I stood in the upscale gallery, listening while people discussed my almost-death.
The subject matter was brilliantly rendered in Noah’s newest painting. In it, I lay on the floor, white-faced and still, while Noah hovered over me and various impossible beings stood around in the background. A figure who was meant to be Bain flashed fangs and red eyes; Noah had obscured the details so that only a few could recognize the real him. Bain was not a subject either of us wanted to bring up in public. Even after his defeat, he was still too powerful. In retrospect, it seemed he had given up a little too easily, and we both worried we hadn’t seen the last of him. I tried to stifle the fear that we hadn’t seen the last of Bain, and his attack that night was just the beginning. His hold on my father was still powerful; Bain was an extremely successful businessman, and my father, as mayor, couldn’t challenge him too directly.
I was still coming to terms with my father’s involvement in everything. I knew it would be a long time before I could completely forgive him for keeping so much from me. We were only beginning to discuss the past, Bain’s true nature, and the secret side of Whitfield. With everything that had happened, though, my father was finally seeing the importance of openness and honesty. It meant increased freedom for me: no more psychiatrists, the ability to go where I pleased, and most importantly, the ability to see whomever I wished. That included Noah. He only asked that I let Lars continue to guard me.