Dream Worlds Are Born

Story 632:Vicente & Cybele

Vicente was flying swiftly through the air, a grave look on his face. He had set up a meeting with his father and grandfather. A year into being friends with Nani and her family had completely changed who he was and he knew word would travel back to them. He’d rather go to them than be surprised randomly in the future. He also couldn’t do any more harm to Nani and her family. They’d blame her, he knew they would and that might result in Nani being killed. Honestly, knowing them they might even burn their orphanage to the ground and slaughter everyone inside when the news reached them.

Hopefully he could take them in a fight if they wouldn’t just let him go to live his life but he was ready to die if it came to that. He was miserable and he was done. He wanted a mate, he wanted the love and happiness Nani and Dakarai seemed to have. Truly, at this point, she had woken him up so much he’d rather be dead than stay living this way.

He had wanted to warn his new friends of his plan, to maybe get help in faceing them but he knew his father and grandfather wouldn’t be open to talking at all if others came, they’d feel attacked from the start that way. He was clinging to hope that maybe, somewhere in their hearts they loved him enough to let him live the life he wanted.

He thought of all the things he wanted to say and how he would say them, he thought of every worst case scenario, what they would do to him. His father and grandfather were even more powerful than he was, but he kept telling himself that no matter what they did, he wouldn’t back down. He sighed. Even after a year, he still sometimes felt surprised at himself. Spending time with Nani and her family had brought his pain and loneliness to the surface. He remembered the moment he realized how bad it was, he remembered feeling tears of frustration burning in his eyes. He had actually cried. He couldn’t remember the last time he had cried. He had been at the orphanage that day and had felt more embarrassed than he could remember. Nani had said it was okay, but he had actually left and stayed away for a couple of days until he composed himself. When he had returned, they had greeted him like he had never left.

He knew what they would all say if they knew what he was doing, they would reprimand him and say that he should trust them. The problem was that he did trust them and he wasn’t going to be the one to break that trust by getting them all killed. His heart stuttered in his chest when he found himself over familiar territory. He would be reaching them soon and then they would either accept him for who he was or they would kill him. He had to be confident. If there was one thing his father and grandfather’s training had taught him, it was confidence.

He landed at his fathers home and collected himself. “The more confident you are, the more likely you’ll get through this conversation alive” Vicente told himself, also reminding himself that Nani and her family were on the line. He just hoped his family hadn’t been keeping any tabs on him recently to know about her regardless of the fact he didn’t plan to mention her specifically. Vicente knocked and was soon greeted by his grandfather “Vicente, we’re eager to know why you suddenly wanted to see us” His grandfather moved to let him walk in.

Vicente walked in coolly, hopefully portraying the same air of confidence he always had. His father was waiting in the living room, a drink in hand “son, it’s good to see you well. Have you fathered a child yet? Is that why you’ve come?”

“children isn’t why I wanted this. I wanted to talk to the both of you about my plans for my life”

“Oh?” His grandfather handed Vicente a drink before also sitting down. Vicente stood before them and said without the slightest falter in his voice “I’ve decided I want a real mate. I don’t seem to get what you two get out of hooking up. A woman I bedded stuck around awhile and I found that I liked it, not her specifically but thats what I want”

His grandfathered grimaced “theres ways to have a woman wait on you without having a mate” he said mate like it was the most disgusting word in their language. “I know, I remember some of the women you two kept for awhile while I was growing up but I didn’t like that then and I dont think I’ll like that now”

:scream_cat:

His father waved a dismissive hand. “This nonsense needs to stop, Vicente. Mate’s are not worth your time. You simply need to focus on what’s important and put these thoughts out of your head. Women are nothing but tools.”

Vicente felt anger burn through him. Before he would have agreed, but now that he knew Nani, the thought of her being referred to as a tool infuriated him. He told himself to calm down. “I disagree father and I have decided I will father no more children until I’ve found a mate who would have me.” He could feel the shift in the air as both his father and grandfather shared a look of displeasure. He didn’t even have time to blink before his father was up and backhanding him. He crashed to the floor, his vision spinning and his glass flying across the room. He blinked, trying to bring his vision back into focus when he was lifted by his throat.

“You disappoint me, son.” His father said as he brought him closer. He could taste the blood in his mouth now where his cheek had been cut by his teeth. “Who has put this nonsense in your head? Some witch, a enchantress?”

“No one, this is my choice.” He grabbed his father’s arm and squeezed it, but it only got him a punch to the stomach. His father was incredibly powerful, almost frighteningly powerful, but he wasn’t going to beg for forgiveness.

“You disappointing, defective child.”

He hated that that actually stung, that he could be hurt by a father who didn’t actually love him. It hurt knowing he was just another tool, like all those women. “I don’t care.” He managed to get out. He shifted through the pain and struck his father, forcing him to let go and sending him flying over the couch where his grandfather sat. “I will not be used by you anymore.” He growled as his father stood and started to shift as well.

“That’s enough.” His grandfather said, holding up a hand that halted his father. “I will not have you destroying the house with this display.” He shook his head as he stood. Vicente was actually frozen as his grandfather came closer to him and punched him so hard he doubled over, instantly shifting back. He couldn’t breathe or think, he had never felt a pain like this. His grandfather grabbed him by his hair and pulled him to the front door, opened it a tossed him into the yard, following him. “You wasted our time, we should have killed you the moment you were born.” He kicked Vicente in the side then pinned him to the ground. “Who rotted your brain boy? Tell me now and maybe I will go easy on you.”

“No…one, I swear.” His grandfather let out a sigh and lifted him, hitting him again, so fast Vicente had no time to do anything but block. The final blow to his stomach had him on his hands and knees actually throwing up this time. He took a deep breath and forced himself to stand and meet his grandfather’s gaze. “Are you done, grandfather?”

“Yes.” He waved his hand. “Go then, find a mate, if you think you can. Know that even though you are your father’s strongest child, you are also his greatest disappointment.”

“Am I disowned then?” He snapped.

“It would be a waste to simply do away with you, after all the work that was put into you. I would rather you live with the pain and the fact you’re broken.” He turned away from him. “Get out of my sight and stay away for awhile.”

“Yes grandfather.” He said and even though he was in agony, he took to the air. He flew as far as he could before his injuries had him landing near a river. He actually stumbled and fell. His grandfather had done more damage than he had realized. He was sure some of his ribs were broken and his chest felt heavy, his insides on fire. He rolled onto his back and just stared up at the canopy above him. He was so tired, but at least Nani and her family were safe, at least he had been able to walk away. He started to close his eyes, the flapping of wings catching his attention as a large black bird dropped from a branch. A raven, he thought. “An omen of death.” He said with a little laugh. “Appropriate.” He closed his eyes, swearing he felt someone brush fingers over his forehead before he fell unconscious.

Cybele examined the wounded man, worry filling her. He looked bad and her gut told her he wasn’t a bad being. She had grown up being able to trust her gut completely. Ever since she was a child she could instantly tell if someone leaned more toward the good or bad side of life. Since her gut was telling her he wasn’t someone she should allow to perish she became a raven once more so she could hurry home and collect some things to tend to him.

She didn’t have incredible strength like most shifters did so being unable to move this stranger, she’d have to tend to him where he currently laid. Her heart leapt with relief and joy when she noticed her brother waiting outside her home. "Cybele he said happily, recognizing his sister instantly, even as a raven. When she landed she hugged him “Adonis, I’m so happy to see you. It’s mostly because I’ve missed you but I also need your help. A man is wounded about fifteen minuets south of here. You’d be able to help me get him home right? You’re going to have to be careful with him”

“Maybe not by myself but to ruin the surprise Iakovos is on his way too. We wanted to surprise you for your birthday”

“My…oh my gosh my birthday is tomorrow” Cybele was truly shocked but her brother wasn’t. He chuckled out the words “I mean it’s up to us to remember since you never do”

“is mom and dad coming?”

“tomorrow”

“I have the best family”

“I’m glad I’m here since you’re helping strangers, though, I guess that gut of yours has never been wrong.”

“It hasn’t” The three ravens left as soon as Iakovos arrived, the two brothers managing to lift and carry Vicente back to Cybeles home. They put him in one of the guest rooms and helped their sister when she asked. She sighed when she was done tending to him “I wish there was more I could do.”

Iakovos responded “there isn’t much help for broken ribs, you’ve done what you can now come spend some time with us.”

“Yeah, I’m sure he’ll let us know when he’s up” Adonis added.

“But he looks so hurt, what if he freaks out waking up here alone?”

Both men chuckled. “Then I’m sure our sweet, adorable sister will run straight to his side.” Adonis teased. “Now come on, let him rest, he’ll be fine, he looks like a big tough, strong man and smells of demon. Come on.”

“Alright, but I’m blaming you if he gets upset.”

“We’ll gladly take the blame.” Iakovos said and both he and Adonis ushered her back into the living room.

“I do wonder what caused so much damage.” Adonis said as they sat down.

“Whatever it was, it could have killed him.” Cybele said. She sighed, then looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry, are you two hungry or thirsty or anything? I saw him and I panicked.”

“Do you have tea made?” Adonis asked.

“Yes.”

“Then I’ll get it, you just relax.”

“I’m such a bad hostess.”

“A life takes priority over manners.” Iakovos said.

When Adonis came back he gave his two siblings cups and filled them with tea from the tea pot. As he sat Cybele thanked them again “Thank you for coming to celebrate my birthday with me and for helping when you had already traveled.”

“we only live an hour from you sis”

“yeah” Adonis said as he gave her a brief hug from the side. “I hope mom and dad get in early tomorrow” Cybele added after a long intake of tea. “I think they are. The plan this year was to get here no later than lunch on the day of your birthday”

“what made you two decide to come today?”

“we missed your fat head, you’ve gotten bad about coming to see us” Cybele let out a small laugh “sorry”

“You know you’ve been missing Iakovos’s first real crush”

“Adonis, I thought we agreed you weren’t going to bring him up” Iakovos said semi crossly. Cybele lit up “Really? Finally?”

“hey I’ve dated before” Iakovos spoke defensively.

“never seriously” Cybele remarked and Adonis chuckled “and this is serious. You should see Iakovos around him” Iakovos stood and Cybele spat out “boys” Iakovos slowly sat as his sister continued “come on I want to hear about it”

“well then I’ll tell you about him, shut your face Adonis”

“alright alright” Adonis said before leaning back where he sat. “he’s actually another raven. You may remember him from when we were kids, Stamatis.” She had to think a few moments “oh yeah, his family moved”

“they’re back” Adnois couldn’t help but say. It caused Iakovos to glare at him a moment before he said “yes they are back and I don’t know why but as soon as I saw him again…I…well…I’d like to develop something with him. I’m laying a base right now before I ask him out.”

“Thats going to be such a cute story when you two have been together thirty or so years” Cybele said with a warm smile. Iakovos blushed and Adonis had to stifle a chuckle. “Adonis, could I see you outside” Iakovos asked and Cybele said “No, please, he’s just happy for you.”

“It’s true, you’ve finally found the one and I couldn’t be happier.” Adonis added. “I also can’t help but tease you, it’s my job.”

“Well tease our sister, she’s the one bringing home attractive strangers.”

Cybele blushed. “That’s not why I brought him home.”

“Oh sure, you say it was because he was injured, but really you just saw how pretty he was. Shame on you sister.” Adonis said with a mischievous grin.

“Oh stop.”

“I wonder what mom and dad will think.” Iakovos chimed in.

“Boys, be nice or I’ll make you sleep outside.”

“Alright, alright, we’re sorry, please forgive us.”

“I’ll think about it and besides, what about you? Have a girlfriend yet?”

“Not yet, but after the last one, I’m taking a break.” Adonis explained. “It just didn’t work out and by the end I was actually relieved we broke up.”

“I’m sorry, but it was for the best I think.”

“I agree, she can find someone better suited to her and I can find someone who doesn’t mind me wanting to travel.”

She smiled, Cybele felt proud of her brother for being so mature about the breakup. Immaturity wasn’t something she often saw in the two of them though. They continued catching up on eachothers lives until a soft groan caught their ears “he must be awake” Cybele murmured. “so soon? It’s only been a few hours?” Adonis replied with confusion. “He must be quite the being” Iakovos concluded, now more interested in his sisters house guest. Cybele lead the way into Vicente’s room where he was sitting up against the headboard in obvious pain “Hey, I can get you something for the pain. Just give me a moment” Cybele assured then hastily left.

Vicente looked at the two men and inquired “where am I?”

“Our baby sister found you. She’s never been one to turn a blind eye when she can help. Thankfully we were coming today anyway. She probably would have sat there in the woods with you since she wouldn’t have been able to get you back here. The two of us carried you at her request”

Cybele came back in with a needle, effectively ending their conversation “I have pills too but this will help much more if you trust me” Vicente couldn’t help but notice how beautiful Cybele was as he answered “if you were going to hurt me you would have already. I can see and feel all the help you’ve already given. Please, give me some relief from this pain”

She walked over and quickly injected him “I fear at this point all I can do is manage the pain until your body completes the rest”

“what’s your name little raven?” he asked the question so tenderly it made her heart stutter a moment. She also just liked his voice and her brothers were right, he was an incredibly attractive man. “Cybele, my brothers here are Adonis and Iakovos” She motioned to each one as she said their names. “I am Vicente”

“You’re welcome to stay here until you feel better Vicente. My family is here to celebrate my birthday tomorrow. Undoubtedly my parents are home cooking an amazing meal to bring over so we’ll have delicious food and cake to share with you tomorrow”

“Thank you so much Cybele” It was almost too much for her that he was maintaining eye contact like he was. She even thought his eyes were beautiful. “So Vicente what happened to you?” Adonis inquiring about his injuries was almost jarring to Vicente. He had become so captivated by Cybele he had forgotten the men for a few seconds. He tried not to lose too much of the softness in his tone “I got into a fight with my father and grandfather”

He didn’t know what it was about Cybele, it certainly wasn’t just the desire for the mate or the fact she was pretty, there was something more, she already meant something to him and he wasn’t going to destroy his chances with her already by starting things with a lie. Nani and her family had emphasized many times he couldn’t go around lieing to women if he wanted something to last. He just hoped for now, he could avoid telling her why.

“Your own family hurt you” The concern in her tone tugged at Vicentes heart. It felt good she cared so much. “why would they do that?” Adonis continued his line of questioning. “we butt heads all the time, its the way of demons” He did have some demon in his lineage and everyone knew they were the most volatile of the immortals. It also still wasn’t a lie. He hadn’t exactly had a cuddly life with them even when he was doing what they wanted.

“That’s an understatement.” Adonis said.

“That’s enough interrogation for today brother, he just woke up.” Cybele gently reprimanded.

“It’s fine, Cybele, this is your house and they’re your brothers.” Vicente said.

“Still, you need time to just relax, to rest and heal.” She reached out and pressed the back of her hand to his forehead. “You feel a little warm. I hear demons don’t tend to get a fever, you must have been hurt a lot worse than I thought.”

“A fever?” He had never been sick a day in his life. “I’m sure it’s nothing, I wouldn’t worry about it.” He slowly reached up and took her hand. “I’ll be okay.”

She blushed and he found even that fascinating. He wasn’t using his power, so to have her react to him on her own was amazing. “Just be sure to tell me if you feel worse.”

“I will.”

“And if you need helping getting up be sure to yell for us.” Iakovos said, bringing Vicente’s attention back to the brothers once again.

“Of course, thank you.”

“Are you hungry or thirsty?” Cybele asked.

“Some water if you don’t mind.”

“I’ll get it, you just stay here with your patient, nurse Cybele.” Iakovos said.

“Thank you.” She replied then sat down on the edge of the bed. Vicente still had her hand and she didn’t want to pull away. Maybe he needed the contact to help him feel better.

He kept her hand until Iakovos brought his glass of water. She hadn’t seemed uncomfortable by his touch so he had savored it as long as he could. Nani and her family had talked so much about fate, about how it would bring you to the one you’re destined for and he wondered if thats what was happening. He was meant to land where he did, when he did so that he could meet her because he felt too much right now for this to be merely his desire not to be alone anymore.

He downed the whole glass and sat it on the nearest surface “wow, do you need another one?” Iakovos asked and Vicente answered “No, I just really needed that first one” He wanted to reach for her hand again but he worried he had already done it too much for now. Cybele and her brothers stayed in the room with him and talked until one by one they left for bed. First it was Iokovas, then Adonis, leaving just Cybele for about an hour before she finally said “I need to go to bed too Vicente”

He couldn’t help but reach out and gently cup her cheek in his hand, meeting his eyes with hers yet again “okay, thank you so much for helping me and for talking with me like this” her heart stuttered again and he had to fight down the huge smile that almost caused. “don’t hesitate to call if you need something” She stood and he let his hand rest on the bed. When she shut his door behind her hopefulness and worry swirled within him.

He hoped with every fiber of his being he could build something with this woman but he also worried he was going to mess this up. It was all he could do not to touch her constantly and he didn’t want to do it so much that it ended up being a problem. That topped on the fact this was the first time he was actually trying with a girl with no magic involved. This was new territory and Cybele was definitely not the girl he wanted to fail with. It almost wasn’t fair someone who tugged at his heart this much was the first girl he encountered since changing.

In the morning Cybele woke to what she thought was her brothers preparing her birthday breakfast. It woke her up instantly with delight when she realized it was her parents in the kitchen “Mom! Dad!” her squeal woke Vicente up in his bedroom. His heart was racing with fear since she had been so loud but he soon realized she wasn’t in any kind of danger. He just laid there, listening to her interact with her parents. “we let ourselves in with the key you gave us” her mom said as she hugged Cybele. “good, I was up late”

Cybele went to hug her father as he started “we know, theres a man here isn’t there. Do you have a boyfriend?” She was beet red again “Oh no, I just found him wounded while I was out flying. I’m helping him get better”

“but you’re so red”

“dad” she whispered sharply. Her guest was a demon so if he was awake she didn’t want him hearing that.

“Don’t be so embarrassed little sister.” Adonis said as he and Iakovos entered the kitchen and hugged their parents.

“I’m not.” She protested.

“It’s because he’s so pretty isn’t it?” Iakovos teased.

“No, you’re all so evil.”

“We just love you sweetheart.” Her mother said. “Besides, it’s a good thing.”

“I’m going to go check on him, see if he’s up and hungry.” They all laughed as she tried not to run from the kitchen. She went straight to the room she had given Vicente and knocked. “Are you awake?” She asked. It made her jump when he actually opened the door and she actually had to tilt her head back to look up at him.

“Good morning, Cybele.” He said with a little smile.

“Good morning.” Why was her heart beating so fast? “You shouldn’t be up.”

“I’m alright.”

She let her eyes move to his torso. He was still bruised. “May I check?” She asked, her cheeks reddening.

“Of course.”

She reached out and let her fingers slide over his skin, gently prodded his sides. Some of them were still not fully healed. “You shouldn’t be walking around.” She looked up at him. “Why didn’t you call us to help you up? You could make it worse.”

“I’m alright, but thank you for worrying.”

“Do you still hurt?”

“A bit.” It was more than that, but he didn’t want to be a burden on her birthday, it was her day. He also found he had enjoyed her touch, even if it did hurt.

“Just please be careful.”

“Come on, I know your parents are here, introduce me.”

“O…okay.”

Since he knew they were here she wondered how much he heard. She hoped it was just about smell sense demons and wolves were extremely sensitive that way. Vicente entering the kitchen with Cybele caught her fathers attention first. He walked over “it’s nice to meet you, Vicente right? The boys told me. My name’s Henrik” They shook hands then her mother introduced herself “and I’m Aina, I’m so glad you’re okay” he shook her hand aswell and she continued “we’re making puff pastry waffles and strawberry cheesecake muffins. The birthday girl loves them”

He couldn’t help but smile, he actually enjoyed learning things about Cybele. Vicente could now see where all the black hair came from. Henriks hair was jet black and he had passed it down to all three children. He also stood there half relieved they didn’t know him. These ravens lives so close to his childhood home, there had been some chance they could have run across him back when he was the selfish ass he had been raised to be. He could praise the gods he wasn’t having that work against him.

He was certainly glad the world had been kind enough to keep Cybele away from him. He could have already slept with her, treated her like a toy and lost his chance at the happy life he could already see himself having with her. Adonis, Iakovos, Cybele and Vicente weren’t at the table long before they had food in front of them. Aina tried to get them to start eating but they waited until both she and her husband Henrik could sit and eat too.

“Oh mom and dad, this is amazing” Cybele declared thankfuly and her mother smiled “wait until you see lunch. It’s prepped and in your fridge, I’ll just have to heat it.” Iakovos finished what was in his mouth then asked “how does it feel to be another year older Cybele?”

“the same really” she answered with a smile then continued eating.

“I feel a bit guilty you’re taking care of me on such an important day.” Vicente said.

“I’m sure it was a welcome present.” Adonis said and laughed when Cybele kicked him under the table, her face bright red.

“I’m always happy to have an extra guest.” Cybele stated. “The more the merrier.”

“I want to find a way to make it up to you.” Vicente replied. “Think about what you want and if it’s in my power, I’ll give it to you.”

“Do you hear that sister, he said anything.” Iakovos said with a wink.

Cybele did her best to ignore the teasing, but it was a lot harder with Vicente in the room and he seemed so focused on her. “I’ll think about it, so just please focus on getting better.”

He smiled. “If it pleases you, I will.” He then turned his attention to Aina. “Your food is truly delicious, thank you for making extra.”

“Henrik and I always cook too much on their birthdays anyway. It was no trouble” They continued trying to get to know Vicente over breakfast but right after everyone was eager to give Cybele the gifts they brought. Iakovos went first, handing his sister two packages. Cybele opened the small one first and smiled down at the earrings it contained. Something hit her as she looked down at them “Iakovos…did you make these?” Cybeles attention was drawn to him “well I had a hard time figuring out what to buy you…so I just made you the earrings you were raving about that that book character had…they look right then?”

“yeah” she responded in a touched tone “I love you little sister” Iakovos said with embarrassment. “would you all mind if I put them on quickly? I dont want to risk losing them”

“It’s your birthday, put them on” Her father chimed happily. Cybele went to the nearest mirror and slipped the new earrings into her ears. She returned, eager to see what the next one was. It turned out to be material. “it’s beautiful”

“I thought it would look good with the earrings. I’ve never been any good with clothes and you are so I figured you could just make what you want.” She hugged him, feeling emotional from all the love she felt from her family. Adonis was next so he handed his sister a bag that she soon realized had a bit of weight to it. She opened it to find a wooden note book. The wood itself was beautiful but what made it even better was that there was ocean life etched into it. “Copy cat” Iakovos coughed out. It gained him a glare from Adonis “You making her something may have inspired me to make something but its still my idea”

“Boys” Aina gently reprimanded before Cybele asked “you carved this yourself Adonis?”

“Yup, you like it?”

“it’s amazing, at least I can see the ocean this way”

“why can’t you see the ocean?” Vicente asked and she blushed again. Her father answered “she can’t swim, we have all tried with her numerous times. It’s a shame, she really wants to but she cant get the hang of it under water. See, we have a friend who can enable us to breath under water so we all go down atleast once a year but she’s never been able to do it”

“I can teach you.” Vivente said. “As a birthday gift.”

“But you’re hurt.”

“Then after, I’m a very capable swimmer.”

“I mean, if you really want to.”

“I do so let me.”

She flushed. “Okay.”

“Good, it’ll be the start of me making all of this up to you.”

Adonis chuckled and Iakovos did his best not to grin. “So Vicente, we know you’re injured, but are you up for going outside and playing a few games with us?” Aina asked. “If not, you can always just relax and watch.”

“I’d love to.” Vicente replied.

“Just nothing to rough, okay?” Cybele said.

“I’ll be alright, I promise. I’m a fast healer, so whatever you and your family want to do, I’m ready for.”

“It’s funny you should say that.” Iakovos said. “Every birthday, we play Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better. It’s always fun to see Cybele trying to out muscle Adonis and I.”

“You always lose to dad, so it’s okay if I lose.” Cybele shot back.

Their parents laughed together and it caused Vicente to glance over at Cybele again, wanting more than anything to have something as real and wonderful as her parents had. It felt so natural to be sitting here with them and that was something he never expected, to be comfortable in a family setting beyond Nanis family. Cybeles father stood and hefted a large box onto the coffee table that had been beside the couch. “is that my gift?”

Aina nodded with a smile as Henrik sat back down with her. Cybele stood and unwrapped her present with a gasp. It was a gorgeous marble chess set “oh my goodness” her father spoke “we didn’t make it like the boys made their gifts but I had so much fun playing chess with you last time we were at your Uncle Mortens home…I wanted to be able to play when I visited you and we both thought this one was stunning”

Cybele hugged both her parents “thank you guys…so much…” it was a lingering hug but Vicente, Adonis and Iakovos were happy to wait. Once she let go her father said “where should I put it for you. It’s heavier than it might look”

“Lets leave it on the coffee table for now. I’m not sure where I want it yet” She hugged Henrik one more time then Adonis suggested “Now lets go play some games before we pig out on whatever mom and dad made for lunch and can’t move”

Cybele stayed right next to Vicente as they headed outside, worried that he might make his injuries worse, especially around her brothers. “Alright, let’s mix it up this year.” Adonis said. “We have an even number, so let’s form teams. Iakovos and will be my partner, mom and dad you can be one, and then Cybele you can team up with Vicente.”

Cybele looked up at Vicente and blushed. “If you want to.” She said.

“Of course I do.”

“Okay, what’s the first challenge?” She asked, her whole body warm.

“Strength and balance.” He moved into a handstand then lifted one off the ground and held it up.

“Such a show off.” Iakovos said.

“I bet you wouldn’t be saying that if Stamatis were here.”

Iakovos flushed. “Hush or I’ll strangle you.” Adonis laughed and Iakovos placed both of his hands in Adonis’s and lifted himself into a handstand as well. He lifted one of his hands once he was situated.

“Alright mom and dad, you’re turn, show us up or admit defeat.” Adonis said.

“Prepare to be disappointed son.” Henrik replied.

Vicente and Cybele watched as her parents moved into another balancing act and she turned to him. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I don’t want you to make your ribs worse.”

“I’m fine, let’s show them how much better we are.”

They were whispering back and forth up until their turn. “are you sure?” she asked loud enough for the family to hear when they were meant to go “yes, I’ll be fine. I promise” He lowered his palm and she stood on it as he lifted her above his head. When his arm was straight up she took on a classic ballerina pose then to her families surprise he slowly lowered his hand back down then thrusted her up. She landed with a single hand on one of his shoulders, balancing there until he grabbed her and set her down. That was surprising enough but he hadn’t even flinched. Given his injuries that blew them away.

Her family clapped, instantly conceding they had won the first round. “she may stand a chance with you as her partner” Iakovos noted with a grin. “so what’re we doing next?” Cybele asked nervously “Hm, dad, you choose” Adonis suggested and their father Henrik took on a thoughtful look. “two person juggling? Lets see whose the last pair standing? You’re out as soon as you drop anything”