Posted on August 11, 2017 at 11:21:39 AM by jacopo
It was just like Birch to be kind, optimistic, to see the best in people. She’d seen good in Jacopo even when no one else – including himself – could, hadn’t she? The weight of her warmth had been suffocating at times, usually when he was grappling with the guilt of his deception, but it was also liberating. In spite of everything, it was possible for someone to love him. And in spite of everything he’d done, Birch had later spoken of him, in her new life, with kindness and perhaps even a degree of fondness. It was more than he deserved.
He inhaled a little sharply at the question, even though he knew it was coming. Typical of Birch to write off a kidnapping as something stupid. She must’ve known that giving any details about his incarceration would have created a wedge between the young girl and the image she had of a father. Presumably, once she’d left Shaman Birch had never expected Olive to ever actually meet Jacopo, so she could focus on the positives without worrying about reality crashing down at a later date.
Before Jacopo had a chance to formulate a reply, Olive began to blurt out her story. If someone had told Jacopo a year ago that Birch would move on to another man who would become, to all intents and purposes, the father of his child, he’d have felt a tight knot in his stomach and a bitter taste in his mouth. Now, he could feel some of the tension leaving his shoulders. At least he hadn’t messed their lives up. At least they’d been able to move on and be happy.
The feeling didn’t last long.
“Gone?” He interrupted, mouth dry. “As in…?”
The restricted feeling in his chest returned. He wanted to demand details – when, how – and for the second time in as many minutes had to bite his tongue. He didn’t get to put himself forward now and demand Olive relive something which would obviously be painful for her. He still hadn’t even answered any of her questions.
“I’m in prison for kidnapping the Prince of Shaman.” He told her in a dead tone. He took a breath, forcing his lungs to expand against the corset of emotion pushing them in. “This is my second time. I was arrested on Earth for passing on intelligence to the Council of Originals’ enemies and sent to the fairy prison on Etna. I did my time, got out, went back to Italy, but…” He wavered. “No one tells you how much it ruins your life, Olive. All the first-timers in here, they think they can do their time and then move on when they get out, but it never leaves you. I lost all my friends. No one would hire me. I was homeless a few times, couldn’t make ends meet, couldn’t afford to live. So when the Foletto came back – that’s the criminal organisation I used to work for – and they said I could have a new life here, no record, and all I’d have to do was pass on information – I’m not making excuses, but…”
He sighed, rubbing the back of his neck with his hands.
“They set me up here, got me a job as a gardener in the castle. I was supposed to watch some kid called Thoth and pass information back to the Foletto. Only, I messed up and thought they wanted information on the prince, Tristan.” He grimaced. Maybe Birch had been right to call this ‘something stupid’. “Somewhere in all of this I met your mother, and I got a familiar. I didn’t want to be part of it anymore so I tried to back out. They took my familiar and told me I could get her back if I brought the package to a drop-off point, so…” He shrugged. “I kidnapped the Prince of Shaman, took him out into the desert. Held him for about a day before I got cold feet and brought him back.”
There was a level of detail to that story that Jacopo didn’t usually share. In prison, admitting you were here because you turned yourself in was usually a good way to get punched up. He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed again.
“Olive, I will always want to know you and there is nothing you could do that would make me love you less.” He frowned at the floor. “But if you don’t want to know me, I understand.”
There have been no replies.
Post a reply: