Chapter 8

Chapter 8

"Keagan, my little angel, do you had the really nice suit to wore tonight?" Henri asked in the early afternoon.  "I hear tell you been invited out for to eat at your warrior's place with you split apart.  We got to dress you up fitting for your first date."

"PawPaw, it's not a date," the teen squealed and blushed.  "Cassie just wants to talk business with Sugarman."

"You going out on the town with your man, ain't you?" Aunt Dixie asked.  "It's a date.  He may hear business talk, but he going to have his eyes on you, baby.  Come on, Henri, let's take our prince shopping," she announced as she stood up from her place on the couch.  "I'm sure glad you put the blessing on that sofa, Henri.  I never could have sat on there that long you hadn't.  I sold Sugarman that thing and I know it barely fit to sit on at all, but he insist it the one he want.  I knowed he trying to pinch them pennies, and I don't want to embarrass him by giving too much discount on something better."

"I have some really nice clothes that Aunt Dixie got me," Keagan said with a bit of a blush.  "I'm sure there's something in there that..."

"I bring you them clothes, you ain't a High Prince," Aunt Dixie stopped him.  "Now you ain't just a High Prince, you THE High Prince.   You the second most important person for both the two most powerful families in our culture.  You go out tonight, you got to look like who you are."

"And don't you spoke one word about how you 'just Keagan'," Henri warned him but hugged him at the same time.  "You never 'just Keagan' again, mon petit ange.  You don't want to bring embarrassment to me or your Aunt Dixie, do you?"

"Oh no, PawPaw, I would never want that," Keagan blurted quickly.  "Maybe you can both undo whatever it is so I can't do that.  I don't know anything about how to act in fancy places where I would have to dress up to eat."

"You be yourself and you treat peoples like you already do and you be just fine, Sunshine," Aunt Dixie told him as she kissed his cheek.

"You get stuck for what to do, you sneak the look over to Claude or Cassius," Henri added.  "They know all you need to know."  By this time they were on the street in front of the bakery and Henri opened the door of his Lincoln Town Car for Aunt Dixie.  "My Queen," he said as he offered a hand to her as she got into the car.  He then opened the door for Keagan as well.  "My Prince."

Once they were all in the car, Keagan couldn't withstand his curiosity any more.  "Aunt Dixie, PawPaw, what does it mean when people keep saying prince and queen and stuff?"

"Remember us speaking on the people that have powers earlier?" Henri prompted.  At Keagan's nod, he continued.  "Well in our culture, the culture of those people with those powers, there are houses or families with different amounts of power and different skills.  Your Aunt Dixie is the most powerful person in the most powerful family of that culture, so she is known as the Queen.  Cassius, as her named and claimed heir, will someday be the King."

"Does that mean you are the king of your family, PawPaw?"

"Nobody but the LeVeau family can be called King or Queen, and don't forget it's your family too now," Henri explained and reminded.

"Henri is the most powerful person in his family, so on the most formal occasions, he would be introduced as Prince of the House of Lafayette," Aunt Dixie spoke up.  "The House of Lafayette famous for being the next most powerful in our culture, but also for being the best at a certain type of power.  You see that today when he put the blessing on Sugarman's couch and when he read the magic and history from your family furniture.  Lafayette the house of love and comfort."

"The closest family of the leader of each house get the title prince or princess," Henri picked up again.  "You title though, that something reserve special for people born like you.  You the first High Prince ever in the House of Lafayette."

"There been three in the House of LeVeau, and you the third and most powerful ever," Aunt Dixie added.  "The High Prince the most important person in a family beside the Head of the House.  You want to think on it a different way, if I'm the Queen, you something between a prime minister and an archbishop or pope.  You only answer to the Head of your House, me and your PawPaw Henri.  You don't never called nobody your prince, except maybe Cassius, and that just if you want to or feel like it the right thing to do right that minute."

"One more thing you should knowed, though," Henri told the wide-eyed teen.  "You got the correct form of address now too.  Anybody from any House want to spoke with you, they call you Your Grace.  Only three people in all the Houses don't had to call you that, and that me, you Aunt Dixie, and Cassius.  That because you the High Prince of the House of LeVeau.  Even my heir call you that if she want to spoke with you.  Only you got the power to spoke otherwise."

"Does that mean that Claude too?" Keagan asked with a wrinkled nose showing his thoughts on that idea.  "My brother should never have to call me a title other than brother," he said firmly.

Across town in a snack bar on the campus of the university, a tear rolled down Claude's cheek as he smiled.  "Je t'aime aussi frère."

"What's with the waterworks, Claudette?" a young woman asked.

"You know I hate that nickname, Ding Dong," Claude retorted as he stuck his tongue out at his cousin.

"I know Uncle Henri adopted you, Claude, but I'm still his heir," the masculinely dressed woman growled as she sat down.  "Don't make me decree you unable to call me Ding Dong, Claudette."

"Oh, I'm scared Belle, real scared," Claude sneered sarcastically.  "If you really didn't like it, you would have already made that decree.  You know the only person you love more than me is PawPaw, and how did you know he.... Oh yeah, never mind."

"Family powers and position, Claude," Belle said as she rolled her eyes.  "You know the ways even if you don't have the powers.  So tell me about this new brother of yours."

"He's the nicest human being on the planet, I swear," Claude said sincerely.  "You know about the frat getting shut down after the party the other night, right?"  She nodded, and he continued.  "He was there.  He was going to be 'entertainment'."

"You queers are so crude," Belle scoffed.

"Yeah, well, you need to hear about this so you know," Claude said quietly.  "He isn't 18 yet."


"Will you shut up?" Claude snapped as he looked around quickly.  "Nothing happened to him, thankfully."

"Yeah otherwise you would not just be under a jail, but I would be ripping your nuts off, cuz."

"Belle, you know what I go for." Claude now rolled his eyes.  "Anyway, the bigger reason to be thankful nothing happened is because he had been named a prince of the House of LeVeau."

"So let me get this right.  You were part of a group that almost gang-raped an underage LeVeau prince and you still don't think I should be neutering you right now?"

"I was trying my best to get him out of there and at the time I had no idea he was connected to the LeVeau's.  I found that out when I tracked him down to apologize and make sure he was ok," Claude told her.  "That party is why I was cast out of the family, though.  Keagan is the reason I got reinstated.  First, he claimed me as his brother, and even though he doesn't have the powers, it clicked like if he did.  And then he asked Uncle Henri to adopt us both as grandsons.  The Queen was there and recognized it just as if one of her family with powers had made the request and so did PawPaw."

"I need to meet this brother of yours, and soon," Belle marveled as she sipped a chicory coffee.

"Oh, and I guess I should tell you since you're the closest thing I've got to a best friend and sister, that I might have possibly maybe met my split apart," Claude added with a blush.

"Start talking, cuz," she grinned playfully.  "Enquiring minds want to know all the details."

"His name is Cassius LeVeau," Claude admitted as he blushed even more.

"No way!  You are NOT sitting there telling me that your split apart is the Crown Prince," Belle gasped.

"WHAT?  No, he's a prince but, no... no....  Really?"

"Yes, as of just a couple of hours ago," Belle confirmed.  "Well, this has been a hell of a week, and it's not even over yet."

"I know, because Cassius has invited me, Keagan, and Chay to LeVeau's on the Levee tonight for dinner to discuss our futures," Claude told her.

"Claude, I don't mean to be mean, cuz, but what are you going to wear?"

"I know how to.... Oh crap!  I lost all my formal clothes when I got kicked out of the family and now my father has been kicked out, so I can't get them back.  What am I going to do?"

"You're going to breathe and calm down, first," Belle told him.  "Then you're going to come with me and we'll run over to Babineaux's.  Your PawPaw has an account there for special occasions for the family.  Your first date with your split apart definitely fits that bill."

"Oh, but he's already paying for school, and...."

"And he will be embarrassed by you if you show up not properly dressed, and it would be even worse if you turn down an invitation from the Crown Prince.  Now let's get go.  It's just a couple of blocks.  You can survive the back of my bike that far."

"Your... Oh no... I am not riding on that death trap with you woman," Claude started backing away with his hands raised defensively. 

"It's not a death trap, it's a motorcycle.  They are as safe as anything else on the road," Belle rolled her eyes once more.

"Nothing is safe on the road with your driving," Claude snorted.

"Hey, I only wrecked the bike once," she corrected him.

"Yeah, and you only wrecked your mom's car once... with me in it, and you only wrecked your dad's pick up once... with me in it, and your grandmother's car... with me in it."

"See there, you're the jinx, not me," Belle pointed out as she grabbed his arm and dragged him out of the building.  "Besides those were all so long ago."

"So long ago?  You wrecked your mom's car two months ago, and I wouldn't have even been in it if you had told me that you didn't have permission to take it.  I didn't want to go to an Iron Maiden concert in the first place."

"How could you not want to go hear a band that had to have been named for me?" Belle asked sweetly.

"The only connection between you and Iron Maiden is that the creepy dead monster thing they put on all their album covers looks just like you first thing in the morning," Claude retorted.

"Oh, you are so paying for that one, Claudette," Belle growled.

"You can't hurt me because my split apart is the Crown Prince," he replied and stuck out his tongue.

"Oh, I'll find some way, don't you worry," she assured him.

So it was that both Guiberts arrived at the formal wear shop of Mr. Jean Babineaux.  "Mr. Henri, how good to see you at my little shop," the middle-aged man schmoozed as he stood in the door of the building watching the older man get out of the car.  "My Queen, you honor me and my humble accommodations with your presence," he added much more seriously, bowing deeply.

"Jean, you knowed we going to spend money, you ain't got to act like we tourists," Dixie laughed.

"Claude, hadn't I told you not to ride that fool contraption with your cousin no more?" Henri called out as he watched his older grandson literally jump off the back of the motorcycle and kiss the sidewalk repeatedly.  "Get up from there you crazy boy," the old man laughed.  "Belle, get over here and meet your new cousin and our High Prince.  Keagan this is my chosen heir, Belle Lafayette."

"High Prince?" Claude gasped.  Keagan squirmed and blushed like a six-year-old caught with his hand in a cookie jar.

"Your Grace, I'm...." Belle started with a deep bow.

"No, I'm not, not to you or Claude," Keagan interrupted her.  "If you are PawPaw's heir, then I hope you and I will be friends at the very least.  You can call me Keagan, or Chipper, or Sunshine, since Keagan is my name and the other two are my nicknames."

"Chipper has the right feel to it," Belle told him with a smile.  "You don't have to call me Belle, but if I catch you using this overgrown monkey's nickname for me, we will have words."

"Ding Dong," Claude supplied happily.

"Huh?" Keagan asked.  "I don't get it."

"It's the sound a bell makes," Claude explained.  "In my defense I was only four when I thought it up."

"I was going to say she doesn't look anything like a ding dong to me," Keagan supplied.  "Now if you had called her a zinger... that I could understand."

"Zinger?" Belle sputtered.

"Yeah, you know, those little cake things like Twinkies only they have icing on them, except the icing is just for show," Keagan explained to them all.  "Cause I mean you're all dressed up in the leather and the spikes and stuff, but I can tell it's all for show because I can see the tattoo you have over your heart peeking out from inside the biker jacket.  I'm going to guess that Candace is your... split apart... is that the term?"

"Candace is my split apart, yes, Keagan," Belle confirmed in shock.  "I haven't shown her my tattoo yet. She just got to school today because of a family thing at her home.  See, I kind of haven't told her how serious I am about her and our relationship yet.  She doesn't know about the family yet, either, or my place in it."

"Belle, come here, child," Dixie said softly.  "Keagan, would you mind helping me with something for a moment?  Belle, focus you thoughts on you girl.  Think on how much she mean to you."  The old woman put one of her hands on Belle's forehead.  "Now, Keagan, take my free hand in one of yours and put you other hand on Belle's heart."

The leather-clad college co-ed gasped and nearly collapsed.  "What was that?" she whispered.

"That was the gift of the most powerful High Prince the House of LeVeau ever seen or heard of since before the time of Old Marie herself," Dixie smiled.

"Thank you, Keagan," Belle said quietly as she hugged her new cousin and kissed him on the cheek.  "I have to go find Candace now."  She jumped back onto her motorcycle and quickly sped away.

Claude walked up with a smirk on his face.  "Keagan, little bro, what's the matter?"

"I touched a boob," Keagan whispered as he stared at his hand in disgust.  "I think I'm going to be sick.  OH...umm no offense Aunt Dixie."  He shouldn't have worried.  Aunt Dixie was laughing so hard that Jean and Henri were both having to help her stand up.