveled Callen. “Hey guys. Good to see you, Alistair. Nice to meet you kids.” He leaned against the door frame. “Let me guess, you’re pax, I can tell by the pink hair.”
Pax gave him a thumbs up. “Totally! Now, guess the others.”
“Graciela is the beauty with the skull shirt.” She looked away, embarrassed. “Purple hair is Camilla, wings is Nerissa. Did I get it right?” Alistair took in Callen’s bright smile and couldn’t help but reciprocating.
“That was an easy one,” Camilla commented. “I’m not impressed.”
“Tough crowd, huh?” Callen laughed. “Okay, okay. Come in.”
“Hiya!” Leon ran towards Graciela and threw his arms around her. “Gracie! I thought you were going to stay home!” She didn’t say anything, only shrugged. “These are my friends. Braylen, Shea, and Raina.”
“Hi,” Shea said, with a smile. Raina waved.
Braylen hopped down from the step stool he stood on, cookies in hand. “Here, taste them. They’re good.”
“Let them introduce themselves first, kid,” Callen said. “Meet Pax, Camilla, Nerissa, Gracie and Alistair.”
“I’m here for video games,” Pax said bluntly. “Where are they?”
“Pax,” Camilla said, slapping him on the arm.
“What?” He groaned. “I totally want to play some!”
And so with that, the kids headed downstairs to play video games and eat cookies. That left Callen and Alistair.
Callen walked leisurely through the living room, motioning for Alistair to join him. “Don’t be shy. Make yourself at home.”
“I wouldn’t know how,” He breathed. “It’s so big. Even back in Moonlight Falls my house wasn’t this spacious and I had a lot of people in my house.”
“Well, it wasn’t always just me and Braylen,” Callen said. “There used to be more of us, but things happen. I kind of like it this way. It’s only lonely when Bray’s at his mom’s.”
“I know that feeling all too well,” Alistair said. He sat on the couch beside Callen. “You wish you could have them by your side all the time.”
“I feel like I’m missing out on so much of his life. I wasn’t there for his first words. I’m still finding out what his favorite television shows and video games are.” Callen ran a hand through his hair. “Does it get easier?”
“Never,” Alistair said. “But that could also be because I’m a Gray.”
“I heard you guys are quite the magnificent group.” Callen was now smirking. “We didn’t think Moonlight Falls was even a real thing.”
“My daughters do some pretty extraordinary things. I’m not so sure about me,” Alistair said. “I wish I was a better father. I should have been there for them through everything. My daughters had to find out things on their own. I let them stay with a man who wanted nothing but to destroy us from the inside.” He clutched his pants in an attempt to quell his anger. “Forget it. I don’t mean to bother you with my life story.”
“Seems like we both got the bad end of the stick, huh?” Callen kicked his feet up on the glass coffee table. “You know Braylen’s mom would bitch at me for doing this and it isn’t even her house. That rotten woman. I don’t normally talk about people, but she grinds my gears. I’m sorry.”
“It’s hard not to talk about someone who plays a big role in your life. The parent of your child…” Alistair looked down. “You don’t just let someone like that go. You can’t, even if you want to.”
“If it wasn’t for Braylen, I would have ditched her a long time ago. We’re not together or anything, but I wouldn’t even be dealing with her. I hate her guts.”
“My kids told me to stop thinking about a guy who hurt me. I had another man after that who was pretty great. I blew that because I was so transfixed on this one guy who does nothing but hurt me. Got any advice?” Alistair asked.
“Well, you have feelings for him, right? You can’t stop thinking about him.”
“Yeah, I do.” Alistair sighed. “I don’t want to but I do.”
“That’s a whole other ball park. It’s hard to stay away from someone who you can’t stop thinking about, even if you know that they’ve hurt you. I’ve never been lucky enough to meet someone I love so much. I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse.”
“Not everyone is as shitty as my husband.”
Alistair noticed Callen shift. “Husband? I mean, I knew it was complicated but I didn’t think…nevermind.”
“It’s bad,” Alistair said. “It gets worse, but you wouldn’t believe me if I told you half of the things I’ve been through. I’ve been alive a lot longer than you have. That’s another thing. The man I was last with was so much younger than me.”
“So you had a side guy?” Callen asked. “You’re married but you saw another man?”
Alistair’s eyes widened. “Oh no! I’m not like that. Declan left my family. We’re not officially divorced but I haven’t seen him for more than a few minutes in well over a decade. I dated Burke to fill the void, but it wasn’t the same. Why am I telling you all this?” Alistair rubbed his temple. “Everyone in this town is going to think I’m crazy.”
“I’m not one to judge. Half of this town hates me. But uhm, you can ask them about that.” His arms flew behind his head. “Want to watch some television?”
“Why would people hate you?” Alistair asked, ignoring his second question.
“I shouldn’t have said that, but I figured you’d find out from the others eventually. I guess it’s too much to ask to have a friend in this town who doesn’t care about my past?”
“I just told you a huge part of my life,” Alistair said. “I told you about my past.”
“I didn’t ask you to,” Callen said sharply. “You could have deflected anything you didn’t feel comfortable answering.”
Alistair stood up. “I get it. You’ll excuse me for not wanting to get wrapped up in this again. I don’t like secrets. I guess it doesn’t matter because we’re not really friends right?”
“No, I guess we’re not,” Callen said, turning his attention back to the television. “You’re welcome to supervise the kids if you think I’m going to murder them or something.”
“You son of a bitch,” Alistair said coldly. “I’ve been through more than you can imagine. I just want to protect my family.”
“You don’t think I want to protect mine too? Braylen is all I have. The minute I tell you more than you need to know, the minute you take your kids and leave. I don’t know if you noticed, but Leon seems to be attached to your granddaughter and all Braylen needs is to lose his best friend because the new girl’s grandfather doesn’t like me.”
“You assume that I’m going to judge you. If anyone deserves to be judged, it’s me. I’ve made some bad mistakes. I’m the new guy here. But I’ve been burned too many times to not ask questions. I have people after me and my family. People that want us gone, so I’m sorry.”
There were tiny footsteps and then Alistair felt small hands around his legs. “Grandpa!”
“Pax?” He asked, losing all evidence of anger. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s Gracie!” Pax said. “You have to help!”
[Nerissa, Raina and Shea were made by Dandylion240. Camilla was made by Phyrcracker93]