I should have stood first. Maybe I could have sparred long enough to spare Ash till tomorrow. Who am I kidding? I hate fighting, especially between people I love. I cringed every time I heard Grandma B and Mom fight. And that was just about every time we stayed overnight. In fact, it seemed like it was always over Dad, only I thought they were talking about George. The arguments make more sense now.
“Ready when you are” I hear my Dad say to Ash.
I look up. I might as well watch. Maybe figure out how this whole sparring things works. Gloria slides up and sits next to me.
“Did I miss anything?” she whispers.
“Ash volunteered to go first.” I whisper back.
“Good boy!” her exclamation is quiet and I glance at her sideways. She takes hold of my arm. She’s obviously rooting for Ash.
Oh why not, I give in to my feelings. Besides, Dad’s not on my good side today; between the girl this morning, and being totally clueless on why he and Mom didn’t stay together, I hope Ash gets some good whacks on him. Well, no not really. I don’t want either of them to get hurt.
Ash and I take a deep breath together. He looks towards me. I smile at him. “~I love you~” I whisper with my mind. I don’t know if he heard me or not, but he pulls himself up and faces Dad.
They bow and slowly begin to slowly circle each other. Sizing up the opponent I guess.
“Breathe,” Gloria whispers to me. Right, I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. Gloria has to keep jiggling my arm to remind me. I can’t help it. Every time my Dad goes in for Ash, or every time Ash goes to strike Dad, I hold my breath.
I know Dad’s throwing taunts out at Ash. I know Ash is responding, but I’m deliberately not listening. It’s weird being linked to the two of them. They are both getting annoyed at each other. Dad’s doing better at keeping his emotions in check though. Ash is starting to let them get the better of him.
I half close my eyes and try to send calm across our link. He’ll last longer against Dad if he can keep a calm head. And that’s the whole point, right? Ash has to last as long as he can to earn Dad’s respect. I’m surprised Ash beating Petey didn’t do that.
“~Stop helping him~”
But Dad doesn’t answer, since his slight distraction allows Ash to actually get in a good shot. I sigh and retreat.
“He’s feigning isn’t he?”
“Huh?” I remember Gloria is next to me. She’s no longer holding my arm.
“Your Dad, he looks tired but he actually isn’t.”
I look and realize it’s true. “His aura?” I whisper. She nods.
“Ash isn’t doing nearly so well.”
I nod. “He’ll go until he collapses though.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to admit defeat?”
I shrug, “too stubborn.” Then again so is Dad, and everybody else I know in my family. Okay that’s only my Mom and Grandma B, but from all I’ve heard the stubborn streak didn’t start with them. “How long has it been?” I’m not sure I can take anymore of watching Ash get slowly beaten.
“I don’t know, and hour or two.”
I nod. Fine, I can’t help Ash, and I can’t make peace between them, just like there was no way I could make peace between Mom and Grandma B. There is one thing I can do, and that’s to end this sparring session. Or at least try to. I stand up and take a deep breath. Making sure I’m loud enough to be heard, I state “Is it my turn yet?"
I really hope I don’t regret doing this.