Hector fled the garage, up the ramp and outside into the harsh sunlight.
Garovel said something to him, and the words even passed through his head clearly, but he simply wasn’t paying attention. His mind was cluttered with confusion and fury, wondering if she’d really meant those things, angry that she could even say them, furious that he couldn’t respond. And just. Sadness. It hurt, a pain right in his chest. He’d always thought heartache was just a figure of speech.
“Hector?” It was the King’s voice.
Hector hurriedly wiped his eyes. “Y-yes?” He couldn’t bring himself to turn around and face the man.
“I apologize,” said William. “I happened to overhear what your mother said.”
He winced. “O-oh...”
“I did not mean to eavesdrop.”
“Did... did everyone hear?”
“Only Gina and myself, I believe. She seemed rather concerned as well. Are you alright?”
“I’m--I, uh... I’m, ah--”
‘It’s okay to say no,’ said Garovel. ‘Hector, you don’t have to pretend like everything is fine.’
Hector just looked at the ground, opting to say nothing.
The King stepped closer. “Perhaps it is not my place to say this, but would you like my opinion?”
“A child does not require a parent’s love or approval in order to live happily or honorably.”
Hector’s brow receded, and he looked up at the King. “Your Majesty, what are you saying?”
“Were you thinking I would try to convince you how valuable family is? How important it is to reconcile with your mother? Because words such as those would not suit me, I fear. I have considerable experience with family discord.”
Hector only frowned.
“Of course, if it is within reason to reconcile, then certainly do so. But please, do not believe that there is something wrong with you merely because of what she said. That would be a mistake. One that I have made, myself.”
“But... it’s not... I mean, what do I do?”
“Whatever you can. But you cannot force someone to love you. Nor do you need to.”
“But I’m... I’m all she has. Whether she acknowledges it or not... I can’t just...”