Author’s Note: Samuel and Graymar are certainly proud of their sons and the decisions they’ve made so far…but they can’t help but wonder how those same decisions will affect themselves. For one, there’s parental concern. For the other is wary relief. Two different reactions, yet entwined by their sense of responsibility.
Samuel leaned back in the deck chair, legs crossed, a cold beer on the table and a few more in the cooler next to him. Summer was coming early to the bay, and he was bound and determined to enjoy as much of it outside as he could. Especially up here on the roof deck! Besides, he’d earned it – over the last few weeks, he’d managed to clean out over half of his office with the help of Diwa and Anna-Nassi, and he was feeling so much less stressed out because of it. Granted, cleaning was only half of a bigger project he had in mind. They’d need to create a new filing process and a new workflow that worked both for himself and for Diwa. They’d have to replace the window and purchase some new furniture. And most importantly, he’d need to rip out that old, tattered carpet and either replace it or put down new hardwood flooring. He might even hire Moffer to inspect the walls. The electric seemed fine, but it wouldn’t hurt to have someone on the estate check it out just to be safe.
But right now? Now was the time for relaxation.
He heard the flapping of tintrite wings a few minutes later. He checked his watch: two-fifteen in the afternoon. Right on schedule. He heard the hesitant flapping of a landing, followed by the two-step drop to the roof. Ta-doop. Always the left leg first.
“Afternoon, Graymar,” he said, tipping the neck of his bottle at him. He pulled out a second beer from his cooler, popped it open, and put it out on the table. “Pull up a bench.”
“Hmm.” Graymar approached his table and stood there for a moment with a slight tilt of his head, studying him. “You know, Samuel…I haven’t decided if you’re fully embracing your semi-retirement or if you’ve finally decided to lighten up.”
Samuel laughed at him. “Is that an attempt at humor, Gray? What’s the occasion?”
“A few things,” he said, and dragged one of the low benches towards the table. He slid down into the seat with a louder than normal grunt and took the offered beer. “First, I’m proud to announce that my young pahyoh is about to accelerate his flight training. My ahpadé Nouia and his pahyoh have graciously gifted Kaffi with his own ride’s saddle and practice deadweight. We picked it up yesterday afternoon. He showed it to Diwa last night.”
“Fancy!” Samuel smiled, and tapped the back of Graymar’s beer bottle with his. “Congratulations are in order, I take it?”
Graymar hummed, bobbing his snout slowly. “He’s got to get used to the added weight first, by the time your son is able to ride with him.”
“Think he’ll handle it?”
The tintrite took a long pull from the bottle. “He’s still impatient, but he’s also determined, Samuel. He’s an extremely fast learner, faster than I ever was. I’m nervous that he might not be taking it seriously, but I want to believe that’s not the case. I trust him, Sam. Knowing him, he will be ready for paired flight by the end of the summer.”
“Huh, that soon?” Samuel took a long swig himself, thinking about his son. Anna-Nassi had promised to help Diwa find a way to overcome his basophobia. He wasn’t sure if Diwa would be able to shake it, or at least combat it, by that time. Diwa was determined in his own way, but this wasn’t something that he could easily turn on and off.
Still, this was Kaffi, and that boy would do anything for him.
“What’s the second?” he said.
“That our sons have decided to bond.”
Samuel spat out his beer and nearly choked in response. “What? Wait, when did this happen?”
“A few days previous, it seems,” Graymar said, tipping back his own bottle again. He was also grinning and not bothering to hide it in any way. In fact, he looked rather proud of himself and their boys! “They haven’t told anyone, but the signs are hard to miss,” he continued. “Kaffi has become more tactile with your son, and Diwa is responding positively, and in kind. Diwa will watch Kaffi’s movements, especially when he is flying. They’ve been spending even more time together.”
Samuel shifted in his chair and sat up straight. Bonded…? Graymar was right; it wasn’t surprising at all, considering their closeness all those years. And they were getting older, already making mature decisions that would affect the rest of their lives. But this wasn’t just a business relationship. This was something a lot more personal, even emotional. Samuel wasn’t quite sure how he felt about it, and perhaps he wouldn’t for a while. He wasn’t against it, that was certain…but he was concerned about Diwa’s dedication. Would his son be strong enough to take that step…?
“How do you feel about it?” Samuel asked.
“Me?” Graymar let out a slow breath through his nostrils. “I’m of many minds about it, as you would imagine. On the one hand, I bless them both. I trust them to see it through, one way or another. Their connection is strong. I worry that they’ve bonded at such an early age, but who are we to judge that, Samuel? I have always trusted my pahyoh, and I of course trust yours equally.”
Samuel nodded, and turned back to the view across the central green. Graymar did not need to explain that any further. He took another long swig from his beer and put it back down on the table. “Well. I won’t say anything to them yet if you don’t. They’ll tell us when the time is right.”
“I agree,” Graymar said, and settled in to watch the green himself. “It is up to them.”
Samuel nodded, and kicked his feet up again, a smile slowly crossing his face.