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It's That Age [Apex Lounge]
His wallet blinked a message from his father.  Dorian stared at the flashing light for a good hour while he sipped at the red wine he'd pulled from his wine cooler.  He'd have to see what was available in Madrid and have it shipped here.  Cruz didn't need to keep all the fine wine if he wasn't even going to be there.  And his father wouldn't miss it.

He sighed and hit the play button.

"Dorian,  We have to talk.  It's about Cruz.  I'll be in Moscow this Thursday.  I will have my people arrange a meeting.  Be there."

For once he wasn't pissed at him.  Which made him smile, but that it was about Cruz could only mean that he'd noticed his sons sorta rebellion.  Gone was the day of the good kid who always did what granddad wanted.  He was showing his spine -- something Nox had taught him.  Something Cruz disparately had needed, but his grandfather was not a man who would go gently into the night any time soon and he still had his obligations. Obligations Dorian knew should have been his, but he hadn't wanted them.  Cruz did.  He had actual plans for Jivana.  But right now he needed a break from it all.  It was time his grandfather let go.

But he wouldn't do that well either.

Two days later Emilio Vega arrived in Moscow.  The Jivana branch had all but threw a party when he arrived.  The small office was the center of several noise complaints.  But that was mostly due to the helicopter landing on the roof where there was no helipad.  Spoiled brats ran in the family.

Dorian found himself dressed in his best suit, the light gray one with the dark grey shirt and gold cuff links. Ana had it sent over when she learned of their impending meeting with the senior Vega.  Apparently her and Christian were also invited to the Apex Lounge for this meeting -- that meant he was serious.

This was serious.  Though Dorian couldn't help but smirking.  Like father like son.  It hadn't been much earlier when he'd started the open rebellion against his father.  When he found the the ring and the Atharim.  Dorian only prayed Cruz didn't fall so far.
Ana's wallet rang and she was in the shower. It was well past noon when the call came in and Christian picked it up like the dutiful head of household he was. Ana never answered her own phone. And he was still getting used to allowing Gregory to do his job. The other man scowled as he passed by when he saw Christian had the phone.

"Mr. Vega, sir, how can I help you?" Christian answered after seeing the senior Vega's name across the caller id.

"Christian what are you doing answering the phone. That is not your job, anymore."

"Old habits. Really it's not a bother. What can I do for you?"

"You and Ana will meet me Thursday for drinks. We all need to discuss Cruz. Dorian will be there as well."

"We will be there."

The conversation didn't last much beyond that, a few exchanges of pleasantries and such and then Emilio Vega hung up the phone.

Christian had never been invited into one of the Vega family meetings. Not as a participant before, it was an oddly strange feeling. He'd be expected to sit at the table and be waited on instead of doing the serving himself. And at some high society place he'd only have ever gone as Dorian's man servant or Ana's escort. He was actually surprised at how the elder Vega's had taken Ana's engagement to him. Her parents were ecstatic to say the least. They never liked Dorian. And for good reason. One of those secrets the world didn't know. But he did. Was one of the first he learned.

Ana emerged from the shower wearing nothing but a fluffy pink towel around her slender frame and one wrapping her long hair above her head. "Who was that, darling?"

"The senior most Vega. He wishes our presence for drinks Thursday. A conversation about your son."

Ana sighed. "He's likely on about the twenty something rebellion. Cruz will straighten out. He just needs a break. And if he pressures him like he did Dorian, he's just gonna break. And instead of becoming a cop and more, Cruz is likely go start his own rival company that pushes Jivana out of business." She laughed. "Would teach the old dog."

The Apex Lounge was not a new venue for Christian, but it was new to sit down at the table where Dorian was already sloshing his red wine around in the glass inspecting its flavor notes. That the man was not an alcoholic was a small wonder the way he drank.

Dorian stood when Ana arrived. He pressed a loving kiss to both cheeks and they shared a laugh at his expense as they sat down. Nothing had changed between them. Nothing except the word wife, Dorian loved Ana. And Ana loved him. They had been married for 19 years happily. Outsiders saw what they wanted to see and there were a few stares at their comadre as Christian sat down next to Ana, her hand wrapping around his in a very possessive way. She was telling those stares to get over it. It wasn't that I was less, it was that to them Dorian and Ana were still in love. High society was just as bad as Highschool children when it came to their cliques. Made Christian want to roll his eyes, but he didn't. He knew how to act.

Dorian laughed. "And before it was all gossip about how you and Ana were sleeping together. Now it's all. Oh my god, did you hear, she's gonna marry her manservant."

Ana laughed. Christian just shook his head and rolled his eyes. Which only sent Ana into a fit of giggles she was unable to hide from behind her wine glass that had arrived just in time. "Shall I kiss you, darling. Maybe we could put on a show that would rival the Kallisti."

"Let's not. It's bad enough you know about that place."

"Nox lives there. Can't be all that bad."

Both Dorian and Christian looked at Ana. "What?" She leaned in and whispered like it was some sort of secret she was about to say. "Have you seen his boyfriend?" She waved her hand fanning her self from the heat.

Dolores Vega took that moment to grace them with her presence. Dorlores sat down with her mink fur wrapped around her throat and waved a gloved hand adorned with diamond bracelets. "Who's boyfriend? Don't tell me Dorian has finally found love."

"I could only wish, Mother." Dorian said standing and circling the table to press a kiss to his mother's cheek. "Was not expecting you too, Mother."

Dolores waved her hand, dismissing Dorian's comment and he returned to his seat. "So if it's not Dorian, how many other gay men do you know?"

Christian laughed. "You'd be surprised Mrs. Vega."

She looked over at Christian. He half expected a frown to break out on her lips, but instead she smiled. "And where is my greeting, Sir Costa?"

"Yes, ma'am." And Christian obliged the matriarch of the family with a kiss to the opposite cheek and returned to his seat.

"Emilio will be along shortly, he got stopped in the lobby by someone from Vaia Plus. Apparently there is some problem or another that just couldn't wait."
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Moscow. A place where the world sped up and men made the world turn. Emilio didn't miss the busy avenues or the constant meetings. He was ready to retire -- as soon as Cruz graduated with his Masters. That was the promise, of all the children who were grating on his nerves.

It had taken years for Emilio to come to terms with his sons decisions. Only with in the past year had he truly accepted his son. Such a thing later in life. A life of stress had paid a toll on his health and Dolores made sure he lived a better life -- less stress, better food, less wine. A dull and boring life to live a better one sounded oddly counter intuitive. Yet he listened to his wife.

But Cruz was causing just as much grief now that the boy was let out on his own. Dorian had done the same. And Emilio wanted to put a stop to it.

His thoughts were firmly placed on his family when a hand stopped him. "Mr. Vega. Might I have a moment of your time."

Emilio looked up and frowned. "Dr. Flynn." He knew the man of course but he wasn't here for business. "I'm about to have drinks with my family can this wait?"

"It will only take a moment."

Emilio sighed with a nod and patted his wife on the waist. "Why don't you get join the family?' He was sure whatever the CEO of Vaia Plus wanted would bore her to tears.

Dolores nodded with a frown and he gave her the I'm sorry look. Her scowl deepend but she said nothing as she headed to the elevator. Security was tight at the Apex Lounge but they'd have no problems. Money was all that really mattered here.

"How can I help you, Dr?"

"Your grandson, has dangerous friends. He's poking around in things he should not. I am grateful he has cleaned up a rather unfortunate problem, but I can't have him messing up my experiments. Do you think you can handle it?'

Emilio laughed. "Whatever hold you think I have over my grandson that extends to his friends is hardly anything at all." It was after all why they were all meeting today. "But I will ask Cruz to tell his friend to back off, but I doubt it will do any good. Does this friend have a name?"

Dr Flynn frowned. "I don't have his name. I only know he runs with the Vega boy, which can only be your grandson."

"A description, perhaps?"

Flynn chuckled. "He flings fireballs and blasts of air at the Almaz. That should be enough. I doubt your grandson has many friends that runs in those circles."

Emilio frowned. There were more than Flynn knew, but there was only one friend who did that. And he was dangerous. "I'll see what I can do."

"It would be most beneficial for all parties involved."

The words that came from the man's mouth sounded a threat. Not the way to garner help. But Emilio let it go, ignorance was Bliss.
The conversation was easy, but the mood remained light and far from the topic at hand. Mrs. Vega was curious about the arrangements Ana and Christian were making. Everyone knew their plans were an permanent engagement. And they also tried to talk them out of it. There were legalities Christian didn't want to bite him in the ass. The Vegas were very loving at the moment. But Christian knew that that love could easily back hand him at any moment. While it wouldn't come from Ana or Dorian, the senior Vega's had a tendency to withdraw their favor at a moments notice. Dorian's case and now Cruz's all proved the point in Christian's mind.

And being included made him uncomfortable. Too many years had he stood by and listened to everything being said behind other's back. The rich and powerful forget that their servants hear everything. He could easily blackmail all four of them and still have enough material to do it again. They weren't illegal or bad, but things the family image wanted to keep secret. Everything was image. And Christian knew all the nasty stuff hidden in the corners behind the expensive vases and paintings.

Emilio Vega graced them with their presence and he sat down with a sweep of his hand and his coat was taken, and a glass of white wine was placed in front of him. The perks of being CEO of Jivana. But Christian knew it was his assistant had called ahead and preordered everything. They knew exactly what to expect. Christian used to do that for Ana in Madrid. Not as much in Moscow.

"Cruz's friends causing trouble, Dorian?"

"He always causes problems. It's in his nature, but what do you mean?" Dorian laughed. Ana chuckled softly too. Sage's friends in the past had been docile little rich brats. And then he learned he could channel and Dorian brought in a boy who could not only protect him but teach him. And Cruz's downfall began corrupted by the common American boys he was now close friends with. And it wasn't just Nox. Sage corrupted far easier than Nox. Nox was distant and a weapon. Sage on the other hand had money and a reputation he built and pushed like a drug dealer. And Cruz sank into the hackers friends far easier than he did with Nox. They had started a business together. One neither Dorian or Emilio knew about. All in the name of a girl Cruz never met, but she was the life blood for both Sage and Nox for different reasons. Borealis Industries, a software company that was the heart of all three boys livelihoods, and the only financial investment Christian had ever pushed money at, and not because it was a sound investment. It was the memorial of family.

"Seems he's probing into Vaia Plus and the good doctor has asked that he stopped."

The three of them looked at each other and frowned. But it was Dorian who spoke softly. "That won't happen, sir. He won't stop, not until it's done."

"Dorian he must. Flynn has threatened our family."

Ana whispered. "I'm sorry, mi suegro. He will not relent on this he will burn down anyone in his way. They harm innocents." They couldn't say more. The Atharim was not a think Emilio Vega knew about. "He will protect us as best he can. We cannot do anything about the boy, but we are here to talk about the one we can control to a much finer degree. But we shouldn't. He will rebel like his father and then some. He has influences far greater than Dorian did in the day. The same boy can steal away our Cruz and wash away any connection we have with the other American we call son. Mi suegro we will lose them all."
Dorian watched his father's anger boil, but when Ana relayed the same message he simmered down. Ana always had a way with his father. He didn't like it. Emilio that was, but he listened to reason and the change of topic was received.

They night carried on with discussions about what to do about their errant son. Christian was silent. The whole thing had to be a shock to his system. It was likely one reason they hadn't met at the estate. Christian was always family but now he was more -- on level with them marrying Ana. Though he was being stubborn about all of it. And Ana didn't dissuade him, not that Dorian blamed them. His father could flip on a dime.

Drinks were heavy and they hadn't come to any conculsions. Only that Cruz was heading down a dark path. Emilio was taking up a room at the Ritz and he'd be in town for a while. No telling how long. And he intended to get to the bottom of this Vaia Plus thing. Which was bad in and of itself but his father had no idea what the fuck he was getting involved in, or why Nox was going to bring them down. Dorian knew that anyone near them was going to get burned. He might need to take some time off to temper his father and send him home.

For now they'd watch Cruz, Christian offered the estate for Cruz and Dorian's father, but Emilio refused. Cruz likely would as well he was well on his way to living in the freedom of college life. Who wanted to live with their mother?

Maybe a place of his own? For real. Not just some hack apartment he was renting. They both were in the same dire situations not wanting to man up and be free but responsible. Dorian sighed as they left. Maybe it was time he stopped playing pissed of cop and join the ranks. Right now his Domovoi work was boring as hell. And IA was still trying their best to find fault in anything he did -- they wouldn't. That was rather the point of being Atharim undercover. It was his job to hid the truth in the truth.

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