She had dreaded this conversation, it was one of the countless reasons she had put off seeing Vincent for so long. No matter how she sidestepped and maneuvered, she still found herself here, at a small coffee table in a quiet yet busy café sitting across from him having the conversation she had with herself almost every day.
His eyes were like deep oceans. They captivated her and she often felt like she drowned in them. His thick salt and pepper eyebrows rose as he looked over the brim of his mug at her. Gulping the strong coffee, he held it in his mouth for a moment before swallowed. He let out a sigh of delight at the flavour before putting the mug down on the table between them.
Pushing her mess of curls behind one of her ears, she stared at him, exasperated. She had known him since she was a little girl. He had been more of a father to her than her biological father could have ever been. She had memorized all his pauses, every slight gesture of his face and hands. She knew he was waiting for her to say something to him now.
Unable to take the silence any longer, she threw her head back and took in a long breath before looking at him. “Alright then, let’s get this started.”
Vincent raised his shoulders as though he didn’t understand what she meant. “I thought we had already started.” He stated.
Rubbing her fingers along her brow-line, she rested her cheek in her hand and glared at him. “It’s been over five years. Five years since I saw you last and you’re just going to sit there sipping your coffee?”
He smirked at her. “I am just wondering how best to start the conversation we both know is coming.”
Her heart stopped for a moment before she reminded herself to breathe.
“Five years.” He repeated her words. “It’s a long time to go without seeing your daughter.”
She winced, his words like a knife to her heart. “I just thought it was better to keep my distance.”
Nodding, he pursed his lips. “And that was all fine and good, for a time. Now, however, I have decided that just won’t do.”
It would be a bold-faced lie if she ever said she hadn’t missed Vincent. When she had first met him she was a fragile kid who had just been abandoned by her own father and longed for that kind of male affection in her life. He had seen her, and adopted her as his own without so much being said. It had been an understanding between them and between any who met them.
She was his just as his son was his, and God help anyone who said otherwise.
From the age of seven to the age of nineteen, he had been a prominent figure in her life. Made all the while easier by the fact that his son, Harrison, had been the best of friends. Practically inseparable until… well, until they were.
Clearing her throat, she attempted to forget Harrison King and their history. “Suddenly it just won’t do?” She asked him.
“I’ve recently visited this monastery in Tibet and have come to the conclusion that I want to keep those I love and who love me most in my life close, and damn all the rest. It’s why I’ve decided I will move to New York away from my sea witch of a wife Meredith.”
This news almost had me spewing coffee across the table at him. “You left Meredith?” Hell must have completely frozen over.
“In a way. You know her, she would never sign divorce papers. But in all the ways that count, I have left her. Unfortunately she had those talons of hers sunk deeper than I could have ever imagined into Harrison. I haven’t seen him in almost six months. With that being said, I figured it was due time to reach out to my favourite daughter and get her back in my life. Especially since the chances of you and Harrison running into one another now are extremely slim.” He sipped his coffee. “Now, I know you were never one to marvel at our riches, but I fully intend to keep you in my life, all the while making yours easier.”
Riches was speaking modestly for the Kings.
When Meredith’s mother had passed, she had left Harrison with close to a billion dollars. This had stung Meredith, as her mother had left her nothing. Not that she needed any money, she alone was worth just as much, and Vincent was a successful business man with his own fortune under his belt.
The Kings here loaded, not that money had ever mattered much to her.
“Vincent,” She shook her head. “I am more than capable of making my own way, and I don’t need your money. She told him.” But she did miss him desperately. “But, with Harrison living in Milan with Meredith I would definitely love spending more time together.”
He beamed as he finished his cup of coffee.
Staring at her for a long while, he waited in silence. “Sparrow,” He said finally. “What exactly was it that happened between you and Harrison?”
There was no way to put this simply. “What the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to you?” She asked him.
He thought for a moment. “When my plane went down in Prague.”
“The terror lasts a long while, it seizes you up completely until it is almost agonizing. You know that feeling of blissful relief afterwards? When everything is through and you realized you have pushed past that terror and come out on the other side?”
Confused by where she was going, but understanding the feeling, he nodded slowly. “Yes.” The word was said slowly, as he tried to figure out what she would say next.
“Well that was what Harrison was for me. All those years, living together, spending every waking moment together. He was that relief I had needed so desperately in my life before he walked into it. I marvelled in that relief, I never even dreamed it was possible to feel that wonderful. Then, one day he became the terror.” She sighed. “He broke me in a way I never thought was possible, and even after ten years, I haven’t fully recovered.”
Reaching over, Vincent covered Sparrow’s hand with his own and gave her an empathetic smile. “If I’ve learned anything in this life of mine, it’s that one day you will.”