Chapter 14 - Confessions
Lisa and Dria cooked dinner in relative silence. Little more than small talk was traded between them. Dria was still upset for Steve and being called a fat cow. She was a bit sensitive about her weight even if she didn't think of herself as fat. Lisa was surprisingly good in the kitchen, course that wasn't shocking since she was reputed to be many things besides a model. In a recent interview she mentioned the possibility of a cook book coming out. Dria could see it now and knew that it would be a success.
After a while, Chang and Victor went to Steve's room to see how he was doing. The meeting with his sister seemed to hit the normally laid back surfer hard. Chang didn't want to force anything but he also knew that it would help to talk. Victor insisted on accompanying, since he knew some of the pain that Steve was going through.
Steve let them in and wanted to offer them a seat but only had one. To his surprise a couple more appeared and his visitors took them.
"Your sister seems to be a bitter woman. It is rather sad that one falls to such depths." Chang said quietly, "You will not be judged by me or any other that is here."
"We all have our troubles," Victor added, "A book can be written on mine."
"You got an overachieving suck up of a sister too Vic?" Steve asked.
"No, least I don't think so. Even if I did probably. They'd have forgotten me by now. I wasn't very nice when I was younger." The giant replied.
"Count yourself lucky, big guy. Family can be a pain. Dad just couldn't accept that I wanted to be something besides an office dweller. This was unacceptable to Robert Michael Aegis. It was a long time before I escaped his smears and finally got him to disown me. Some would say that losing that birthright was a punishment. I called it a blessing."
Steve looked off before he continued.
"The man is a sexist, arrogant prick and wanted me to be the same. There was no end to his manipulations. Why my sister tries to please him I got no idea. I loved mom but being barred from her funeral was the final insult."
"He sounds like a man who is miserable. Money and material possessions are a poor substitute for true relationships." Chang said.
"To him money and possessions are everything. He thinks that having more toys than anyone else is the end all and be all of life. I can't be like that."
"Good. I have had to deal with people like that before. They don't appeal to me." Victor replied with a friendly hand on his shoulder.
"How is that my big friend?" Chang asked.
Steve looked to him to hear the story as Victor seemed to have the floor. "Well when I was a kid, I weren't through a lot of foster homes. Looking back they were mostly good people but I couldn't see that at the time. I joined a gang after running away and got lost in the system. My homies were the most steady family I ever had. I did a lot of things that were not only illegal but out right wrong. Something inside me told it was wrong but my 'family' was more important than my morals and they slowly went quiet until that night."
Victor took a deep sigh and continued.
"We attacked a rival gangs territory. Most of them were killed. A few escaped. The only one left that didn't run off or die was a pregnant girl. She couldn't have been more than fourteen and I was told to kill her so there would be no witnesses. That was too much and I pushed her to a door. My family was not happy with that and killed her, then they turned on me. I did time in jail for all my crimes where life came in to focus."
"Good behavior and overcrowding got me out. The family wanted me back and I refused. Latter that night they were all killed or scattered. I went on to about the only jobs I could get, a bouncer in a strip club and underground fighter. At the fights, I saw the idle rich placing bets on me or who I was fighting but the money was needed. I hated them, still do. All I saw was people with too much money and fed of others like leeches."
"It would be easy to say that I was a victim of the world and the hand I was dealt, but that's a lie. I chose my life and I know that now. Every day I have, I try to do something to make up for the crimes of my past. Perhaps saving the world is a start on my atonement. We can't change where we've been but we can change where we're going right?"
"Yes my big friend." Chang said calmly, "You both have come from places that are bad but also you both try to make a better path. Steve you have chosen a path of your desires and Victor you have made choices to change what you were. We all have a past and sins to overcome. Mine is not as dramatic but still there. I try to teach lessons to young people but one I failed in. He had troubles and I did not see it in time. The young man killed himself due to my inaction and doubts. To this day his name is emblazoned on my soul as a reminder of my failure."
"So what do we do now?" Steve asked.
"We move on and don't hide our past. The books said that they would be used against us." Victor put in.
"Correct. my friend. Secrets will harm us. The more we share, the less the beast has to use against us." Chang said smiling, "We should speak as a group tonight and be honest."
A knock on the door by Dria and notice that dinner was served, ended the conversion but each man agreed to the big group talk.
When they came to the table. The dinner was sober but still had an air of expectation. Small talk ruled the conversation. They had gotten a taste of what was coming again. Some were scared others nervous, while others were strangely calmed by getting started. They at least knew that what damage was done would be cleaned up by those that chose them and they could do things in secret. When Dinner was over, Chang announced the need for a team meeting with Victor and Steve nodding agreement. Dria recalled her earlier conversation with Lisa and readily agreed just so she could tell the others what was weighing on her. Lisa saw the wisdom in the call and nodded to Dria who looked tense but resigned to what she had to do. The rider didn't seem to care. The only complaint came from the expected source. Adrienne griped but stern looks made her huff and go to the couch.
Elsewhere the child was busy recruiting another to fill in the lost members of the group.
"Adam Snow. You are needed." the child said standing in front of a portal.