The shit was about to hit the fan and he had no way of stopping it. Starr had always said that one day his past would catch up with him and now here it was slapping him in the face. As they approached the high wrought iron gates Tash wondered whether the sound of his heart beating was as loud to Gil as it was to him, it felt as though hundreds of horses were galloping across the open plains like in many of those old movies he had seen that Starr had so lovingly kept. How often had he joked about his sincere devotion to his collection of antique movies? Now he just wished he was at home snuggled up on the couch instead of standing here waiting for Gil’s retina scan to end and allow them entry; a slight breeze tugged at the strawberry blond curls at the nape of Gil’s neck.
Tash was conscious of the abundance of security focused on this one gate, right now he could see three cameras aimed straight at them and wondered whether Gideon Thorpe was somewhere inside at this very moment watching them. If so, would he recognise him, and if he did, then what did she intend to do about it? Had he changed much in the last twelve years? Tash felt nervous as it had been a very long time since he had last stood in the same room as Gideon, he couldn’t stop his stomach from somersaulting with anxiety.
Was he doing the right thing? His gut instinct was telling him to run, to turn around and run like there was no tomorrow, run away and never look back. On the other hand his heart and his head were telling him to go through with it; to get it over and done with or he’d never be able to move on in his life. Tash’s chest ached with indecision as he realised the momentum of what she was about to do.
Tash forced himself to stare straight at one of the cameras; he wondered if all the security was meant to keep people out or all those who entered in? ‘But,’ he supposed if he owned and ran three quarters of all the sectors in this city, then the security wasn’t such a bad thing, there were all kinds of weirdo’s and freaks running around out there. Tash released the breath he had been holding at the sound of the locking mechanism being released and then it hit him.
“Gil… Gil I can’t do this. It’s not time, I need to go home.” Tash whispered as he backed away from the opening. It terrified him that he had been willing to complicate his own life beyond all reasoning. “This is a mistake,” goose bumps erupted all over his body; he needed more time.
Gil turned and stared at his frightened face. “Tash,” he stepped cautiously towards him, “Honey, what’s wrong?” Gil had never seen Tash like this before, he looked absolutely scared stiff.
“I can’t do this… I need more time,” he shook his head. “It’s too soon, I’m just not ready.”
“It’s alright,” Gil whispered soothingly into his hair. Gil enfolded Tash into his embrace “I’ll look after you… I promise I won’t let anything bad happen” he marvelled at how fragile Tash felt, and how much he needed him at this moment. “I will always protect you, you know that, don’t you?”
“You won’t be able to stop it… If I walk through that gate something bad is going to happen and you will end up hating me.” Tash whispered even as he allowed Gil to pull him into enemy territory. The Gil that smiled at him now seemed like a total stranger to him; he was different to the Gil he had known all year. To the Gil that had been in love with Starr; the shy clumsy Gil that could light up a whole room just by smiling. Why wasn’t that Gil here now? That Gil would understand his need to flee.
It was now or never… wasn’t this his destiny? Wasn’t this where he belonged? He might belong here, but that didn’t mean that this was where he wanted to be. Then what the hell was he doing here? What had possessed him to agree to come here? Tash shuddered at the thought of all those cameras following him. Tash tentatively placed his hand in Gil’s as they started the slow walk up the driveway; his hand felt comfortable in Gil’s grasp, they had done this a lot since Starr’s death, whenever he had needed a shoulder to cry on Gil had been there with a big box of tissues in hand.
Tash concentrated on his thumb as it caressed the back of her fingers; she tried to think of anything than her reunion with Gideon. Tash stopped dead in her track as the house loomed into view, looking ominous against the quickly darkening sky, she shook uncontrollably.
“Bloody hell Gil” the words exploded from her “That’s your house… it’s freaking huge” Tash was dumbfounded, she wasn’t sure what she expected but it definitely wasn’t this, it looked more like a mini scraper or complex then a home for one family, it was nothing like she had ever seen before.
He chuckled “You’ll get used to it” he smiled trying to reassure her, he wanted her to know that things were alright he wanted her to believe that he was capable of protecting and taking care of her. Giving her hand a little tug he started them moving again. He knew that she would really like it here one she got used to it. It had taken him a full year to turn events enough so that she was even willing to come here, and now that she was here he wasn’t about to let her go, and maybe just maybe she would be the one her father wouldn’t find fault with.
Tash glimpsed movement in one of the first story windows and her heart all but failed, was it him? Was he standing there watching her approach? Was he wondering who she was? Damn it what was she going to tell Gil if Gideon did recognise her. He was going to hate her, she knew that and still she let herself shy away from telling him, she had even let Starr talk her out of it the few times she had attempted it, and now it was too late because she was here. Why the hell was she here? Her mind refocussed as the front door opened moments before they reached it, she relaxed when she saw an older grey haired woman come out to greet them.
“Well if it isn’t wee Mr Thorpe himself” her aging hand reached out and stroked his cheek “Been gone a whole month and nary a word to stop a person from worrying herself to death about ye, but I see that you had someone to look out for ye” her eyes filled with suspicion as she took Tash’s appearance in.