Simple Choices: Part 7

Well, at least the call was over. It wasn’t as if I hated Sean at this point, but I didn’t love unpredictability and if Sean had been turned by the Dominators, it would definitely be a surprise.

On the other hand, if they turned him and asked about me, they’d know our history. If they knew that, they’d know that he’s not someone I’d trust without question, making him a bad choice for betrayal. Still, if they could get him and couldn’t get anyone closer, they’d use him.

The screen went blank and Haley and I looked at each other.

I said, “I still don’t know what to make of him.”

Haley shook her head, “I don’t either.”

From further down the table, and sitting next to Marcus which was an interesting development, Sydney looked over at us. Blond and light skinned like her brother, her mouth twisted, “I know, but at least he’s on your side now.”

“That’s better,” Haley met Sydney’s eyes. “It’s better than it used to be. Travis used to hate him. I think he moved up to disliking him. I’m still not sure what I feel.”

Haley swallowed and became quiet.

“I know,” Sydney glanced across the room toward the medical equipment and Haley’s parents. “I still feel bad about how my dad got the police involved after everything ended. ”

Camille nodded, her resemblance to her half-sister obvious as they sat next to each other despite her black hair and darker skin, “I didn’t hear anything about that until we were in Justice Fist. I barely believed it.”

My dad cleared his throat and I turned around to find him standing next to the table with not only my mom, but also Haley’s dad. Her mom was still talking to one of the two Drs. D’Onofrio, possibly about what to do with Travis’ body. If she was lucky, maybe they’d moved on to other things.

Dad looked over the table. We were all in street clothes by then, so that might have made it a little less weird—just a group of 20 somethings sitting in a giant underground bunker with a dog the size of a horse.

“It’s not my place to butt in, but was that the same Sean that you fought in high school?”

“Ben,” Mom began in a low voice.

I replied, “Yes,” and wondered where this was about to go.

“His father threatened me with a lawsuit after the fight. I wanted to punch the man myself, but never mind. You know that I was Adam’s therapist. I don’t think I ever told you, but it sounds like he did.”

I nodded, “He mentioned it.”

Dad took a breath, “I can’t tell you what I talked about with him, but if you know his history, you can guess and I’m sure some of your guesses will be good.

“I know what he went through because the government supported and encouraged him to become involved in fighting organized crime. I don’t want that for you. I want to tell you not to become involved with him at all, but I also know that this is your decision. It’s not mine. I don’t know all the problems you face.”

Mom squeezed Dad’s hand, but then added, “Do what you have to do to survive.”

Dad looked at her as if he wanted to add something, but then nodded. Maybe he would have said more, but then Haley’s dad started talking to me, “You fought Sean? When was this?”

In a low voice, Haley said, “Dad…”

“Years ago,” I said. “My senior year of high school. Haley’s junior year.”

“Nick won,” Cassie said, “and not just against Sean. Jody and Dayton were there too.”

Vaughn grinned, “This was before they got powers.”

Mr. McAllister said, “Good. I never liked that guy. Dayton wasn’t bad, but Jody was a dick. What’s wrong with that kid?”

Then, looking over at Sydney, he added, “I never had a problem with you, though. You’re a good kid and a good friend.”

A little louder then, Haley said, “Dad, we’re in the middle of something.”

Mr. McAllister nodded and drew a breath. Normally, he reminded me of Travis even if he was almost a foot shorter. Now, though, he seemed much smaller, “I know. You’re trying to stay alive. Like Dr. Klein said, it’s not my place to step in and tell you what to do, but I’m going to give you some advice. Don’t trust Sean and don’t trust the shadowy guy either. You may have to work with them, right now, but expect betrayal. Watch them. Stay alive.”

Looking up at her father, Haley said, “We’re going to be careful. We want to stay alive just as much as you want us to.”

He turned to me, “Take care of her.”

Haley frowned, but I said, “I will,” knowing what was behind his words.

Her father smiled and backed away from the table, turning to walk back to his wife.

As his feet hit the concrete floor, my Dad said, “Please take care of each other, all of you.”

Mom touched my shoulder and said, “Good luck,” and then she walked away with my dad, following Mr. McAllister.

A more negative part of me noted that one of the Block’s good points was that our parents didn’t know enough either to worry or feel the need to give advice.

Another part of my brain was concentrating more on Amy’s voice as she said, “He’s here.”

As she said it, Adam stepped out of the shadows near the corner of the room.

7 thoughts on “Simple Choices: Part 7”

  1. Might just be me, but this section feels weird. It doesn’t feel like any of them are acting like their friend is dead in the next room. Like Travis’ dad is there, acting pretty normal and like…. that just feels off to me, idk

    1. It’s worth looking at. I’m trying to thread a needle between how people who have to get things done really do kind of ignore it for a little while and then feel it fully later and how there can be a crushing awareness of a death anyway.

      I’ll see what I can do when I’m a little further away from writing this section.

      EDIT: Actually, I made a couple small edits that might help just now.

  2. And here’s another update written at the kitchen table instead of the basement where I used to write. Why? Because this way I might be around to respond in case the puppy we got attempts to take a dump on the floor.

    Top Web Fiction

    1. They were barely mentioned a few updates back. Haley’s got two cousins who are doctors that have helped with medical issues a few times over the past 14 years.

      Not remembering them is understandable.

  3. Welp, looks like I’m all caught up.

    The way everyone compartmentalized after Travis’ death fit well enough, I think, considering the threat hanging over their heads. The families are dealing with the reality of the situation and with the block coming off, them being out of it is understandable too.

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