Maxley flinched at his father’s roar, he knew he would never hear the end of this. He gestured to his side, “This is Jessamyn, and we are going to marry.”
They had trapped Padric in his study, after Jessamyn had insisted on meeting him. Maxley did not want to do as she asked, but she was carrying his child and he felt an obligation to her. Though in the back of his head he silently thought that doing what she said had gotten him into enough trouble already.
His father looked almost sympathetic, “Max I understand what you’re feeling, but believe me” he said. “She’s just a phase.”
Max looked to Jessamyn nervously, he doubted she would appreciate being called a phase. “It’s more serious than that.”
“I know it feels that way but give it some time, and then come talk to me.”
He had always struggled finding the words to express his thoughts, and the pressure of the receiver being his father only made it worse. He looked pleadingly to Jessamyn, and her scowl was enough of an answer.
“Master Turnwhip,” she announced. “I am carrying your grandchild, there see? Now that’s over with.”
The range of emotions his father displayed passed in a flash as Padric took to his feet, he slammed his fists against his desk and made growling noises in the back of his throat. His eyes burned through Max.
“You IDIOT!” He shouted, the blood vessels in his cheeks expanding. “How could you let this happen? You’re only fifteen! How is this even possible?”
“Calm down,” Max pleaded. “I talked to Felyx and he thinks –”
His father was not interested in listening; he had lowered back into his chair and was breathing heavily. His eyes moved around rapidly like he was looking for an escape. Eventually, he had calmed enough to unclench his fists, and gripped the edge of his desk with his hands.
He looked at them both, his view suddenly widening to include Jessamyn. “I am so disappointed in you, boy.” He growled, “I would expect this from a singular minded fool, without the training and supervision I have provided. Is that what you are, a fool?”
“You don’t understand,” Max protested desperately.
His father slammed his hand down on the desk with a thud, “I understand perfectly. You have both shamed this family with excellent skill.”
The tiny sense of hope that Max had held crumbled in his chest, and he lowered his gaze in shame. His father had built his business up from the bottom; he had ensured that Max was always well cared forr – even after his mother had died while giving birth to him. He knew that Padric could have easily remarried and had more children, but instead he had given everything he had to raise a good home for his only son. Even Jessamyn looked ashamed, and for the first time Max had seen she recoiled and stood defeated.
Padric sighed, “You will marry this girl, and make a lady of her. And you will raise your child under my watch, and that shall be your penance for disgracing this family.”
His father waved a hand and jabbed at the air with a single finger, “To think I raised a fool for a son. You! My son, the fool.”
They stood in silence, the eerie echo of his father’s insult hanging in the air. Max glanced desperately at Jessamyn, but her eyes were averted away from him, like she too was ashamed to know him. He closed his eyes, waiting for even the slightest sound to break the silence.
When he opened his eyes, his father motioned angrily for them to leave. Max nodded, his thoughts of reasoning with his father fading from his mind. But as he turned away, he felt a hand on his forearm. Jessamyn stood with her face set in an unsatisfied scowl. She pulled him next to her, and placed her hand on her hip in defiance.
“Master Turnwhip,” she said coldly. “My sister is Janoah Draki, and if you make my life here inhospitable she will hear of it.”
Padric straightened and looked as though he’d been slapped, his eyes darting up and down Jessamyn like he was seeing her for the first time. His mouth opened, as though he were going to speak, but for the first time he appeared unable to find words.