At fourteen, Justin had been to many a disinterment, but very few funerals. This one had the edge for weirdness, though. Bizarre burial rites, uttered on top of a damned precipice. Freakish people giving him the evils.
My relatives. Justin could see now why his father had always kept his distance. Nobody would rightfully claim this lot. They werenít exactly normal.
And they didnít want to know one Justin Hyde. That much was obvious. Those steely gazes held even more contempt for him than they did for his father.
As the ceremony drew to a close, Justin prepared to leave. His father might intend to stay, but he certainly didnít need a sonís support. He could face his family on his own. Whatever heíd done to stir up all that animosity was his problem.
Justin shifted, fingering the change in his pocket. Enough for a bus, and he could walk the rest. After I climb down the damned mountain. Iím outa here.
As the last ceremonial words were spoken, in a tongue as crusty as old bones, Justin turned to go.
Magnus gripped his arm. "Donít!"
Justin lifted one brow and faced the man. Other than a slight flaring of his nostrils in distaste, he kept his expression masked. No need for his father to know how all this had affected him. No need for Magnus to suspect it had had any effect at all. Heís taught me well.
But his fatherís next words shocked him out of his faux complacency. "Iíll need your help."
"Help?" Justin repeated, through stiff lips.
"Yes." A trace of amusement glittered in the older manís eyes. His father glanced over at his arrogant relations then, but theyíd already turned away.
Justinís nostrils flared. It appeared that Magnus and he were to be the only ones left at graveside. Magnus smirked, and Justin would swear later that his fatherís amusement grew as he anticipated his sonís reaction.
It was enough to stir resentment. "Gladly," Justin retorted, the arrogance heíd been subjected to all afternoon very clear in his own voice. "Why?" he asked, bluntly.
Magnus replied, just as bluntly as Justin had. "To bury her, of course."