The Mentor (Necessary Lies Book 1)(8)

By: Alison Ryan

“So why bring me here?” I finally asked him. “I know there’s a lesson in everything we do.”

Dad nodded, “Yes. Very true. Well, I’m a big fan of Wolfgang. You know, he was born to a musician. His father, Leopold. From the time Mozart existed, his destiny was laid out before him. Yes, he was a genius, but to be immersed in something is to make it anything but a choice. Mozart was composing at 4 years old. He went on tours by 6 years old. His genius is undeniable, but it’s always made me sad in a way, how he was never given a chance to pursue anything else.” My father’s face grew sad for a moment.

“Dad,” I said. “He’s Mozart. One of the great geniuses of our time. I don’t think he minded. Like you said, if something is your destiny, it’s going to happen either way. There’s no other choice.”

“Maybe so,” Dad replied. “You know, his rival, Salieri, used to say Mozart was in direct contact with God. Because he could compose so quickly and beautifully, like God Himself was dictating the notes to Mozart. He was definitely touched by something. Every time I come here, I think of that. Of destiny, of whether everything is predetermined.”

It was an odd conversation to be having with him. There were layers to it that I couldn’t see. What we were talking about wasn’t really what we were talking about.

“I don’t think so,” I said. “Nothing is predetermined. We get to choose. I plan on choosing what I want to do with my life. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I know when I do, it won’t be because of anything but my own volition.”

My father looked at me, surprised. As if he was seeing me for the first time.

“Camilla, that makes me proud to hear you say that,” he said. “Yes. Choose your life. Make it what you want it to be. It’s a lesson I wish I had learned earlier. That I had choices. That I didn’t have to do what was asked of me or expected.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. We were on the edge of a breakthrough. I could feel it.

My father paused for a long moment. I could tell he was mulling over something.

“Another time,” he finally said. “We will talk about that further down the road. Just know I am proud of you, Camilla. And I always will be.”


I was thinking about that trip to Austria as I flew on a private plane for the second time in my life, across the country to Tahoe. Everything Nolan Weston told me had worked out smoothly. I’d packed, been picked up in a black SUV, and been taken to the small private airport in Charlottesville where a Gulfstream jet awaited me.

And now I was trying not to cry thinking about talking to my father about Mozart when I was sixteen years old. And how we’d never gone back to the topic of destiny or how my father had been talked into his own, long before I even existed. And we never would. It broke my heart.

It was just me and the pilot on the plane. It had been almost dark when I boarded and now as we flew it felt like we were chasing the sun, going back into the past. I hadn’t travelled much to the western part of the States. My father had taken me to Disneyland when I was nine and my mother and I had gone to Palm Springs once for a spa weekend. Otherwise, it was a strange land to me. I looked out my window at the darkness, seeing great swaths of black only occasionally dotted by lights down below, the world closing down as I sped across it.

What was I to expect? Would I have to identify my father? Where would the funeral be? Where would he be buried? So many questions, the kind that made me nervous. My father’s firm was large, I assumed there would be a ton of things for me to sign, to consider, to learn. I didn’t want to do any of it.

I just wanted my father back.


It was a five-hour flight. By the time we reached South Lake Tahoe, California, I was exhausted in every way a person could be exhausted. I ached in my bones from the stress of what was happening. All I wanted was a bed and about 14 hours of uninterrupted slumber.

The plane taxied in, and before long we were disembarking. The pilot carried my bags down the stairs onto the tarmac. I took one last look at the interior of the plane, not sure what awaited me outside it. But somehow I knew nothing was ever going to be the same.