Hoves – 7.1: Teenage love

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Kerry Hoves was in love. Well maybe that had been an understatement. He was trapped by a powerful force that sucked him and held him hostage. A force so gripping it could be called by no other name than pure, teenage infatuation. The force had sucked his mind of all coherent thoughts living just the thoughts of her, her lovely smile, her dark hair, her lovely round face.

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It made him content to do nothing at all but lay on his bed, with a smile on his face and think of her. Because what could be nicer.

He had no idea how long it had lasted, that maddening love of his, it could have started the day they met, the chubby red haired boy with big round glasses and the new, shy girl. He knew when he had realized it. It was the weekend they went camping, the two of them and Bran, his best friend.  They had stared at the moon together and she told him one of her adoptive mothers was dying. There were tears in her eyes and he knew, from the bottom of his heart he knew, that he was ready to do anything, truly anything to stop her from being hurt, to make her smile, just a little. He knew he loved her.

A week later he broke up with his girlfriend Tami. It was as bad as he imagined it would be, a lot of shouting and screaming and a cold look in the girl’s eyes. A cold look that made him wonder what she might do to Persephone if she found out the real reason Kerry was breaking up with her… But he put it behind him, he knew he would do whatever he could to protect his Persephone, from anything, even his psychotic ex-girlfriend.

When the new school year started he even stopped his long running flirtation with Marcia Milton and focused all his thoughts on expressing his ever growing love to Persephone Santoro. The later proved harder than he had expected it to be. For one he, Kerry Hoves, found himself suddenly afraid and self-conscious around a girl he knew, and was friend since they were kids. He was sure he would somehow screw everything up and lose her forever. And he couldn’t allow that. Not ever.

She of course knew something was wrong. Perse was not a stupid girl.  “Why are you calling me Persephone all the sudden?” She asked him one afternoon when they headed home from school. Kerry shrugged.

“That is your name.” She smiled.

“I know. But you always called me Santoro, Hoves.” She said accenting his last name.

“I don’t know. It just seems nicer to call you by your name.”

“As you wish.” She said. “Maybe I’ll try calling you Kerry.” She smiled at this. It was a beautiful sight, but very rare in those days. That was the other reason Kerry found it so hard to confess his love. It turned out that Elaine Buford Santoro, Persephone’s adoptive mother was indeed very sick and dying. And that fell very hard on Perse, as hard as one might expect but Kerry was determined to make it easier to her, as easy as he could so he tried to cheer her up as much as possible.

As winter steadily approached Persephone skipped school more often, to be with her mum Kerry guessed. And so every day he didn’t see her there he would anxiously wait for the last bell of the day to ring and head to her house. By that time Elaine was pretty much bedridden already and when he turned up Perse’s other mother Phaena would go out to walk their dog leaving them alone at home.

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He wouldn’t stay long, just long enough to share what Perse might have missed at school, give her his notes to copy and try to make her laugh, at least once, it would make his heart jump and he knew she needed it as well, whenever he saw her those days she had a look of someone who had just stopped crying. It was heartbreaking really. But he could nothing more.

As the Winder Dance approached no one in school seemed to be able to talk about anything else, even Kerry’s big sister Freddie who hated those things seemed excited about it now that she had a boyfriend. And so one evening after they had helped Perse’s younger sister Phania with her homework Kerry gathering all his courage, asked the big question:

“Would you come to the dance with me?” Persephone lifted her head and focused her eyes on his.

“The dance? I don’t think I’ll go.” Kerry felt like he had been punched in the guts with an iron fist.

“Why not?” He asked in a whiny voice that reminded him of his little sister Haley when she wanted something badly. Persephone didn’t even smile.

“I am just not in the mood for all that… Thank you Kerry. For everything you are doing for me.  You are a better friend than I deserve.” She sighed deeply. “You truly are. I wish I will get a chance to repay you…” She made a slight pause. “But I can’t go to the dance, I am sorry, I appreciate the gesture though.” Kerry couldn’t say a thing. His gut felt like it was full of lead now and his mouth was dry, unable to produce a single sound. “There is still time though.” Persephone said forcing a small smile. “You could still find a date. Marcia would never say no to you.” Kerry knew he would never go with another girl. He would rather be actually punched in the gut but he couldn’t find the strength to say it. All he could say was:

“I  wish you would go with me.” Before Persephone could reply however another voice spoke from the door.

“You should go.” Persephone’s mother Elaine looked like a ghost. She was thin, and pale, her long hair white instead of her normal light blond. But she was still on her feet, her eyes fixed on her daughter.

“Mum! You should be in bed.” Persephone said getting up from the couch she and Kerry had been sitting on to go to the older women.

“I woke up and overheard you two. I had to get up to tell you this. You should go Persephone. I am dying. I will be dying on Friday when you go to the dance. And I will still be dying when you come back home. But you love, you are alive, and should go, and live, have fun, for a little while at least. For me.” Tears spilled down her pallid cheeks and tears spilled from Perse’s eyes as well. Even Kerry himself felt like crying but when half an hour later Persephone followed him out she said:

“I’ll go.” And the whole world lightened up at once.

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When the day of the dance finally came and Kerry found himself  waiting outside the Santoro family home he couldn’t help being nervous. Usually he knew his way around girls but this… This was important, maybe the most important night of his life, everything hinged on this. He could not blow it.

It didn’t help that Persephone looked exquisitely beautiful when she came out to see him. She wore a long dark dress and had her silken hair down. She smiled nervously when she saw him but her eyes were once again filled with tears. Kerry suddenly wanted nothing more than to pull her in a tight embrace and hold her whispering that all would be okay. He didn’t do. He smiled instead, telling her how beautiful she looked. He didn’t own a car, so they walked together to the school. They talked all the way and he did his best to make Persephone forget about everything else in her life.

That had been the last dance her mother Elaine saw he go to and that time in the Santoro’s living room was the last time Kerry saw the older woman. She died a few weeks later, in her bed with her wife Phaena holding her hand. But that night neither of them thought of that. They danced, and Persephone actually laughed. Kerry brought her drinks and told her jokes. And when the dance was over neither of them was really ready to go home.

They sat on the cold grass in the park and watched the stars together. The evening was not so cold, and the sky unusually bright. But Kerry didn’t care about any of that. All he cared was the lovely woman next to him. He wished he was brave enough to tell her how he felt. How much he loved her, now and any other day. But he wasn’t. And so they were both silent, both trapped in their own thoughts. And then Kerry felt a warm touch on one of his outstretched hands and he looked down and saw Persphone had taken his hand in hers. He turned to her and she just smiled and he smiled back. His hear was beating like crazy but he was happy.

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And that is how it had begun. With a single touch of hands. The greatest romance of all times. Or so Kerry saw it. And he saw little else.

He didn’t see how much more his father was drinking now that he was retired. He didn’t see his mother’s efforts to get fit. He didn’t see his older sister Freddie hide a box of cash underneath their bunk bed, right next to her box of stolen trinkets Kerry also didn’t see. He didn’t see how tall his brother Ty was getting as he neared his teenage years. He barely saw his sister Haley when she spoke to him.

He didn’t miss out in school, he still got on honor roll but that was simply because he never needed to put much effort into school anyway, some of his IQ test scores labeled him a genius, he never saw himself that way but Persephone loved to remind of him that pretty often, even back when they were just friends and he called her Santoro and he called him Hoves.

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Everything else was irrelevant. All he ever saw was Perse. And he loved her so. And she loved him back. And everything in the world was alright.

/* We have moved on to the Hoves! Their story will be a little shorter than the Prentiss was. I have less story for them but I hope you’ll enjoy it. I have also made their family tree, you can see it here.  Thanks for reading!*/

Prentiss 7.5: The Grieving Husband

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(Previous post: The Lost Twin II )

In the days, weeks and months following the death of Tomas’ wife Rita, daughter Lena and eldest sister Alyssa a lot of people came to talk to him, family, friends, neighbors, even strangers. Tomas listened to their words but nothing came to him. He was the kind of person that needed to grieve on his own. Not many people understood that. Rita did. But Rita was gone. No one understood that either. Not fully at least. How could they? They didn’t love her as much as he did. No one in the world did.

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Maybe that was why he found it easiest to talk to Phoibe. Phoibe Santoro had been one of Rita’s best friends. They had been friends  ever since they were little girls. Of all the people outside their family she was probably the one who knew Rita best and maybe, just maybe she could understand what a cold and empty place this world was without her.

Phoibe worked at the science lab with Thomas so they often sat together on their brakes. Sometimes they talked about Rita. Often that would end up with Phoibe in tears and Tomas found it hard to bear. They never talked about Lena. He never talked about Lena. That pain was Tomas’ and his alone.

And some days they just talked about life, well work mostly. For Tomas that was what was left in life and he didn’t know what else to talk about Phoibe anyway. He knew she liked classical music and that she played in a band. She never married or had any kids. Rita always said she had bad luck with men. Tomas didn’t understand it. She was a good looking and a smart woman. Still he steered away form those kind of conversations with her. Talk about work and the scientific world were enough.

And then one day he asked for a favor.

“You want Irene out of your lab?” Phoibe asked surprised. Tomas nodded, “Why? Is her work somehow inadequate? You always gave her good reviews…” Thomas sighed. He wasn’t a good liar, he knew that but he couldn’t tell Phoibe the truth. He couldn’t tell her how he believed his young and beautiful assistant was coming on to him and most importantly he couldn’t tell her he was starting to enjoy it.

“It’s just… She reminds me of Rita.” He blurted out. It was evil, pure evil doing what he was doing, playing that card but it needed to be done. Phoibe’s face became grave and she nodded.

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“I get it. They were sisters after all…  Rita might have never said it that way but it was true…” There were tears in her lovely blue eyes and it made Tomas felt horrible. Still he knew it was the only way and the right thing to do… “Sorry. ” She said noticing his troubled stare. “I just get like this every time I think of her… She was one of a kind your wife… I miss her dearly… But then again I shouldn’t go one like this, not to you of all people.” She sighed. “Fine. I can get Irene away. It shouldn’t be that hard to reassign her…” Then she smiled slightly. “I’ll transfer her to my mother’s project! She had been asking for people for weeks.”

Tomas smiled. “Yes she spoke to me too.” When Phoibe looked at him quizzically he answered. “I said no, of course.” Phoibe looked relived. Her mother, the once famous talent scout, lyricist and manager of many stars, including Riam Gradle, the famous rock star from their small town, had recently joined the army. Why no one knew, not even Phoibe who wasn’t that close to her anyway. But she became a kind of a PR there.

And now, as they often do the army bullied their way to their lab to conduct some secret experiments or whatever and they were mercilessly trying to recruit scientist to their cause. Neither Tomas or Phoibe liked it very much and bitching about it gave Tomas the perfect excuse to steer of the current topic.

Yet the thought of that conversation didn’t leave his mind for a long time. Irene was gone from his lab and he was currently working alone, which was when he did his best work yet he felt guilty. In his mind he had used Phoibe, lying to her like that, invoking the memory of Rita in the process as well.

So on one of his days off, while the girls were at school and Tracy was at his sister’s he invited Phoibe to come over. He wanted to thank her, not only for the recent favor but for everything she had done from him from the terrible day of the meteor hit till today. He meant to surprise her with flowers and a lovely bracelet Della helped him pick.

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“Seems I’m a natural at picking flowers.” He said nervously as he handed Phoibe the bouquet first. “They seem to match your sweater.” Phoibe smiled a nervous smile herself.

“They are beautiful Tomas!” She said as she looked up at him with those lovely blue eyes. Her natural, interesting green hair was down today and she chose to wear contacts instead of the big glasses she usually wore inside the lab. The lab coat she replaced with a goofy green-blue dress and a short purple sweater. She was very pretty Tomas thought again still wondering how on Earth was she still single.

“It is a small something…. To thank you… For everything.” He managed to answer. “It all means so much to me, what you did…” It was hard to find the words so he quickly brought out the little box with his bracelet hoping it would speak for him.

“Oh my! Tomas… You shouldn’t have!” Phoibe gasped as she saw the pretty wrapped box. “You know I didn’t expect this… I didn’t ask for this… I would have done it all again, and again… I would have done anything to help you. For your sake, and your children’s… And… And Rita’s…” She said at last, tears pooling all around her eyes as they did every time she spoke her name.

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An ice cream truck drove past. Tomas heard its chimes but the world had disappeared for him. Nothing remained but those sad blue eyes and the tears in them. One of them escaped and Tomas watched as it rolled down Phoibe’s smooth cheek. He was ready to do anything to make them go away. And so he did, the first thing that came to his mind. He leaned forward and pressed her lips against hers.

It wasn’t a kiss fueled with passion, or romance, or love… Or any of the other usual reasons one has for such an act. The closest, most accurate description was that it had been a desperate act of a grieving man. And at first Phoibe didn’t reciprocate. And as they parted and Tomas opened his eyes to look at her he felt panic raising in his chest.

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Here he was, trying to do something nice, to make amends, to say thank you and he managed to screw even that up. He kissed her. His coworker. His only friend in this dark times. He kissed a woman who wasn’t his wife, in front of his house, in broad daylight…

He was about to say sorry, to beg on his knees for forgiveness, to explain, in any way he could how stupid it was, how he wasn’t in control of his emotions, of his life, of anything…  And hope she would understand. But then she moved closer, putting her long fingered hands on his hips before leaning in close, so close her whole body touched his and then her lips found him and this time it was different… It was maddening and wild and it made Tomas’ guilt disappear. It made all thoughts desert him and moments, or was it an eternity later as he led her upstairs and on to his hover bed it all made sense. They were two people, lost and sad, and alone and hurt and in need… In need of comfort, in need of love, in need of each other… And that was all that mattered.

 

Prentiss – 7.4: The Lost Twin II

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(Previous post: The Lost Twin I )

Maja was running the answers she wrote on her math test trough her head while trying hard not to bite her nails. It was a nasty habit she knew that, and her mother had bothered about it enough times, but it was hard to get rid of it especially at boring situations. Sitting in a  horrible waiting room, waiting for her regular appointment with the school psychologist qualified as such.

The school mandated those appointments to every student that had suffered some kind of trauma and at first Maja was okay with them, it was nice to vent to someone, someone outside her home, someone who didn’t go trough the exact same trauma but as time went on it was just getting annoying, how many times, and in how many ways could she say she missed her mother, she missed her sister, her twin? How many more times did she have to say she felt empty and incomplete and how sure she was that is how she was going to feel from now on until she died herself and could not feel anymore. It just wasn’t helping. Yet her dad didn’t want her to stop coming here and what could Maja say to that? The man had been trough so much, he didn’t need her disobedience on top of it all.

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She had even grown to hate coming to school. She used to like it before, in the times when her greatest problem was that her father was her science teacher. But now it was insufferable. She was almost always alone on recess, trying to catch up with all the schoolwork she missed and dodging people and their pitying stares. Even Domynika, her cousin with whom she didn’t speak ever since she stole Jacob Gradle from her would find excuses to give her a kind word, she even came over their house to see if she needed anything. She didn’t need that. She hated that.  It was stupid and annoying.

She tried to push it all out of her head, force her mind back to maths when the door that lead to the hallway opened and a boy walked in. He was a bit slouched under the weight of his backpack, dark haired, with glasses and a funny little mustache.  He murmured a hello as he worked his way to sit in a chair next to hers dropping his bag on the floor next to his chair and looking relieved to be able to do so.

Maja hoped that would be the extend of their conversation. She had little interest in talking, she just wanted for her damned appointment to start so she could get away from here and back home.

The boy however had different intentions. “Do you have an appointment at two?” He asked turning to face her. “She had to reschedule mine because I had to go to the dentist yesterday, seems she forgot about you and gave us the same slot.”

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“Seems so.” Maja said politely still refusing to give the boy her full attention, hoping that might discourage him. It didn’t work.

“Well I hope she reschedules mine again – to never.” He said and smiled. Maja looked him over briefly. He did have a nice smile, it lit up his face. A part of her was glad someone else hated these sessions as much as she did but still she didn’t respond.  “Be honest, do you find these useful?” He pressed on.

“I did a first.” Maja said honestly. “Now not so much.” The boy nodded and his eyes saddned a bit. Here we go again…. Maja thought fuming internally.

“I get it.” He said. “After what you went trough….”

“And why are you here?” She asked sharper than she intended at first.

“My mum died.” The boy said sadly and it made Maja feel bad instantly. “It wasn’t anything traumatic like what happened to you… But she died. She is gone.” He sighed. “My stepfather, Mr. Borders, the principal, he thinks this would to me good… Talking to someone about it since he is pretty lost about the whole ordeal himself, they had just gotten married you know…”

It was then that Maja recognized the boy.  It had been a while since she had last seen him, and he had grown a lot since but she wondered how could she not recognize him earlier. His name was Waylon, Waylon Borders now, and he was Jacob’s little brother. Now she felt even worse, she heard their mother had passed away but she had so much on her plate at the time she simply forgot to call or say anything. She debated if she should say something now but he went on.

“There is one thing that helps though, I think it might help you too. ” He smiled when Maja turned to him curious and produced something from his pocket. It was a pill. A bright orange pill with a line etched in it.

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“What is that?” Maja asked.

“A magical malady. Helps with every ache.”

“And where did you get it from?” Waylon looked around before leaning towards her and whispering.

“Freddie Hoves.” Maja frowned. Freddie was a girl from her class, another cousin she was not close with. Her dad was a cop and she knew her mum worked for the hospital. Still she wasn’t likely to be giving people medicine…

“Is it… Legal?” She asked in an equal whisper. Waylon chuckled.

“I am not exactly sure. I don’t think Freddie is either if I was to be honest with you…. But it is good, better than weed or booze… It really is magical. And I have two left.” He added. “Maybe you should try it, see if it will help you. We can get away from here together, ditch this appointment…”

Maja knew she should have said no. She should have stopped talking to Jacob’s little brother right away and patiently wait to her appointment. She should have gone there, talk about her problems and feelings caused by the traumatic death of her mother and sister. Then she should have gone home and done her homework. Yet she did none of those things.

Her father always said she had a scientist mind, she was naturally curious, eager to learn and experiment. But it wasn’t what made her come with Waylon that day.  It wasn’t his cute smile, the one that was very like Jacob and unlike Jacob at the same time, either. She just wanted to escape… Escape everything, the appointment, school, her pain, her life… Everything…

“Where should we go?” She asked Waylon when they were out of the school. She felt adrenaline rushing trough her veins. She felt more alive then she had in months. “Behind the school?” Waylon let out a laugh.

“Hell no, if I was caught popping pills my stepfather would trow me out on the street…” Maja kind of doubted that but she said nothing. “I have an idea… Come…” And so she followed Waylon all the way to the most unlikely of places – the graveyard.

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She felt uncomfortable just looking around, she hadn’t been here since the day of the funeral. They buried mum, Lena and aunt Alyssa all on the same day. Waylon however didn’t seem phased. She wondered if his mother’s grave was also here, it had to be, this was the town’s only graveyard.  He walked in big steps towards the mausoleum ahead.

“Come.” He said. “Inside, no one will come looking here.”

“How do you know?” Maja asked slightly uncomfortable.

“My brother works here part time. He told me when it’s empty. Come.” He added again waving towards the door with his hand. Maja sighed and she followed him inside. It was cold when she shut the heavy door behind them. The cold seemed to be emanating from the stone walls around them and she couldn’t help but shiver. Waylon offered his jacket and she took it. He turned on some switch and a weak light lit the chamber. Still Maja felt uncomfortable in this place. Suddenly she wished she had stayed behind.

“Is everything okay?” Waylon asked concerned. Maja just nodded. There was no going back now.

“Just give me that pill.” Waylon smiled and pulled two orange pills out of his pockets and handed them to her. She took one and just swallowed it. Waylon followed. “How long until it lasts?” He shrugged.

“It depends.” Maja sighed.

“So what are we supposed to do until it does?”

“Talk?” Waylon asked.

“What about?”

“Whatever you like.” He said. Then added. “Anything you wouldn’t talk about on your appointment today.” Maja laughed.

“I was in love with your brother.” She said. “I don’t think I am anymore though…”

“Which one?” Waylon asked and she laughed.

“Jacob.” She replied unsure why she was saying anything.

“He has a girlfriend.” Waylon said.

“I know.” She replied. “She is my cousin.”

“You are prettier.” Waylon said and she dismissed him.

“I don’t need to hear that.”

“What do you need to hear? That he is a tool?”

“No.” She said smiling. “It is over now.”

“Good.” Waylon said with a broad smile. “You know why? Because I don’t have a girlfriend!” Maja laughed and then Waylon laughed with her. And so they talked about silly things and laughed a lot. She wasn’t sure if it was the pill they took or if it was all just a placebo effect but she felt good, she felt happy… Better then she did in very long time.  And she was ready to ask Waylon to get her some more of those pills, or even go to Freddie herself if it wasn’t for something that happened as they headed home…

The sun was going down but there was still some light left when they stepped out of the mausoleum and the brightness hurt her eyes. She had to squint and when she opened her eyes normally she froze solid.

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Before her stood something that could in no way be real. The figure had a feminine shape, complete with the long hair and she had her aunt’s features. Her dead aunt’s features. Her dead aunt Alyssa’s features. Her aunt died the same day her mother and Lena had died, the same meteor had killed her and her dog and nearly burned down her house. Yet the figure was transparent and glowed orange. If Maja had to describe it with a word she would have to use ghost. But there were no such things as ghosts.

“What is wrong?” Waylon asked concern obvious in his voice.

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“I think I am hallucinating.” Maja said not taking her eyes of the apparition. She thought it might do or say something. But it didn’t. It just stood there floating in the air.

“I think that is to be expected sometimes… The I’s have that effect….”

“I’s?” She asked puzzled but not taking her eyes off the thing that looked like her aunt Alyssa.

“That is how I call those magic pill’s. They have an I etched on them. Come, I’ll take you home.” Maja nodded finally managing to tear her eyes of her aunt’s ghost. She looked around hoping to see her mum, or Lena. But when she turned back even her aunt had disappeared. She sighed and let Waylon walk her back home.

The very next week Maja told her dad she wanted to quit seeing the school psychologist. Her father agreed. A week later she realized she was feeling better, she was not yet complete but something changed that day with Waylon. She didn’t take anymore I’s, the hallucination scared her too much but one day after school she found herself standing outside Waylon’s door.

She had come here many times before, she and Jacob had been friends for years. And all those times there was this same flutter of butterflies in her stomach, yet this time it was different and she knew it, this time she had barely thought of Jacob. Only about Waylon. He smiled when he opened the door and let her in.

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“Are you here to see my brother?” He asked.

“Nope.” She said and smiled herself. “I wanted to see you.”

“Do you need more?” He asked his face suddenly serious. She shook her head.

“I am done with those. I wanted… I guess I wanted to spend some time with you.” Waylon laughed.

“Me?”

“Yes. I think…. I had fun the other day. I didn’t have fun in a long time…” She said. Waylon smiled again. Such a nice smile… She thought.

“That is cool. I can do fun. Fun is how they call me on the street. Come with me.”

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They spend the afternoon in his backyard. They talked and laughed and watched the sun set. And then they watched the fool moon raise and light up their faces. And it was nice. Even for just a while Maja could let go of the pain, and although the emptiness was still there, and always will be Waylon made it hurt a little less at least…

 

Prentiss – 7.3: The Lost Twin I

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(Previous post: The Scarred Sister)

Maja Prentiss tossed and turned in her bed. Sleep would just not come. It wasn’t anything new, for the past few months more and more nights were like this. She sighed. What disturbed her most was the silence of her room. She knew she would never get used to that. Her whole life she had shared a room with her sister, from their time in their mothers womb to that terrible day that would never leave Maja’s thoughts…

She looked over to Lena’s empty bed. Her pink covers were pulled back and unmade, just as she had left them the last morning of her life. Maja could never bring herself to make the bed, or take them off. She knew Della would freak out and do it one day but not even Della was herself these days. It would take time before everything gets to normal, if it ever does…

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Prentiss – 7.2: The Scarred Sister

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(Previous post: The Broken Scientist)

Delores Prentiss was alone in the school’s library. There was a time when she wouldn’t even notice it, she would loose herself in her work until her phone rang and it was her mother or one of her sisters calling saying she would miss dinner if she doesn’t hurry back home. But now her mother would never call again.

That was the worst part of being alone. Her thoughts would stray away towards the dark memories that made her wish she could jump out of her skin and runaway as far as her legs would go. Run away from her life, from everything she had become.

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Prentiss – 7.1: The Broken Scientist

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Tomas Prentiss willed himself to concentrate on the numbers before him. He needed to finish this report today, he should have finished it earlier but it was so hard to have anything done with her so close, with her smell all around him, around his lab, with the way he would catch her looking at him… He had hoped she would leave, that is why he had stayed late but alas she was still here.

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He tried his best not to turn, feeling her gaze on his back. Eventually however curiosity got the better of him. He saw her propped against one of the lab counters, despite all the lab regulations she had taken of her white coat and was showing off her long legs her short skirt barely covered. When she had seen him turn she threw him a smile that made him wish he had just continued writing the damn report.

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Brown – 7.4: The Painting

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(Previous post: Ballerina)

The sun was already setting when Hazel got to work in the garden. He didn’t mind the night, he preferred it all his life. The garden was situated in the back yard of the home he had shared with his older brother Harry. The garden was originally planted by their mother but Hazel had been the one in charge of it ever since he finished school. It was relaxing for him to be out with the plants, it helped his creative juices flowing, and helped him make new music. He didn’t even mind that tonight he wasn’t alone, his brother was out in the garden as well, working on a painting.

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It was the moment that Hazel glanced at that painting that his evening was ruined. Harry seemed completely emerged in putting the finishing touches to notice his brother staring at it behind his back gaping. Hazel wanted to say something to get him out of his trance but he just couldn’t find the words while he watched his brother’s hand move swiftly over the canvas. Harry had painted a dark skinned woman with long black hair, wearing a white wedding dress holding her head in white gloved hands and obviously crying.

Even if it was a free interpretation Hazel knew what his brother was hinting at with that damned painting and he felt his hands clench into fists as he thought about it. Years ago, before his brother married his beautiful Rhaenys Hazel had planned his own wedding, it was to be a great deal, he had planned it into minute details with his godmother Dina, he wasn’t wearing white, nor did he have long hair, or been a woman, bu the evening had ended with him in tears. Why? Because Donovan Alto, the man he was to marry did not show up…

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It had been so long ago, and yes Donnie had broken Hazel’s heart but they had found peace afterwards, peace and much more. They got married in the end, signing a paper in the City Hall, without much fuss, they were happy now, yet Harry just didn’t seem to accept it. Even though Donnie had been living with them for years now, and even though Hazel was obviously happy he would often catch his brother casting Donnie dirty looks or even saying nasty, plain offensive things to the man.

It bothered Hazel, it bothered him a great deal, he wanted his brother and his husband to get along. But he could not get angry at Harry, Harry was his big brother, he always had his back while they were growing up and Hazel knew it was the same now. Harry was making sure he doesn’t get hurt again, that’s all… He just didn’t know how to make him see that this time he wouldn’t… He knew deep down inside that Donnie would never hurt him again….

He confided his worries to their oldest sister Cocoa when he went with her to her doctor’s appointment.

“I just want him to see that Donnie is the light of my life, he is my everything… My soulmate, my best friend…”

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Cocoa tried to speak back but she was too out of breath running at the treadmill for her cardio exam. Hazel sighed.

“He is just so supportive in everything you know…. You know my client, Latricia?” He asked. Latricia was the young girl he was managing, daughter of Nina Caliente and the late Riam Gradle, formally educated in music she was a star in the making and he was there to help her get to the top. The only problem was that the girl was too quiet and timid for a young aspiring musician, Hazel had learned, on his own skin, that the part of making it big in that cruel world was clawing your own way to the top, making sure it was your voice, your music that got heard… Latricia had none of that spirit. She was pretty content to keeping to the sidelines and letting her angelic voice, and mesmerizing guitar skill speak to herself. Hazel was afraid that would not be enough.

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And so he dragged her to parties, all kinds of parties, events, wherever he could… And while he was wooing the crowd in her name Latricia still hung back and Hazel didn’t know how to bring her up to the front… That is where Donnie stepped in. He would be the one who would sit with her, talk to her, make her feel comfortable, and make her get off the damn couch. Hazel would be nowhere without his Donnie.

The reason he wanted Harry to see it now more then ever, the reason the damned painting hit him so hard was that he and Donnie had started talking about some big changes, changes that would affect not only the two of them but the whole household. He and Donnie were talking adoption.

Hazel had always wanted kids. He loved the little ones, he had played the part in raising Harry’s kids, and enjoyed every second of it, Aenar and Vaela were adorable. And Donnie had his own experiences, he had been running his daycare that had been growing more and more every year, he had three regular kids now, three toddlers he had to take care off at the same time, little Earl Hoves, Jillian Fegel and another little one whose name eluded Hazel. He knew the two of them would make great parents, and wanted Harry to know it.

“But why is it so important Harry knows it?” His sister asked stepping out of the treadmill at least. The sentence came out it short bursts as she fought for breath. He handed her a towel to wipe her sweat but he said nothing. Why was it important? “Maybe you are the one insecure in the whole deal and you are just using Harry as an excuse. I mean it is your life, it will be your kid, not Harry’s. I don’t see why your brother would be an obstacle there, maybe it is something else after all?”

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Could it really be something else? Hazel wondered looking at the man he had loved for most of his life. Was something standing between the two of them? Between them and children? The only answer he could come up with was work.

He was just so busy lately, he had taken on so many side projects that he barely had time for anything… Working with Latricia Caliente had opened up his mind as too how much advice he had to offer young, aspiring musicians so while Donnie slept he would get on his computer, log into SimTube and look for promising young stars that he mentored online, there was also Latrica of course, his day job, and Nina had gotten him a spot at the Sunset Valley Symphony, he was to perform with them for the New Year Concert, it was a great deal and he had to practice for it, which took time of course… He barely had any time left to plan his nephew’s birthday party and he promised he would… What would happen when he had his own children? Would he brake promises to them as well?

Was he really ready to be a parent?

Hazel barely slept that night tossing and turning. He still blamed that stupid painting.