“Your parents will be fine, Jerry only knew of you as an Atlantean. Marilyn has already contacted your parents, and they’ll be waiting for us at the airport. You’ll be able to contact them while you train with us, but you might want to talk to your parents first before you say yes to us,” Antonia told Austin, to his relief. He thought about how his parents would react to him leaving to become part of some Atlantean Training Camp. He sighed, not looking forward to the upcoming conversation with his mother.
“We’ll be touching down at JKF in about 5 minutes,” said Marilyn’s static voice in Austin’s headset. Austin groaned, and looked outside the chopper as they soared over buildings that he never thought he would see the tops of.
“I don’t want to hear it, Austin,” started Mrs. Tseng in Korean, “I don’t care if people think that you’re ‘just so rad that you had to call your parents every night,’ you’re going to be checking in with us daily, if not hourly. Uh-uh-uh!” she snapped as Austin began to complain, “If you don’t, I’m going to call this Royal Family and have the royally embarrass the sh*t out of you in front of your royal friends by telling you to call us.” Austin wondered if his mother could do that, or even if the Royal Family would do that. Or even how, really. But the treat was real, it could takes months to recover from that kind of public humiliation.
It was Mr. Tseng’s turn now. He had more of a, “Let ‘em go and see if they fly,” kinda philosophy when it came to parenting.
“A word of advice, Austin,” he said, “If anybody tries to offer you drugs, or alcohol, or whatever, beat the living hell out of them. That ‘just say no’ crap works maybe two percent of the time. A few fractured ribs will get the point across much more effectively.”
“I’m not sure if that’s such a good idea, Dad. What if the dude with the drugs has like…super strength or fire shooting powers? I don’t want to get my ass handed to me on a bowl full of expensive ice,” Austin retorted. Sometimes his dad’s blunt and strong personality gave excellent advice. But Austin had to admit that was probably one of the worst things he could do. But his dad came back just as fast.
“Then you kick their ass faster.” He could be extremely stubborn when he wanted to be… which is all the time. Austin was about to facepalm, but stopped short when his mother spoke again.
“And don’t think you’re getting off the hook for sneaking off to some registration center. If your dad wanted you to get registered, he would have taken you himself.” Again, Austin didn’t agree with Mrs. Tseng. But he decided against arguing, remembering how that went last time. Best to drop it and hope they forget. Awkward silence followed for a few minutes.
“Welp…” Austin murmured, “….I guess I’ll just go then. Thanks for the advice Dad. And Sorry Mom. I’ll call you tonight I guess.” Mrs. Tseng gave Austin a hug. Releasing him, she said, “You better. I’ll see you soon, kiddo.” Austin’s father reached out for a handshake, nearly crushing Austin’s hand as they did so.
“Seeya, boy,” he said in his best Southern accent. It was something they did everytime Austin left for extended periods of time.
“Later, pop,” replied Austin, a little too mechanically for the usual effect to take place. After an affectionate pat on the back from his dad, and a goodbye kiss from his mom, Austin took his bag from his dad’s hands and walked back to the trio waiting for him. He shot Antonia an excited smile before turning back to wave one last time at his parents. It looked like Austin’s dad was trying to drag his mother out of the airport. Not like it surprised Austin at all.
Upon reaching his recruiters, Austin announced that his parents said yes, and that he was ready to leave whenever they were.