Outtake: A Father's Worry #Antony

Hey, loves!

We’re back for another outtake.

I am gonna close the outtake form for a bit so that I can work through some of them that are in there. And at the moment, there’s 60+. So, I really do need to go through them and write some out because it gets overwhelming for me when there’s that many.

For now, onto this outtake.

An Antony Outtake
A Father’s Worry

As a father of boys, Antony tried not to do one thing too much: worry. It was basically impossible because considering who he was and the life he lived, well … didn’t he have more things to worry about than most?
He certainly thought so.
Nonetheless, he did try not to let his worries overcome him. His boys were good—great. They came from him, after all, and with just enough of their mother coloring them up to make sure they had a decent conscience while he took care of all that pride they often stumbled over, he thought it would be okay.
Mostly.
And there was Lucian.
Who was not the same.
He couldn’t be.
Months after finding Lucian and moving him into the Marcello mansion with the rest of the family, and Antony found himself worrying over the boy that didn’t share his blood more than he did his biological sons. He’d asked a friend if that was normal—or was it just because Lucian wasn’t really his, and he felt a need to overcompensate for that fact? His friend said more the first than the second. At the moment, Lucian took over Antony’s worry because he was the one who needed it the most out of the three boys. Another day, it might be Gio.
Or Dante.
Who knew?
It might help if Lucian actually … talked. Or rather, if Antony knew that the boy was listening when someone else tried to speak to him. That was the thing, though. Lucian often seemed like the more one talked or the busier life seemed to be around them, the more he retreated into himself and the things around him.
Like now.
“Okay, Dante,” Antony said in the bedroom doorway, “as long as you’re reading, then you’re good to stay up. You hear me?”
Under his big comforter, Dante nodded. “Kay.”
“And you’re sure you don’t know where Lucian—”
“He hides all the time, Papa. It’s what he does.”
Right, right.
Dante wasn’t wrong.
That didn’t make this any easier on Antony, though. Because now, Lucian had been hiding for most of the evening and it was bedtime. Thing was, it was fine if the kid didn’t go right to bed but that wasn’t the goddamn problem. The problem was that Antony could not find the fucking boy and that was concerning.
Usually, Lucian had a myriad of hiding spots that he liked to tuck away in. A therapist said it was probably because everything was still so new to Lucian and big, that he was just trying to make everything a little smaller and easier to process. As if that was why the kid liked to hide in closets, cupboards, in showers … basically wherever the hell he could fit.
He didn’t leave the house.
Not that it mattered—one of the guards or cameras would see him if he did. Hell, that would be an easier way for Antony to find Lucian than what he was trying to do right now. Because not only did he have Lucian to worry about, but he also had his other two sons to take care of.
Because he was sure as shit not calling Cecelia away from her girls’ weekend with the handful of friends she actually did care to spend time with just to have her come home and help him find where Lucian had hidden himself now. Besides, his wife worried about Lucian all the damn time. So did he. Antony really didn’t want to add to it.
Sighing, he murmured a nigh and love you, kiddo to Dante before turning around to leave the boy to his nightly reading. Closing the door behind him without much of a sound, he found a younger Giovanni staring at him from across the hall.
Surprise.
Gio got out of bed.
He always did.
About fifteen times a night.
“It’s bedtime,” he told Gio, grinning a bit.
He didn’t want his kids to worry. Lucian did this a lot and while the boys had helped him look for a little while earlier, when he noticed they started to panic because they couldn’t find their brother, he sent them off to do something more appropriate for kids. His boys would have plenty of years to worry about their brother and other adult problems. They didn’t need to start with that shit today.
Gio didn’t move from the doorway even when his father came to kneel in front of him. “Lucian knows it’s bedtime, Papa.”
Antony nodded. “Yeah, he does.”
“He’ll go to bed, too.”
Goddamn.
“You think?”
Gio shrugged. “Yeah, ‘cause he always follows the rules, you know?”
Which was so unlike what Gio did.
God.
Antony loved his boys.
Gio gave a bright smile before he hugged his father all at once. Tiny arms wrapped around him like bars and squeezed for all they were worth. Pressing a kiss to the top of his son’s head, he took a single second to breathe in the scent of his kid and his life. Because someday, these hugs wouldn’t come as often, and he certainly wouldn’t get to kiss them on their foreheads, either.
Nature of boys, he knew.
He’d accepted it.
“Night, Papa,” Gio said before turning back to the darkness of his bedroom.
Antony swallowed back the thickness building in his throat to reply, “Night, buddy. Love you.”

*

Gio was right.
Antony wouldn’t tell his kid that fact very often.
Nonetheless, this time, he’d been right. Lucian did know what time was bedtime, and though he probably wanted to just keep hiding, Antony found the boy under his bed. The only reason he suspected he might be there was because when he walked past Lucian’s bedroom, he noticed one of the pillows and a blanket had been pulled from the bed. Twenty minutes earlier, the bed was still made when Antony checked the room for the tenth time.
With only the bedside lamp on, Antony could barely see Lucian’s legs under the side of the bed. He could have easily left the boy to his thoughts—or dreams, if he was already asleep—but he just couldn’t do it.
He wasn’t mad that Lucian liked to hide. He wasn’t even sad, though he did hope eventually it would change and his boy would join them a bit more.
Antony just … needed to see him. So, despite knowing the floor would feel nothing like his own bed, he got down there and stretched out along the hardwood to peer under the bed. Bright hazel eyes stared at him from under the bed where Lucian had dragged his pillow and blanket to sleep.
“You know,” Antony murmured, “the bed is way better to sleep on.”
“It’s very big,” Lucian replied simply.
Ah.
“Did you have a good day?”
Lucian nodded. “Did you know there’s a cubby under the right wing’s third staircase?”
Goddammit.
“It would be so much easier if you just told me all the hiding spots,” Antony said, chuckling.
“Sometimes, I don’t want to be found.”
“Yeah, I know, kiddo.”
Lucian sighed, and pulled his comforter tighter around his neck before he whispered, “I miss Ma.”
That took Antony a second.
Mostly, because he wondered how to respond. Of course, the boy would think about his parents. They’d not properly sat him down and explained everything that happened with Lina and Johnathan, but they did explain that Lucian’s parents were in heaven. He seemed to understand that well enough.
This, though …
Well.
“So,” Lucian said in a sigh, “when is she coming home?”
Oh.
Cecelia.
He meant Cecelia.
Antony grinned, deciding he wouldn’t make a big deal out of this. Didn’t seem like the right way to go about it, honestly. “Ah, yeah, she promised you cupcakes, didn’t she?”
Chocolate cupcakes.”
The kid’s favorite.
“Tomorrow,” Antony said. ‘She’s coming home tomorrow, Lucian.”
“Good. I’m gonna go to sleep now.”
“Okay. Night, love you.”

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