"Stay still. Do not step in the glass"
Vega had heard her father say that a dozen times in her life. When they were children, running barefooted around the place, that had been a commonplace response but she hadn't heard it for a number of trials. "Wot? I don't care about the glass. Are you serious?" Jo'qan looked at her, his face entirely impassive. Vega knew that look too well, though, and she shook her head. "No. Papa, no. I'm not doin' that, an' neither's 'e. We. We Are Not Doin' That, so get it out of yer 'ead." Jo'qan blinked in some surprise, an almost folorn look on his face. "An' don't be doin' that, neither. Wot are you thinkin'? I mean, Papa, we've only jus', that is... well, it's all still new, you know." Vega had no intention of getting into a conversation about how long her and Arlo had been intimate. She'd been raised by four males, fundamentally, although two of them were more or less the same age as her. She knew how that conversation went and she had not the slightest interest in sharing those sorts of details with her father.
It didn't even occur to her that he'd be horrified if she did.
No, she just saw him looking at her with large, sad eyes and Vega turned around in surprise as she heard a sound at the galley door. It was Huw, her eldest cousin and he looked between the two of them. "Is everything alright here?" Huw asked and Jo'qan sighed slightly.
"No it bloody well isn't, an' it's at least 'alf your fault you know. You an' yer family this an' family name that. Now you listen to me, sunshine," Vega would have stalked over and poked Huw in the chest if she hadn't known that her father would have a complete fit at her walking in broken glass. "Arlo an' I 'ave been together, I dunno, not long. Like, you know, a couple. An' 'e's off," a wild gesture to her father, "about marriage an' kids. I mean, I'm too young fer that, an I'm too irresponsible, an' I'm.. I'm..."
"Enjoying life too much as you are to be messed around by someone else's plans for you?" It was a fourth voice and there, behind his brother, was her cousin Shon. The last time she'd seen him, he had tried to hold her back from a fight between Arlo and his twin brother, Reese, and Vega had kicked him hard on the shin. Shon had reacted and knocked her to the ground. As was the way of family, or at least theirs, that was forgotten as Vega nodded her head to Shon. "Exactly! I mean.. oh, thanks," she said as Huw stepped forward, his heavy boot crunching the broken glass, and put his hands on her waist, lifting her out of the area. "I mean, you know, I've got things to do."
"I so hear it," Shon said in solemn agreement, "he's trying to arrange a match for me and Reese with some twins from another clan." Vega looked in amazement at her cousin and shook her head. "It's like... 'be 'appy with who you are, an' do it my way', I tell you" She and Shon walked out together, leaving Huw and Jo'qan in the galley.
"Are you alright?" Shon asked her as they left together. "I'm so sorry about hitting you, it was reflex, I swear. Your man cares deeply for you."
"It's a'righ', dun't worry about it. Apologise to 'im, not me. You made a piss poor first impression, I tell you. But 'e's a forgivin' sort." They continued to walk and then Huw and Jo'qan turned to look at each as they heard Vega's guffaw of laughter as Shon replied, "Forgiving? He'd have to be if he loves you."
Huw knelt next to Jo'qan and he looked at his uncle with a knowing expression on his face. "You did that on purpose. With her and them?" Jo'qan smiled and shrugged, picking up the last of the glass. Huw glanced at the place where the two younger ones had just left and asked, "Why, Uncle?"
Jo'qan put his hand on his nephew's shoulder and spoke the simple truth of it. "Because family is everything. And family means respecting each other, and each other's choices." Gesturing out, in the general area, Jo'qan smiled. "Because if we don't support each other, none of us has anyone to lean on. Family matters," he said with a smile, "and it is always a matter of the heart." Huw nodded his head and the two older men got about finishing the dishes.