Mama Romanov and the Parking Garage of Doom

By: Druscilla White

Date: 4th Aug 2021

A win. My first win in Fight. Admittedly he fought well, but in the end, my Voodoo was stronger than his ego. The crowd screamed my name, not his. They cheered me on. No one else. Mama came down the ramp to escort me back, and she wrapped me in a tight hug. The crowd screamed again. Louder. Mama took my hand and raised it high. Was this what a parent looked like?

I wasn’t used to this. I smiled, waved to the fans and slid between the curtains. “Kachanie, that amazing!” She kissed my forehead. ”That move!” She attempted to imitate my well known Voodoo Queen move. I laughed. She hugged me. ”It was a good fight, for sure Mama. I didn’t know you were back here!” She grinned. ”Let say, I know a nice Wodka.” Wodka? I blinked a few times before it clicked. Vhodka! ”Oh! You mean Vhodka!”
”Yes, Wodka… What I say?” I meant to say something but shrugged it off. Close enough, right?

I could hear a loud ass group as we turned the corner, heading towards my room. This tower was crazy! We all had our own spaces, granted we were followed by security everywhere or watched by camera. The noise got louder as we closed in on my door. I opened it with my key and laughed.

”CONGRATULATIONS PROPHET”

The banner was huge, and hand painted. I smiled, leaning on Mama. My hand hurt, as I’m sure she and now Cela could notice. But I feigned being alright. I was perfect. My family. My friends. All here. Waiting for me. But, something was still missing.

I felt loved, sure, but what nagged at me, hurt. I spent many nights alone. Training. Or working. With either my club or the family. It seemed everyone had found their love. Diesel and Cela. Mama had the memory of Papa. Zion had Memphis, it turned out. Roscoe had whatever flavor of the week he found. Shawn and Kasey. Austin had Todrick. Hell, even Vhodka had Vincent. I was jealous. They had it all. Fame. Power. Love.

But me? I had Hel and I had Reaper.

I resigned myself to being alone. Focused on my career. Conquering whatever lay in my path. Injury. Losses. Wins. No one could stop me. Not even myself. No one.

The party continued, everyone congratulating me. Cela put the brace back on my wrist, it had already begun to turn a deep purple color. Hopefully I hadn’t done more damage. But my career came first. I’d been out for a few weeks prior, I couldn’t lose momentum now.

My first showing was amazing. The rush was insane. A real tug of war between the two of us. I thought he almost had me, honestly.

Once things began to wind down, I grabbed my gear and said my goodbyes. I didn’t notice Mama following me to the parking lot.

”Kachanie…” I looked over my shoulder, ”Why you leave?” I stood beside my bike. Helmet in hand. ”Mama, I have to get home.” She tapped her foot. ”For? Movie? Cats? You no go out. You no see anyone.” I protested. ”Not true. I see you. I see the Wolves.” ”Psh. Kachanie. You no date.” I slid the strap of my bag across my chest. ”Mama, I don’t need to date. I’m fine.” ”Fine? Fucked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional.” I rolled my eyes. ”Kachanie, Papa teach. He teach never be fine. And he right.” “No disrespect mama, but I don’t think advice from a dead man is a good way to go…”

Her eyes widened. ”Kachanie… who say dead?” I stammered. ”We.. uh.. you?” She took the locket from beneath her shirt. She opened it. Inside were two photos. One, a much younger Papa, and the other… older. Like her. He looked so gentle. ”Kachanie.. Papa no dead. He live.” “Why aren’t you with him?” ”Oh, my Kachanie.. for safety. He keep Mama safe. Mama love very much, miss Papa.” She closed the locket after she kissed it softly. My heart was wrenched. I wanted that… and she has it, but to stay with me, she stayed away from him.

”Mama.. Go to him. Please? You two… you two sound perfect together.” Now she protested. ”Kachanie, I not. If Mama see Papa, danger. Very danger.” She grasped the locket tight before tucking it back inside her blouse. My heart.. it was breaking. And for someone I didn’t even know! I’d heard of maternal imprinting and I felt that with Mama, but was there such a thing as paternal imprinting?

I’d heard stories of Papa and his courage. How he kept Mama safe and how he kept us safe.. I felt a bond with a man I’d never met. Was that possible? Or had I taken a few too many hits tonight?

A few footsteps echoed over the cement. A slight shuffle. A man’s voice cleared his throat before Mama and I whipped around. My hand was already inside my bag, fingers latched around my beloved hun, Kneel.

”Is this a private party?” Her face lit up and she threw herself at the man. His laugh! How it radiated! Even I felt the love. The two greeted one another with tender hugs and fiery kisses. I blushed and turned away. But a hand reached into my view. Large. Wrinkled. Coarse but gentle. I looked up.

”Oh my girl…” his voice was soft, his eyes full of mischief. Like Diesel. ”You’ve grown up on Papa.” He laughed again. My face went pale, not in a bad way, but shock. Utter shock. I wasn’t able to speak. Mama took my hand and pulled me to them. ”Kachanie, this Papa.” The man wrapped me in his arms, I smelled pipe tobacco, peppermint and gunpowder. He tipped his fedora back on his head and looked into my eyes.

I was speechless, still. Unable to verbalize anything. But as my brain was befuddled my heart took over. I latched on to the tall man, completely against my nature. He smiled softly, patting my back gently. ”Oh my girl, my beautiful Anastasia…” My head was in the crook of his neck, against his chest, but I whispered; ”It’s—” only to have Mama cut me off. ”It Druscilla, Papa.” She ran her fingers through my hair, letting me know she knew.

”Well then, Druscilla.” He kissed my head softly, before placing a finger under my chin to lift my eyes to his. ”You look so much like your mother…” I blushed. ”Kachanie, where you go?” She smiled, as Papa grabbed her and threw her into the hug. ”Now?… Well, wait a minute! You’re American? What about danger?? Hmm?” Papa laughed, gleefully. ”I’m a professor, my girl, who would ever suspect an old professor of being a spy, hmm? Very sneaky, Druscilla, they have no idea where I am or who I am now.” They? Whose they? I blinked. What was this? Some comic book shtick about an old man digging up histories? “So… Who are you? Realy?” He smiled, tipping his hat back once more, looking into my eyes. ”My name? Henry James. My profession? Professor. Retired Spy. My relation? Your father, if you and Natalia will have me.” He looked at Mama, whose face was wide with excitement, and even my own was admittedly happy. But I was still very confused. Mama nodded her head, vigorously, and yanked us once more into a familial hug. Where was Diesel when I needed him? ”Yes, Papa, yes. Stay. See Diesel, he so strong, Papa. Like you.” She wasn’t wrong. Diesel was similar to this man in many ways.

”That’s settled. Then we all go to my place. I have plenty of space. We can.. get to know one another, … Papa?” It felt weird in my mouth. My tongue had issues allowing the word to be spoken. In all my life, I’d never said that or any other name for father. Not with love. And I wasn’t 100% on Papa yet, but there was that pull. That almost imprinting feeling. ”I’ll have Diesel and Cela come around, too.”

Before the man could protest, Mama’s car had already found us. ”You two, head home.. I’ll be there soon.” I knew that was a loaded thing to say given how long it had been since they last saw one another but, I needed to decompress. I needed to get away. What better excuse than getting food? ”I’ll grab a pizza, ok?” Papa leaned down to kiss the top of my head again, Mama hugged me tightly before they both got into the black Escalade I’d bought for her. Frank tipped his hat as he drove out of the parking lot. Leaving me, finally, alone. I did need to remember to send a thank you to Vhodka for allowing Mama behind the scenes in the tower. That was rather sweet of her.

Why had they left? Why had they really left? For them to come back now.. was the danger gone? Has the problem been fixed? Or had there ever been any danger to begin with? Were they lying to me? Were these two even my real parents? I had to know. I had to find out. Even if it hurt, I needed the truth. Right? If the truth was, I was alone, I’d take it in stride… Right? Something like that couldn’t put me down, could it? Whatever the truth was, I couldn’t let it stymie my ascent in Fight. I would be ready for my next match. I’d be stronger. More fierce. Possibly heartbroken, or fueled by family. Only the Gods knew the future. I was merely a pawn in the great chess game of life, as we all were.