January 29, 2013 by Lyn
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Efrosin’s parents called every weekend.
Pania had, for the first few months, left the room if she could – or put her headphones on if she couldn’t leave – during these phone calls. They were private. Anyway, her mother didn’t call.
Today, Efrosin had other plans. “Stay.” He threw it off like a request instead of the order it was.
“Yes, sir,” she grumbled, and sat down, pulling her headphones on.
“No… well, all right.” His tail was lashing and his ears were going sideways. What was up with him?
She kept the music turned up and worked on her math homework while he talked. His tail was still lashing. What was going on? She found herself stealing peek after peek.
He was looking back at her too, argh, that was maddening. Was this because of what his dad had said about his mother?
Your mother would like grandchildren, Eff.
Pania curled up around her stomach. It was getting harder to do that, round as she was getting. Damnit. Gods that don’t exist damn it to an imaginary hell, Eff.
He was good, she knew. Good for having a Keeper, pretty good – usually – just as a boyfriend, good as a friend, even. But every so often he did something that was just straight out Owning Everything About Her, and then she was stuck with the consequences.
And, in the case of the grandchild his mother wanted – the kid that Regine wanted – she was going to be stuck with the consequences for the rest of her goddamned life.
“Pan. Pan. Pan!” Eff had to shout to get her attention.
“The fuck, Eff?” She pulled her headphones off. “What’s on fire?”
“Dad wants to talk to you.” He held the phone out to her.
“About grandkids?” She kept her hands in her lap. No, thank you.
“Just talk to him, Pan.”
“Damnit, Eff.” She took the phone from him. “Hi, sir.”
“Is he being a pain in the ass again?” He sounded like he was amused by it.
“He’s right here, sir.”
“And he knows he can be a ridiculous prat.”
“Ha.” She laughed weakly. “Worried I won’t want to talk to him when this Keeping shit is over?”
“I am, a little. You’re a lovely young lady, Pania, with quite a bit of spark.”
“Thanks. I think.” She glanced over at Efrosin. Her Keeper was doing a passable job of pretending not to pay attention, but his tail and ears were giving him away. “You know it’s hard to think about later when I’m dealing with now, right?”
“Yes. And I’m not asking you to, so much as I’m asking you to help Eff not be a moron.”
“I know he’s your son, sir, but that might be a bit much to ask.”
Mr. MacCon laughed. “It may be, yes. I acknowledge that. But, Pania, he’s trainable.”
“I’m the one wearing the collar, not him.”
“And maybe that ought to change. But are you telling me you don’t know how to manipulate someone in charge of you?”
“I…” She stared at the phone for a minute. “Sir?”
He was laughing. “I apologize. That wasn’t very nice of me. How about this: You tell me how he’s being a moron, and I will tell him how not to be a jerk anymore. You might not realize this, Pania, but he’s as worried about you liking him in the future as I am.”
“He’s what now?” She glanced back over at him. He, she had to admit, looked a little bit worried, maybe. “I figured this was just a thing. Like Reese.”
“It very likely started out that way, and I apologize on his behalf. But I’m certain it’s not, now.”
“So is this really about your wife wanting grandkids she gets to talk to?”
“In part, yes, of course. But I like my son, Pania, and I would like him to not ruin his life for himself.”
“Hunh.” She glanced back over at her Keeper. “Eff, go play in the living room or something. Your dad and I have got some talking to do.”
This story was written in response to Rix’s donation and request for more Pania
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