1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Memories Upon The Affair - As Told By Madame Celine Grey

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Tatile, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. "Darling! It has been too long!" Madame Celine Grey greeted one of her greatest friends with as much flamboyance as usual. She had once been a succesful reascher and designer for Silph Co., but now she lived in the countryside of Kanto writing raunchy romance novels and trying to pair off her son and daughter with various different socialites. Her massive career alteration had been the result of two things: her own wish for the life of the landed gentry and a high-profile, but utterly fictional, affair with a fifteen year old boy. Four years on nearly all of Kanto high society had forgotten the sordid affair and she had been invited back to freelance work at Silph Co., which she gratefully took after finding out how hard it was to create the erotic literature one dreams about. The young man she had invited to stay at her stately home was none other than the boy with whom she had supposedly had 'relations'. In reality it had been little more than an extravagant business venture and a wobbly pretext on which to base a divorce and new life. She embraced her guest, pulling his face down into her not inconsiderable bosom, helped by the fact that she was a good nine inches taller than he. "The life you have helped me create has been blessed, my little darling! Come, my son is here to-day and no longer holds venom for you."

    Madame Grey might be in her fifties but she still glowed with such youth and radience that Kari could not help but feel a strange sort of love for her. It was almost unfortunate that the life he had helped her achieve had involved her running off with her true lover; her personal fitness trainer and gardner, Michelle. Together they walked toward her home, a mansion nestled between great oak and redwood trees, the lawn rolling away on either side of the flower-lined path. The mansion was of the old style known (for somewhat arbitrary reasons) as 'Victorian'. This really just meant it was a construction of red brick with almost lace-like banisters surrounding the veranda and balconies. Madame Grey had always been an eccentric, so it was natural for her to live in such a large house, even if it was just her and Michelle most of the time.

    "Oh Kari, Makszi has been just dying," Here Madame Grey exaggerated as she always did, Szi (as he preferred to be called, it was never Mak, Maks or any variation thereof) was never 'dying' to do anything. "...to meet you again. He feel just awful about the things he said to you all those years ago. Now my darling son realises that you were only helping me, not destroying us."

    It was true, Makszi had never liked Kari, for at the time of the affair the two boys were the same age - in fact Kari had been posed as one of Makszi's school mates, in act which furtther heighted the scandal, but also angered Makszi to no end. It was surprsing then that he wanted to make amends, but perhaps that was just one of Madame Grey's embellishments again. Though the walk to the mansion was a long one, they moved swiftly and were soon upon the oak-wood veranda. Here one of the servants opened the white double-doors, curtseying before her employer and guest. The entrance to the mansion was not as one would usually expect; here a small part of the Madame's greater book collection spilled across the walls, held in maple cabinets and shelving. Her collection was as eclectic as its owner, having mixes of poetry and philosophy, romance and history and anything inbetween. The books themselves dated from the modern day to scrolls nearly hundreds of years old; should the collection ever be publically announced, it might be the most extensive of it's kind in the world.

    "Makszi! Michelle! Dearies, we have a guest!" Her mezzo-soprano voice rang throughout the hall, but it needn't have, as the two she was calling were in the adjacent sitting room. Michelle poked her head out of the room, purple eyes sparkling beneath her pixie-style blonde hair. She was tall, averaging out at six foot in the morning and had the build of an athlete; she looked just as beautiful in androgynous clothes as her love did in the most feminine haute-couture. Kari had a strange sort of love for her as well; an admiration of character and physique, but nothing romantic. 'An old love, a lost style' as he had once been told. Madame Grey swept across the hall, her delicate silk scarf flowing out behind her. She always wore such scarves, almost as wide as they were long, draped across her back kept in the crook of her arms. She embraced the other woman and planted a series of passionate kisses on her pale lips. Madame Grey was not one for doing things in half-measures.

    Silently, the servant who had held the door appeared beside Kari and offered to take his jacket. Though it was summer and quite hot outside, Kari had kept a light jacket with him ever since his ill-prepared desertion of Saffron City. He had been away for only two weeks, but already missed the comforts of his well furnished flat. It was only by chance that he had been able to receive Madame Grey's call while he had been in Cerulean. The event almost made him believe in fate, as the house that Madame Grey kept had soft beds and far better food than that he had been eating.

    Turning back to the sitting room door, Kari found that his hostess and her partner had retreated within, assuming he would follow. Such a welcoming abode seemed hardly the place for any animosity and yet it was that Madame Grey's sayings about her son had been slightly exaggerated. The young man was sitting on one of the embroided couches, his dark grey eyes fixed firmly on his mother's acquaintance. Like Michelle, Makszi was six foot tall and, from years of rigorous sports, had a well muscled and imposing build. Kari swallowed and held his breath. The menace eminating from the college student was almost tangible, yet everyone else in the room (the servants included, hiding, as they were, behind various bits of furniture) seemed blissfully unaware.

    Kari was frozen, standing just inside the sitting room, the door to entrance hall ajar behind him. Madame Grey noticed and assumed that her dearest kitty was having trouble finding a place to sit; she and Michelle had taken up a single four-seater couch, while Makszi's college books and papers were strewn across his. Well, she knew exactly how to deal with that.

    "Makszi, be a dear and let Kari sit with you," Though her voice was gentle and warm, the fact that she had used her son's full first-name meant there was no room for argument. With only a small grunt of disapproval, Makszi did as he had been asked, pulling his books and papers into a haphazard pile and sliding them beneath a nearby coffee table. In moments, a maid appeared from the aether and spirited away the unsightly pile, along with herself. Awrkwardly, and with no small embarrassment, Kari set himself down on the couch, as far away from Makszi as he could without looking rude. Madame Grey beamed another one of her great smiles at them; no doubt this was one of her plans to keep her children in money and social standing. Of course it was a foolish endeavour as Kari's money came at random and his social standing was equal to that of the fruit fly*. "Now that we are here, let us get down to business."

    Madame Grey folded her hands in her lap as she always did when there was serious work to be done. This only served to make Kari more on edge; there were only two reasons for him to be present if there was 'business' to be discussed: Madame Grey wanted to marry him off to someone or, and more likely given the current company, she wanted to talk about the affair. Michelle, obviously knowing what was to come next, rested her arm over her love's shoulders. The Madame took a deep breath and smiled once more.

    "This work is to be published posthumously of Monseigneur Jean Grey; despite us being no longer married I do not wish to destroy his reputation with the information held within. Now, Kari, I called you here so that we could discuss some fo the finer details as well as your... involvement."

    Kari doubled over from embarrassment, burying his face in his knees and grabbing the toes of his shoes. He greatly hated having to talk about those times, though it had been his greatest triumph as a private escort. Makszi chuckled lightly. Another maid servant materialised and placed a small booklet on the coffee table before the embroided couch. Kari could not see it, given where his head was, but he heard Madame Grey tell him of it. Apparently it was the first draft of her memoir's introduction and he was invited to read it and, if necessary, make adjustments and notes. The meeting continued for some time, with everyone ignoring Kari's head remaining in his lap. After about half an hour, tea and scones were brought in and Kari could momentarily forget the shame of his profession. He did not often meet again with old clients, unless it was for business purposes; the exception, of course, would always be Madame Grey.

    "Now my dear Kari," She softened the 'r' in his name, making it lean more toward sounding like an 'l'; a trick she used when being formal yet inviting to her guests and friends. "Makszi I know wishes to speak with you, so Michelle and I shall take our leave soon." She sipped on her tea as Michelle told the two young men about the arrangements that needed to made to the mansion's swimming pool. Being not of aristocratic breeding, unlike Madame Grey, she spoke with a more colloquial tone and vocabulary.

    "...it really just needs a re-tiling, but the blue ones are a bit expensive for what we need," Madame Grey guffawed at this, but did not interject; Michelle playfully prodded her love's thigh with a giggle. "So I think we may just stick with the marble instead."

    Just then the clock struck three o'clock, and with barely a 'good-bye', Madame Celine Grey and Missus Michelle Smith briskly exited the room, discussing, in hushed tones, what tiles they would use for the master bathroom in their Saffron City apartment. Kari was flabbergasted and rather confused; no enamel tile he could think of was more expensive than it's marble counterpart and he had just been left all alone (with the possible exception of the invisible servants) with someone who looked just about ready to kill him. Distracted as he was by the empty doorway he did not have enough sense to react when Makszi slid up behind him on the couch and grabbed in a rough hug, pinning his arms by his sides.

    "So," The much taller man breathed in Kari's ear, "Let's have that talk shall we?" All Kari could do was let out a tiny squeak as the strong arms tighented around him.

    *Fruit flies are very important to certain areas of scientific research, but for the most part people don't like them and don't want them around - naturally, due to self-esteem issues arising from his job and private life, Kari often compares himself to such things as fruit flies. Here we preserve such a tradition fot the sake of exactness.

    Author's Note: This was entirely written in WordPad, so there may be a few spelling or grammatical mistakes. If you point them out I can fix them!
     
  2. Teapot

    Teapot Virtual Duck Enthusiast
    Staff Member Administrator

    Okay, that is absolutely fantastic. Your writing - especially your characterisation - has improved massively from the last time I read your work, and it's certainly got me gripped already.
     
  3. Thank you Database - this is a large step from how I usually write, no doubt I've been influenced by the book I'm currently reading (Les Miserables Vol. 1 by Victor Hugo).

    Also the characters are as new as the style. I've had the premise of Madame Grey floating about for a while, but actually writing for someone like her is certainly the experience; hopefully I can fully capture her paridoxical severity and joviality in the first-person segments I plan to write. For the memoires, of course.

    At the moment it's all I can do to prevent this from turning into some sort of love story, though one character in particular seems to be dragging it that way; kicking and screaming or no.
     
  4. Teapot

    Teapot Virtual Duck Enthusiast
    Staff Member Administrator

    Well, your characters have minds of their own XD This is fantastic, and if they're dragging you around, it certainly means they're well developed and interesting characters.
     
  5. Part 2

    Kari panicked. He could not help it, panic had always been natural to him. His breath came in short gasps, each time being cut off as the arms holding him constricted ever tighter. In just a few moments he could barely breathe. Tears were rolling down his cheeks. He tried to writhe, struggling to break free, but he was held fast. He felt Makszi gently kiss the nape of his neck and he let out a small whimper.

    "Hmm, so you do need to breathe," Makszi released the smaller man with a light shove, which, much to his surprise, sent Kari sprawling across the couch. He examined the the flushed, dusky tan skin and disturbed hair with mild curiosity as his guest lay gasping like a drowning man. He leant over to get a closer look at the small band of chocolate skin showing between Kari's t-shirt and jeans. Makszi delighted as he felt a shudder run through the man as he gently brushed his finger tips along the exposed patch. A light chuckle escaped him. "Well Kari, can you guess what I want?"

    Kari could guess at a great many things, none of them good. He stayed with his face buried in the couch's arm, hiding the mixture of seething rage and shame written across him. He pretended to not hear Makszi, maybe then he would leave him be. Such would not be the case for Makszi hooked his fingers about the strong leather belt Kari had on, using the article to slowly drag him from the fictious saftey of the couch arm. Despite the exquisite embroidery Kari still scrabbled for purchase, but the attempt was futile and soon he found hismelf once again in the peverse embrace of his host. Makszi was long in limb but far from being what one would call 'lanky' (due in part to his many years of sport); he held the light feline man with surprising tenderness, stroking his fluffed grey-brown hair.

    "I suppose," Makszi's fingers ran lazily through grey and brown strands, confusing them in the summer light; had the circumstances been different, Kari might have felt it relaxing. "That to apologise now would be pointless, no?" He brought his forehead down to rest upon the back of Kari's head and breathed in his earthern scent. "I must though; I must confess. Of course I hated you, I loathed you like none before." The heir to two fortunes was talking more to himself than his guest; trapped in his reverie and seemingly rambling. "Oh, but you are the honour among the thieves though, aren't you? You could have runied us all at every turn, but you did not; not once did you ever make such a move. You are an admirable rogue, it is no surprise that so many love you."

    At this, Kari started and pulled away. He could no longer listen to such lies, no matter how much honey they might be coated in. He fought for purchase, landing his elbow sharply in the chest of the man behind him. Finally standing, he turned in fury to look at his once host, now captor, but saw only a vague sense of hurt in the iron-grey eyes of his. Exasperated, Kari could not keep himself from loosing his own feelings.

    "Oh! Is that it, is it? You call me here on pretense of friendship and lie to me! You call me a thief and treat me like a whore - you loathe and admire me; what am I?" He struck out, his thoughts leading his body along a violent path; hate for himself became for the other and his hand curled into a fist. Makszi caught the blow with ease and held Kari's delicate arm by the wrist. Caught again, he snarled in wordless frustration and sent out his other fist. This, like the first, was caught and held in a steeley grip. Kari struggled and faught against his opponent, but was held fast. Makszi looked on in glee; the sight of his petite aquaintance so filled with passion was like nothing he had ever held before. In truth it was beautiful. Though both were nearly adults, in this scene they were akin to children. "Let me go!" Kari cried from gritted teeth. To this Makszi relented, only to swiftly pull the small man into his embrace once more.

    Kari was spent. From Saffron City to Cerulean he had been hiding, hardly eating; he ached all over from the fight and hard floors on which he been sleeping. Now he was exhausted. Realising his own hate had taken the last of his strength, there was no more left to give. He let himself be cradled in young Master Grey's arms like a babe, only able to weep and mumble but a single word. For a time the taller man did not answer; holding and kissing Kari with such tenderness that he felt all the more lost.

    "You ask me why, sweet rogue?" Makszi said at length, his soft and smooth as velvet in his charge's ear. "I must confess I do not know myself. It is true that I did once hate you, but all the same you held a quality I could not shake and I loved you for it-"

    "No one loves me." Despite his tears and tiredness, Kari's voice and look were solid; Makszi was taken aback.

    "And I am the liar here!" He exclaimed in amusement and concern. Gazing down at Kari's still-flushed visage he could see that still more answers were needed, to questions yet un-asked. "I am sorry about earlier; I am confused still. Would you not be, in me place?" Kari pushed away once more, he had gathered some small strength, to sit upon the couch instead of the other's lap. He fixed his gaze upon the papers left by Madame Grey, but still had gave his attention to his obscure host.

    "Not but five minutes ago you could have killed me; not but one you held me like a lover. I am past being confused with you, as I am with being angry. If you wish to explain yourself, feel welcome, I care no longer." As was usual for him, Kari took on the speech of his hosts. Though his formal education had been lacking in his youth, and further through his years of travelling, he had always made a point of independant study. He had read a great many books and spoke with an equal amount of tongues; he was as much an actor as an escort. He was not surprised to feel Makszi's hand gently rest upon his shoulder and made no effort to remove it.

    "Please, I am sorry. You are so much the apparition that I could not believe you real. I..." He could think of no more things to say, and withdrew his hand. Apologizing had been futile; he had trampled on a future relationship like some common plebeian upon a rose-bud. Nothing could restore it now. In despair he watched as the young man, fae-like and beautiful to him, snatched up the sheaves of paper the had been laying before him, and lef the room. The mahogany door closed with a hollow click, leaving Makszi feeling the more alone than he ever thought possible.

    Author's Note: It's surprisingly hard to keep writing like this, but I like it. I hope you do as well. Also, Makszi is an enigma unto himself, there are reasons for his random sadistic tendencies, which shall be explained.
     
  6. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    I feel bad for Kari. He seems completely out of his element and Chapter 2 read like a rape scene.

    I'm liking this so make sure you keep it going.
     
  7. Well, I'm glad you like it :) Chapter 2 was not entirely mean to be like that, but Makszi is a bit of a confused sadist so I can see where you're coming from. Hopefully I'll have Chapter 3 done soon and, even better, soon I may even get a proper Word processor on this rig!
     
  8. Part 3

    As printed upon the papers in Kari's current possession, Madame Grey's first draft of her memoires, their introduction here:

    There have long been many rumours about: rumours on the marriage I had with Monseigneur Jean Grey; on the affair that broke the marriage and ever more on what I have since been doing with myself.

    First, let us lay out the truths. Jean and I fell out of love. It was a gradual process, one which neither of us noticed in our busy days; but one morning we found that niether loved the other. We despaired and worried not, we stayed good friends still and kept up the pretense of our couple-ship in society. This all started when our youngest was just ten. Staying together was as much for the sake of our children as for our reputations. This was, of course, a mistake; my darlings Rosalind and Makszi only suffered by our efforts - our fake love served only to hurt them. In our house petty arguments were becoming frequent; not least between my erstwhile husband and myself, our children got involved as well. As much as it broke my heart to see them fight so, I knew that such things were not uncommon for those of their age; they were young teenagers but still I thought of them as babes.

    For the torture our children went through, Jean and I put each other through worse...


    Kari threw the pages down on his bed, watching absently as a few sheaves flittered from the pile and spread across the satin sheats. He was furious still, his contenance reflecting as much this as his confusion. He was not sure from where these emotions had come; moments ago he had been indifferent to it all, just wanting to bathe and sleep. Now all he wanted was to see Makszi again; to do what, he was not sure. He threw aside the heavy, detailed curtains that covered the room's window, letting the bright summer sun flood in. The gardens and ponds below did not marvel him as they should; he sneered at the neat lines and trimmed grass. It was all false and primmed, reminding him too much of himself. Now though, to call him prim would be a misnomer; under his eyes there were slight purple rings, which joined across his nose - in the fight at Saffron City it had been near broken, and though he had not sought official medical attention, there were many in the back-streets of Cerulean who asked no questions other than price. Caught in the corner of his eye, his reflection taunted him. There stood by the far wall, on the same as the entrance-door to the bedroom, a large gilt-edged mirror on a stand so that it could turned this-way and that.

    Furious as he was with Makszi, he was more disgusted with himself. Swiftly he crossed the room and turned the mirror to the wall; some things, he thought to himself as he undressed, should not be seen. Gingerly he touched his only scar; a hideous pink marr that ran jaggedly across one side of his stomach, just out of reach of the organ - but still, that had nearly killed him. It was old by two years now, and since then he had endevoured to make his life less fraught of such dangers; in part he had succeeded. Kari always wondered why he was more comfortable naked than clothed, but then few things in his life truly made sense.

    Sat upon four clawed feet of pewter, the focal point of the room adjoined to the one he had been lent, was a brilliant white bath, with width and depth beyond most ofthers he had seen. A single tap, polished to a shine, rose and arched from one side, the head being six inches from the lip, so that it would interfere with the bather. Being close to it, he found the ceramic structure could easily accomodate himself and another person, perhaps even two, with room to spare. As the water was running warm and filling the bath, he tired to relax, to get rid of the flustered feeling he had and to slacken his pulse. There was no respite, however, and as he gently slipped into the steaming water he could keep his mind from turning to his past, and to his crimes.

    ***​

    To focus alone on but one in this house of four would to be deny the entire tale of these happenings, and so we turn to the sun's room, where the walls are of glass and the view takes in all the garden. Here sat Madame Grey in her ivory tea-dress, facing the gardens, her scarf folded neatly on the desk in front of her. A myriad of news cuttings, letters and diaries lay on the pine surface, a testament to her accuracy and will to write. Beside the menagerie of work was a silver small tray, on which were two tall glasses of Pimm's and some light cucumber sandwiches, which Michelle had recently taken a fancy to.

    Madame Grey gazed out hrough the window-wall before her, looking fondly upon her estate. For the time being the wish to write had left, and she wondered instead on how her companion was finding the text she had given to him. Concentrating as she was on Kari, she barely noticed one of the cucumber squares disappear. To Michelle 'nibble' was a posh term for a snack, not what one did, and the small sandwich was gone in two bites. Moving behind the chair she wrapped both arms about the shoulders of the other woman and laid a kiss upon her temple.

    "You haven't written much, duck," It was true, the single sheet that was not haphazard was blank but for a single word, spelt out in perfect cursive. "Pie. Does that mean something, or are you just hungry?" Michelle toyed gently, picking up another sandwich and bringing it close to Madame Grey's pale pink lips. With a light giggle the refined woman nipped off a corner of the bread.

    "You know of course, my sweet, the analogy of the onion?" Michelle nodded briefly and kissed her love's crown. "Well, the 'pie' is a new analogy among the college circles, particularly in favour with the fashionable students there. Much like the onion is multiple layers of a person, so it is with the pie, but, in the stead of each facet being different, as in the onion, in the pie the last layer is much like the first. Jean is like the pie, his middle layer was a lie." Madame Grey was sombre as she related this, her memories for a moment taking her usual joviality and leaving her with misted eyes as she turned to Michelle. Too soon hence their divorce did Monseigneur Jean's caring airs dissolve and his eye turned to the young and fair. Three girlfriends in as many weeks! and not one of them more than five years senior of dear Rosalind, his first child (who at the time had been seventeen).

    In response to her partner's sour reflections, Michelle gently prodded her cheek with the half eaten sandwich. While doing, she held her tongue between her lips and blew and raspberry. Celine laughed and wiped her tears away; such childish antics usually served to cheer her. The kissed tenderly, Michelle leaning on the desk for support, one arm holding her love close.

    "What do you want to do now, duck? You're not going to get much writing done." Michelle took a step back and, grabbing the back of the chair between its pine slats, pulled Celine from the desk. The silver-haired woman laughed again, her aristocratic joy ringing in the glass room. Her love had always been forward, earthern, proud and realistic. Michelle had been a breath of fresh air, a stabling voice in the tumult of society. She was strong, organic and most importantly, real. Unlike all those who tread the red carpets, who chortle in the loft apartments during cocktail parties, Michelle had no facade which she gave to the world, only herself. In the darkest hours of her life, Madame Grey had found comfort in the blunt reality of this woman and the love that she had lost.

    Snatching up a seemingly random notepad, Madame Grey started to scribble furiously as she stood. Whenever Michelle tried to see what it was she was writing, she turned and hugged the pad close to her chest. She always hid her new ideas until she fleshed them out, but still they played this game every time they could. Laughing when she was done, she carelessly tossed the notepad onto the desk and linked arms with her lover.

    "Let us sup in the garden tonight! it is warm still and the sun looks just gorgeous as it sets over the lake. What say you?" She gracefully picked up a glass of Pimm's and gently sipped at the alcohol. She caught Michelle with her flirting gaze, but the athelte was not one that was prone to blushing. The blonde nodded playfully, a smirk forming on her lips. "Excellent!" Madame Grey cried out with surprising gusto, almost spilling her drink as she flew arms wide. With a wave of her hand, which looked ot made almost of porcelain despite her age, she summoned one of the maids. "Please, Chastity, let my darlings Makszi and Kari know that we shall sup in the garden tonight... we shall dine at seven o'clock," Turning to Michelle as the maid left, she smiled with silent mirth. "My darlings should have enough time to get ready by seven o'clock, do you not think?"
     
  9. Part 4

    "Oh, Chastity, thank you," Makszi nodded politely to the young maid. She was shorter than he by about six inches, and was decidedly cute for it. Her strawberry-blonde hair was tied in a bun beneath her frilled hat and splashes of freckles danced across her cheeks. For all her beautiful looks and womanly figure, she lived up to her name, which disappointed Makszi greatly, but such was life. As the young woman turned from his door he reached out a hand, leaving it to hover but an inch from the maid's dress. "Do not feel the need to see Kari, I shall tell him myself."

    Chastity turned, giving her master an inquiring look. His steely gaze cut off her question before she could form it, so, she simply curtseyed and left. Makszi closed the door to his room, not waiting to see how far the amid had gone. Placing a hand to his forehead he leaned heavily on the solid wood, cursing himself all the while. He was mad, he knew as much, but to have a death wish as well? Well, that went beyond the realms of mere madness. He had ached heart and soul for four years now, and ached ever more each day. He coveted like no other, getting bored quickly of the things he had and wanting only those he did not. 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's ass' was easier said than done for him, he yearned for the chase more than the goal. What would he do? He felt as though this yearning stretched further than the chase, but to what end? He brought the back of his head harshly upon the oaken surface; an attempt to distract his thoughts via pain. As the stars danced before his eyes, all he could think of was that earthen, ever so slightly spiced, scent that had filled him earlier. What was this? It could not be love, surely! A fascination, a physical attraction, he would admit, but love? He said 'love' to the other man, but he meant it not in this way, this consuming ache. He sank to the floor, breathing heavily and holding his head in his hands. No, love it could not be. He was not a man who loved.

    Makszi let out a long, powerful breath. It felt as if he were throwing away something and he felt empty once more. He was resolved though; resolved not to threaten or to chase this man again, no matter how much he wanted to. After all Kari had done, his mother was right, he deserved respect, more respect than he had been given. He stood and opened the door without turning, pulling the wood awkwardly into his side. There was a slight pain, but he ignored it, more intent on his internal wranglings.

    The hall, as with the rest of the house, was a grand affair of wood-panelled walls and red carpet. The oak was polished and kept in the utmost condition; though there were few windows in the corridor proper, light filtered in from other rooms, giving it an eerie quality. As he padded softly down to the room which Kari had been lent, Makszi could not help but feel as though he were in a waking dream. His pulse quickened the closer he got and he stood for a long while just a few feet from the guest's door.

    His heart almost stopped. The door to the guest room was ajar; Kari must not have closed it properly in his haste to be alone. Makszi did not know what to do, had the door been closed it would have been easy: just knock and wait. But now, he could slip easily inside, without being noticed even? He acted too quickly, as ever not thinking of the consequences as much as one might, or should, and found himself with on hand on the door, the other on the frame, already in the room. There were no shouts of protest, no objects thrown at him as he might have expected. Looking about, he found the reason why swiftly enough: a little, blue-grey cartoon fish was staring up at him stupidly from a pile of clothing. It was a Gigi's Ghoti, a very popular, but now rare, logo that exclusively marked underwear. His curiosity piqued, he closer inspected the soft grey marl undergarments; slight as Kari's frame was, his clothes were small, this piece was made on commission, not a cheap venture.

    Now, Kari was of exceptionally good hearing and, in spite of Makszi's best efforts to be unnoticed, he knew he had a guest, or rather, an intruder, in his room. The young man stayed silent and still in the slowly cooling waters of the bath, part terrified, part enraged. He wanted to confront the intruder, to pour out all his anger, but the possible consequences he imagined froze his limbs and voice.

    As Kari fought to regain his courage to fight or simple flee, Makszi thought himself alone still, that the clothes he saw were shed so that the owner might go swimming. It was only as he lifted his head to see if any note had been left, did he realise how wrong his assumption was: the door to the en suite stood open and in flooded the room beyond. He checked himself, what he had done and what he was doing, and, holding his words from shaking, called out the other's name. He got no response. He called out again, this time forcing himself to sound friendly rather than nervous. Still, no response. Standing, he called out a third time, but his voice only echoed against the tiles of the bathing-room. His throat constricted and he started to feel sick. Makszi felt that something was horribly wrong. Thinking ere acting had never been a strong point of his, it often caused him to rush head-long into scenarios that those with better judgement would avoid utterly. Rushing as he was, he almost slipped on the sleek, ivory tiled floor. He caught himself easily, but almost tripped again, this time not from speed, but from shock. The sight in there was as bad as he had feared, but far from what he was expecting. He had though, with terror clawing at his gut, that the small guest of him and his mother might have had some awful mishap in the bathing room, to meet an untimely fate. The truth of life is no so accidental.

    Kari was sat in the bath; 'sat' is misleading here, he cowered, in fact. The water, now tepid and clouding, lapped just a few inches from the top of his knees, in which his face lay buried. His trembling hands clutched the back of his head, his dusky arms acted as a frail shield. Makszi dismayed, his heart crushed at the sight, it almost itself at the knowledge that he was the cause of this fear. To make amends would take more than mere words. Still, throughout, he held the greymarl garment in his left hand, the fish design smiling its stupid smile.

    "I was worried. I'm sorry," The effort with which he pushed out each word destroyed their meaning, making them hollow. Kari did not look up; he could not see the pleading, pitiful concern showing in his confused tormentors eyes. If could though, what then? Could Makszi find his redemption so swiftly? Change is not a simple thing, and the path of redemption not so easily trod. "Please Kari, about earlier-"

    His voice failed as one of the dusky chocolate limbs shot and seized a hold one of the toiletries bottles that innocently lined the bathtub. The air became imbued with a sickly, fruity scent as the article flew through the small gap between the two men. It left its essence upon Makszi's shirt ere landing within the waters of the tub, where it floated dumbly, making the only noise in the room, a faint lapping of water. Kari glared up at the tall heir; his eyes were wild, harbouring the raging tempest that roared unchecked beneath his breast. He neither wanted nor needed an apology or explanation; requiring only his own solitude. This trespassing on his solemn reflection — although, such as his reverie was, it was only self-deprecating — had only served to anger him more. He lashed out again, his simmering storm of emotion boiling over once more, this time his tongue spat venom that was almost palpable.

    "Out. Just get out," Such was its firmness of his voice that it brook no argument. Shock is felt in many ways and for many different reasons, Makszi was no exception to these sensations; he was shocked by Kari's outburst, but also more so by the terrible realisation that he was getting angry and, more to the point, violent to ward the smaller man, who, not but a few moments ago, he had been fawning over. As Kari was getting ever more wild at Makszi, he in turn became just as feral, in spite of trying to to. Now, perhaps, he should take that first step. With a laboured, shuddering breath, he turned from the bath and cast his eyes down to only mutter a half-heartedly formed, but wholly meant, apology. Sadly, fate is not always kind and as Makszi turned, Kari took exception to the fact that his underwear was in the hands of someone other than himself. Cursing he leapt from the bath, splashing water across the tiled floor and the back of Makszi's feet. "For gods' sake!" Kari snatched the greymarl boxers from his host's hand, not caring whether he hurt the man or damaged the garment. He was furious and humiliated. He yelled the same order he had earlier, glaring daggers into Makszi's back, and was surprised to see the man obey.

    As Makszi reached the threshold of the en suite he paused and, with what seemed to be a terrible effort of restraint, gave the message with which he had originally come. He received naught but a snort in reply, but accepted this as an affirmation of future presence. He gave no farewell.

    ***
    Author's Note: I suck at this D:
     
    #9 Tatile, Jul 31, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  10. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    That was definitely interesting to say the least. Makszi is one confused individual who is probably more oblivious to the emotions of others than he is of his own.

    I can't wait to see how Makszi makes his relationship with Kari worse or if he can find a way to reconcile things.
     
  11. Teapot

    Teapot Virtual Duck Enthusiast
    Staff Member Administrator

    Lies. Utter lies. You write with a fantastic, almost Dickensian style, and it really, really fits the story. Each word feels like it has been finely crafted, and the story is gripping and immersive. I genuinely envy your writing ability.
     
  12. Lies. Utter lies. You write with a fantastic, almost Dickensian style, and it really, really fits the story. Each word feels like it has been finely crafted, and the story is gripping and immersive. I genuinely envy your writing ability.
    [/quote]

     
  13. Part 5

    It is not oft easy to take oneself back and forth between days past and ones yet to come, but still, here we must see as Madame Grey did all those years ago, and know for ourselves just how and why a scheme such as hers came forth.

    "... there is just something so terribly exotic about him."

    "Don't you mean erotic?" Ruby slipped a Martini-soaked green olive between her teeth and grinned devilishly at her companions. Mrs Ruby Gazelle Cekcynski was having another of her lavish lunches, accompanied with a vast array of cocktails and scantily clad men. She was a trend setter in all regards, from her sumptuous lifestyle to her ruthless boardroom practices, the elite and the not-so alike followed her every move. Today, however, she and the ladies who made her innermost circle, were not discussing business, but pleasure. Madame Celine Grey had revealed, with the aide of some very friendly and fruity wine, the latest, and most interesting, development of her marriage. Ruby and her four guests were sat in the mahogany panelled drawing room of her late-nineteenth century house, situated in one of the more affluent leafy suburbs of Saffron City; Celine was to her left, Ms Lizz Hollings on her right and opposite were Cherie (who had decided last year that a surname did not fit with her creative image) and Mister Jj, who was more a woman than any of them, but still, somewhat surprisingly, and contrary to popular stereotyping, straight (this did mean that, despite being quite the oddity in the fashion world, he made the most fabulous female clothing). "You know Celine," Roby continued, in her customary sultry manner, as an attractive young waiter refilled her olives. "Having such a young lover might be frowned upon by the less... fortunate of society, not to mention you husband."

    "Not that his opinion matters much!" Mister Jj interjected with a flamboyant flick of his wrist. His lilac poet's shirt hung loosely open over his firm, slightly tanned chest, but only because he was trying a new style, he did not always walk around with 'the goods' on display. His golden, curling locks were tied under an equally lilac scarf, so he now looked a strange sort of fantastical pirate, rather than one of the most successful designers in Kanto. Cherie and Ruby had said as much, several times. "Are you going to name names, sweetie, or don't you kiss and tell?"

    Mister Jj's enquiring, though cute, questions were met with raucous girl-y laughter and Madame Grey tapping her nose cheekily. In truth, she had made it all up, she still had to find her exotic schoolboy, though she had just the person in mind. She had spotted him just the other day, after several weeks of conducting the 'affair', moping outside of Saffron's PokeCentre, which catered to travelling trainers. Now all she needed to was find him again, which, she hoped, would not prove too difficult. There were not many places a young, penniless trainer would visit. To the matter at hand though, Celine was pressed with the task of throwing her lady-friends off the scent. Luckily, Cherie, as 'inquisitive' — or rather self-centred - as ever, diverted the subject, but not very far.

    "Oh, to date a younger man, I think I couldn't do it. Who would pay for the meals or my jewels? Surely any young man would not have such money." Despite her airs of being an artistic, bohemian philanthropist, Cherie was as materialistic as they came. Though the red haired siren maintained in public that she had not a care in the world, and loved all equally — and despite being many times described as an anarchist of some sort or other — she gossiped more than the tabloids and her loyalty lay more with her closet than her lovers. Still, for all her failings, Cherie was very good at making the other feel good about themselves. With a bit of prodding here and there the conversation moved from Celine's affair to Lizz's old forays into the world of love, including everyone's favourite ex-partner, Manuel, and his hilarious, if somewhat romantically tragic, attempts at wooing.

    "Ah! He tried so hard, bless him, but -oh it itched for days — I did forget to tell him I was allergic to roses! I do miss his antics. His soufflé! Do you remember it?" Usually refined and highly self-disciplined, Lizz (or Elizabeth, as she was known more formally by the media and her work at Auréolem where she currently leads the field in the creation and development of nanotechnology — a trying position which in part leads to her devoid family life) often became enveloped in bursting fits of childish laughter when talking about her old flames — she was remarkably adept at finding those rare men who are at once brilliant and oafish; sophisticated and churlish. Whereas most would form their public circles with those that are attractive, yet unimaginably dull, Lizz prided herself with her oxymoron's. She thus enjoyed confusing people. Her deep brown hair was greying from her job more than her age, and her eyes showed crow's feet, creases of joy standing opposed to the lines of her forehead. A natural beauty was she and a natural genius to match — such was the lot of the Hollings line. Strange as their circles and companionships were that not all believed that the five were as they were — then with Cherie, there was of course the problems of her loose tongue — Celine kept her secrets close, friends they might be, but trust is hard to come by.

    In winter evening comes swiftly and the same is true in Saffron still. The sky beyond the lead-lined windows grew dark and the air colder, as Winter is want to on his domain of the world, as Summer slumbers. They each bid the others farewell, and went their separate ways — in times past, or for those lesser financially than they, it would not have been unusual to see pairs of the diners walking and talking about other, petty things, but, such as things are, they left apart, each chauffeured home, with the exception of Ruby, who retreated inside to her boudoir for warmth (and more private company).

    On the morning of the following day, with twilight stifled by heavy cloud, making the scenes of the city ever the more grey and oppressive, Madame Celine Grey awoke early and wrapped warmly. To find her chosen — and oblivious — aid would take time and the day was to grow colder as it drew on. The nest in which she resided then was a few streets hence toward the country than that of Mrs Cekcynski. It was a paradise of life with a leafed garden and brook, the only life, it seemed to her, in those months of death. And yet winter is a time of strange wonders; the sun and stars shine all the greater when they are seen and even the most modest of beauties becomes breathtaking. She had resolved to drive about the town herself, something she had rarely done since her marriage to Jean began, nigh on twenty years ago. To fake an affair with a child the same age as her son! It was absurd; one foot wrong and they would all be damned. Yet still, despite the danger and ludicrous nature of the idea — let alone the act! - it had to be done. In life as in love, sacrifices must be made. Silent and sleek, Celine disturbed none in the house — she gave no mind to the man who had once cradled her heart — and left for the garage, nestled some feet from the house-proper, beneath evergreens and a single, naked chestnut.

    In other seasons silver might be a welcoming colour, but in the last it reflects only the desolation of the warmth's desertion and is lost. Such was the colour of the vehicle which she chose to find her aid with, none noticed her passage nor question her absence. The world was wet but not yet frozen; the sky above the same immovable grey stone of the city — the ennui of conformity being at once at foot and overhead. Streets that would otherwise shepherd the herd in the eternal to-and-fro passed her by, bleak and devoid of life. Celine wondered about the sort of person — child even, for they were children when they left — who would hand back everything and live on the kindness of others. And what sort of boy was this she was trying to find? Was he truly as desperate as she assumed or was it rather her own desperation which led her? She held no illusion that her motives were in the least altruistic, but if she could pull of an act of individual philanthropy in all this, more's the better for all. The further from the suburbs she went, deeper into the heart of the all-encompassing city that so many called 'home', the less comforts there were; trees no longer marked the barrier of road and footpath, the stately fashioned homes were replaced by towering blocks of cement and glass, and all around garish signs advertised useless things for the mindless. It was beneath one such sign on an anonymous street, sat at the doorway to a store more shielded than a prison, that she found him. It was, in actuality, the Persian, unremarkable then as now, which marked him — if not for the cream feline, he was naught but a bundle of clothes, piled in one corner of the door. There was a forlorn weight hanging in the air about him, even sitting far away in the car as she was, the boy's state pulled at her heartstrings.

    The damp was creeping, penetrating both moods and clothes as it rose. Celine, exiting the car now parked in a slowly filling gutter, was like a songbird caught in the dismal grasp of the inner city. As she drew closer, the plight of the boy became evident; his chest barely moved for breath and the clothes he worse, all as dark as the surroundings, had the sickly glisten of being sodden; his head was bowed, chin resting upon his chest, his face hidden both by his hair and hood of his fading black jacket. The Persian beside him was no better off — famed for their beautiful coats, this one's was mattered with the night's rain and the city's filth. Beneath the muddied cream, the bones of the feline were clearly visible. The pair were huddled together, fighting for warmth that would not come. On occasion the Persian looked up at its master with clear concern, a perplexing ability peculiar to such creatures.

    "Does the store open soon?" Her voice echoed, defying the silence of a tomb. Looking upon that boy was as if looking at a spirit damned, forever guarding a sepulchre of treats. His expression was that of bland confusion; he did not, it seemed, quite understand her, nor did he possess enough energy to do anything. The gloom returned, scared only for a moment by the speech, but could not wholly touch on Celine, who stood against it with a welcoming smile. The boy said nothing. They were there for a long while; a scuffed and abandoned soul standing at the gates of the first circle, contemplating an angel. The clouds started to mourn, sending down a slow drizzle of mist, which soaked all without fail.

    "It doesn't open today." The boy's voice was frail and dry, with an accent that pushed and pulled in odd places. Was this child, now of no house or home, without shelter as well? Celine became ever the more enamoured, resolving to save this child from his fate.

    "What is your name?"

    "Sa- Kari. I'm Kari."

    ...the day after I found him, the papers were alive with scandal. I had barely set out our business plan or contract, than Kari was forced to join me, for the sake of us both. I did take him to my apartment on that dreary morn. He rested and dried, but it took hours for the cold to leave his bones. I regret only not finding him sooner; despite appearances he spent the rest of the winter fighting a chill.

    I needed a boy of fifteen to be my lover and that was how I found him.


    ***
    Author's Note: My own prejudices against cities arises! There's a fair amount of imagry in here, which, for the most part, just crept up on me. An obvious reference to the Inferno as well, which I read in part a long while ago, and which I should probably find again.

    Aww, this seems really short now D:
     
    #13 Tatile, Aug 7, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  14. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    Interesting backstory you've set up there. I take it by Kari's condition that this was before he became a professional thief? If that's true, then was Madame Grey the one to kick start his career?

    None the less, very nice!
     
  15. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    Quite the interesting story you have going on here, I'm sorry I didn't read it sooner. Your detail and whole style of writing is very nice. It flows well, though I find myself having to re-read some lines to make sure I got them right.

    I love the imagery you use and the characters are very engaging. Makszi is indeed a very confused individual, and like I said in chat, Kari is pitifully adorable.

    Good job ^^
     
  16. Part 6

    After the past, the present. Winter, though a time of death is also pregnant of possibles; in Spring they are born and in Summer, they grow. Such as it was, such as it is.

    Above Madame Grey's estate the sky had turned pink and the light gold. The heat from the day passed and was no longer stifling. Where a summer day might be a chore, the evening is enjoyable. All across the fields songbirds sang to their loves. The house was comprised of at least a dozen bedrooms and a dozen more of varying purposes. It held a thousand secrets within its walls, many open and many more closed. On occasion, when wandering the winding, art-filled halls, one might uncover a once hidden tale, old or new. Almost as a match for the books they resided with, each painting held a story; perhaps a concealed child or love, all held within brush strokes of a master. About these halls Madame Grey was as a butterfly, fluttering from shelf to shelf, discovering world and histories otherwise unknown of forgotten. Each in the house had their way of being within the halls; as Madame Grey the butterfly, so Michelle was the cat, gliding about giving no heed to the tomes of her love. Rosalind, on the rare events when she returned home, was a ghost, silent and leaving no trace. Makszi was the bull. Though an hour had since gone from when he had been turned away, he still raged. Not, it must be said, at the young man who he had visited, but at himself. With the very essence of his being he hated the feelings which led him to that door, the infantile curiosity which led him through and, finally, the change of heart he had standing in that final room. For all the mistakes and disasters between them, Makszi pined for Kari still. Trapped within himself thus, he stalked the halls, searching for an answer. In a house where there live so many stories and so many questions, answers are few and far between.

    The mansion was divided into several wings, each serving a different purpose. As the front of the building faced south, so the wing of the private rooms faced the east and its opposite, on the west side, contained, for the most part, the recreation rooms (the swimming pool was the only recreation room in the east wing, on its southern side, so as to allow extra light and warmth). The rooms for the help and kitchen were on the northern side, where Makszi was being inexplicably drawn. As is to be expected from the hidden face of a great house, the corridors became bare, the walls less opulent and, though there were still a few dusty and faded paintings here and there, none of the Madame's books were kept in this area. It was an area anonymous to him, devoid of feature and alien in its entirety; for Makszi, he could be anywhere in the world. The carpet was gone, replaced with a stream of cold, bare tiles. Each hollow footfall of his solemn tread resounded in the hall, the sound a constant reminder of his past crimes and follies. In loneliness there is time to be had, with time, introspection. Inner reflection searches the soul and its light pierces into the darkest reaches, bringing forth the wretched denizens which reside in those depths. Rosalind, he had chased her from their home, berating her for the choices she had made, without their mother ever knowing; she only ever returned when he was gone. In his education, he left a score of broken hearts, no one person holding his interest for more than a week. How he had played those people off against each other, each time telling himself 'they know, they play this game as well' and yet, knowing all along that he lied to himself, just as he did to those around him. Makszi had long used his name and wealth to do and get what he pleased; those who stood against him were cowed and the others who held only mild interest for him were turned to adore him. His name was his everything. His everything was lost in the scandal. His menace was gone, but the intrigue remained. He was harried with gossip, too many people were trying to pick him to the bone. Only one had seemed not to care at all, the first person to draw his eye for more than a fleeting glance and to have his curiosity for more than a day. They were the same age, but the other was much shorter than he. The boy had been slight and wan, sitting on the couch of Makszi's mother's apartment, wrapped in a blanket, retching into a bowl: his mother's lover — her fake lover, as it later turned out — and he was the first person Makszi had even wanted to know, to really understand, the first person he truly wanted as a friend. There are, of course, problems with trying to start a conversation with someone preoccupied with excavating the contents of their person. Makszi, used to respond to him and his name, thought the boy ignorant and boorish, but still, in spite of this opinion, he was fascinated. He told his mother he did not like the boy, he told his sister the same and, eventually, his father too; all these lies to convince others never worked for himself. Too soon for him, the spring ended, his parent's marriage ending with it, and the boy disappeared. As the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, but denied someone and something he wanted, Makszi grew bitter as well.

    What did he want? He wanted love.

    What did he need? Again, love.

    How he would achieve this, he did not know.

    "Oh! Master Grey, why are you in here? This is not a place appropriate for you, it is not tidy," Such words were true, to an extent. After having wondered the halls, forgetful of the time, Makszi had found himself in the mansion's laundry room, a place he had never before ventured, nor thought about existing. It was a small, plain room which smelt and looked like soap. Grey-white walls matched a grey-white floor, with chrome machines and wicker baskets lining three of the four walls. Chastity was in the room with him, her black uniform a stark contrast to the greys, yet still blending in perfectly. The young maid seemed nervous, embarrassed even, she was blushing to the point of burning her cheeks — Makszi though she looked cute, pink cheeks beneath little fairy's footsteps, as the maids called them, and he started to find her curiously endearing. Wait, but what was this? her cheeks were not the only things burning. In a corner there stood, half hidden by a juddering washing machine, a metal bucket, the wood grip on the handle polished from use. A small, singular wreath of smoke floated up from within. His previous anger succumbed to a pensive curiosity and Makszi quickly snatched up the bucket, ignorant of Chastity's protests. "Oh! Oh! Master Grey! please, I was requested to keep that private! Oh!" Fully, Makszi could see now why, for, half hidden in the crumbled and burnt remains of the bottom of the bucket, there was, slightly melted and discoloured, though visible still, the head of a cartoon fish, a stupid expression of oblivious joy still present on its face. Silently, he passed the bucket to the maid, who still cried 'oh! oh!' and sat down upon the powered floor. His body and soul were numb.

    So, he decided, he was hated. There was no other explanation. Now, where did that leave him — how does one undo hate, can it even be undone? In the past, Makszi had never needed to even think of winning a person's affection, let alone having to strive for it — his name and his people (who were never really his friends, for they all ever wanted was the glory and all he wanted was the image an entourage projected) used to be more than enough for others to flock to him. His early life, no, his entire life thus far, had simply been a series of manipulations on those around him — manipulations to make people like him. But here, with this one person, he had failed utterly. There was no game here for him to play; he would have to be honest now. That door which he had stood before, and, with all the distance between them, he felt himself standing before still — why did he go? The reason, the end was... the dinner invitation... or one more look upon ..?

    Makszi startled himself, his thoughts were racing far away. His head hurt now; in frightening himself he had knocked it against the wall. More of embarrassment than pain, small tears pricked at his eyes — as he turned to Chastity (for, in these situations, a maid should always be prepared) he seemed as a character from one of his mother's novels. Such a change was coming over him and so quickly too! Chastity was taken aback, the young Monsieur Grey had always been brash, even with Matron-Nana Mercy (whose name, in her old age, had turned ironic; she contended that this would be the destiny of all the women of her house; thus far her words had proved true), was falling to tears over some trinket of clothing. She considered this young master, whom she had served for three years, joining her sisters and the rest of their family in their long-standing relationship with the Ivanenko family (the Madame's maiden family), and decided that some great thing was happening to him; whether it was for good or ill, it seemed to occur overnight.

    "Master Grey, do you require an ice-pack?" Taking this change to heart, she approached the heir with a far more familiar and friendly manner, as she would often do when serving Michelle and some of the Madame's more unusual guests. His response was blunt, firm and to the negative. This still green maid had over-stepped herself - the change she had suspected was not so far-reaching (or even at all?).

    A fortress for a man is made of brick and mortar, of the heart it is of words and airs; doubtless, no matter the nature of the structure, when a breach is found, it is plugged and reinforced forthwith, so it is for the King and for the Heart. However, once a breach has been made there exist weaknesses elsewhere — the structure, entered once, can be entered again. A King might move, for that is his luxury, but what is the Heart to do? It is to weather the storm, to stand or fall by its own merit. Here though, does the Heart not want to be free to the fortress; to purely chase the little oblivious kitten presented to it by Love? In the war of Heart and Mind one will be victorious and trample the other — the fortress of the Heart, built by the Mind, is the battlefield and the spoils.

    For long years Makszi had imprisoned himself and now, cracking from without and within, he did as he was always want to: hid.

    Chastity, alone now with the soap and gurgling silence, thought on what Matron-Nana Mercy would say of this foolishness. That old, stout woman might be always stern about the job, which in servitude never ends, but in those precious rare breaks — that they permitted themselves — Matron-Nana Mercy's true side was oft revealed: she was a stern woman, but a romantic nonetheless. This made Matron-Nana Mercy at once both the first and last person one wanted to see about relationship advice, she said merely that all involved were idiots who could not (or would not) realize their own desires — then again, she said everyone was an idiot, so perhaps such an observation on her part did not count. This was not a matter on which Chastity was allowed to speak, but in the rear and bare halls of the mansion gossip was the key decoration.

    "Ah! Prudence, Patience!" Her elder sister and cousin who, respectively, gambled with the so-called 'best' on her days off and who had a temper shorter than the hairs on a mouse. Prudence lost and won money with the shifting of a spring breeze and Patience waited for no one or thing; Chastity had taken to throwing herself bodily into her work so as not to contemplate what Matron-Nana Mercy's supposed future held. This wariness against her own possible fate made the past time of gossiping a particularly dangerous one, but still it was a curse of her blood. "I've got such fun news of Ma'zi!" Each in the main-house had such nicknames and Makszi's was thus. They were not to be spoken in front of the employers and only sparingly with the matrons. In her excitements of blowing through the halls with her skirts and petticoats picked up, Chastity did not check for the young Master. Though he was no longer about, the maid still received a clout from her grandmother Mercy.

    ***
    Author's Notes: Finished this before the site went kaput, so there's a bit of Part 7 done as well, I just need the inspiration to finish that and work on 8. Yes, apparently the idea of having ironic virtue names is one of Terry Pratchett's, I didn't know that when I started with Chastity and now I feel bad D:
    Oh well.
    Enjoy.
    If you can...
     
    #16 Tatile, Sep 26, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  17. Part 7

    Here, again, extracts of Madame Grey's notes. These are presented in no order in particular, as one would expect from notes.


    The name of Grey has been self-made, it was dragged from the mire by those who held it and polished to a shine, to be placed in the higher reaches of the social tower; Ivanenko, on the other hand, is old, classical rather, but not archaic — they are a landed family that purses the greatest and smallest of things. In all things there are politics to be had and the marriage of Grey and Ivanenko was no exception: it was a display of power; Jean's power, the new triumphing over the old. Of course, not all things are so simple; Ivanenko grew on the land, not as a part of it — ever open to change, thereby making them opposed both to its landed counterparts and those of the new breed.

    ...the power of the self-made tends to be fleeting, their roots are shallow and their flowers brilliant. Any brush of cold, any harsh air or strong rain is enough to reduce or diminish them. The landed have longer histories and no matter the storm, they blossom again and re-grow, it takes more for an old oak to lose its footing than a daisy...

    The divorce, like the marriage, was a demonstration of power, this time the oak bent to the flower; for the scandal the tree was buffeted and the flower forgotten — a few leaves were lost but the finery remained. Grey gained firmer roots and the Ivanenko's received another page for their long history.

    By its nature, the scandal of my having a teenage lover was the firework lying at the end of the fuse which was our divorce. Even though he appearances were few and far between in the post-Christmas Party Calendar (due in part to his ill health), the little 'street urchin', as he was when I found him, played his part admirably. The transformation he had, overnight becoming a young gentlemen from the starting point of being barely literate, was such that if I had not seen it for myself I would have thought it impossible — it is not everyday a child goes from reciting the 'Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar' to reading passages from 'Far from the Maddening Crowd' through a round-about route of Carroll and Cornwell.

    Indeed it was the plan to create a great scandal on myself, my house and husband apart from it and to — ever so gently and discreetly — nudge, using what connections we had, the media and the gossip this-way and that so as to reveal everything and nothing. For the longest time my so-called lover was a phantom, vexing the paparazzi until they reached a frenzy, wanting something solid on anyone. It seems that we ourselves were not the only ones to have our careers changed in this whirlwind of reporting, but many others experienced irreparable damage and soaring success. My close friend, Cherie, suffered by this way; it was 'revealed' in a prominent newspaper, famed for its unabashed and frank art reviews, that Cherie's works were merely vapid and shallow portrayals which often had little or nothing to do with the so called message she was trying to convey. With the finesse which only a few possess, Cherie responded to this claims with her own, more inflammatory, remarks. The connoisseurs of the Art World, mostly those who followed 'contemporary post-modernism', as she put it, tended to hide behind flamboyant mannerisms while they concocted baseless interpretations and insinuations of meaning and technique to cover up for their own failings as philosophers and Zeitgeist thinkers. Naturally this sent the world of comment and critique into a downwards spiral of mud-slinging and name-calling which ended only with the departure of Cherie from the Art World for two years, leaving in her absence only the message that anyone person who had purchased her (or anyone else's for that matter) works purely for their material value over their intellectual and emotional merit 'was as ignorant, if not more so, than all the floundering critics who have ever poured over a pot to find the meaning of life'. And all this in four weeks!

    I am sad to admit that, caught as I was in the affairs and tribulations of the divorce, I became somewhat ignorant of my children's trials; it is in fact as a result of the divorce that my eldest, Rosalind, ostracised herself from both Grey and Ivanenko, leaving everything to her brother.

    Reconciliation — there lies an interesting concept. The little bad blood between Jean and me is not as a result of the divorce, but rather his social habits during and after our separation. To reconcile includes forgiving and accepting, something that neither of us is willing to do for the faults of the other. To what end do we attempt this reformation of bonds — in us there lies no need of friendship or financial aid, for others is of their own accord; whether for love or else is for this who are engaged, the opinions of those external are not welcome.

    Fate is cruel but only for that we make it ourselves. One turn, on word and we change our world, equally no action causes as much catastrophe. A single shake of the hand is as powerful as a butterfly's wings — one can only ask how to stop the typhoon. Would a great act stop a great disaster, or would it need another flap of the butterfly?

    ***
    Author's Note: If you can read something, does that mean you understand it?
     
    #17 Tatile, Sep 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  18. Part 8

    In a palace of secrets there are sure to be unknown room cloaked in shadow. So it was that Makszi found himself in one such room. Nestled in the mansion's heart it had but one entrance and one exit, both being a heavy oaken door. The existence of each of the four walls was hardly guessed, being as they were lined in shelves. The floor was equally a mystery; every surface was covered and made of books. A single piece of furniture was visible: a cracked and worn leather chair; an island in these unmoving waves. With the door open the room was in gloom, when it was closed it was an abyss. A spectre of light floated above a tower of leather and gilt volumes; Makszi had found a lamp, scant evidence of there once having been life here.

    Whispers came from each crest and trench, only the pink-edged light kept away the fuller assault of this room's unknowns. No book here had a title, their authors were nameless — what purpose was there of this collection of anonymous stories? They cried out to be read, to be remembered, to be justified. Who can deny these literary orphans their right? To his duty and in his melancholy, Makszi picked one up at random. The pages written therein were done by hand. Here the words were neat and controlled; there they were a scrawling, emotional mess. So, this is what these are, Makszi decided to himself: diaries. It seemed perverse to read the innermost thought, joys and pains of people whose names he did not know. His absent minded flicking of the pages, so filled with lives and hope, only added to this sense of unease. For a moment he considered that he should stop reading, stop hiding and step out to face himself; no, he became distracted, his gaze was halted some distance from the door by a single word.

    REGRET​

    This was alone, the only mark on the page, the last in the book. Words can have profound effects and by this one Makszi was stunned. Stupors lead to actions otherwise inexplicable. Makszi, ensorcelled by this nameless author, was compelled to read on — even if it were backwards. Regret was the snare, but here happiness appeared the theme. These were the memoirs of a hedonist and a thinker; a person who, on seeing the divergence of life, had tried to tread both paths at once. Whirlwind romances that had lasted but a few short summer nights sat with equal importance with long-standing alliances. This man had been a boardroom, carpeted in daisies and open to the sky. I regret nothing and neither should you. Strange is life when a book written to no one speaks with such determination to every one.

    After a time Makszi stopped giving his attention to this guru of pleasure. He followed the words mechanically, but did not heed their presence of meaning. He was deep in thought. The implacable floor of his confidence was giving way. Another step, a movement even slight, from where he was could send him tumbling. Regret was beneath him. Was this maturity drawing him there? He had been a child for most his years, little more than brat. Could the realisation of his cruelties lead to forgiveness, to prevent himself from drowning in that which waited below. Earlier he had sought such forgiveness and he had failed. He was pained. Not for the rejection, but that he might let go so easily. Yes, he wanted no longer to be the person of yesterday but he could not see the man of tomorrow; he knew, however, that that man was waiting.

    Resolute he left the Savile harlequin to laugh in the darkness and excited the secret vault of histories.

    And what of Kari during this time; he was sick. He felt betrayed. His door had no lock. He had been left vulnerable to whatever malign being might have fancied to come along. Kari could not see that he was lucky; that, above all, he was safer here from his demons than the streets to which he was used. The room was barricaded now; Madame's toiletries desk served to protect him in the absence of a bolt.

    There was a faint chiming from outside. In the corridor beyond one of the few exquisite grandfather clocks struck the hour: six o'clock. Not but one more hour until he was to sup and he had not even considered getting dressed yet. Advantages come and go, whether or not one takes to them or not — over the years Kari had let many pass him by. There existed in him no doubt that the maids of the mansion had carried out his request with due course and thus he was obliged to take to a situation he normal would not. Madame Grey was nothing if not thorough (in truth she was a great many things) and so she made sure to retrieve and update Kari's measurements every six months — suffice to say that she rarely had to change much in this regard and so it was that the pair enjoyed a half-yearly chat.

    In his time Kari had had the pleasure of wearing a variety of different suits through the course of his employ, and in doing he had found that certain colours never suited him. Strangely and having never met the Ivanenko's personal tailor, all the suits provided my Madame Grey not only suited his palette but they also fit in the perfect way, everywhere. Idly he wondered if there had not been some soul selling somewhere along the line. In actuality — and this was not for his clientele to know — the tailor in question made sure to have a life-sized model produced, matching all the current measurements of the client, with the felt of the doll matching, as closely as can be possible, to the client's own skin colour — this faceless army waited in the deeper reaches of the tailor's shop, far from prying eyes. Soft charcoal comprise the jacket and trousers, the shirt was almost of made from the finest of chocolates and the tie seemed of spun gold. There was the distinct possibility that the fabrics cost as much of a soul as the tailoring. There was, quite definitely, something of the infernal about this, as Kari was starting to warm pleasantly in the outfit, but felt that it should have the ability to keep him cool. The tailor, when questioned, would speak of weaves and linings — arcane trickery all, angels are less likely to impart their secrets than their fallen counterparts.

    Kari was quick to dismiss this, however — ‘twas naught but superstitious nonsense and nothing to do with him. Now clothed, he took once again to his station, feeling no less sick than before but, oddly, safer.

    In the one of the house, regret and enlightenment took hold; in the other, regret and self-loathing. Melancholy is best coupled with the tabula rasa of though, a feat more often wished for than accomplished. The events and revelations of the hours past had been a harsh reminder of his childhood, a period of his life best left alone. Thus the young man was hiding from past and present alike, but also sitting blinded to the future.

    Leaning forward, elbows upon knees and head clasped in his hands Kari fought desperately to pull himself away from his old self and reseal the wall between them. His quest lasted some time. The half hour chimed in the hall outside, snapping him from his cold introspection. Wearied as he was from the trial of his inner, it required him a few moments to gather and find the right ‘self' he was to project. Whether there be fault in all or in none was not the question to be asked, but rather to ask who is to help lift the smiling mask. Who better to be posing the unwanted truths, those who care and know deeply or those who care and do not? If Kari had been approached by such queries then, he would have chuckled merrily and turned to continue his pace to the dinner. It would take an ear well trained it hear the darkness lying under the joy and en eye well versed to see the fear. Clotho has woven the tapestry differently, however, and as our dear, all-seeing, reader is not present, Kari proceeded by invitation unmolested.

    ***
    Author's Notes: Short section is short and I have a tummy ache D:
     
    #18 Tatile, Oct 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  19. Part 9

    "Might I remind the Madame that, as Lady of the House, she is responsible for the conduct of her guests?" Matron-Nana Mercy, true as to her name as ever, was proclaiming her distress, or rather her anger, at the request pitched and fulfilled earlier to and by Chastity. The meeting convened, at a quarter past the hour of six, in the main drawing room, from which Celine was want to conduct much of her social business. Present were Madame Grey, Michelle (who, seated somewhat removed from the proceedings, was watching with a mild mixture of curiosity and glee), Matron-Nana Mercy and Chastity, bashful and timid, a total at odds with that of her grandmother. Under any circumstance other, with any else of the help, the entire matter would have been dismissed before it had ever arisen. As things were, however, the stubbornness of each Madame Grey and Matron-Nana Mercy was as two planets caught with each other, coming no closer but parting no further. Arms folded across her chest, defiant as the Spartans at Thermopylae, Madame Grey, mistress of the estate, held the room's centre. Such was the sparring between the old and new.

    "There was little, if anything, untoward in the happenings of earlier. It is not for to remind me my place and duty — it would seem it is you who had forgotten." There is a certain confused quality that befalls the air when a voice as melodious as Madame Grey's is so mixed of stern reproach and girlish amusement. Her countenance was the equal of her voice, as a stone beneath an ever too fast flowing brook. These jolts between the old matron and the Madame were reaffirmations of her power, rather than what they appeared at first. The elder of the pair appeared to be considering this argument, scrutinizing it as one might a melon; eyes pulled thin and sucking at her teeth. When looked at closely, it was possible for the beholder to almost see the intricate workings of the old maid's mind, a lifetime of obligations and order vying with her nature of obedience to authority. Woe to the dog with two masters! When it becomes a wolf? After a time of the clockwork clicking about behind her cataract-dulled eyes, a hollow chuckle escaped to join with the tapping of her cane. She had come to a decision, but on what she gave no council.

    "Madame, ‘tis nigh upon us the half hour — I should see t' it that the dining room is laid in the proper fashion."

    "Then do so," Dressed still so informally that his presence might be distasteful and so dishevelled by a harsh epiphany, Makszi appeared more a street ruffian than an heir. It is usual within families that a mother can tell the face of her child and vice-versa, such was not the case of son and mother here and thus mistake taken of one to the other. Madame Grey's wild countenance was thought to be of insult, Makszi rang in his own disdain; thereby lines are toed and over crossed - for an heir is not a master and nineteen summers no more make an adult than one makes a tree. They say an image is worth a thousand words — such was the look from his mother that words could not do justice to its meaning. Chastised so swiftly the young man remained outside the room, eyes cast down and away, a storm building within. With their conversation interrupted and no thread being retrievable Madame Grey dismissed both maids and the matter at hand. As Chastity gave one last clumsy curtsy to the aristocrats, the half hour struck. When all three were alone, Makszi found within himself the courage to approach his mother once more. "May we speak? I need to ask you about something."

    Despite being still brisk in sensation, Madame Grey warmed to her son. He was, opposite to his usual self, being sincere. Equally, Michelle's attitude shifted, though she made no sign of actually moving.

    "My dear, whatever is the matter? You seem so dreadfully afflicted."

    "Afflicted only by myself," Makszi held himself from the embrace offered by his mother — torn, he wished for comfort but did not know what sort. "I've done terrible things — played with hearts and minds — I'm a terrible person. I need to make amends but..." He stopped a gormless look upon his face. This was the truth. Will is nothing without means and Makszi possessed not the knowledge to rectify himself or his situation. Clasping her sons hands within her own, Celine attempted to alleviate the boy's depression, but a muttering from Michelle almost undid all help. There is only so much that the will of one can do to another; less so when the other is naturally defiant. Shaken so, Makszi had in him no more opposition than a lamb might, a meek smile served to worry his mother further. When there is concern, silence is teased with an undercurrent of tension, but it is speech that can perform ever more damage. "Ah, look, we've little time left. I am sorry to have kept you."

    A gentle kiss atop the forehead was all the affection capable for him to muster; giving a curt nod to his mother's partner, the young master left not but five minutes after his arrival.

    Together Celine and Michelle made progress to become properly attired for the evening's meal, the former dumbstruck, and the latter curiously stoic.

    "Whatever could have come over him? Szi is always such a sure boy."

    "Duckie, I think it's you little cat that's done it."

    "Why! I haven't even begun to meddle and look at the mess. I should sort them out, shouldn't I?"

    Wisdom can oft be found in obscure places and Madame Grey's life being so filled with obscurity it was natural to have sound advice pertaining to more than Pilates and petunias coming from her love.

    "Best to let it be duckie. They need to grow up sometime."

    ***

    "Oh, you are early Mister..?" Prudence, despite there being twenty minutes remaining until dinner started, was still in the midst of arranging the table. The room, designed as it was to overlook the western lawns of the estate, was diffused with gentle gold and pink hues. Here there was no harsh reflection from the crystals or silverware. For a dining room it had a wondrous calming quality, as one might expect a bedroom to; at once Kari was relaxed. Though warm in the countenance of the room the air itself had a crisp, fresh quality. It took him the course of a deep, appreciative breath to consider an answer to the maid's question.

    "Just Kari, thank you."

    Prudence nodded with feigned sweetness and continued to sort the table's lay, only this time she added a perceivable haste, though in truth she was still no study to Hermes. No specific places being yet set, though from cause of practice being inferable, Kari took a seat on the left side, two away from the head. To take apt advantage of the views offered by its location, the table was pointed down along the room, the head of course being opposite the window. The maid made to say something but then seemed to think the better of it and left him be. The room primarily being for the purpose of eating there was little in the way of personal entertainment he contented himself to while away the time in the reaches of blank thought. The direction of thought is a hard beast to control, a slipped word can send it galloping away and no amount of fighting can wrest it back. Similarly, no force of will can guarantee the path of the horse, the fields of the mind being thus populated by the mustang's greater ancestors. Still, some are blessed as to have a brush by which to cover all the groves and gulleys and leave no place for thought to roam.

    Forced chasteness is one of the many tricks a housemaid has need and use of; Prudence was the royal's when it came to the executions of these skills compared to her sisters — exception of course being given to Chastity in certain areas where the skills were a part of her person and not a learned accessory. It was therefore with greatest apologies that she brushed her womanly form against the thinker's head whilst trying to align a fork just so. Neither action nor apology elicited any sort of response from him; Prudence could not help but feel annoyance at seeing yet another layer added to the young man's mystique. The game cropped up every once in a while, more often with new guests, it being one of the many unmentioned pastimes of the maids. There was a natural interest around all of Madame Grey's guests, for she kept unusual company, but it was in particular piqued whenever Kari was around, for he was by far the most unusual of them all. These standards being set, of course, not least by personality but by social standing and longevity in the lime light — for all the intents of the maids Kari seemed to have none of these.

    Enraptured with as much curiosity for the guest as he had disinterestedness for the tablecloth Prudence forgot all time utterly and was only spurred into action by Matron-Nana Mercy's terrible voice echoing into the room. There was little more than five minutes to the rest of party arriving and the only thing that the maid could think of to do, now so flustered by Matron-Nana Mercy's ire, was to faff. All plates and glasses were already set for the starting course so the few things left to arrange were the cream cloth and orange embroided napkins. All of this was made ever the more awkward by Kari's immovable form which she was constantly checking herself from bumping into in her bustle to get everything done. Within the short period she had left to her all was completed, a hair's breadth from the hour.

    "...and yet they are always late..." This light murmur was heard but ignored by the sole diner present as Prudence, like a dark cloud before the sun's rays, left. As the seven strikes called out Melpomene took her place at Kari's elbow, her mask as inviting as it was harrowing. Tragedy's embrace, as one would suspect of that ilk, is a hollow thing, filling the mind and heart with waves of emptiness and longing. Dryness is as immersive as it's opposite and fills to the brim. He lifted his eyes then as this familiar sensation took hold and looked out over the lawns and flower beds of the estate. All the botanical finery had little meaning for him but the view was enjoyed nonetheless.

    "Oh, ah... Hello again."

    ***
    Author's Notes: Om nom nom. Not quite a month late but pushing it >.> I hope that you have enjoyed, seeing as you've got this far.
     
    #19 Tatile, Nov 18, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  20. Part 10

    Having crossed the distance between the main drawing room and his own chamber with a speed known only to himself Makszi had washed and clothed in mere moments, a feat he had come by in his earlier days of hedonism. It was then that he found himself not to be the first in the dining room but that rather the object of his confused affections had sat before him. To say that their meeting then was awkward would be as if to say that the Flood had been just a spot of rain. After the first greeting was uttered no more was said, though each knew there was much yet to be discussed. This problem was found to be only exacerbated by the impromptu seating arrangements - Makszi always sat on the left side, and being in the absence of his sister, he took to the first seat there. This did of course leave the noticeable gap of one seat between the pair, the future possibilities of which made the air rife with tension. The reappearance of Prudence bearing the message that Madame Grey and her Mistress Michelle (as she had come to be known in want of better title, to which she was wholly apathetic to) would be a few minutes more helped the situation none. Silence fell again with the parting of the maid, being passed with furtive, determinedly thoughtful glances on the half of Makszi to Kari, who for his wearied part, felt them to be naught but pitiful and ignored them sufficiently to cause their originator great distress. After what felt to be a great length of time, but was in actuality a few minutes of their being together, composure and voice was found enough to begin a discourse which might have resembled conversation.

    "If you would honour me so as to accept, I wish to apologise for my earlier conduct." The uneasiness in Makszi's voice was palpable, a result, no doubt, of the tender situation he found himself in. So unsure of the clipped Eros before him, he had taken to the formal, but ultimately off-putting, speech of his parent's cocktail society. Spoken to so directly, Kari had little choice on whether to continue his ignorance; he replied with a look mixed of equal parts disdain and indifference:

    "I suppose that I'd have to reconcile with you at some point, if only for mother's sake." Given the circumstances, it was not unusual for Kari's original accent and some of his colloquialisms to return to his speech, but being so unused to his company in any form, Makszi was quite taken aback at the change.

    "Ignore my mother in this — she is naught to do with us, accept only if you wish it, else I implore you, tell how I can fix this!"

    "'Us'? what — why would you think that?" The smaller seemed so affronted and ashamed that he flinched at every slight movement. More shock than was expected crept into his voice and overlaid any anger that might have been present. He recoiled most violently, almost to fling himself from his chair, when Makszi meant to lay a calming hand upon his shoulder.

    "Please, I am sorry, let me help you," Remembering the folly of protesting with this company, Kari did demurely allow himself to assisted back into his seat. So gently was he handled that he barely noticed that his saviour's touches lingered but a little more than was necessary. Dazedly he nodded thanks and set about to deceive himself the nature of the strange sensations building about his arms and chest. In such a confused state still he left his arm at a hover in the empty space between them, which Makszi advantaged to take a hold of and lay a kiss upon the hand. A reassurance to some no doubt, but a bafflement here; taking a proper look to his eyes now, for having avoided them all the while, he found none of the sadism of earlier, all the storm in those eyes was now benign. Unable to stop the oncoming flush, Kari coloured a curious shade about his cheeks. "I... I am trying to change for the better, I regret everything of my actions to you and to others I have hurt." The hand, not yet returned to its owner was kissed again, this time with slight more force and length. Kari coloured all the deeper for this. When, however, Makszi leant forward with all the gentleness man can have, Kari shrank away once again; the limit of their intimacy was set. No slight disappointment apparent, Makszi let it alone and returned fully to his seat.

    After a few moments of mangled attempts at explanation, the hostess and her mistress arrived and made a quick apology for their tardiness. Nothing the matter was noticed with the present scene, nor was there anything implying to the near mischief of the act just past, for, though each unmasked the other, the men of their house were social actors of great skill. The seat empty twixt guest and son was soon remedied with an admission of guilt by Prudence (who in the course of doing so gave an enquiring glance to the source of that petty trouble, who caught and returned it with his own slight glare — all this unseen by the other diners) and a quick rearrangement of cutlery.

    Almost conjoined now by their chairs, Kari felt the nearness of the young master to be almost oppressive (as much as it did seem to be something else entirely) and though taking inward exception to the circumstance he gave no exterior sign of this displeasure; even when, innocently enough, Makszi knocked their legs together in his shuffling to be comfortable. Kari kept his piece.

    After some leisurely, albeit insignificant, small talk regarding the niceties of local weather and the nature of this particular location's sunsets, the starter was presented: an understandably simple dish consisting of green leaves decorated with thin strips of carrot and beetroot, drizzled with a light vinaigrette. Given the season some of the ingredients were unusual, but as is the norm with more money comes less care for when things were supposed to grow; not that this convention would prevent its mention.

    "Beetroot's better when it's had a chance to grow, y'know that duck?"

    "Ah but this is of course a breed which has the most colour in the younger stages." The conversation then could not help but turn nigh irretrievably toward the subject of importation versus seasonal produce and the converse merits of each, if not for the upper classes, then for the lower, which Michelle felt herself indebted to represent. Long before the virtues of socialism could be well exhausted, the talk was put on hold momentarily for the serving of the main course — fresh apple slices pleasantly contrasted with the pink flesh of a local river trout; sautéed potatoes finished the dish of pale colours.

    None too sure still on the state of conversation (for it was generally said that one should never discuss money, politics or religion in polite company), Kari unconsciously followed the example of Makszi, staying quiet and merely listened to the proceedings. As a total change from earlier they paid no heed to each other and, per the expected, enjoyed the meal. There are of course faults with having a dish so delicate, it can be easily overcome by the faintest memory of flavour and even the best choice of wine could detract rather than add to the experience. For the most of it, Kari felt the dinner to have thus far been a strange fruity melancholy and, despite his liking of Madame Grey and Michelle's company, he wished for it to be over soon. Such was not to be, of course, as the main possessed a second part, which appeared to be a simple arrangement of cooled roast pork sandwiches sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and mint leaves. Some things were never meant to be really understood, this much he knew.

    Fresh salad of spinach, water cress and lettuce added a much needed crunch to the meal. It was when halfway through his second sandwich that Kari noticed he was being spoken to — to his dismay it was Makszi.

    "How long..." Strangely his confidence was starting to dissipate, a slight blush forming on his cheeks. "How long are you planning on staying here? I would like the chance to-"

    "I'm leaving tomorrow." Without caring to look, he went back to the sandwiches, gaining the intense, far-off stare of a man lost in thought.

    Makszi was more embarrassed than angered at getting snubbed so — and continued the rest of the meal with a nigh imperceptible vigilance on his Eros. Unrequited: it was a term that he had heard and used before, but only now was he beginning to understand what it meant. There was not much time to be brooding; however, as though tomorrow was a certainty, the actual time of Kari's leaving was not. It was not a simple matter of saying ‘I am sorry, shall we have dinner together?' — this was not like his past experiences, the person whom he wished to woo was not like those which he had ‘wooed' before, nor were his feelings a clear matter. Everything so complicated! This was his adulthood beginning in earnest. Gone now were the clean lines of his childhood, instead replaced with the tangled mess of man.

    Knowledge and belief have been argued over since first light and will continue to be opposed until the last of the stars. Despite the differences marked by philosophers, the two means of thought have strangely similar consequences on the mind. People affected in such are manner are prone to indecision, stuck in an internal debate with themselves, looping indefinitely. And such was where Makszi found himself, poised to witness a sharp shift in his future but with no idea of how to go about it. A wealth of wisdom surrounded him, all the experiences and imaginings of the world's literary ancestors, and yet he felt as if there was nothing for him — no advice of his position or anyone to whom he could turn. Perhaps, he wondered as a single, perfect ball of elderflower sorbet was placed in front of him, he should revisit that strange hidden world of other people's secrets. Almost immediately this idea was dismissed — if he did that he would be running, a coward in the face of his problems and future. He needed to be brave and become the man whom he caught only glimpses of. This was his end, but how to achieve it? The means escaped him.

    All too soon the meal was over and another chance was lost to him.
     
    #20 Tatile, Dec 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  21. Part 11

    Early though it was, and the gardens being still cool, Kari was awake, watching as a young sun bleached the sky overhead. It was more out of long formed habit than any sort of requirement that he got up before the sunrise; lie-ins were a luxury unknown to him. The sun was still weak so the grass still dewy, but already the golden rays were beginning to tickle his skin with warmth. In all respects it was a fairytale scene. In spite of all the innocent aspects about him, he was melancholic, thinking of what lay in store for him and where to go next. All this, of course, to ignore a sensation that had been building since his arrival; it was like nothing he had ever felt before, a strained tightness in his chest, which seemed to be more emotional than physical. The only hope he held for it was that it went as suddenly as it had come.

    He passed the time in his usual way: locked in thought, dragging his shoes through the damp grass. Kari was sat on a swing in the eastern flower garden, surrounded by the scents of jasmine and honeysuckle. This was not the type of utility swing set up in city parks, but one carved by hand from strong wood and coated in cream paint. Climbers clung to the struts, their flowers bouncing in the light morning breeze. Company, as always, crept up on him. It was always when he felt safest that he was most in danger.

    "You always walk on rocks." When most others speak into a silence they break it, but Madame Grey and always enjoyed being contrary to status quo. Her voice then was like a feather floating onto the surface of a pond; contact was made, but there were barely any ripples. Kari groaned quietly as he turned to her, he did not begrudge her presence but was merely reminded of how tired he felt.

    "Do you have to speak in riddles this early?" She laughed, not at him but for his words, and pulled him into an embrace. Muffled now by her shoulder, he continued, saying that she was forever talking in such a manner and he could hardly understand her meanings. This put an abrupt halt to their joviality.

    "The rest of us," She sat beside him, her tone now more sombre than it had been for many years. It was almost as if she was sad at what she was saying. "We all walk in sand, leaving behind us impressions for people to witness and look upon. But you, my dearest Kari, you leave behind no trace — and not because of light footfall — you actively pretend to lack of..."

    "Consequence?"

    "Existence."

    "You don't wonder why you found me on the streets?"

    Celine had an enquiring mind and compassionate heart, the two not often sitting well together. She did sometimes hurt people in trying to help, accidents all, which she regretted but still repeated.

    "You did tell me not to. I have made no enquiries."

    "I asked," Kari corrected quickly, his voice strained on the words, clipping them off, making the statement harsher than he meant it. There was nothing in the world he was more uncomfortable of discussing than himself. Not the self of the dinner parties and accompaniments, but his true self, the one that no one knew and that Celine saw but a small part of. "And... best that you don't."

    The chirping of the birds returned, though now all was dulled and awkward. The sun was rising steadily towards its apex, the day ready to continue without them. At length Kari stood and left Celine on the swing, alone. It took him a while to gather his words, but at length he did speak.

    "Celine, I'll be leaving soon; sooner than I expected," Unsurprisingly for them both, he made no motion toward the house but turned to look his hostess straight in the eyes. There was blatant pain coursing through him, as if the foundations of his person were starting to crumble. Celine could not keep quiet her sigh; it was despairing for her to know that he would accept no help for this or anything else. Looking away he pretended to be in thought. "I... I can't walk on sand just yet."

    And there it was. Not explicitly spoken, but easy to see: the end of the matter. In the late hours of the evening just passed they had sorted his involvement in her memoirs; his anonymity remained yet. It stood in part as a testament to how thorough and secretive he was that such a task could be completed over tea and cakes. They had not, in anyway, touched upon the subject of him and Makszi. In some ways that was good, in others it worried her greatly. She would say nothing on it of course, not as yet, at least. There might still be time and opportunities for such ideas as she had.

    "And? Where will you be going to now, and what of your old apartment?" Kari only ever allowed talk of his future, his past was to be left well alone and Celine respected that as best she could. She often thought that he was not so much a forward thinker as someone who was in vehement denial of them self; acting as if the events of his past had happened to someone else.

    "Sold it. I'll be looking for a new one of course, much smaller though, I don't need much room."

    "Where will you be?"

    "I don't know yet, but... I'll contact you when I find out. You needn't worry about that."

    ***

    Makszi woke with a jolt. A strange sense of terror clawed at his gut, for a moment he could not fathom the why of it. Such are the mixed blessings of a tired mind. With the clearing of his fogged head came the stark realities of just why he was so tired and why the sun seemed to be so much higher than usual for this time. Unable to speak with Kari after the dinner, he had stayed awake a great deal of the night in an attempt to figure and place his own feelings before trying to express them again. At last when he did succumb to the advances put forth by Morpheus, he had slept fitfully. His clock had not been able to wrest him from such a sleep and as such the hours had escaped him.

    Fighting against a mixture of depression and something akin to embarrassment, he started to pull himself from the bed. One of the cotton sheets — of which he thought he had too many — entangled itself about an ankle, causing him to stumble and almost fall. Small things can have profound affects and such still held true that morning.

    "Fuck it!" The soft falling of the sheets did nothing to abate his growing rage; such quiet compliance as they had only served to anger him further. When infuriated so, people do not often wish to be calmed, but to follow their emotions to the end. There was one item which he could use to get the affect he wanted: the alarm clock. It could have prevented its own fate. If only it had woken him earlier. Alas, it had no such fortune, despite being an agent of time, and was flung across the room. It was far more obliging to his current state than the sheets, giving a whole-hearted smash as it made contact with the far wall.

    Only slightly calmed, Makszi found little reason to get dressed. If circumstances were as he feared, he would be spending much of the day in his room. Clad only in loose fitting black pyjama bottoms and face slowly returning to peach from its first red flush, he stalked into the hall.

    "Aie! Master Makszi, I should not see you so!" Only Chastity could have produced such a cry of defiled innocence. Alarmed by the young master's state of dress, she had half-turned away and covered her eyes. Custom of the estate of course meant that she was required to curtsey to all family members (and their guests), her already clumsy attempt was made all the worse by her inability to see.

    "I doubt this is anything more than you've already seen," His fury became a torrent, falling into his speech and causing him to spit venom at the poor girl. Almost at once she was in floods of tears; her name, a virtue to all else, was becoming all the more a curse upon her life. Already the morning was becoming far too much for him, the last thing he needed just now was for someone to break down. "Please, oh please, just stop. Stop crying. Tell me, has he left... is he here still? Has he gone far?"

    Hope is a strange and transient thing. Like a will o' wisp it is there until you look for it, when you are lost it follows and flitters in the gloom. Such a light shone then for Makszi, for, in the process of composing herself after her outburst, Chastity indicated that their guest may not have left just yet.


    And in truth Kari had been waylaid. He had little in the manner of possessions about him and yet still he needed a great time in sorting them. There had never been anything sweet in the partings he had made during his life; only ever the bland necessity of each staying with him. In the first lounge room, a room which held so many detestable memories for him, he placed a short note and two plain spheres, one being more unkempt than the other, though each wholly white. A simple breakfast of cold meats and fruit was enough to prepare him for the journey ahead. He had refused, in spite of kindly offers, to take any of the overs as provisions.

    "What? That's it, you aren't even going to talk to him?" Michelle had always been blunt, and above all, honest. Honesty was not an endearing characteristic to Kari, particularly when he was receiving it.

    "I... I'm not ready yet." It was a simple, breathy murmur which fuelled the fire of her indignation. He continued to toy with a black and white sphere, seemingly absently. The front door was half open already and they stood, where Michelle had caught him, twenty paces away.

    "You're going to keep running and never be ready!" In her core, she held that any challenge should be faced. She was loath to see people turn from anything, let alone letting such a thing happen.

    "I can't." Looking up at her, tears rolled down his cheeks. There was a deep pain echoing in his eyes. All the masks had fallen. The actor had slipped and the wires were showing — bare and broken, the stage could be seen for a second. Kari was nothing more than a child, frightened and alone, doing the only thing he knew.

    A commotion from the above corridor broke the scene. The glamour returned to place, but such revelations as these are not easily forgotten. Reluctantly Michelle was drawn away, she was needed. Instincts torn, she futily ordered Kari to remain in place while she attended to whatever mischief had happened. Half-way on the staircase, she turned at a small noise, barely noticed under the cries of Celine and the maids. The corridor below was empty, the heavy door still half open.

    With a heavy heart Michelle climbed the reminder of the stairs. Awaiting her, after the matter at hand, would be a long - and no doubt tearful — explanation to her love; not of her guest's leaving but what she had witnessed. Something gave her the feeling that she now knew more about Kari than even he did, or perhaps, she was more willing to believe the truth of it.

    The scene was bloody if only for the fact that head wounds are prone to profuse bleeding. The two attending maids were merely making the incident sound worse than it was — Makszi was conscious, just merely in shock. It was easy to divine how he had caused himself such an injury: tripping and striking his head against a corner of an end table.

    "This is..." Sad. That is what she wanted to say. ‘If only he hadn't tripped, he could've made it ... would they be happy?' Such feelings of regret and of sympathy directed her thoughts, but thankfully no her actions. An ambulance had been called for and a first aid kit swiftly found. "This'll scar, Celine."


    ***
    Author's Note: There, done.
     
    #21 Tatile, Jan 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  22. Though this story is over it would be very much appreciated to recieve some critiscm over various points of it: grammar, writing style, development, pace etc. etc.

    Obviously this is wholly optional - beating you people in the chat seems to only result in having fish slung at me.

    *ducks a herring*

    Ta!
     

Share This Page