Chapter 30: Not Like You
With the awful tedium of being grounded for a whole two days behind him, Kadaj bounced back into his life as a very busy and very important person, which was something that he took great relish in reminding both Reno and Yazoo of when they would find some reason to laugh at him.
But one day at school he was exposed to something that he’d never heard of before, and he hadn’t wanted to seem stupid in front of his friends so he hadn’t asked about it. Instead, he’d brought his invitation home to Yazoo and the two of them had looked at it in consternation.
“You should ask Reno,” Yazoo suggested, at a loss. “I’m sorry, I have no idea…”
“She seemed really excited,” Kadaj said, bewildered. “It must be a good thing. I mean, it is a party and parties are fun, I just… I wonder why it has such a weird name.”
Yazoo shrugged a little and said, “He’s not really busy, he won’t mind you asking.”
The unusual bitterness in Yazoo’s voice made Kadaj cock his head, but his pretty brother had already turned away with a heavy sigh.
“Okay, then,” he said, and crept into the bedroom where Reno was at his little-used desk, cigarette in hand and a frown on his lean face. He was Taking Care of the Bills—something that Yazoo offered to do but that Reno, as the man of the house, felt was his own sole responsibility.
He hated to bother him, but since his question had already gotten nothing but a blank look from his elder brother, that only left god.
“Reno?” he whispered, and repeated himself in a stage-whisper to be heard over the man’s obvious concentration.
Reno glanced up to see Kadaj hanging in the doorway, his pretty little face frowning and questions in his big jade eyes.
“S’up, baby?” he asked, pushing away from the desk and stubbing out his smoke. He patted his thigh in invitation and Kadaj wriggled to sit in his lap, still frowning, his head cocked a little to one side. “Something bugging you, Princess?”
“No—Yes, maybe?” Kadaj offered, suddenly feeling silly to ask what seemed so obvious to other people. “Reno? What’s a birthday?”
Reno blew out his breath in a heavy sigh, brows drawing down in thought.
“Yeah. Guess that one kinda got past you three, huh?”
“Did it?” Kadaj asked, not sure what he meant. “Is it a holiday, like All Souls and Stupid Pumpkins Day? I got invited to a celebration for it…”
“Kinda,” Reno conceded, rubbing Kadaj’s slender back and giving him a soft smile. “You know what being born is?” Continue reading