“Stop dropping your shoulder,” Shannyn said sharply, watching her son closely. She was proud of the young man he was growing into, but his forms could still be so damn sloppy.
With a grunt, he fixed his stance and took another hit at the punching bag. “Better?”
She nodded. “Yes.” She watched him for a while longer, telling him adjustments he needed to make as needed. Finally, she decided he’d trained enough for the day. “Great work, kid,” she said with a fond smile. “Go wash up and relax.”
“Relax?” He said with a crooked smile, reminding her terribly of Giovani. “What is this ‘relax’?”
She snorted and gave his shoulder a light shove before taking heading up the stairs. She wasn’t very pleased with what she found. Myrcella was reading some silly thing about unicorns with Jason while Quinn was playing with a llama toy that had been Kayne’s. Baz, as they’d taken to calling Balthazar, was at least doing something a little useful; he was at the chess board, hopefully sharpening his mind and not just pretending to play as Myrcella and Quinn often did.
“Is this all they’ve been doing today?”
Jason looked up at her as she came around the couch. “We played cards earlier.”
Shannyn ground her teeth. “Kids, go put on your work out clothes. None of you have trained yet today, and it’s getting late.”
Jason let out a huffing breath but nudged Myrcella towards the stairs. “You know, Shan, it won’t kill them to take a day off.”
Has he learned literally nothing? “It might,” she said ominously.
Baz was the first to reappear downstairs. No doubt, the other two were dragging their feet. He reminded her a lot of Kayne, so it was little wonder that he was her favorite of the triplets. When he was peeved at Jason, he even called him by name. It bothered Jason to no end, so she, of course, found it very amusing.
“Can I do the bag when we’re done outside? Kayne said he’d help me with the moves.”
Shannyn smiled. This is why he’s my second-favorite kid. “Of course. If Kayne still wants to help you.”
“Sure, twerp,” Kayne said, dropping down on the couch. “You need all the help you can get. You’re so scrawny; one of these days, a vulture is going to come and swoop you up.”
Myrcella came down the stairs at that moment, Quinn a step behind her. Her eyes widened in alarm. “A vulture won’t really get us, will it, Mom?”
Shannyn rolled her eyes. How can something I spawned be so gullible? “Don’t be stupid. Vultures don’t pick off children. Unless they’re weak and sickly, so get out there and do your exercise.”
Myrcella ran outside, Quinn hot on her heels. Shannyn snorted and motioned for Baz to follow them.
Jason rose to his feet, a scowl on his face. “Don’t scare them like that. They’re just kids, Shannyn.”
“Oh, come on, Jason,” Kayne said before Shannyn could respond. “They need to toughen up.”
Shannyn smiled grimly. “He’s right.” It gave her great satisfaction to hear Kayne talking like that. He had a respect for the world they lived in that Jason seemed never to grasp. At least Baz promised to grow up with that same respect.
“We’ll be outside. Why don’t you go back to saving the world?” She said sarcastically as she turned and left the house. All the years he’d spent researching, contacting people, making illicit trips after curfew – it was still coming up bubkis.
She walked around to the rear of the house and found the boys both doing pushups while Myrcella seemed to just be looking up at the sky.
“There’s nothing to see up there, Myrcella,” Shannyn said harshly, making the little girl jump. She herself had once spent time making shapes out of the clouds, but there weren’t clouds anymore – just cloud, singular. It was just a big gray blob up there. “Do your exercises.”
“Yes, Mom,” Myrcella said in a chastised voice before rolling over and starting her push ups.
Jason was always bitching about how hard Shannyn was on the kids but Myrcella most of all. He just didn’t understand, no matter how many times Shannyn tried to explain. She could tell already that Myrcella was going to grow into a beautiful woman – someone that men, either good ones or not so good ones, would want. If she wasn’t strong enough and well trained enough to take care of herself, she’d surely end up somebody’s victim.
He thinks I’m a monster, she thought as she watched the children. Why can’t he understand I just want them to be safe?