Titanium

Titanium: strong hearted; strong
After eight years of ongoing battles between relationships, love and war, Violet and Luke are back. Changes have been made to their life, people have been added, mistakes have happened and love has changed. They have changed. But with every battle they fight and with every obstacle they are thrown into, they become titanium.

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20. Chapter Twenty

I watched as my grandma sat in her recliner with Ryan sitting on her lap. He looked so innocent, so sweet sitting there, oblivious to everything going on around him. Mum and dad talking in the kitchen, Leo and Jenna playing on the floor and Luke and I sitting on the couch. My grandma smiled down at Ryan and pinched his chubby cheeks before laughing. Don't get me wrong, I love my grandma so much, but she is a little on the weird side. You know how people say "she always smells like ham?" Well, Grandma Jo actually smells like ham and Ramen noodles.

"Stop it. She's a sweet lady," Luke whispered. That's another thing, Grandma Jo has no clue about what mum is and no clue what Luke and I are. She only sees us as best friends. Dad never told her what goes on at home and never told her about mum being a savior, which is why Grandma Jo hates my mum so much because Dad told her mum left after having us.

"Here comes Jersey," Grandma Jo sighed as footsteps sounded from the kitchen. I put my legs on the couch, careful not to leave them down because Jersey loves his feet and legs. Because apparently legs are chew toys to Grandma Jo's Saint Bernard. You would think an old lady like Grandma Jo would have a small little lap dog but nope, she decided on a hide monster to protect her. After my Granddad passed away five years ago, she's been afraid of getting robbed because it happened once before when she was a child. Also, Dad wanted her to get some kind of protection that wasn't Uncle Nick because we all know Uncle Nick isn't that good with protecting. Or good with anything.

"Grandma Jo, are you happy you lived to see your great grandson?" I asked, petting Jersey.

"I am, you I wish Michael was here to see him," she replied.

"Me too," I whispered, looking down to the large dog. Luke put his hand on my knee and smiled at me. "I'll be right back, just going to get a water,"

"Get me one?" Luke asked. I nodded and stepped over the dog.

"You don't get to decide that, John. You don't get to decide who they go up against," mum whispered, throwing her hands around in the air. I glued myself to the wall opposite to the kitchen where my parents couldn't see me.

"I think I do. I trained both Violet and Luke and I should be able to chose who they go up against especially in missions,"

"No, you don't. I am the savior in this relationship, not you. I am the one who has a say in who they go against and where the missions are. You only train them, you do not have authority in this. You are not Violet's protector and you are not Luke's," mum whispered.

"So what am I then, Jack? I took on being a trainer for you. I went through hell for ten years before Violet and Leo were born. I got trained by your father for years to do this, all for what? All the years you were gone, I made the missions, I found the missions. I raised those kids. I may not be a protector, but I am Violet's father, Jacqueline,"

"There's a difference between being a father and being a protector. You are bound to them if you're a protector. As a father, you want to feel what they feel. You raised them, but a protector does everything else,"

"So why am I staying around then? What use am I to this? You agreed when I first starting doing this that we would be a team in this, that we would run this together. And now you want to take that all away? Not only that but tell me I'm useless to our daughter now? If you haven't noticed, Violet's protector isn't even in her life, yeah, he helped her once but that's it. If I'm not needed in this, then maybe I should leave. Maybe I should just forget about all of this,"

"Maybe it'll be for the best," I covered my hand over chest and leaned against the wall. This is not happening, this can't happen. My parents are the only reason why I have hope in everything that's happening in my life, the reason I have faith in a future with Luke and I.

"Hey, what's going on? I just got this huge emotional wave," Luke said. I shook my head and dragged Luke into the small office at the end of the hall. "Hey, what's going on?" Luke asked as I paced the floor.

"Vi, if you pace anymore you're going to put hole in the floor,"

"I think my dad is leaving," I announced.

"What?"

"I... I heard my parents talking and they were arguing about my dad training and choosing our missions and.... and my mum told him he is only a trainer and doesn't... doesn't get to choose where we go. And, and he said it would be best to leave and forget about all of this. And mum agreed. She agreed to it, Luke."

"Calm down. You're all over the place," he whispered, sitting me next to him.

"They're the only reason why I kept Ryan. The only reason why I have hope and faith. And if they get a divorce... I-"

"Breathe, baby, breathe," he whispered, pulling me into his chest. It didn't matter to me that Luke called baby or that he was kissing my hair. What mattered to me was the fact that my best friend was holding me in my time of need, in my time of hurt.

"Uncle Nick has the design ready," Dad said, opening the door to the office. I didn't even bother to look up, Luke did everything to me. "Everything okay?"

"Yeah, we'll be out in a minute," Luke replied, smoothing my hair out. I wrapped my arms around his waist tighter, not wanting to let go of him. Not wanting to feel the cold of air. Not wanting to face my family outside and put on this front as if nothing ever happened, as if I didn't hear the arguments.

"Just stay by me, then." Luke whispered. There's always those times when a grown woman like myself can have her moments like this. I'm human, I have feelings and I have a heart. A shattered heart, but I still have one.

I held onto Luke as we walked down the hallway. All of a sudden, it's like this weight is pressing down on me, making me feel like I'm walking in sand, making me feel like the weight of the world is physically on my shoulders. Making me feel like the thoughts and the demons in my head are trying to get out and they're just swirling around in my mind waiting for a release, waiting for an opportunity to jump out.

"Calm down, Vi. You're all over the place again," Luke whispered as we entered the living room. Uncle Nick sat in the rocking chair in the corner of the room and mum and dad sat on separate couches. Luke nodded at me and sat me next to him. I didn't move my hands from his waist or my head from his shoulder and he didn't move his.

Grandma Jo migrated into her bedroom, I supposed, probably to watch her soap operas but did it really matter where she went? Does anybody even realize she's gone? Or are they all wrapped up in their own lives to realize the old woman is gone?

"I added some protective metal on the front of it, so it makes it more bulletproof. Inside of the suit will be a special material which will prevent tears going through and it ripping. Now, I also wanted to add some kind of protective steel or aluminum in the fabric of the suit to make it more safe and make you both feel safer. But to do that, I would have to rip apart the whole suit and physically attach the steel into the fabric and then stuff it with a fire retardant material, which could take a while,"

"How long is a while?"

"Five, six months the least. It could be sooner,"

"We don't have time for that, Nick. They need to get their suits and get back out on missions in a couple weeks time," Dad said. I noticed the look mum gave him. The evil look, as if she told him he doesn't know anything. He doesn't get to say anything.

"You're all over the place again," Luke whispered.

"I can't help it. I should just turn myself off, keep you from getting distracted."

"Remember what I told you about doing that? Especially now?" I nodded and leaned my head back on his shoulder. His fingers tickled my arm slightly as my parents went back and forth with the dates the suits need to be made. "Don't do it, Vi," Luke whispered.

"Leo, put him on the floor," I ordered. Leo looked up to me, then to look and nodded, obeying my orders. He set Ryan on the floor and I watched as he kicked his feet and rolled over on his side, but not quite yet on his belly.

"Okay, so, its settled. I will make completely new suits out of completely new leather with the steel, metal and material. And until they're ready, you both will stick to the suits you have now," Uncle Nick informed. "Since I'm making new suits, I need to have you measured head to toe. So, both of you come down to the basement," I held onto Luke as we got up, careful not to look at my parents. I am all over the place and it's affecting Luke.

"I can handle it," Luke smiled down at me.

"Your mum and dad used to do that all the time, you know? Communicate that way. Freaked the hell out of me when we would get together for family meals. Andrew was always making your mum laugh, Violet," I nodded.

"Alright, so, you don't need to feel uncomfortable around me. I changed both of your diapers. So, I need you to strip down so I can measure. If it makes you more comfortable, you can stay in the room with each other."

"Fully naked?" Luke asked.

"Not fully, boxers are fine. And ... undergarments," I nodded and removed my shirt. Finally, a way to get away from my parents. And away from the emotion and the tension in the room. I unbuckled my belt and threw it on top of my shirt then unbuttoned my jeans. Luke, however, was already undressed and ready to go.

Uncle Nick measured me first, measuring my chest, arms, legs, belly, back, thighs, feet, almost everything. "So, the material I will be using isn't stretchy like the leather you have now, so if it doesn't fit, you need to either lose weight or get a new one,"

"Um, what about me? I still have my baby weight,"

"I can work around that. If I can figure out a way to make this material stretch, I will." I nodded and watched as he wrote down numbers. "You always hated tattoos," Uncle nick whispered.

"I hated kids too," I replied.

"Why'd you get so many tattoos?" He asked, looking up to me.

"Reasons that I don't want to tell," I whispered, stepping away from my uncle.

"Mrs. Hemmings?" I asked, knocking on her bedroom door. Andrew and her both looked up with their glasses on their faces.

"What's up, honey?" Mrs. Hemmings asked, taking her glasses off.

"Can I ask you a question? Both of you?"

"Of course, come sit," Andrew moved over in the bed and made room for me in the middle. I put my coffee mug in between my legs and sighed.

"Marriage isn't perfect, right?" I asked.

"No, no it's not. It's not easy either," Mrs. Hemmings replied.

"Sometimes you can get annoyed with the snoring from your wife and want to hold a pillow up to her face," Mr. Hemmings explained.

"Or want to suffocate your husband because he enjoys farting," I smiled as I saw the love in their eyes, the sparks they both have for each other. The spark my parents lost. Their eyes don't hold a story anymore, it holds pain and anger towards each other. "Why? What's going on?"

"I overheard my parents talking and I think my dad is leaving,"

"That's normal, leaving and giving up training."

"Not just training. Everything,"

"What?" Andrew asked, sitting up. "He can't leave or else your protector has to come through and become that figure of a father in your life,"

"What's with this protector stuff? That's all mum talked about,"

"A protector is basically a person who becomes bound to your children. It's kind of like godparents but much more than that. It's chosen randomly from anyone in your family or your friend group and the child isn't supposed to know who their protector is, unless it's a life or death situation,"

"Why haven't I figured out who Ryan's is yet? His father left," Andrew sighed and looked down. "Do you know who it is?"

"We can't tell you anything, Violet. They don't even know it yet. But when they find out, you'll be able to see what lies with a protector's job and duty,"

"Who chooses the protector?"

"The council usually. The only time they change a protector is if they die. And so far, none of yours died yet, and neither did Ryan's nor Jenna's."

"God, I hope not," Andrew replied.

"So, wait who's Luke's?"

"Your mother," Andrew replied.

"Does that mean anything?"

"It just means she's bound to him, basically whenever she feels a threat towards him, she has the right to step in and sacrifice herself for him in any given moment. Or if anything happens to one of us, she takes him under her wing,"

"And what about Jenna?"

"Your brother," Mrs. Hemmings said. I shrunk into the bed.

"Would it be against the rules to find out who Ryan's is?"

"Not exactly. But we can't risk you telling the person,"

"I have a right to know, don't I? I am his mother and I should know,"

"The council told you already, honey. That's all I can tell you,"

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