Too much noise and too much food. It would be thrown away. The kitchen staff subject to firing if they took even a crumb after all the drama was over.
Another party. Famous people. Rich people.
(more) The cares of these people, Elizabeth knew, were singularly frivolous and false. She swallowed her fifth public drink. Her stomach burned with the private drinks. It felt thin as a membrane holding in a molten yolk. She hated rich people, even though she was one of them, now.
"Elizabeth, are you doing OK?" The kind voice of her friend Ben. Even now 14 years sober his nose glowed testament to his slumbering habit. His heavy face a wash of lines and jowl, perfect for his life on the stage.
She was at the stage of relapse where it only took a single kind question for tears to drench her eyes, immediate and hot. A child's tears, a drunk's tears. For her throat to clot with the need to confess, to scream, to swallow. Apolology and insult in a burning neat shot.
"No," Elizabeth said. A relief. She breathed easy, not caring if her breath carried. She could not see Ben's face. His voice was only conscience in her ear. His voice was a question that already had its answer.
Repentent drunk, unrepentent queer. She accused Ben always of having a "theatre voice" - saying personal, cruel, accurate things with too much delight.
"No, I am not OK. Is it that obvious?" While she smiled: Perfect teeth, red lips. Sour floundering belly.
She could put a bright face on everything. She still had that. It had been enough to fool all her friends for years. Lies not of omission, but overcompensation. They had not noticed her falling down. Would it be enough now?(less)
"Who needs all this drama, anyway," Arthur muttered.
He had Alfred in his lap, the American's head nestled into his chest where Arthur could wrap his arms around him and bury his nose into his hair. One hand made lazy circles at his back.
Alfred's answer was muffle(more)d; something like "I kind of live for drama, Artie. You know that."
Arthur clicked his tongue but kissed the top of Alfred's head. He held that much tighter. "This time, maybe hang back from it. Matthew can mind himself. It's not your duty to swoop in and save him at the first sign of trouble. He's a grown nation."
Alfred deflated as his pent up frustration rushed from his lungs. He felt himself sag in Arthur's arms. "Yeah, yeah, I know... I just worry about him. I don't like that he's making those negotiations with Ivan of all people."
"I'm sure he knows what he's doing, and perhaps your grudge against Ivan is clouding your objectivity. Relax, Alfred."
Alfred grunted, deeply, but Arthur's quiet massage loosened tense muscles and he felt his eyes flutter shut. He fell asleep to the reassuring tempo of Arthur's heart and a steady warmth of close contact.
Once Arthur was sure Alfred was out, he eased them backwards to curl on the bed, stroking his hair gently. "You care so much," he murmured "Too much, even. As a nation, I don't know how you survive." His laugh was quiet, chiding. After removing Alfred's glasses, he fell asleep alongside him, arms tight to hold him close.(less)
Gare wakes up and checks his phone, email inbox, and kitchen. Messages await.
Inbox: seven social media (spam) messages, three from work, one from Mom...later. Later.
(more) Phone: two texts and a voicemail. All from Mom. "Havent heard form you in a whie. let us kno you'r ok." "Its not ok to ignor us like this." Gare doesn't bother with the voicemail.
Kitchen: on the fridge in dry erase marker the words, "When will you wake up?" and "A ship may be safe in a harbour, but that's not what ships are for."
Gare licks the side of his hand and goes to erase it. He hesitates, then instead pours a bowl of trail mix and milk and takes it to the living room.
He plows through responses for the work emails. They are mostly dumb questions from dumb coworkers. Not even safe at home. Like their dumb follows him as debt collectors would. What does he owe? Nothing. To no one. God damn it.
--a Photoshopped model's, she did tend to garner a lot of attention. It fascinated her.
"On my planet, my looks were of no consequence," she mentioned once to Ryoko and Nasei. "Or rather, because we are similar--" [not clones, she had explained in great detail long ago] "--we(more) are more entranced by markings. I had scars that wooed many suitors for a while before they healed up."
Scouts loved her. She declined all offers--Sobet Ink. was where she belonged--, but never rejected a request for photographs whenever she frequented a coffee shop [indeed the Starbucks next to their favorite 7i had regular 'meet-ups' of sorts during her routine visits]. A few fans would snip out her entry in various fashion magazines for her; she laminated them and made them into cut-outs for mix-and-match purposes.
The times Yumemaru accompanied her only seemed to make the scouts more ardent, although it became infinitely more difficult to approach either of them to appeal for a modeling shoot. All the usual rumors whirled around them--dating, bitter enemies, incestuous siblings, crossdressing as each other, band members--but it wasn't allowed to get in the way of daily snapshots. She accepted his magazine entry snips for him [where they occasionally disappeared only to reappear in Nasei's office].
"Have you considered a blog, Sai-chan?" Hiroshi asked, not for the first time when he was the one accompanying her. They traveled incognito; Hiroshi Sobet III was the actual celebrity, former status a moot point.
"Blog?" Gae Blog?
"Lolita love to post their coordinates and meet-up pictures, you would no doubt be welcome into the community."
"Sou sou, na."
"Please instruct me in the way of the blog, Hiroshi-senpai."
Lux's room was lily-white--the bed, the carpet, and the walls. Scarves and necklaces hung up according to color near the door, and on her desk was a row of six terrariums lined up from smallest to largest. Above her bed was a neon sign of her name, bolted to(more) the wall at just the right length so her fans could still see it behind her when she sat up straight. Her Persian cat, Mingus, was a glossy black.
The clear ping of her laptop filled her room. Lux's YouTube channel provided her enough money to move out of her parents' house, but she wasn't ready to live on her own yet. She was open about her panic attacks with her subscribers (which hit one million just a year after she started her channel), and although their responses could be somewhat befuddling, they offered nothing but varying degrees of support.
"I get them too and I just wanted to say that you inspire me."
"Chin up, Lux! You have so much going for you. Just remember that when the panic is coming on."
"I don't get why you get them, so all I can say is you definitely don't deserve them!"
Lux read through a long wall of new comments as she sipped her tea. Daylight slipped in through the cracks of her blinds, which were always closed because the sight of the city skyline put an unbearable amount of pressure on her chest. She draped a blanket around her shoulders and, with a rush of pleasure, opened a blank document to plan her next video.
Don't speak to me of love and loss,
try quieting your visions ,
just play the guitar, you alchemist of hope,
just play a song to reconcile our paths;
if gravity is strong enough to stand,
he'll lift a finger,
(more) pluck a string--
he'll make us weep for no good reason other than
his bellowing voice,
is bouncing off the hallways of our youths,
He'll play the guitar, my love,
when we are old and wreckless, having learned the things we thought we knew when the skies were orange.
Your wrinkled fingers felt it all, and saw it all,
and spoke it all.
I've listened to your heart for years,
when my own joy was not enough,
and when it was,
I heard your screams and cries and tears
into gutters long abandoned.
Sometimes I smell molasses and remember what it sounds like when you sing,
it smells like a smile,
overflowing from the eyes,
and covering a wound.
Play the guitar, infinite heart,
the orange is fading from the skies,
and my little birds are coming home.
Play it for them,
for they have traveled far, far,
and will be gone again by morning.(less)
He put the gloves on, sliding fingers into the smooth satin. It felt akin to putting on armour. As his gaze flickered to the mirror, he decided that it was no different. The fabric was heavy and warm, constricting around his throat and his wrists. True, he had never(more) fought in war, had never used a sword or rifle for anything but games, but high society was as brutal as any enemy of the state.
He looked effortless. A gentleman clad in a carefree smile and distinguished title. He was surprised how the brim of the hat could shade his eyes so the dark hollows were hidden.
It felt nice to finally put back together the scattered pieces of himself. There were still cracks and jagged edges that would hurt when you touched them, but he had practiced how to hide them.
Still, he hoped he wouldn't see her. Even the thought of it pulled painfully at memories and his heartstrings. It was hard to believe that there had been a time when his heart wouldn't beat out of time at the mention of her name.
His footsteps faltered and, briefly, his body angled towards the safety of whiskey and the warmth of his hearth. But he took a breath and steeled himself.
He would go. He would dance. He would pretend.
Perhaps pretending for long enough would make it true. Perhaps one day she will no longer have the power to make him weak.
One day. Not today.
He takes another breath, deeper than the one before, and turns the doorknob. The city beckons and repels him. He forces a step. Another.
The sun stings. The dust is oppressive. He smiles. (less)
the way the world becomes muted in a snow laden winter. clear your head. breath becoming visible to remind you that youre alive; youre thinking; youre active; youre not a disappointment; it wasnt your fault; theres hope still. somewhere, buried beneath all that snow.
(more) take off your gloves before handling the band saw; you dont want your fingers to get caught up in that carnivorous machinery, sliced up into perfectly cylindrical chunks of pink and red flesh and bone and blood and sawdust. perfect.
the white bristles sticking out of his head, out of his face, the eyebrows thinning, the creases in his skin where years and years of furrowed brows have made a home for themselves; its strange watching my dad age. cracking bones and dying dreams, am i in there somewhere? i wonder.
a cave boring through the foot of some old and spiritually coated mountain range in south america; sharp edges on the grey teeth that line its opening. inside there are bats and centipedes and small creatures that have never seen the sun - i understand these things. the dripping of water, always two steps away from the fearful visitor. a dampness that clings around your ankles and runs up the base of your neck.
she joked about moving in together; that was unfair. my heart lifted to some far off thing in space and then further still, only to be dropped from there, thrown maybe, falling to the earth like lightning, like lucifer did. why? why did you say those things? why do people say things they dont mean in spaces reserved for golden words; tombs and altars with statues shaped like beasts from a childs imagination - guardians of dead dreams.
i wish you loved me the way i believed you did. dead dreams.(less)
Growing up with four brothers - I never got along well with other females. Not that I was a tom-boy completely. More so then not. But it wasn't just that. I knew other tom-boyish girls. We just didn't click. Because conversations - even with my lizard catching, b.b gun(more) toting, fist fighting girlfriends - the conversation would eventually turn to make-up, boys, cloths...which is all fine and good - but giggling has never been my "cup of tea".
As I grew into adulthood, I realized that there were women like me. I saw them characterized on television and movies. Either they existed or these characters were being written by men. However, my hopes were high that some day I would meet a woman I could become close with.
Then I gave birth to a girl. She was so beautiful. I was determined to raise her pretentious free. As she grew, her outward appearance remained stunning. She resembles the woman in the famous "Flaming June" painting.
She never was the affectatious type. That being said, my goal was reached. She was becoming my favorite person. Deep, logical, talented, quick witted and intelligent.
Sadly, she doesn't like me or anything I stand for. I don't back down from my stand. Neither does she. I will never compromise my principles. Neither will she.
Jokes on me.
I raised a strong and independent thinker.
She is just on the other side of the fence.
So here I am again - drinking some one else's "cup of tea".
Also slightly painful. Cold numbness was partially inhibiting him feeling anything too severe.
The sun was out, but it was still raining rather heavily. She willed himself to at least look around, then decided to chance sitting up.
Her spine protested with a few crackles,(more) but he got up enough to prop herself on his hands. More than the rain, the mud was the most unpleasant. She chuckled at the irony of having gleefully rolled around on grassy hills hours before being flung off the cliff to where he was now.
If she had to guess, it was probably because mud was just more obnoxious to wash off.
"Well then..." he muttered, grabbing her left leg and putting it back into place. "I guess that means no cafe visit for me..." She chuckled and arched up to a stand, brushing himself off with short swipes. The rain started to do its work on her clothes, and he gave a deep sigh before starting off to the west.
When was the last time she whistled that song? He glanced up; rain and sunshine.
"Heh... then either or wouldn't make a difference."
Her shoulder popped back into place before he got too far.(less)