Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chapter 26 Found

“Is it true you have a word for people who don’t eat meat?”

I glance at Brandon after passing on the rabbit dish even though it doesn’t look bad. Just the thought of chewing meat makes me sick right now.

“Uhm, yeah. Why?”

From across the table, Jimmy looks smug as he grins at Brandon. “Told you.”

“Yeah, but who knows when you’re being serious anymore?”

Watching the two of them is weird. They're so normal in this way that it's surreal. But then there’s Aaron. Between the two of them, he doesn’t seem half as intimidating as he did when it was just him and me. His attention is mostly split between Jimmy and Brandon who both gang up on him at times, and then other times it’s Aaron and one of them against the other.

Now Aaron smiles slightly at Brandon in a way that makes it obvious he knows exactly what Brandon’s referring to. “You could always ask me.”

“You’ll just be in on it with him.”

The three of them remind me of some of my guy friends back home. But it’s different. Maybe it’s only different to me because I know better. They are nothing like the guys back home even if they act like them.

Aaron’s eyes slide towards Henri. “Then you can always ask Henri.”

Henri is much too quick to respond to that. “No, you can’t. And I don’t even want to know what it’s about.”

There's a good bit of semi-stifled laughter from them at that as if they'd accomplished their own mission.

After dinner, once Brandon and I've cleared the table, Henri says, “I need to talk to Aaron.”

Jimmy smiles and gives Brandon a tiny nudge. “That’s our subtle hint.”

They make ready to go, but before they do, Brandon gives me a small hug that surprises me. It’s probably what I get for standing too close to him, and he gives a little chuckle when he catches that thought.

Once the door shuts, Henri doesn’t have to even look at me. “I’ll be in my room.”

Relieved to be out of there, I shut my door before I've turned on the light, and for a second I stand against my door in the dark trying to get used to the lack of light. I can hear Henri and Aaron’s voices, low yet distinct. Under the door, the light shifts as Henri moves the light from the dining room to the small coffee table in the living room. It’s brighter, touching my toes and letting me see a little better.

But I don’t move away from the door. I don’t go to turn on my light or even lay in my bed. Instead I stay put against the door, turning my head slightly so that my ear is closer to the door. There is a quiet here that I'm not used to. It’s the lack of all those things that were so distracting back home. No TVs or radios here. It makes for awkward evenings hanging out alone with Henri, but in this one case, it is handy.

Through the mumbling, I catch Aaron's slightly amazed voice, a tiny bit higher than Henri's. "...Cheryl?"

My heart thuds at the recognition of my mother's name.

"...kidding right? ...impossible..."

There’s a weird quiet, and I will my heart to be quiet as I try to listen. The only thing that could be impossible enough for that man to vocalize it would have to be breaking into the prison holding Mom-- but to hurt her or to help her?

Aaron doesn't say much else. "...think about it..."

There are very few other noises, soft, barely audible ones that I assume are from the couch sighing in relief as they stand. I move away from the door when I'm sure they're away from my door.

I stand there pondering what I did hear. It wasn't enough, but at the same time it was more than enough. Mom probably knows things, things they wouldn't want other people knowing.

Nervously, I bite on my finger. Then I hear Henri's boots on the old wood floor. Though his room is near mine, something tells me that he's not going to his room. He's coming here.

There isn't enough time to light my lamp and act natural, so I don't bother to try.

Henri doesn’t knock. He walks right in looking annoyed as he leans against the door jam while crossing his arms. "How much did you hear?"

"You were talking about my mother; I have a right to know why." I glance up at him trying not to feel as small as I do with him angrily standing in front of me.

Henri doesn't have to move far to put his hands on my rickety bed frame which squeaks under his weight as rickety bed frames are prone to do. "You're going to have to trust me. If I tell you to do some thing, you need to do it."

Maybe now isn't the time for an ordinary teenage rebellious streak to rear its head, but I can't help feeling like an indignant child. Trust is earned, not given, and so far he hasn't exactly given me anything I can use to make the judgment call. He just expects me to obey.

"Okay, but in fairness to me, you never told me not to listen in on conversations."

Henri glares at me, his mouth a thin line and his brows pulling down so that the shadows over his eyes deepen.

"Don't listen in on conversations," he says sternly before he stands up, removing his weight from the bed frame and allowing it to snap back into place. Henri turns to leave, and I snap to, the words coming out of my mouth before I've even decided to think about it.

"He wont hurt her will he?"

Henri pauses to glance back at me. "You'll have to trust me."

But it's hard to do. It's like trusting Aaron or Jimmy. Henri is one of them.

Next Chapter -->


So yesterday was the one year anniversary of this blog. On September 16 of last year, I posted up the first chapter of Michael and Edith's story. And since then, I've pretty much been posting one chapter a week. I'm amazed frankly. Despite all the other distractions, I've been making my goal. Anyway, I had an idea of how I'll celebrate, which didn't come to me until today. Oops!


  1. I'm surprised that Henri seems to want Paula's trust--that he even cares what she thinks.

    I think Henri doesn't like the idea of Cheryl being held because she helped them. He'd tell others that he wants her out because she might give something away, but I think it bothers him that she's twisting in the wind when she's been an ally. He feels responsible for her predicament--same as he feels responsible for Paula.

    I love that Brandon keeps asking Paula questions about her world and that Jimmy keeps teasing him about it. Henri's response to their joking is exactly what I would have expected! He's such a serious, solemn man.

    Happy birthday to this blog! I'm so happy you started it and shared your amazing story with us!

  2. Yay, happy birthday, Ruin! I'm very impressed that you set a goal and stuck to it. I'm pretty lame at that!

    Hmmm, does Henri want Paula's trust or does he need it? It'd be a lot easier for Henri to get things done if Paula just lets him.

    I don't know exactly what he and Aaron are up to but I feel like it's probably less sinister than what Paula is imagining. I don't know why, because I sure don't trust Aaron. But I feel like Henri is, at heart, decent.

    I really do like it when we see that brotherly back-and-forth with Brandon and Jimmy. And Brandon's curiosity about Paula's world is so fun to read about. Brandon is usually the one who is schooling Paula on something or other and it's interesting when the tables are turned!

  3. Hippo Birdies to Ruin! That's an exceptionally good thing, and I hope your celebration includes lots of chocolate!!

    Love the new chapter. Henri strikes me as someone who gives his affection slowly, and has taken Paula in out of necessity but is finding that she's starting to get to him. That puts him in more danger, and her.

    It's hard to understand how someone like Paula is going to be able to exist in a world that is so malign towards her. Especially as she's not equipped emotionally or physically to deal with it.

    I do love the interaction between Brandon and Jimmy. It's really pleasing to see.

  4. Happy B-Day, Ruin! :D Congrats for being awesome for 1 year. Updating every week without fail is a great accomplishment (and one I wish I could do)!

    Aw, the part with Brandon and Jimmy was cute and very brotherly. It was also amusing to see Brandon ask Paula about something for a change.

    Paula definitely has more courage than I do, haha. I was almost surprised to see her demand to know what Henri and Aaron were talking about. Your little girl is growing up! And the, "You never told me to not listen in" bit really shows her age. I keep forgetting that she's a teenager sometimes. :)

    I don't think they were talking anything particularly sinister, but I'm still weary of Aaron.

    Lastly, that one cap of Paula listening in on the conversation is extremely adorable. Her expression is so cute.

  5. Thanks everyone for the anniversary wishes. :D

    Rachel, as insightful as always! What always cracks me up about Henri is the way he sees himself versus the way he actually is, which we saw in his 10 facts.

    I think Brandon's asking questions is an important turn in his relationship/friendship with Paula. He can trust her. (Plus, you know, she won't tease him like his brother will, lol.)

    Carla, That's a good question. And true, it would be easier if she'd just trust him. I think trust is a huge issue between the two of them.

    I would bet you feel that way because Henri does come across as decent even though we haven't seen him do much yet other than take in Paula.

    lol, thanks. I love the way I see the brothers in my head. Those two are more of a handful as adults than they were as kids I think. And Henri has to deal with them, especially with Paula in his house making them seem to think they can come over any time they want.

    Kiri, lol, thanks. I did indulge on some chocolate last night on your suggestion.

    You're right, I think. Henri is probably also the sort who gives his affection differently than normal. Like the way he grows at Jimmy and Brandon sometimes. (But they probably like it!)

    That is something that I think Paula is ignoring. It's definitely going to be a problem. Even if she was tossed into a village. She really isn't equipped for life here.

    Thank you.

    Nicole, well Brandon obviously can't ask Jimmy, lol.

    Exactly, she's growing up and getting used to things there. Or she just loves her mother that much that it doesn't matter what she says, she just want to protect her. But she can't, and she knows it. Whatever she thinks is going to happen is above her head.

    She does make some cute faces. Her little face is just so round I wanna pinch her cheeks.

  6. Congrats on your anniversary!

    I really hate getting behind on blogs but that seems to be normal for me lately.

    Read the last three in one hit.

    I had to think back a bit but from what I remember, wasn't Jimmy thought to also have been a 'Ghost' at some point?

    I love how smart she was to Henry here when she pointed out listening in to conversations wasn't a rule. Girl has guts.

    As for Aaron, being in a room alone with him ... well, all sorts of things might have happened if the boys hadn't come in. Curious as to why he disregarded Henri's instructions to wait downstairs. Curiosity or a need to suss out the "enemy".

  7. I've been anxious to get here!

    Henri..that man needs a better mirror. He certainly isn't who he thinks he is, if that even makes sense.

    Paula is not equipped for life in this place. It's sad and interesting when Brandon questions her, but he doesn't seem to take it further than curiosity. He has to trust her to even ask the questions though.

    The glimpses of people behind the shields are heartbreaking. They can't take them down because they wouldn't survive.

  8. Good on Paula for standing up to Henri in her own small way, here's hoping nothing bad comes from her doing so.

    Congrats on one year mate, it's been a very entertaining one :)

  9. Carnaxa, it's okay, you've been busy and sick!

    Oh good recall. I think I mentioned in the comments something about it, but no character has explicitly said that. Basically, I have made the suggestion that Jimmy is like a visible Ghost. Aaron also seemed to suggest to Mary that Jimmy was a Ghost too.

    Yeah, that moment between Paula and Henri when she actually stood up to him surprised me. I had to keep that in there!

    Aaron is... well Aaron. I have found him to be an interesting character to mess around with. He's even fun to go way back with and see as a kid. I mean, I thought Jimmy had problems! Aaron is a good match for Jimmy.

    Thank you for commenting! Sorry I'm so late myself.

    SB, haha, with regards to Henri, that makes perfect sense.

    No, Paula is not equipped at all. I am not always sure this has dawned on her yet. But it's interesting that you say that. I think Brandon does trust her, but huh, no he doesn't seem more than curious. There could be a few reasons for that. In one of the earlier entries (this part) he did mention that he didn't think she was in shape before for his questions. I think before he was more concerned about her and her well being because he knows that she's not equipped for this place.

    *nods* Yes. They must always be aware and must always be guarded.

    Poida, thank you! As for Paula, well we'll see. *zips lips*

  10. Paula is really developing guts. I hope she doesn't get herself in too deep and then drown though.

    Happy birthday Ruin!

  11. Thanks, Rad!

    Yes, she is starting too.

  12. I actually love Henri! Besides the fact that he makes the best faces, lol!

    He is giving with her. He is (for whatever reason) actually asking for her trust, rather than demanding her obedience. That's very telling, I think. She mouthed off to him, and he didn't even discipline her. Which could imply that he even respects her opinion.

    I think I've said this before, but I love watching this relationship grow between them, and I can't wait to see what comes of it in the end.

    Love the brothers, as usual! :)

  13. Yay, I seem to have caught up on the current arc! What an intricate world you've got here. Every detail just fits, even though I haven't read the completed storylines yet. Nice work :)

    I'm very curious about what might happen with Henri and Paula. I'll admit that I have a thing for conflicted parent/child relationships in literature, for no particular reason other than the fact that they're fascinating on a psychological level.

    Aaron is such a creep. So is Jimmy, for that matter, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on account of his prettiness and his relationship with Brandon.

    I hope their intentions regarding Cheryl are good ones. Time will tell, I suppose :)

  14. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get here!

    The first snippet was an interesting insight into the relationship between the brothers. Brandon has caught on to Jimmy and his jokes now, thanks to Paula. I have to wonder what kind of change that will make to the dynamic. Will Brandon now start to question other things that Jimmy says and does, no longer taking anything at face value?

    Paula still has a lot of growing to do, a lot of learning, too, if she wants to survive, but I think we saw the start of it here. She stood up to Henri and I don't think it was just teenage rebellion. If she wants something here, she has to ask for it, speak out, stand up for herself.

    I think maybe she just took the first step.

  15. Wooo! SO sorry everyone to be so late commenting. I'm using sickness and our visitor this weekend as an excuse, but I'm still sorry about it.

    Laura, lol! Huh, you make some good points though. He really doesn't have to ask anything from her. He didn't discipline her, but it might also be because he doesn't feel he has the right to it either. She's not really a kid to him. Henri is also very much a "let them live and learn" sort of person. Not to say you're wrong, that's just the impression I get from him when I poke at him.

    Hopefully these two won't disappoint, but we'll see.

    Dinuriel, hello! Welcome! Thank you very much. The completed story lines aren't even completely necessary. I want everything to stand on its own, but moments within stories may connect.

    Oh, I so agree! I love exploring relationships, especially family relationships like child and parent. I find it... delicious, but that sounds weird.

    LOL! Jimmy is very pretty for being so creepy. I can't help but to love his eyes.

    Illandrya, good to see you again!

    That is a VERY good question. I think you might actually be onto Jimmy to be honest...

    Yes, exactly. She does have a lot more growing to do. It's a hard turn, she moves from being a kid to becoming an adult in a manner of months. It will be necessary if she wants to survive.

  16. I am accomplishing so much today, getting caught up on a lot of stories! YAY!

    First, glad you got a graphics card, isn't Gayl a sweetie?
    Second, Happy Anniversary!! *Throws confetti*

    I LOVE how you have these great conversations and revelations all swirling around the preparation or eating of food.
    I can't help but be fascinated by Henri. "You'll have to trust me" Um...yeah.
    Aaron also has my interest, with those golden amber lion eyes. He's dangerous, love it.

  17. Drew, thanks. Clearly food is important in my life. Food and sleeping, lol.

    Ah Aaron! I'm not done with him yet either!