I was working out in the gym, trying to make up for lost time, I knew Kimball had the gym prepared just for me. While I was doing my push ups I couldn’t help but burst laughing at baby Ethan, doing his best to mimic my movements. His efforts were so funny that I couldn’t concentrate and had to stop. He didn’t know I was laughing at him and started laughing as well. Finally, I stopped and moved to the bench to work on weights, Ethan followed me, crawling at super speed. He got to the bench and used it to support himself while trying to stand up, he managed to stay on his feet for a few seconds before falling on his ass. Suppressing a giggle, I took a couple of weights and prepared to start my workout, Ethan took a weight as well, he wasn’t strong enough to lift it, but he was holding it hard and I used my mind to lift it, until Ethan was hanging from it, but refusing to let go.
“Be careful, he could get hurt,” Kimball warned me. I hadn’t realized he was in the room, he had come inside while I was distracted with Ethan. Without stopping my workout I gently put Ethan back on the ground and turned to face Kimball.
“I would never do anything to hurt him, I had him, I knew he wouldn’t let go, and it wasn’t that high,” I protested, mad that he still believed I didn’t care about Ethan and his well being.
“I know, that’s not what I meant, I know how far you are willing to go in order to protect him, it’s just that if he thinks he can do stuff like that he won’t be careful in the future and you can’t always be there to help him. Sooner or later he will hurt himself, we can’t be always with him to keep him out of danger.”
“We can try. Besides, if he was in real danger I’m sure my visions would let me know.” Ethan had let go of the weight and had moved closer to Kimball, but at midway he had stopped and was crying. “I don’t think is a good idea to be together in front of Ethan, his empathy could contaminate his feelings for you, I’m sure he’s picking out my hostility towards you and that’s not good.”
“All little kids can pick up the tension in their parents, he’s nervous because we are both uneasy, but that’s not something to worry about. But I agree that we could work on being friends again.”
“I know what I’m talking about, I know my son and I know that my emotions are affecting him, his feelings are a mirror to my own. I try not to feel like this when he is with me, but I can’t help it, I’m not that good with empathy.”
“Kaiserin… I have given you space, but sooner of later we will need to make a decision, you need to give me another chance.”
“Ethan stayed up longer today, I think he is going to start walking soon. Is it normal for him to take so long to walk?” I needed a change of topic, I wasn’t ready to talk about the both of us.
“It’s actually soon. Normal kids start walking after a year, with mutants, it’s different, I walked at seven months, but I, like most in my family had an accelerated development. I think Ethan will be walking before he’s eight months old, that’s soon enough. Better than most, especially for a hybrid.”
“I think he has move psychic characteristics than mutant ones, we can’t compare him with you.”
“Do you know why you had so many complications during your pregnancy?” Kimball’s question took me by surprise and I couldn’t think of how to answer him. “Women from Mzansi usually have shorter pregnancies, we always thought it had something to do with the mothers, a mutant thing, but after what happened with you, I’m starting to think it’s related to the child, not the mother. I think that Greca was born at term, she wasn’t premature, and even if Ethan was premature, it wasn’t that premature. Our babies develop faster, and the mutant bodies are able to compensate the rapid growth, your body wasn’t ready for that, and with the added stress you were under, it’s not surprising that you just collapsed,” he looked away and I could tell he was ashamed. “You didn’t need the added stress, you were already hurting.”
“I already knew it had to be your fault,” I tried to joke, but there was truth behind my words, and, as always, Kimball could tell.
“Kai, I know you want me as I want you, you would have left me otherwise. Please, let us be together again, let’s start over and be happy again.”
“This is too much, you can’t keep doing this. Don’t you have pride? Stop asking for an opportunity.” I wasn’t sure what I wanted or why I was still there, I missed the way we used to be, but I was too afraid of being betrayed again. I wanted to hurt him, anger him, drive him away, I just didn’t want to risk my heart again.
“As far as you and Ethan are concerned, no, I don’t have any pride. I will keep begging for an opportunity as long as I think I have a chance with you. I know you still feel something for me, and I hope someday you will acknowledge my feelings for you and realize I will never hurt you again.” Ethan was still crying, and I knew it was my fault, my sadness, anger and confusion were affecting him. I tried to use my empathy to get a hold of my feelings, and I thought I had succeeded when he stopped crying, but it could easily be because Kimball had taken him into his arms.
“I think Ethan needs to spend some time with you, I know he misses you. Why don’t you take care of him while I finish my workout?” Kimball knew I was just trying to get rid of him, but he didn’t complain, he just left.
At times like that, when I could feel Kimball’s regret, pain and frustration, I wondered if I was making the right choice, maybe he had learned his lesson, maybe we could be together again, but I still had doubts, I had trusted him once, and he had broken that trust.
“What are you thinking about?” Mbali asked, she had come into the room and taken the bench next to mine, ready to do her own workout.
“Your cousin.” In the week since I had regained control of my body I had seen Mbali just a few times, and we hadn’t really talked, most of the time she was avoiding me.
“He is really sorry about what he did, I think you should forgive him and move on.”
“Yes, he insists he is sorry, but it’s not that easy, I can’t just forget everything he did. I trusted him, I put myself in his hands and he betrayed me,” I was getting tired of repeating the same again and again. Why couldn’t they understand my point of view? The only way I could preserve my sanity was by feeling secure and protected, and how would I feel like that if I couldn’t trust him?
“I don’t think he would ever do that again. He acted out of fear, but now that he knows the risk of losing you is higher if he tries to control you, he won’t risk it.”
“You can’t be sure of that.”
“You are a Seeress, aren’t you? Why don’t you use your visions to see how he will act in the future?”
“The future is not easy to interpret, there are too many paths, and it’s not easy to go alone, I usually have someone to help me when I need to search for answers, but Melchizedek is not available to help, and I don’t know how to do it by my own.”
“So, you have been looking for answers.”
“I had too, I needed to know that I was safe here. I know that he won’t do anything for now, but I don’t know if he will change again in a few years. The future I see is too confusing to know for sure, I have no real answers to my questions.”
“What have you seen?”
“I have seen me living underwater. I have seen myself fighting with Kimball, not mock fighting, real, raw, and intense fighting.”
“I understand the living underwater part, but I don’t believe the fighting part. I really don’t think Kimball would fight with you again, not for real.” I was surprised that my fighting Kimball was what she found unbelievable.
“What’s even weirder is that in the same path that I fight Kimball, that I hurt Kimball, I can see us together, like we used to be, as a couple.”
“That’s good, right? That means things will get better, you need to be with him.”
“That can mean that he finally finds a way to keep me under his control, that he finally wins if he can get me to stay even when I’m willing to fight him like that.”
“Maybe I’m being selfish, but I want you two to be together. My cousin started living again after meeting you, I don’t want him to go back to being a zombie.”
“It might sound weird, but I don’t want that either, but that doesn’t mean that I will sacrifice myself for him, I can’t be someone I am not so he can be happy.”
“He doesn’t want you to change.”
“I have to, if I want to be the person he wants.”
“That’s not true, you must remember that he didn’t want Sklave, he wanted you, the strong confident warrior that you are.”
“Please, let’s talk about something else, we are getting nowhere with this discussion. I know what you all think and want, but you are only thinking about what he needs and what he wants, you are not thinking about me and my well being. I need someone who won’t try to control me, someone who can let me be free. I didn’t have an easy life, I have already paid for my errors and other people’s errors, I have paid for my faults and the faults that others thought I had committed. Kimball was supposed to be my refuge, he wasn’t supposed to become another one of my hells.”
“I’m sorry you feel like that. You are my friend and I do want what’s best for you, and I think that’s Kimball. We all make mistakes, but my cousin learnt his lesson and he won’t repeat his mistake.”
“I don’t know if I can risk it, I don’t know if I can trust him again,” but even as I said that, my hand moved to the necklace that I was still wearing despite my doubts. Wasn’t that a sign of trust?
“You should take some time to think about this: Do you really want to be away from Kimball? Or would you rather give him another chance? I know he loves you and I remember how happy you both used to be, you don’t look so happy anymore.”
“That’s your cousin’s fault, he is the reason I can’t feel at ease, but you are wrong, I am happy. I have Ethan, and he gives me peace and comfort. I don’t need anything else.”
“I hope you are not letting your fear get in the way of your happiness. Kimball and you belong together, you complement each other perfectly, and now you have Ethan to think about, he will be someone that you will share forever, he belongs to the both of you.”
“As Greca, but that doesn’t change anything. I won’t let anyone control me again. I lived most of my life trying to find the freedom to be myself, I’ve been trying for years to be free, to have control over my own life and decisions, and I won’t give up that for anyone.”
“Freedom is an illusion, there’s always something affecting how we act. You could say we are free, but the truth is that we are prisoners to circumstances, every action, every decision we make is focused on defeating our enemies. Even while fighting for freedom we are being controlled.”
“You may be right, but you wouldn’t understand where I’m coming from unless you have been in my position.”
“Just think about it Kaiserin, sometimes is worth taking risks.”