Sunday, 1 October 2006

Musing: A Much Better Story Part 2

For as long as I can remember, for as long as anyone can, the Andrews have lived at the top of the hill, but no one ever saw much of them until the oldest child, Martin, started at the high school. The story goes that the kids were home schooled or boarded elsewhere when they were young. There was no Mrs. Andrews to speak of, just the middle-aged doctor and his three kids. Martin was older than my brother and I but stories trickled down through friends about how much smarter he was than everybody else, how he didn’t have any real friends, and always wore the same black clothes. Some called him geek, others goth. Emo hadn’t been invented yet.

Gordon was in our year. I remember the first day of grade 9, when he walked into Mr. Malt’s room and sat down next to Bill. We all knew who he was of course, but we weren’t prepared for what we saw. Gordon was impossibly hot. Like his brother, he was encased in black from head to toe. No one could take their eyes off him but he met no one’s gaze. He didn’t say anything at all that day, or the next, in spite of everyone’s best attempts to crack his shell. Kindly inquiry to full-on bullying were all met with the same stony silence. Finally, on the third day, Gordon spoke.

“Excuse me,” he said to my back. I turned around. He was standing almost on top of me.
Omigodomigodomigod. “Hi Gordon,” I said.
“Never mind.” He moved past me down the hall.
“What the hell was that?” asked Kellie. We’d been talking before Gordon’s sudden arrival and departure.
“Beats me.”
“Totally weird.”
“I like weird,” I admitted.
“Yeah,” Kellie sighed. “Me too.”


Over the years everyone got to know Gordon and his younger sister Amy a bit better, though they still maintained their distance. We sometimes chatted in the hall, but we never hung out or sat at the same table at lunch, and he didn’t join any clubs. So when Gordon asked me and my brother over to his place that day in grade 12, he was still pretty much a mystery. Even when he gave us the tour of the house, he talked about other members of his family, distant relatives and friends, and gave up nothing about himself.

As we sat in the reading room, making up our flashcards I thought about what it all meant, this night at the Andrews’. Gordon had to have had a reason for inviting us. Did he like me? Was that it? I was the only person he ever really spoke to outside of class, if he had to speak at all.

“So what’s the deal?” Jonah blurted out. He did this sometimes, just to piss me off. Spoke my mind.
Gordon looked up from his flashcard. “What?”
“Do you like my sister? Because as her older brother, I feel a need to protect her honour.”
“Jonah!” I cried. He was really being an ass.
“Yeah,” said Gordon.
There was a pause. “Wait. What?”
“I like your sister. I like you too, because you’re exactly the same, but I like her more.”
I was smiling like an idiot. This was the single greatest thing that had ever happened to me. Thank you Jonah!
“And that’s a problem,” Gordon continued.
My smile faltered. “What’s the problem?” I asked.
Gordon turned to me. “I kind of, um, have this habit of fucking it up.” He looked at my brother. “That’s why you’re here. To make sure I don’t, you know…”
“Fuck things up?” my brother offered.
“Yeah. Plus your psychic connection would only cause problems for me later.”
Jonah I shared a look. We had no idea what that was supposed to mean.
“So Janey,” Gordon said and he took my hand, “I really like you, like a lot. And if your brother will allow it,” I rolled my eyes, but smiled all the same, “I’d like for you to go out with me.”
“I’ll allow it.”
“Shut up, Jonah.”
“Good,” said Gordon. “Let’s go.” He stood up, pulling me to my feet.
I was confused. “Go where?”
“Out. Well, actually up. We’re gonna go upstairs.” Gordon rounded on Jonah, “Not to have sex. You can come, too.”
“Yes, I think I will,” Jonah said, acting again like a huge ass.

Still holding my hand, Gordon led us up the grand staircase and down a hallway lined with portraits of severe-looking men and women. I didn’t pay much attention, I was so happy. Gordon, mysterious, gorgeous Gordon liked me! Then Jonah spoke in our secret language, breaking my reverie.
That’s the man from the gate.”
He was standing in front of one of the paintings. It showed a man dressed, unsurprisingly in black, and his costume made him look vaguely clerical. Unlike everyone else lining the corridor he was smiling down at us.
You’re right.” I leaned in to read the engraving on the frame. “But this guy was painted in 1752.”
We both turned to look at Gordon. “Who’s the priest?” Jonah asked.
“Uh, my great great grandfather.”
“He still alive?”
“What?” Gordon laughed. “No, of course not.” He continued down the hall.
But Jonah wasn’t satisfied. “What do you think? A descendent? A clone?” he asked me.
I played along. “An immortal?
“A vampire.”
We stopped dead. It wasn’t so much what Gordon said, but that he said anything at all.
“Which is kind of like the same thing,” he continued. “only dead. Undead. So technically not alive.”
We were too busy to think about the implications of him being able to understand our fake language to process what he was saying.
“You…you can understand us?” I asked.
“Yes.” he said. “I learned your language.”
This was a level of commitment far beyond anything I’d ever experience. “How?”
“Never mind how,” Jonah cut in, his brain finally catching up with what was going on. “You said that guy’s a fucking vampire?”
“Uh huh.” Gordon looked at us warily. Was this what he meant when he said he wasn’t very good with girls? “You saw him outside, right?”
We didn’t say anything. What the shit was going on?
“Gordon, what the shi—”
“Janey,” Gordon interrupted. “I’m a vampire, okay. My whole family is. Are. We stayed out of sight until we could join you at school and blend in. I saw you the day your parents brought you home and knew you were the one. I watched you grow up, that’s how I know your language. I’ve been waiting a long time.”
“What?” Jonah and I cried out together.
Gordon took a step closer to me. He place one hand on my arm, the other on my neck. I couldn’t help it, his gentle touch made me quake. But his words scared me.
“We’re meant to be together.”
I tore my eyes away from him to look at my brother. Jonah grabbed my arm and pulled me from Gordon’s embrace. My dear, sweet, big brother.
“Stay the hell away from my sister.”
“I don’t think you understand. Your sister is going to be my consort. Forever. Now, I invited you here to explain it all and give you a chance to get ready. Because I want this to go smoothly.” He looked right at me. “Because I love you.”

Janey accepts her fate in part 3

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