by Dawn | May 14, 2017
“Wait.” He pointed a finger on his chest. “I am obliged to go?”
Bennet stood a few feet from his father’s table. Inside the office had always been so suffocating, if not from air, then from pressure. His father smiled on the other side of the large desk, his fingers intertwined either from excitement or amusement. Either way, it was making Bennet lose his cool.
“Why?” he inquired further.
The word “party” itself didn’t have any fun ring to it. A party in the palace, consisting mostly of unsatisfied political adults, didn’t sound good at all. And a palace full of expensive tuxedos and ties wouldn’t fit to have an eighteen year old stranded in the midst of their shady presence.
“Is there something wrong of being proud for my son?” his father said, the wrinkles on the corners of his eyes were clearer with his wider grin. “I just want them to meet my successor.”
“Dad,” Bennet sighed. “We talked about this.”
Scratching his head allowed him to look down and see the lower part of himself. A pair of sneakers, some partly worn gray cargo pants, an open tan colored button-down over a brandless white t-shirt…a successor, he said? Compared to his father with his coat and tie, he was nothing but a normal guy. Normal looking, at least.
“Now son, I am aware of it.” His dad stood, both hands flew behind his back. Those movements alone didn’t look so promising. Walking around the table and sitting directly opposite of him almost caught Bennet off guard. “And I still kept my word about respecting your decision. But honestly, for me, I still hope that you’d consider my proposal.”
Bennet’s hands found its way inside his pockets.
“This isn’t just about being high up in ranks and being rich, Benedict.” His dad stood again, walking to the back of the room and turning his back on him as he dramatically stared out the window. “It’s about serving the people. Stop corruption. Give citizens good service for a good life.” An expectant smile curved on his face, facing Bennet over his shoulders.
“I know, dad. And that’s really very noble of you. But I’m still not changing my mind. I just wish your hopes won’t turn into expectations all of a sudden. And with that being said, I don’t think I need to come to that party.” He was honestly thankful that his dad, at least, wasn’t lured in with money like everybody else. And Bennet was still strongly holding on to that belief, despite what everyone else said.
“Well.” His dad faced himself back to him again. It was unusual his smile didn’t disappear this long. “I still want you to come. Even if it’s not as my successor, but as my son.”
Trusting his dad being clean was one thing, but believing he wouldn’t twist his words was another. But through the years he proved himself to keep those jokes low for his growing son. Though a feeling on Bennet’s gut told him that he was going to pull something like that. He wasn’t able to reply.
“You don’t have to wear tuxedo, if that’s what you want.”
That feeling of doubt suddenly disappeared. Surprised at his dad’s statement, he felt bad for considering to turn it down. It was the first time he saw his dad so eager about something, and for the fact that he was going to show off his son somehow softened Bennet’s chest. He didn’t even try to hide his defeated sigh, and he knew he was going to regret whatever he was going to say.
His father’s eyes gleamed—something very unnatural for him, and not to mention very silly. Even so, his voice never faltered from its calmness. “Thank you, son. Now come here.”
Bennet couldn’t hold his eyes widening at the sight of his father spreading his arms at him. He was already weird enough to be so unprofessional-like. But treating his son like a ten year old was just too much.
“What?” Bennet’s hands went immediately defensive in front of him. “What the heck is that?”
“Give daddy a hug. It’s been a long time.”
“Yeah.” He took a step back. “Like years of a long time.”
“Exactly. I may have been very busy with my work, but I still love my little boy.”
“Dad, please…” His ideas suggested to run for it, but his dad’s expectant eyes failed him to do so. His dad’s arms were still open, and the more Bennet stared at him the more he lost his chance of getting away with it.
There was no way out. He sighed again.
~ o ~
Bennet pressed his face on the table, giving no care about the stares he get. There weren’t a lot of people in the café, giving him a nice peaceful place to get back to his senses. He was still weirded out by his father’s sudden actions, but his response was what got into his mind over and over again, the regret getting heavier and heavier as the time passed. He knew this was going to happen, but regret still washed over him like heavy rain on a storm.
What was he thinking?
With his head still on the table, he glanced at his watch, realizing that he had been there for quite a long time already. Though the time said otherwise—it was only about twenty minutes since he got there. But that would’ve been enough for his friend to get there. Were they late, or was he just too early?
His face was back on the table when the bell on the entrance chimed. He thought he should compose himself, lamenting over somewhere public might bring him more attention than carrying the Lacson name. More and more people are filing, but despite those thoughts he made no move, until a finger poked thrice at the top of his head.
With groggy eyes, he looked up without taking his head from the surface of the table. Two guys stood across him, ones who seemed confused at his current state. “Took you awhile.”
“What’s wrong with you?” one of them asked, holding his glasses as he moved to fill the empty chair. The other one stayed standing, crossing his arms with an amused grin on his face.
“I doubt it’s nothing,” inserted the other, finally pulling the chair and made himself comfortable. His smile was still there, sparkling with the knowledge he just claimed he knew.
“Then what do you know, Mike?”
“I do know a party will be held in the palace tomorrow night. I bet Lucas here knew that too.”
“So it’s got something to do with that?” Another grin crept up on Lucas’ face, similar to Mike’s. Bennet wanted to shrink on his chair.
He rose from his position and leaned back on his chair. “I don’t even have to tell you, do I?”
“But if anything,” Lucas said, adjusting his glasses and propping his arm over the chair’s top rail. “I think you aren’t going to be there. Unless there’s something more than what that face of yours implies.”
“I think so too.” Mike leaned forward. His grin was getting annoying by the minute. “But because you’re being like that, I guess I’ll get a glimpse of you on TV.”
Lucas snorted. “If the press is going to be there. But I never heard the president ever saying about keeping the party private, so more likely they’re going to be there.”
Public attention was already being shunned as it was. The thought of the press being there would completely change Bennet’s mind, regardless of what his dad would feel. With a mumble, he prayed wistfully, “I sure hope not.”
“But this is a chance for you, Bent.”
It could’ve been just his eyes, but he clearly saw Lucas’ glasses gleaming at his statement. And the way he said that did nothing but take all chances of ditching that party. When Lucas had an idea, it’s always too good to be ignored. He didn’t need that right now.
“I agree,” said Mike. “If the press is going to be there, you’ll know what everyone is doing and what the media should expose. That way we’ll find out who’s biased and who they’re working for.”
That was it. He lost all way out.
“You want to know if that article about your father was real, right? This could be your chance.”
I know it wasn’t real, or at least he wanted to believe it wasn’t. Bennet was tempted to shout that at Lucas’ face, but no matter how many lies he’d say Lucas would know. Getting to the bottom of that rumor was a goal for him, but pushing away all chances to satisfy himself wouldn’t get him there.
He already promised his dad anyway. What else could he do?
Bennet glanced at Mike. “Would there be any team sent from E.E.R. to attend the party?”
“Not sure, but I’m sure they’re considering to go. They wouldn’t want to miss anything from a big occasion like that.”
“Are you coming?”
Mike shook his head. “Nah. But I bet Ciel would. Must’ve also been the reason why he couldn’t come today.”
At least Ciel’s going to be there, he’s going to have some company. And considering it was Ciel, he most probably have something more to deal with. A guy like him wouldn’t like parties either, but he wasn’t even turning down anything.
Shouldn’t he do the same?
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