Matias opened his front door and walked into his empty apartment. The sound of it slamming shut behind him was so loud in the silence that he almost winced. She’d kicked him out, again. He felt like hitting something. He didn’t understand why he was so angry. He went to her home, seduced her and then asked if her son was his. Shaking his head, he dropped onto the couch that came with the apartment. He looked around at his bare walls and thought of Eva’s place. Everything there was bright and every wall had art on it. It was a lived-in space. It was a home.
He wanted to go back there and finish what he started. So what if he’d pushed her? She’d wanted to kiss him. A part of him knew, even as he thought it, that he was rationalizing, that it would be wrong to take her choice away. She wasn’t as strong as she used to be – otherwise she would have mentally smacked him down – instead she’d reacted like a normal human, oblivious to the silent command he’d sent her. What kind of witch lets their power dwindle like that? Who the hell was she anyway?
“London. I’ve never heard of the Londons…” He stood up and walked towards his bedroom. She had to come from a decent family otherwise she wouldn’t have been as powerful at such a young age. Someone had taught her how to block out other magic. He took out his Hollo projector, but paused. It might be easier and faster to call his parents. But did he really want to risk speaking to Jaime? He started to pace. He should call. If anyone knew, it would be them. He picked up his cell phone and dialed the familiar numbers, hoping his mother would pick up. Anyone but his…
“Matt,” a deep voice boomed over the line. His father.
“Hello dad. Where’s mom?”
“Amanda?” Jaime King had been married to Amanda for 37 years. They’d had two children, Michelle and Matias. Yet every time Matt called, his father always seemed to think he was calling for someone else.
Did he have another mother he didn’t know about? Matias rolled his eyes, “Yes dad, your wife.”
“Oh. She’s downstairs; you want to leave a message?”
Matt sighed. His father seemed to be having a good day, what could it hurt to ask?
“Dad, have you ever heard of a coven named London? I met someone who seems to be really powerful, but I can’t place her family.” A strangled sound came through the phone. “Dad, are you alright?”
“What did you say the last name was?” His father sound off – which was saying a lot.
“London. Her name is Eva London. Do you know her?” He stopped pacing and tightened his grip on the phone.
“Stay away from her, Matias. Do you hear me?” Jaime shouted over the line, so loud that Matias had to move the phone away from his ear or go deaf.
He could hear his mother in the background while he father started to rant about the Fae and werewolves. It wasn’t long before his mother came on the line.
“Hey mom. I’m sorry.” He sighed. Now his mother would have to deal with one of Jaime’s episodes.
“Oh, Matias. I thought it was some poor telemarketer or something. How are you dear?”
He could hear the smile in her voice and he relaxed a bit. His mother was everything his father wasn’t, calm, warmhearted, loving. He couldn’t understand what would make her stay with such a man, but he knew his mother would never leave Jaime. “I’m good, mom. I really am sorry.”
“About what dear?” Matias could hear his father still raging in the background but it was fainter, as if his mother had moved away from him. He sighed, but before he could state the obvious, his mother said, “Your father has been having a bad day for a week now. You didn’t do this, so don’t even worry about it, my love. Now, what did you call about?”
His mother was a saint. “All I wanted to know was if he’d ever heard of a coven called the Londons.”
“Oh dear.” His mother inhaled sharply and Matt stopped pacing. “Oh dear heavens.”
“What, what is it? Do you know them?”
There was a brief pause on her end of the line and then she said, “The Londons are not witches, dear. They’re werewolves.”
Matias felt the tension leave his shoulders. He felt oddly deflated. “I don’t think we’re talking about the same people then. The woman I met is definitely a witch.”
“Connor London, Rae Rose Torres. Are those the people you’re talking about?” Matias was shocked; there was an edge to his mother’s voice that he hadn’t heard in a long time, not since Michelle had left home years ago. “They have three children; Eva, Andrei and Anthony. If those are the Londons you’re talking about then heed your father’s warning and stay clear of them, Matias.”
He was silent for a moment. What was going on? “Mom, what happened? Tell me.”
It was so quiet on the other end of the line – even his father had stopped yelling – he began to think she’d hung up, but then he heard her take in a deep breath. “It is too much to go into right now, but they are the reason your father is the way he is. He tried to interfere in that family’s business and it drove him insane.”
“The Londons are responsible for dad?” Matt thought back to his childhood, watching his father slowly lose his mind until Jaime couldn’t recognize his own children. Alzheimer’s, the doctors had said. But it wasn’t; that was just what humans misdiagnosed it. What had really happened was the consequence of a witch overusing his powers. At some point – before Matias was old enough to remember – his father had overreached with his abilities and it had broken his mind. That was the downfall of having the power to seduce the will of others – of being a seducer.
His mother was still speaking on the line. “Your father had always toed the line and that’s why we moved to Bridgeport. I’d wanted a fresh start, where no one knew our past. Michelle was starting school and I had you on the way. I wanted to keep you two safe. For a few years, everything was perfect. But your father found a local coven and when they offered him an assignment, he just couldn’t pass up one more job. He swore it would be his last and I believed him. It was supposed to be a simple task, break up a couple. I’ll admit, I didn’t protest too much when he told me what he was going to do. He was only gone for a few days, but when he came back, he was weak. The man had been a werewolf, it had taken more out of him than he’d been prepared for, and it had barely worked. I tried to help your father recover as best as I could, but…”
Matias nodded, even though his mother couldn’t see. There were limitations to their powers. Being a witch was more than just spells and salt rocks. It took time and effort, like any other skill. And like all things, there were consequences to doing a half ass job. If a spell failed to work, the backlash fell on the witch. His father had gone in without knowing the facts and he’d done a poor job. And for that, he’d lost some control of his own mind. It was why witches taught their children to use their powers wisely and sparingly. A failed attempt stripped you of your own abilities, until you couldn’t control it at all. For a seducer, that meant the loss of your mind because that’s what you had control over.
Amanda continued, “When he learned that Connor and Rae were still together, Jaime was furious and he began to obsess over them. At this point, I’d begun to worry about him. He hadn’t recuperated and I begged him to let it go. But he couldn’t, he had to try again. This time he focused on the woman. She was human after all. He didn’t come home after that. I had to go look for him. He was broken Matias. Completely gone. I couldn’t fix him.” His mother’s voice broke on a sob.
“No. I’m alright, and you need to understand. I swore that I would raise you and your sister to understand. This ability of ours, it’s a gift but it can also be a burden. It is so easy to give into the temptation to use it for personal gain. Your father is the perfect example of why that is never a good idea. This woman, this Eva London; she is not human, her father is a werewolf and her mother is some sort of Genie hybrid. If she seems to possess powers, it’s from that. She is not a witch.” Amanda King’s voice grew softer, “Be careful, Matias. If that family were to ever find out that we had anything to do with their troubles, you might end up paying the price for your father’s poor judgment.”
“Me? I never did anything to them,” Matias protested.
“Yes, well. Rae Rose Torres burned down Romajin Manor because she didn’t like the owner. I’m afraid they aren’t a very forgiving group of people.”
Matias blinked in disbelief. That was that family? Everyone knew of the woman who’d almost destroyed the Falls in her rage. Saying goodbye to his mother, he hung up the phone and sat at his desk, weighing his options. Eva was off limits according to his parents, and for good reason. But he’d had nothing to do with what happened to her parents and he didn’t want to leave her alone. Brooding, he thought about the first night he’d met her. If her parents were strong enough to resist his father’s witchcraft that would explain why she’d brushed his suggestions off so easily that first night. But what about tonight? She hadn’t been as resistant.
Closing his eyes and leaning back in his chair, he tried to picture his father before Jaime had gone insane. Matias had been four and he barely had any memories of that time at all. Opening his eyes, he sighed. There was no point in dredging up the past; Jaime had brought his sorrows on himself. He should have left Eva’s family alone. Matias knew that was hypocritical of him; wasn’t he doing the same thing, but on a smaller scale? Eva had a family of her own, he’d seen them leaving. That kiss in the kitchen should have never happened.
Matias sighed, it was good advice and he should heed his parents’ warning. What if she found out what his family had done to her? Yes, he should listen to his father.