The three nights following their argument in the mini-theater were ones in which a certain gargoyle wished he had the ability to sleep in. In sleep he could dream of her, and be content to relive the bliss of the previous week. But of course it was not to be. Goliath could no more hide from the pain of Elisa's indifference than he could from the setting sun. So he woke without fail, upon his place on the parapets of Castle Wyvern, and feeling neither hungry, nor much of anything else, he slunk off to the library without joining the others.
Not that they needed to be told where to find him. In fact the majority of the Manhattan Clan had no wish to encounter their leader at all, whether they had need of him or no. By wordless accord, they all gave what Brooklyn called, "The Fortress of Solitude" a very wide berth.
All but two of them anyway, who were either particularly brave in the face of their leader's moods, or else particularly immune. The first to dare the fortress door was Angela, who, having witnessed the detective's wet eyes, was already quite put out with her father's behavior (what with the growling and stomping). That he had not deigned to face the rest of them for a meal in the nights since then, only made her more upset.
Having the benefit of firsthand experience with all the Mazas, the young violet knew they were none of them easily given to tears. When provoked into an emotional response, they rather tended to charge. Elisa especially, though not one to display her every feeling, was not one to be crossed either. Angela would never forget the story brother Gabriel had told her of the detective's unarmed throw down against Demona.
For these reasons and others, Elisa's sadness disturbed her, and even if she didn't know what their disagreement had been about per say, she was sure Goliath had somehow caused it. He had been the one to yell and leave in a huff, after all, and besides that, Angela just couldn't picture Elisa hurting her father. In their Avalon travels, Goliath had been possessed by spirits, ensorcelled by a jewel that made him go berserk under its power, and even disappeared on them in London, yet Elisa had never lost her faith in him, doggedly chasing after and defending him. Even with her memory stolen and believing them to be her enemies, she had risked herself to save them from Nokar. No, Elisa protected them. Always. That her father could be pig-headed was a much more likely scenario.
Angela had taken every care to open the library door as quietly as possible. She had determined it best not to come storming in and demanding answers. If her father had buried himself in here to hide his emotions away, ambushing him might only incur his temper. So she slipped soundlessly inside, prepared to prowl the aisles in silence until she could gently make her presence known.
So focused was she on making an unobtrusive entrance, that she did not see him sitting on the sofa with his back to the door. She had just managed to ease the door shut behind her, when she was startled by his heavy sigh.
"What were you thinking?" He muttered angrily.
His daughter's surprised face whipped toward the hearth, where she could see the back of his head. She opened her mouth to answer him, but her mind skittishly gave her nothing to say. She had been mad at him for driving Elisa away. She wasn't prepared for him to be angry with her.
Yet as she observed him, it slowly dawned on the young gargoyle that he wasn't talking to her. Her father sat very still, leaning his head forward on one hand.
Truly insensible to Angela's arrival, Goliath's thoughts continued to swirl about as they had since he'd fled from Elisa. It had seemed to be going so well. Where had everything gone so wrong?
He had known she wasn't ready to be his mate, yet he had been forced to conclude that they must be mated if they were to go forward, especially after he allowed himself to be tempted by her willing manners.
"What were you thinking?" He murmured to himself.
Elisa could not have known what she courted in that secluded room, but what would she have done if they hadn't been interrupted? He had been incensed enough by a verbal rejection, had he been freshly bonded to Elisa – if she still- She would still have left, he thought, but our positions would be reversed. She would be feeling angry and betrayed, and I would feel guilty, but I would still be here. Alone. She still would have said something like, "…you've obviously been thinking about this….just give me some time…"
Goliath surged to his feet with a frustrated growl, lashing out at a stack of books with an angry swipe of talons. They flew with minimum effort, scattering across the carpeted floor and wobbling a lamp rather dangerously. The various thumps of landing tomes made enough noise in their tumbling to make the clan leader feel ashamed of his temper, and to startle his hatchling into hiding behind a row of shelves.
His heart burned at the idea that the woman he loved had never considered their union could be permanent. The woman he loved. The human woman he loved. Was that the problem? He wondered, too caught up in his thoughts to discern the light sound of a gargoyle backing herself into the library's shadows. Was it possible their differences had prevented her from considering him as a potential mate? Even after he had told her his love would be, as she said, "permanent"? Scowling darkly, he turned abruptly from the mess he had made, to stare out the window and into the night.
Angela saw her father's temper abate from her hiding place among the encyclopedias, and was just about to reveal herself when she heard the taloned toes outside the door. She was not hidden well enough to escape detection from the vantage point of whoever the newcomer was, and so she speedily climbed the nearest ladder and the knob turned. Luckily, Hudson's casual entry made noise enough to cover her escape to the second tier of library shelves.
The over-large lavender turned slightly at the entrance of his mentor, his gloomy expression unchanged. Hudson said nothing by way of greeting, and to Angela, who remained out of sight by peering through the railing above them, seemed to be taking his leader's measure. He just stood by the door maintaining a steady gaze on Goliath, who shifted uncomfortably under the silence before breaking it.
"Was there something you wanted?" he muttered resentfully.
"Ye dinna come to breakfast this evenin'," his elder smoothly observed. "Will we not see you again tonight?"
"I will eat when I'm hungry. I don't need supervision."
"Aye, well, it would give an old soldier some peace of mind to see you." The old brown paused to judge the effect he was having, and then added, "Else he might think yer just tellin' what he wants to hear." This met with an icy glare, which Hudson calmly met for a moment or two, but his clan leader remained immovable on the subject and turned his back to face the window once more.
Angela suspected her father was using the reflection of the glass to watch for the elder's departure. Unfortunately for him, Hudson did not appreciate the silent dismissal, and was not willing to let the conversation end there.
"Or maybe, yer too much a coward to account for sending Elisa away."
Goliath's eyes lit instantly with rage, their cool blue light flashing like lightning in the window panes. He whirled on his mentor with an angry growl that shook the glass, flinging aside the lamp and end table in his path. The blown glass of the lampshade fractured over the floor, but the bulb remained to light the enraged gargoyle from the ground up. He looked terrifying in his anger, even to his daughter, but to all this Hudson barely blinked his bad eye.
"She keeps herself away!" Goliath howled in fury. "And what right have you to say anything to me?" He charged, pointing a talon and stomping to face his elder. "You whose mate loved you until the day she died? You know nothing of being the second choice of the woman you love! You do not know what it is to make yourself pleasing to a woman who refuses to bond with you!"
Weathered brown talons seized Goliath by the wrist.
"Is that what she said?" His mentor's sympathetic and incredulous stare broke through the show of ferocious strength. Goliath had no intention of talking about Elisa, and yet in short order, he had somehow been lead to confessing the whole of it.
The lavender gargoyle sighed his defeat. "No, of course not."
"Huh, well, dinna put words in her mouth lad," the elder admonished with evident relief. "If that's not what she said, then that's not what she meant."
Goliath nodded, trying for the millionth time NOT to think of Jason Canmore in Elisa's apartment.
"Did yeh explain about the first mating? About bonding to her?"
"I tried," he said, folding his arms and looking morosely at the floor, "I thought she understood, but she was not pleased with the prospect. She imagined Demona and I were still…"
"Your old bonds are broken."
"As I told Elisa. She did not seem reassured." Hudson fell silent, stroking his beard as his ridged forehead wrinkled in thought. Goliath expounded, his hurt exposing itself in his voice. "She said it was a bad idea, for us to be connected that way, that it was too terrible a secret to keep, but I think that was just her excuse!"
"That's easy for you to say!" Angela's feminine tone rang from above with indignation. "You don't have anything to loose!"
"Angela! How long have you been in here?" Her father glared his disapproval at her eavesdropping, but the young violet was too upset for guilt.
"Am I not allowed to read, just because you're mad?" She leaned over the railing in accusation. Her leader growled by way of response, but it did nothing to prevent her from making her point. "You're always reminding us that Elisa has a life outside of our clan. Her family, her job," the young violet shook her head at the warriors below. "Can't you see that she could lose those things if everyone knew she loved you? How can you ask her to choose between her life and her life with us?"
Hudson's chin lifted subtly as his discerning eyes moved from her to the leader beside him. Goliath still frowned, though he no longer looked so angry at her. "Her family would not abandon her," he muttered.
"Maybe not," Hudson answered gently. "But ye dinna think they will leap for joy?"
"It's not right that she should be willing to give up everything for you," Angela persisted, vaulting lightly over the banistered catwalk. "Would you abandon your clan for her?"
"It's not the same," Goliath grouched at his daughter, in half-hearted defense.
"I know." The female violet rose gracefully from her landing, wrapping her wings about her shoulders and looking tall and proud. "You would never have to make that decision because Elisa would never ask you to." She turned from them both, exiting the library without even a backward glance.
The two males stood silent for a few moments, staring at the door even after it had closed behind her.
"It appears I gave you some ill-conceived advice," Hudson remarked apologetically. "I shouldn't have meddled in yer affairs with the lass."
"Nothing you said to me excuses my thoughtlessness," Goliath sighed, shaking his head. "I will apologize. Perhaps it will be best to keep things between us, er, unofficial, for a while."
"Oh? How will ya do that?" Hudson squinted his bad eye suspiciously, "The pair of ya were getting' along like a house on fire." The elder grinned. "I dinna think you'll last much longer."
The clan leader made a small, rueful smile at the floor which distracted his mentor from his clenching fists. "We will move more slowly."
"I hope yer as good as yer word," Hudson said, slapping his leader's shoulder. "Owen tells me the lass is set to return in two more nights." He headed for the door, knowing he had Goliath's full attention. "And she be bringin' friends."