Chapter Three

“No, Sir.” Eden found himself unable to meet those penetrating eyes, eyes that seemed to see right through him.

“I had heard news of your promotion, but I wanted to see the truth with my own two eyes. Wanted to find out for myself if the rumors I had heard were true. When last we saw each other, you were a weed in my garden, a blight on my house and home. You can see why I might not take at face value the news that my little weed had grown up into a well-established and thriving rose.” Tovar leaned back against the bookshelf, seeming completely at ease in his unfamiliar surroundings. It was a talent he had always seemed to possess, claiming whatever setting in which he found himself, making it his own.

Eden remained silent, watching his stepfather’s thin frame. His own muscles were larger and more developed, his own frame fuller, more powerful. After years of training and relentless drilling, it wouldn’t even be a fair fight. The thought almost brought a smile to his face. Almost.

“The military has long been a tradition in Elysian as a training tool and a measure of our strength. But, Eden, I was afraid it wouldn’t work on you, soft as you were. Still now, looking at you, I wonder if what I’m seeing on the surface isn’t just a facade, the well-rehearsed charade of a little boy still clinging to his fragility and innocence.” Tovar moved in close to Eden, so their faces were only inches apart. “So, tell me, Little Eden. Is that really you in there?”

Little Eden. The name his stepfather had often used to shame and fluster Eden when he was young. Hearing that name now as an adult caused a wave of anger to shoot down Eden’s spine. He forced those feelings back, knowing he was treading into dangerous territory.  

Copyright © 2020 – All rights reserved by Hellie Heat

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