Eric Mainard had a hard time looking at himself in the mirror; this was nothing new. He’d been afraid of the draconic part of himself and had hidden deep within instead of controlling it. This had ultimately progressed until he denied his heritage and pretended he was fully human and the dragon half was nothing but a dream. He was full into the delusion when he married Lani Akana. She had seen it as a rescue, a way out from the life ruled by the Marcones that her father had carved out for her. They’d been married a year when Willhelm was born in 1979; things were happy enough for them; until Lani’s father had died in early 1985. There was a lot of debt that he had left to his daughter, and no matter how happy the couple had been, it had melted into the constant arguing by that summer. It seemed odd to him now, how things worked out like they did. He would always wonder about the what if’s; “What if he had never denied what he was?”, “What if they had managed to work it out”, “What if after three years of separation we hadn’t met at a party and had that fling?”. He really tried not to think the last one. Ashley wouldn’t have been born if they hadn’t had that fling, but at the same time the worst “what if” hung over his head; “What if the dragon part of himself had emerged because of Ashley?” She was the first girl and first second child to be born as far as he could trace their line back. When his inner flames, utterly uncontrollable had come, he got scared and ran. He stopped fighting for his children, let his wife had whatever it was she wanted. So things had fallen apart. He had gone and watched them sometimes, from where no one else would see him; but eventually he sank into depression and took to his own bottle…
He might have even self destructed all the way if Willhelm hadn’t come looking for him when his dragon began to surface. They had argued, and Eric had lost what very little control he had. The fact that he had almost killed his own son hit him at his innermost core. That had been the day he put the bottle down. He’d worked almost constantly on controlling the golden fire drake that lived inside him for the last six years. He was ready to try to make it up to his children and his wife and that’s what had brought him where he was, staring at his gold, scaly bald head in a bathroom mirror of Pocket D; working hard to convince himself that what he had to say needed to be said to Ashley; even if he had never met her before.
She had smelled him coming, and though he cloaked himself in a tattered trenchcoat and fedora, she knew who he was. He had found her reading in a secluded corner of the dance floor, wearing something she would have preferred no parental figure of hers ever see her in, and yet; there he was. She had tried her hardest to be pissed at him, for abandoning her and Will, for letting their mother fall into her addictions, for letting them grow-up on the street.
Then he told her his reasons, and she wanted to hate him for being afraid, for allowing he and Will to almost kill each other, and for every fear she had ever had. If she had had the heart for it, she could have yelled at him all day, and he would have let her; but he was her father and she had never gotten to know him in any part of her life she could remember. There were the faintest impressions of happiness though, a sensation of her heart longing to know him. So in the she could only feel waves of pity for the man, and the immense conflict between her heart and head; he wanted to be a part of her and Will’s lives, and he had left her there in her confusion, his phone number in hand with no answers to the riddle of her dream.