The door slammed shut behind me and I was left with the tight glances of my court, and sitting at the front, in a crushed velvet box seat was my father.
The man didn't look a day over six thousand. His dark hair was mused, like it had been swept up by the wind.
He looked like he'd spent the whole week in the sun- he was sporting a pretty nice tan.
His sea-glass eyes landed on my identical ones, and I felt my heart start to pound. He sported a grin and the wrinkles around his mouth started to show.
I was in trouble. The bang of a gavel snapped me back into reality and my vision snaps up to the Chief Justice, an old Merman with a thin, sinewy orange tail. He wore a powdered wig upon his head; his face was just as pale, and wrinkled. He sort of looked like a sun-faded raisin.
"King Andreus." His voice was soft and shaky. "You have asked to go on sabbatical to the surface with your daughter?"
"Yes, your Honor. I offered her the chance to go to the surface together. I only saw it right, considering her heritage." I rocked back and forth on my heels and stuck my hands in the messily-sewn pockets of my chiton.
"And you made her this promise?" Another member spoke, her face was drenched in distaste.
"I would not lie to my daughter." I told her petulantly. "Frankly, I do not understand why this is such a large problem. My daughter has shown interest in the human world, so why not grant her her gift?"
"And are you not worried," The Chief Justice banged his gavel again as buzzing rose over the room. "That the girl will want to stay in the human world?"
Damn it. It's a question that makes me actually have to think. I couldn't keep on giving the same answer I had given the others before.
"If my daughter will want to stay in the human world," I breathe. My dad looks at me, his face expressionless. I look back at the Justice, whose pale blue eyes are only magnified by his thick lensed spectacles. "Why should I deny her that dream? If I were to, that would only allow her to become rebellious and resentful of her home. I do not want that for my beautiful little girl, and I'm sure.." I look over at my dad. "Her grandfather would not want such a thing to happen, too."
The courtroom falls to a hush for a second, and then erupts into a cacophony of shouting. The Justice bangs his gavel over and over until snaps at the handle.
My father holds up a hand, and the hush falls over everyone immediately, me included.
I'm ushered out of the room by Aria, whose teeth are gritted in annoyance.
"Now you've done it." He hisses. "You've sealed your own exile your own home."
"Ari, please." I pulled away and grinned. "They're suckers. They all sway like seaweed when my old man's in in the room, naturally."
"I don't..want you to go." Aria said softly. He looked me right in the eyes and cupped my cheeks in his smooth palms. "Andy..we..we had something, and you've just been..dismissing it."
For the second time in half an an hour, my blood runs cold. I pull away and run a hand through my hair. "This is not the place, nor the time, Aria." My tone is sharper than intended.
His face goes hard. "It's about the girl. It's always about the girl, never your kingdom, or I.." He whispers.
I opened my mouth to respond, when I saw my daughter run toward me from the opposite end of the hall, arms outstretched. I brought her into my arms and held her tightly.
She laughs and plants a kiss on my cheek. "Thank you, Daddy. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Aria frowned and flicked his tail; he was halfway down the hall with only a few flicks. A hand was clapped on my shoulder and I'm faced with my father, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt covered in mimosa sipping flamingos. It's nicely paired with some Cargo shorts and Birkenstocks.
I didn't know whether to laugh or compliment him. I chose the latter.
"Father, you..uh, look well." I offer him my hand, which he takes. His grip is strong and weathered.
"I was surprised at your quick thinking, boy." He says gruffly. "But I suppose it got you what you wanted." He snaps his fingers, and a duffel bag shows up in his hand. He tossed it to me and snickered when I stumbled back- the weight was just a bit too much for me to handle.
"Have a good trip. Send home pictures." He disappeared into a plume of smoke, and I knew that was all the fatherly love I was gonna get from him for at least another ten years.