Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I think that makes James/Tet more insane than if he was one of those crazy people with split personality disorder. Because at least if they were two people you could sorta count on them—individually speaking.
The rolling of the ship eases me out of my slumber. I’m home. That thought bounces around my head for several seconds before I remember, this is not home. I’m on my father’s yacht. I don’t open my eyes and I don’t stop breathing heavily. Instead, I give off a long sleepy sigh and turn over. I crack one eye as I do that to try and figure out if I’m alone in the room.
“How are you feeling?” my father asks.
“It’s wearing off, Harper. The doctor gave you a drug to make it wear off. I hope you realize we only drugged you so that Tet would leave quietly. But you became combative the last few times we brought you out of it—”
The last few times?
“—and since you’ve been known to make rash and dangerous decisions, we were forced to subdue you.”
Well. Since there’s no use pretending I’m still asleep when they know for a fact I’m not, I open both my eyes. He’s staring down at me and he looks worried, but then he smiles.
I hate to admit that it’s reassuring. He’s my father. It’s hard to turn that off.
“How are you feeling?” he asks again. “OK?” His smile makes the corners of his eyes crinkle up. My father is handsome, even at fifty-one. His hair is not gray, it’s still dark and it’s still thick. His suit, however, is gray. And his tie is navy blue. When I was a girl I always loved to touch them. “Harper, answer me,” he demands, but not unkindly.
I pause for a few seconds and then nod. “I’m OK.”
His smile grows and I get a warm feeling that I don’t immediately understand. I mean, who is this man? How can he call himself my father when he’s part of this organization and all they want is to use me as a whore to marry off?
“We’re having dinner in an hour. I’ve had them prepare your favorites to welcome you home.”
I don’t know what to say to that, so I look away.
“Harper,” he says sternly so I refocus on him. “I’m glad you’re home.”
I don’t know what to say to that either.
“Did you even miss me?”
Why is he asking me these things?
“Because this ship was not the same without you two.”
I look up at him for that. “Is Nick here?”
I look away.
“He’s hiding. But once he hears you’re back, he’ll come for you, Harper. I know he will.”
“So I’m a trap? To catch him.”
“Why in the world do you think I’m trying to catch him? He’s a grown man now. He can do as he pleases. I admit, he’s messed up my plans for you two. But I’m not wholly dissatisfied about that.”
I glance at him again. “You’re not?”
“Why would I be unhappy that you were not given away on your birthday, Harper. I love you. I might not have been the perfect father, but I was present more than most parents in this modern world. I did my business on the ship to stay near you. I really do not understand where this distrust comes from.”
“You promised me to someone.”
“I had to. It’s required. Which is why I’m not upset that didn’t happen.”
“James said you promised me to him.”
“Tet is mistaken.”
“I remember him, though. From the beach party when we trend Six.”
“He said no, Harper. I gave him the opportunity and he said no. That was the end of it for me.”
“But you sent for him every year.”
This makes him hesitate and when I look up at his face I see the shift. He wasn’t expecting me to know that.
“Tet told you that?”
“James told me that.”
My father sucks in a breath through clenched teeth. “It would be a very big mistake to mix them up, Harper. James is not Tet, and Tet is not James.”
I get a really sick feeling in my stomach at that comment. “What are you talking about?”
“He’s insane. He’s been this way for a very long time. Years.”