41. The Doctor's Wife
That filthy brat of a child was in her way. Vijf had thought perhaps Zes was on her side. After all, he’d opposed the new Tera, had supported her nephews when they needed it, had obeyed every order given to him.
Now Zes stood in her way, obstinately refusing to let her see the boy. He stood before Vier’s door, barring all access. Ace had announced his brother’s return a few hours earlier, along with the instructions to let the boy rest and some bullshit story about how he’d wandered around all night, trying to lose his tail.
It truly hurt her, the idea that her nephew thought she was idiotic enough to fall for such an obvious lie. But if Vier really was back, why would they block her?
“He’s not in there, is he?”
She had the satisfaction of watching Zes’ face crack, his calm façade dissolve instantly. His mouth dropped open with an audible snap, his eyes going wide. Vijf hadn’t realized he’d be so rattled, which meant there was something really wrong. Something Ace didn’t want her or any of the others to know about.
Zes’ hands came up, whether to grab her or motion her to silence, Vijf wasn’t certain, but she wasn’t taking the chance. She grabbed one, pressing her nails hard into the shattered joint of his broken thumb, and pushed him aside as he stumbled. The door opened with only a minor protest, revealing the empty room.
Falling forward under the pressure from behind her, Vijf allowed herself to be pushed into the room before turning to watch Zes stumble after her. He was cradling his hand, his face screwed in pain, his pupils dilated.
And Vijf realized why exactly he’d been so easy to unmask. Why he’d allowed himself to show pain. Why he’d been so easily bested.
“Are you on meds? What the hell are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking that my hands hurt like a bitch, but Doc wouldn’t give me anything because he wanted to see if the fucking nerves are still intact, so I grabbed some stuff when he wasn’t looking. What’s the problem? It’s his fault anyway, for being so oblivious he let a kid with two broken hands steal from him.”
Vijf wanted to laugh at the mental image she saw as he spoke. She really could picture her husband, his glasses askew, peering at the X-rays so intently he didn’t notice Zes’ reaching hands. But the empty room was her first priority, Zes’ drug abuse a distant second.
“So where is Vier, then?”
“We don’t know.”
Vijf wanted so badly to slap him, to make him tell her where her nephew had gone, but the naked pain on his face stopped her. “And when were you planning on telling the rest of us?”
Vijf spun on her heel and stormed from the room, stopping in the central living area only long enough to call a family meeting before stomping into the sitting room.