Absent endeavors

Happy Hump Day!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week. I’m still struggling with my writer’s block and lack of discipline, but maybe things will start to look up soon.

So, this post comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class prompt. For today, I will be using the “Absent endeavors” prompt as my inspiration. I’m probably really reaching here with this one, but oh well.

Enjoy!

~~~

Is it bad that caring for my siblings has become something I can do on auto-pilot? We’ve fallen into a routine – a word that really feels at odds with what I would think of as a demon’s day to day activities.

I don’t even realize when I began to feed Mikey, just that he’s now in my arms and I’m holding his bottle. On the other side of the room, Marcus struggles to pay attention while Eva relates a story she’s made up. How long have we been doing this? A part of me starts to panic. Time has a way of getting past me without my noticing it. I blinked and my mother went from being pregnant to taking Eva to school. Is it possible that all that time passed me by again?

“Marcus? Can you take him for a second, I need to check something.” When was the last time I checked on my mother? Lucifer assigned someone else to look over her and her husband, leaving us to dedicate as much of our time as we could to my siblings. The boss wouldn’t care if my mother and her husband died of old age – he probably wouldn’t bother telling me if they did. How could I let myself relax like that?

“Are you okay?” He hardly ever holds Mikey, and he knows I wouldn’t ask him to under normal circumstances. Still, he takes the baby and the bottle easily, hardly even disturbing Mikey.

“I’ll let you know.” Without saying anything else, I make a beeline to the front door. In moments I’m outside Lucifer’s office.

After knocking, I do my best to be patient. For a moment I think he won’t answer, or that he isn’t even there, but eventually the door creaks open and his voice comes through.

“Come in.” He sounds bored as he sifts through mountains of papers on his desk. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” Lucifer looks up from his work and props his chin on his fist.

“Sir.” I bow, struggling to word my question properly. “I wanted to ask how much longer we’ll be watching after my siblings. Has my mother recovered enough that we should return them? Has my grandmother made any new moves?”

He looks at me without giving any of his thoughts away. It’s frustrating, but I hide my annoyance behind a mask of obedience and expectation. After another moment, he finally speaks. “Your mother has been out of the hospital for quite some time.”

Lucifer waves a hand and conjures that familiar mirror. In it, my mother seems fine. There’s no trace of injury or recovery. How long have they been out?

“How…how long?”

“A year or so.”

“And her husband?”

“He died in the hospital.” I try not to show my emotions, but it proves more difficult than I anticipated. Biting my lip to keep from reacting, I look away, hoping to hide the gesture from him.

“If…if she’s been out of the hospital this long, why haven’t we been ordered to return the children?”

“Your mother is in a vulnerable state, and we’re hoping to use that to lure dear old grandma out. She’s been keeping a low profile recently, but we know she’s planning something. With your mother desperate to recover her children – all three of them, I might add – it’s only a matter of time before she comes out to take advantage of that.” My stomach turns, but I can’t let him see that.

“I see.” The words taste like bile. “Thank you.” I bow again, struggling to maintain my composure.

“Anything for my favorite demon.” He smiles, but there’s no humor there, no warmth in the claim that I’m his favorite. With the dismissal, I leave the room.

By the time I return to the house, Marcus has put both Mikey and Eva to bed.

“I was about to go looking for you.” He hurries from his desk to me. Whatever strength I’d rallied to keep me sane in Lucifer’s office leaves me in that moment, and I sag into Marcus’ arms. “What happened? Videl…”

“Their dad died. My mother was released from the hospital a year ago.” I choke the words out. “But…but we have to keep the kids in order to lure my grandmother out into exploiting my mother again.”

Marcus doesn’t react, and that only sinks the pit in my stomach deeper. I pull away, looking up at him.

“But you knew that, didn’t you?” I can’t help the betrayal that laces my words, or the way I snatch myself from him completely.

“Videl…”

“No, don’t Videl me – you knew. You knew this whole time!”

“I was under orders.”

“You’ve bent the rules before.” My head spins, and I start to put the pieces together. We never discuss our separate assignments. How many times had he gone out to see her? To check on my mother and her husband? He attempts to close the distance, to reach out. “Don’t.”

“I wasn’t allowed to tell you. You need to understand.” His eyes tell a story of remorse, and he looks lost and hurt. Still, I can’t bring myself to feel sympathy.

“You could have found a way.” Wasn’t he the one that got me around the rule of interacting with my mother?

“I’m sorry.”

“That’s not going to fix anything.” How am I supposed to face those kids knowing their father is dead? How will I face them knowing they could have gone home a year ago? “Has Lucifer said anything else? Does he even have a plan to deal with my grandmother once she approaches my mother again?”

“I don’t know.” Can I trust what he’s telling me? I don’t voice this question, but I move to turn away from him.

Marcus stops me by my wrist, pleading with his eyes for me to forgive him. A part of me wants to, but that isn’t the part that wins.

“Good night, Marcus.”

~~~

Well this took a turn I wasn’t expecting. I feel like I’m digging a hole for myself and whatever the conclusion to all this is, is won’t be as exciting as a better writer could make it. Guess I’ll just let the plot bunnies roam free. Anyway, hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to leave feedback 🙂

Friendly reminder: Trying to finish off this round of #TuesFlashFicTrain! Check out the prompt and hop on board!

As always, think happy thoughts!

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