“I need you to work your magic, and keep that old man away from me,” my father stormed into the library where I was reading, trying to avoid the other guests in the main room of the estate. “I can’t stand that he keeps defending that monster son of his.”
I looked up from my book to see “The Monster” standing in the shadows on the other side of the room. Dad, noticing the direction of my gaze, was rendered speechless in his self-imposed awkwardness.
“I actually think that’s great,” the topic of discussion said as Dad made a hasty exit from the room.
I continued with my reading without commentary.
Closing the distance between us in a way that would make someone else feel threatened, he stood just outside of my comfort zone. His stare intense, his posture open and arrogant.
“What do you think?” A hungry smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. “Is my father wrong?”
I returned his scrutiny, keeping my face an indiscernable mask.
“I don’t know your father, and I don’t know you.” I watched for any twitch of reaction from him. “So, I haven’t formed an opinion of either of you.”
“Looking at me now, what do you think?” Opening his arms, he made a slow turn.
“It would depend,” Standing, I took full measure of him. “Does he believe you’re innocent of your alleged crime, or does he believe you committed it, but justified in your actions? Does he know you did it with malice and forethought, cold and heartless, but defends you through a depraved sense of loyalty to his only son, no matter how sick and twisted?”
Moving a step closer, his tongue flicking across his dark lips, he tilted his head slightly so he was looking at me askew.
“Yes,” punctuating his whispered hiss with a single raised eyebrow. His attempted intimidation was amusing.
Laying down my book, I closed the gap between us even further. Keeping my voice low enough so only he could hear, I allowed him to finally see my true feelings. I could taste his panic. My lips quivering in an effort to not laugh aloud, I held eye contact with him.
“You want my assessment? You’re an amateur.” My words cut through his bogus swagger. “You have no finesse. Your work is sloppy and disorganized.”
Leaning in even closer, I raised my cupped right hand to his face without touching him. His breath came in short, shallow gasps, as I murmured in his ear, my words a hot caress against his skin. Gratified to see the bravado draining from his body, a dark stain spread down one pant leg.
“It’s not my opinion of your father that you need to fear.”
*I woke from an odd, and quickly dissipating dream with that opening line of dialogue rattling around in my head. I quickly wrote it down in a notebook I keep by my bed. The remainder of this story sort of percolated the rest of the day. Color me happy when it fit into the Studio30 Plus prompt for this week. Photo venue: A grotesque adorning the outer wall of Biltmore Mansion, Asheville, NC.