Cadoc was laying in a beautiful field of flowers when he felt someone grab his shirt and lift him into the air “what the” he began to say angrily but then he saw who had him, he was looking into Mered’s eyes, the father of the woman he was crazy over. Even if he wasn’t he was an intimidating demon ‘Do you have feelings for Tahairah or not you little punk”
“I’m done having her wonder if you like her or not. You wont keep her guessing like this, she has better things to do with her time and has men far more worthy of her she could be talking to. Do you like her or not”
“I…I do, very much”
“then stop being a damn pansy and tell her”
“get some of these flowers for her too”
“yes sir” Mered dropped him the crouched down, his eyes menacing “I will not hesitate to kill you if you ever make her cry, you understand me”
“ye…yes sir” He knew Mered meant it, he could see it in his eyes. Cadoc laid there until Mered was gone then gathered up some flowers before going home to get ready to go see her. When Mered returned home Tahairah asked “where did you go”
“to talk to that boy you care so much for”
“You were nice to him right? I asked you to leave him alone”
“I was nice” she gave him a look and he said “you are my daughter and I couldn’t see you wonder anymore. I needed to get to the bottom of his feelings so you could be happy or move on to someone better”
“he’s the best”
“you should meet his family, they are all really nice”
“he is the son of a good friend of mine, I can smell it on him”
“then why haven’t you gone to see Nigel?”
“he ended our friendship awhile back, I’m not sure if he wants to see me”
“but that was when you were bad right?”
“you know you’re good now” he shrugged “well I wont assume and he has a family which I now know will drive a man to be defensive. You like this boy and I wont rock any boats”
“I want you to meet them, especially now that I know you used to be Nigels friend”
“Whoa, where’s the fire?” Nigel asked when Cadoc came rushing up to the front of the house. He and Vina had been laying out in the sun, just lazing the day away since it was so nice.
“I just need to get cleaned up to go see Tahairah.”
“You look panicked.” Vina said.
“Oh, well her dad came and…”
Nigel got to his feet, suddenly defensive. “Did he hurt you?”
“Did he threaten you?”
“Well, I mean it wasn’t that bad.”
Nigel started to walk away and Vina grabbed his arm. “Nigel, calm down. Cadoc’s fine and you don’t want to embarrass him.”
“Mom’s right, he didn’t hurt me or anything, he just wanted me to talk to Tahairah. It’s fine. Please don’t kill anyone.”
“You don’t understand son and I didn’t say anything until now because I don’t hold that young lady responsible nor did I want her to feel weird because of my past with her father but her father is a horrible demon, one that has no place coming around and threatening my son. I used to be his friend, back when I was no better than he probably still is. Just because he treats his daughter well doesn’t mean he isn’t still bad and I’m going to put him in his place before he does something. He’s done some pretty fucked up things”
“Nigel, for starters I thought we agreed no cussing in front of the children. Secondly, don’t go judging him before getting to know who he is now. That was lifetimes ago and people do change, they change all the time. You of all people should know that. Before you go over there raising hell our son is fine and you don’t need to over react based off who he used to be years ago. Tahairah is one of the sweetest young ladies I have ever met and that alone should tell you what kind of man he’s become. You remember the talk you had with Luca? You were pretty close to threatening yourself because dads go a little crazy over their little girls. Breath, talk to him, don’t go over there causing problems when your son is telling you it’s alright”
Nigel sighed. “Alright, you’re right, I…I’m sorry.”
Vina rubbed his back. “It’s okay, I understand. You know what it’s like to live in darkness.” She smiled at Cadoc. “Go get ready baby and we’ll all go over there together.”
“I didn’t mean to start anything.” Cadoc said.
“You didn’t.” Nigel replied. “I may have gone a little overboard. Just go on, you don’t want to keep Tahairah waiting.”
Nigel let out another sigh once Cadoc was inside and Vina turned him and slipped her arms around his neck. “It’s okay, Nigel, you’ll see. You told me about how most male demons treat their women, even their daughters and Tahairah hasn’t shown any signs of being abused.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too and I promise not to start anything.” He pressed a kiss to her lips. “It’s just after what happened with you, I don’t ever want my past to cause you or our children to suffer.”
“I think if he was going to hurt anybody he would have already done it. Cadoc and Tahairah have been hanging out awhile now. I think deep down even you know that or you would have stepped in”
“I’m sorry for not telling you”
“just keep me in the loop for now on. I wouldn’t have been weary of her because of her dad”
“I know, I guess I was just being stupid”
“we’re all entitled to be stupid every now and then. You’re an amazing, pretty much perfect mate.” When Cadoc was ready to see Tahairah they began walking over. Cadoc was nervous, even though her father had pretty much outright told him she had feelings for him it was still going to be hard to actually tell her. When she answered the door she took his breath away as she always did “Hi Cadoc, I’m so sorry if my dad scared you”
“it’s okay” she looked nervous as she asked “why are your parents here….are you guys mad…”
“No, we’re fine honey, we just thought we all should talk. Can you get your dad”
“I can try, come in and sit down. Cadoc knows his way around. You’re welcome to anything” Tahairah went upstairs and entered her dads room, she never needed to knock first. “dad, they want to see you. They don’t seem mad, they just want to talk. Please come, You said you werent seeing Nigel for me so I’m telling you I seriously want you guys to talk” Mered looked at his daughter a few moments before saying “alright, alright sweetheart…I really am sorry if this causes any trouble…I’ve never wanted you to suffer because of who I was more than you already have…I just really am worried Nigel wont want his son seeing you if he sees me”
Nigel stood as soon as Mered came down and gave him a nod. “Mered.”
“Nigel and this must be Vina.”
“My mate, yes. And yours?”
“I don’t have one.”
It was an awkward situation for both of them so Vina said, “That must have been hard, raising her on your own.”
“It was, a man like me wasn’t exactly father material, but when I looked at her little face I couldn’t help but be better.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “She’s all I have. I wasn’t trying to be harsh with your son.”
“We understand and he knows he’ll be held accountable for anything bad he might do.” Nigel replied.
“I wouldn’t actually kill him.”
“I know, I get it. I have a daughter and with my past, I wanted to protect her from everything.”
“Then they can still see each other?”
“I wouldn’t lay either of our pasts on our children. They have no say in who their fathers are. I wouldn’t dream of breaking them up.”
“good, I’ve never seen Tahairah so happy. Speaking of which you two can go out and talk. I think we can be left alone” Tahairah was blood red from her fathers comments “Okay” Cadoc was also adorably red, causing his mother to struggle not to grin at them. Cadoc took her hand gently and they walked outside, leaving their parents alone. “so then what happened to her mother?”
“I killed her mother. You know even with how bad I was I never took parents away from children but I didn’t realize she had a three year old. I took her in because even I’m not that horrible. She was so little, so many terrible things could have happened to her if I had left her on her own. I never saw a father around so he must have done the typical male demon thing” There was a long pause before he said “I really am different Nigel. Raising her changed me and I would like to be friends. I’ve missed you, I missed the good times we had without doing bad things”
Nigel nodded “with my own past I’d be kind of a bastard if I refused to give you a chance.” Nigel offered his hand and Mered shook it, feeling happier and more relived than he realized he would. He had his old friend back and his daughter would have a mate.
“I’m really sorry my father threatened you.” Tahairah said as she and Cadoc walked. “I didn’t ask him to.”
“I know and it’s fine, he’s just being a dad.”
“Those flowers are pretty.”
“Oh, yeah. They’re actually for you. Here.” He handed them over, feeling more and more embarrassed with every step.
He rubbed the back of his neck as he pulled her to a stop once they were out of sight. “So uh I was wondering if maybe you…if you want to I mean…if you would considering being my mate.” He was terrified of being rejected even after her father had said she liked him. He wondered if his own father had been this scared. “I mean I know I’m not much, you probably deserve better, but…” Tahairah moved closer and pressed a kiss to his lips that shocked him into silence. It took his brain a moment to even register what had just happened.
When she pulled back she said “never try and tell me you’re not much, you’re perfect. I’m so happy when I’m with you and you’re always so good to me. I love you Cadoc”
“I love you too” he pulled her into his arms and held her, happy and grateful to be able to pull her close for as long as he wanted. Both their hearts were racing, especially Cadocs. He had so much on his mind. He wanted to be with her all the time but neither of them had their own home. He wanted to ask his father to help him build his own home but he worried she might feel pressured to live with him because he built a home to have the ability to live with her. He decided just to ask and make it clear he didn’t want her to feel rushed or pressured in the relationship, he just wanted the option to be there since he only wanted to go as slow in this relationship as she needed. He already knew in his very soul he wanted forever and a family with Tahairah.
“Tahairah, I…well….I’m going to talk to my dad about helping me build my own home. I want my own so that we can live together whenever you decide you’re ready for that. While I want you to know that I don’t want you to feel pressured to live with me. I’m happy to wait as long as you need me to”
“You’d want to live with me already?”
‘yeah” he stuttered a little bit. She blushed again “I’d…I’d be happy to live with you Cadoc”
“Yes, of course. Let’s tell our parents.”
“You don’t think your dad would be upset?”
“I’m his little girl so he might be a bit sad, but I know he wants the best for me.” She pulled him back up to her father’s home and they were both happy to hear everyone talking. Both Nigel and Mered seemed much more at ease and were reminiscing about old times. They both left out anything terrible they had done of course, neither of them wanting to bring it up in front of Vina. It was always in the back of their minds, but they did their best not to dwell on it.
“Someone looks embarrassed.” Nigel said as soon as they came in.
“Well, the thing is…” Cadoc started.
“Did you tell her?” Mered asked.
“Daddy be nice.”
“I am, I won’t threaten anyone anymore.”
“Cadoc also asked me to live with him as soon as he has the house built.”
“Did you have to come out and just say it?” Cadoc asked, his face red. She gestured to Nigel and he cleared his throat. “Dad would you mind helping me build a home for Taharah and I? Mered, you could help too if you wish.”
“I’d insist upon it, my daughter would be staying there. I trust Nigels abilities but I will most definitely be helping” Tahairah ran over and hugged Mered “thank you” Mered held her tight “You just take care of yourself and if you ever need anything you come and let me know.” She kissed his cheek then went back over to Cadoc, reclaiming his hand “well, no time like the present to get started. I already know the perfect spot. It’ll be a little far for each of us but I’m sure you two will like having a little bit of distance between us and you” Nigel said and they left so he could show Mered where he was thinking of for them. Nigel lead them to a beautiful little area of the wood and while it was a bit of a hike it wasn’t that bad. Mered began inspecting it thoroughly, eventually saying “I like it, good choice Nigel”
“I was thinking perhaps a chicken coop or something in the back and there’s plenty of space for a garden.”
Mered nodded. “And a spot for firewood as well.”
“Yes, good idea. I wouldn’t want either of them walking through snow to get to it.”
Vina just sighed and shook her head, a smile on her lips as she stood there next Cadoc and Tahairah. “There will be no stopping them.”
“I hope they don’t go overboard.” Cadoc said. “It doesn’t have to be that big, just big enough for us and maybe children?”
Tahairah kissed his cheek. “Of course children. You should get over there and help them plan.”
“Is there anything specific you want?”
“I’ll be happy with anything as long as we’re together.”
“Alright then, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Vina sat with her soon to be daughter Tahairah “are you excited?”
“incredibly , I really do love your son very much”
“I know, I’m glad you two met”
“I’m glad my dad will have a friend too now, especially if I’m going to move out”
“It’s crazy they avoided eachother all this time”
“Mered has always been a good dad and he was truly afraid he’d ruin things for me. I guess he should have known Nigel knew already” They continued talking as the guys worked. Vina had realized that Cadoc was serious about Tahairah long ago but now them getting married and having kids was close at hand so she wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to get to know her better. They even cooked together when it came time for meals since the guys were doing all the hard labor of building their home. It proved to be a lot of fun, something Vina had missed since Panya grew up and moved out with Luca.
“I can’t believe how much we’ve accomplished already.” Cadoc said as they headed back to his parents home for dinner.
“It helps when you’re a demon.” Nigel chuckled. “It would probably take humans much longer.”
“Are you nervous about living together?” Mered asked.
Cadoc blushed. “Yeah, a little. I mean…” he glanced at Mered, “well you know.”
Nigel nudged him. “So pure.”
“By the time we were your age age we had bedded many women.” Mered teased.
“Now, now don’t lie, I wasn’t nearly as bad as you.” Nigel replied.
“True.” Mered slapped Cadoc on the back. “It’s good you haven’t screwed everything on two legs. Being experienced doesn’t equal being amazing at it. Sex is easy, but love is something all together different.”
“He’s right.” Nigel said. “Loving your mother is far different than the short, meaningless relationships I had before.”
“Does mom know about everything?”
“Of course she does and she loves me still. Finding love is a stroke of luck for creatures like us and being raised with it is even luckier. We both know you’ll be a good mate to Tahairah.”
“I hope so, Tahairah knows everything too..you know…my old gambling problem”
“good, honesty is important and Mered he was cured of that years back when he got his mother into some trouble because of it and I’ll be the first to kick his ass if I hear of him falling back into that stuff.” he looked at his son again “you’re going to be starting a family soon so it’s now more important you don’t let yourself gamble” He nodded and Mered said “well, if thats the worst he’s ever done he’s still a saint compared to us” Mered was curious about what happened but he’d ask Nigel when Cadoc wasn’t around. He didn’t want to rub salt in an old wound, especially if it was something so bad he was instantly cured of ever gambling again. Vina sounded like such a sweet woman, he hated thinking something terrible happened to her.
“How’re your other kids?” Mered asked remembering Nigel had at least one or two back when they were still talking. “You remember Wexsel, Anna and Brody?”
“to be honest, not specifically, I just remember you did have some kids back when we still talked”
“Vina and I try to get around to see them but we all miss eachother a lot. Vina and I have different homes in two other worlds and then we travel. My older kids travel a lot too so I really only see Panya and Cadoc.” Nigel sighed “They love me and the man I’ve become but I don’t think they’ll ever care about seeing me that much. I was such a shitty dad for so long and I can’t take that back no matter how much better I am now. I’m really glad I’ve gotten a chance to be a good father with Vina, that I have children that really care how much they see me. I’m not trying to complain..I guess I’m just sort of explaining that we do see them but not a whole lot. They adore Vina, They like her more than me” Nigel chuckled as he said the last bit.
When they made it back, Vina and Tahairah greeted Nigel and Cadoc with a kiss then Tahairah went and hugged Mered. “You guys look exhausted.” Vina said.
“Not at all, it was a good day today. We’ll be done before you know it.” Nigel said as he pressed another kiss to Vina’s lips. “Something smells wonderful.”
“Why don’t you three get cleaned up then you can eat.”
“Yes my love.”
“I have to admit, I’m a little jealous.” Mered said as he sat on the couch and waited for his turn in the bathroom.
“You’ll find someone daddy, just be patient.” Tahairah said as she left him in the room with Cadoc.
“My sweet optimistic child.”
“I think she’s right.” Cadoc said. “There are so many people out there, so many worlds, so many souls. Your mate is bound to be among them.”
“Maybe, but if not, I’m just happy she’s happy.”
“She’s amazing…thank you for raising her…if you had just left Tahairah to fend for herself I may never have met her” Once each man had their turn washing up for dinner they all sat around the table to enjoy the meal the girls prepared. “this is amazing” Mered complimented and his daughter beamed while Vina said “thank you, Tahairah is a good little cook”
“she showed an interest in it pretty young. I let her start trying to cook when she was five”
“well she has an amazing skill because of it” They enjoyed their meal then spent time together. They had come so far on the house and they were all going to be family soon so spending time together was more important than rushing to get things done. The next morning the girls went back with them to see where the men were “I already love it” Thairah said and Cadoc felt his heart beat out a relieved rhythm. Her father chuckled “wait until you see the finished product sweetheart”
The men worked hard and on the last day Nigel and Mered sent Cadoc with money away so he and Tahairah could pick out furniture. “I can’t believe she’s grown already.” Mered said as he ran paint over the living room wall. “It seems like just yesterday she was climbing trees and I was yelling at her to get down.”
“I feel the same about both Panya and Cadoc. It’s shocking when they go from wanting to spend all of their time with you to independent adults, but I’m proud of them.”
“I’m relieved Tahairah didn’t take after me. I was so worried at first that she would pick up bad habits, but she’s so intelligent and beautiful. I know I’m going to worrying about her even though I know you’re son is a good man. How do you do it?”
“It’s not easy letting them grow up, but Vina made sure I gave them their independence when they got older. She didn’t want them afraid of the world and she was right. They have to be able to grow up and make mistakes.”
“You boys look tired.” Vina said as she stepped inside with glasses of lemonade. “Why don’t you take a break and let me paint for awhile.”
“You don’t have to baby.” Nigel said as he sat his brush down and took one of the glasses from her.
“Let me, you’ve been at this nonstop so relax. You too Mered.”
Nigel took a long drink and decided to give in to her wishes “alright my love. Thank you”
“Cadoc’s my baby too and we didn’t get to help Panya. Luca already had everything together so I’m excited to do something. Paint I can handle” Nigel kissed her, lingering in it a few moments before going to sit down and get some fresh air with Mered. Just the fresh air in his lungs was a relief as he found a nice place to sit outside. “so Mered, you really don’t know any women you could romance?”
“No, Once I was any good to be around I sort of devoted myself to raising Thairah. Plus…is there a woman out there who can forgive as much as I’ve done? Vina forgave you a lot but I was worse and for longer”
“believe me, there is, lots of the Aponte women have forgiven some pretty terrible, well, once terrible men. Then there’s Thorn and Gloria” Nigel was going to continue talking but Mered interrupted “Thorn Hardison, there isn’t any way Thorn Hardison has a mate….even to me he was someone not to be around…even if you get past everything else how did this woman forgive him for being a rapist?” Nigel shrugged, finishing his drink “maybe because he waited to tell her awhile and he never hurt her. The news shocked Gloria when he confessed his past”
“I would imagine. Why would she even give him a chance?”
“She made him find and apologize to every woman he ever wronged. He even let them hurt him and offered up his life to them.”
“There’s no excuse for being that way.”
“He knows that, but he managed to gain their forgiveness or at least some form of it. He knows he was a monster and it’s something he has to live with for eternity. He can never forget the things he has done, none of us can, we just have to work hard for redemption.” He took another drink. “You just have to show people that you’re worthy of forgiveness.”
Mered nodded, seeming to go deep into thought. Nigel just gave him a few moments, enjoying the cool drink and relaxing. Finishing their kids house only took the rest of that day and half the next but it was perfect, absolutely everything they wanted for Cadoc and Tahairah. The two were excited and extremely grateful to their parents. Mered lifted his daughter into a tight hug “I hope you two stay happy sweetheart but you can always come home if you ever need to and you can always just come to me for anything in general. You’ll always be my little girl”
“I know dad. I love you”
“I love you too, so much” He set her down then let her go in with Cadoc so they could have their first evening alone in their own home. Vina sighed “well lets get going…it’s so hard to let them go” Nigel swept her off her feet “They are close enough for you still to see him all the time. We see a lot of Panya and Luca and they are a little farther than this”
“I know” Mered was struggling to but he wasn’t putting words to it and he wouldn’t cry, not in front of anyone. He had grown so attached to her, had grown so fond of having someone around every day and now he’d live alone again. Nigel and Vina had Mered over for dinner that night and many nights following. Nigel knew his friend was too proud just to come over as he adjusted to not having a child at home any longer and he was truly enjoying rebuilding their friendship.
~ The End