Monday, November 17, 2008

Chapter 31: Elmira Is A Mouse

Fri, November 13, 2074 3:41 pm: Caliente Manor- Middlebourne, Pleasantview


Elmira smoothed the cotton shift over her hips, pulling it taught over her stinging behind. She bit her lip, dutifully suppressing the indignant outrage that swept through her with the rampant force of a brushfire. It was all that she could do not to whirl around and spit in that Goth boy's cocky little face. Ian prepared for his shot, never taking his eyes off of Enoch.


"Was that really necessary? Three in the corner pocket," Ian mumbled. Behind her, Elmira heard the loud clack of several resin balls colliding. Enoch snickered.

"Hell yeah it was necessary," Enoch said, reenacting the moment that he hit Elmira with his cue in slow motion. "That ass has been tempting me for months. Anyway, they like the attention. Makes them feel important."


Elmira arranged napkins and silverware on the table for the boys' afternoon snack. She cracked open a bottle of beer and poured, watching it grow a heady foam and praying that it didn't spill. They could say whatever they wanted to. She was used to insults and bigotry. She was used to being ignored. But if that Goth boy ever tried to touch her again, so help her God, she would not be responsible for her actions.

"Maybe it's ok for you to brutalize your maids at home but I'm pretty sure that Laurie would prefer you didn't do that sort of thing to his," Ian huffed.


"I doubt that our dear friend Lawrence is overly concerned," Enoch said, rolling his eyes. "But you're sort of right- Sometimes I forget to watch what I say and do in the house that Troy Caliente built. Biggest family of Townie lovers in the country. I used to think that Laurie wasn't like that but now that he's chasing after little Half-Townie LeCroix, I'm not so sure."


Elmira bent down to strike a fire. It would be her last silent act before finally leaving the room.

"What do you mean, 'chasing after'," Ian asked, blinking. Enoch coated the tip of his cue in chalk.

"I mean 'chasing after' as in 'trying to get with', 'pursuing', 'hoping to court', 'looking to hide the proverbial sausage'. Do I need to get any plainer?" Elmira froze, painfully conflicted. She knew that this was not a conversation that she should overhear and even with as much as she longed to distance herself from Enoch, her curiosity would win out.

"You're kidding, right," Ian said uncomfortably. A sly smile spread across Enoch's face.


"Nope. Laurie is a total fruit. I've known since we were kids. It doesn't bother me or anything but I'm sure you can appreciate why people don't go around blabbing about it. Sometimes I like to introduce him to girls or say really foul, graphic shit to him about the female anatomy just to see what he'll do. But yeah, he's one hundred and fifty percent a friend of Dorothy. I just wish that Dorothy was a little closer to our sort. Five, side pocket." Enoch bent over and wagged his tail as he took his shot. It sailed clean over to the desired hole and dropped away from view.


"Anyway," Enoch continued, walking around the table. "He had better be trying to get with LeCroix, long as the two of them have been on the phone. What has it been now? Like forty-five minutes?"

"Yeah, something like that," Ian said, staring at the floor.

"Funny thing is though, LeCroix didn't strike me as being terribly gay the couple of times that I've met him." Ian stared off into the distance, perhaps replaying the moments he'd spent in Macaulay's company as well. Enoch whistled sharply, a signal that Elmira knew was intended for her. And she was right.


"Over here, shorty. I want you to see how a real man plays this game. Six, corner pocket." Enoch positioned himself for the shot. He drew back his cue and just before it tapped the ball, an extraordinary wailing resounded through the house. It had been one of the children but Elmira couldn't tell which. She would have to go investigate. "Fucking hell," Enoch said under his breath. He'd missed.


"Will either of you be requiring anything else of me," Elmira asked meekly. Enoch opened his mouth, undoubtedly to say something crude but Ian cut him off.

"No thank you, Elmira. You may go." She nodded appreciatively to Ian before picking up her skirts and jogging out of the room. She was surprised by how liberating it felt to run, no matter what she was running towards.


The children's bedroom glowed purple from the crystal chandelier overhead. Elmira first allowed her eyes to adjust and then stepped forward, finding Thackery and Naomi at the center of the room glaring at one another.


"You're lying! You're a liar," Thackery screamed, his vocal cords strained and raspy.

"I am not!" Naomi bent forward and stamped her foot when she yelled. Neither child even glanced in Elmira's direction.


"Take it back or I'm going to break your stupid doll," Thackery snarled.

"Don't you dare touch my Patty Peppercorn, Thackery Caliente!" And then a few things happened in very quick succession.


Thackery drew back his foot, poised for the attack on poor Patty Peppercorn, who sat as serenely as a straw-hatted Buddha.


But before the fatal blow that would have sent Patty hurtling through space landed...


Naomi wreaked her vengeance, kicking Thackery soundly in the shin. Elmira imagined that she could hear the moment of contact- the dull thud of hard rubber and bone meeting at great speed. For a moment, everything was still. And then, the waterworks began.


"Oh dear," Elmira murmured, taking a few steps forward to comfort Thackery.

"I hate you," Naomi whispered harshly. Elmira couldn't tell whether it had been directed at her or at Thackery. But before she was able to reach the weeping boy, the side door opened with a flourish.


Troy glided into the room, folded his arms over his chest and closed the door behind him with his foot, all in one fluid motion. Elmira halted in place, paralyzed with fear. Her pulse pounded in her ears. She'd even forgotten to breathe. There was something otherworldly and terrifying about that man.


Troy stared her down placidly for a time, his lapis-colored eyes boring through her until she felt open to all measures of attack. She clasped her hands firmly in front of her stomach and turned her gaze to the ground.

"Naomi, over here, now," he snarled.


Instead of shying away in trepidation as Elmira thought she would, Naomi turned her scowl on Troy. It was then apparent to Elmira that Naomi would be as formidable a presence as her father when she reached a certain age.

"I didn't even do anything," Naomi wailed.


"Now," Troy barked. It was more than the command of a man. It was a peel of thunder, the roar of oceans. Naomi's bravery faltered. She inched nearer to her father, her defiant anger replaced with worry. When he determined that she was near enough, his voice, though just above a whisper cut through the air like a hatchet.

"What is going on here?" Naomi looked away and scratched the back of her left ankle with the front of her right foot.


"Thackery wouldn't share his cookies so I got mad and told him that he was adopted and then he got mad and kicked my doll," Naomi mumbled.

"And then she kicked me," Thackery shouted. Troy looked up at Elmira, unreadable and then turned back to Naomi.

"Is that true," he inquired.

"Yes but he was going to break my doll!"

"Is it ever ok to hit your brother?"

"No, sir."

"Do you understand how hurt Thackery must be because you lied and told him that he was adopted?"

"Yes, sir."

"Time out, thirty minutes, starting at seven o'clock. Now I want you to apologize to your brother and the two of you get washed up for dinner." Naomi groaned but turned around and did as she was told.


"I'm sorry I kicked you and told you, you were adopted," Naomi mumbled.

"And I'm sorry that I wouldn't share my cookies and that I tried to kick Patty Whatever."

"Peppercorn," Naomi supplied.

"Can we be friends again?" The corners of Elmira's mouth involuntarily jerked into a smile. There was something absurdly funny about the whole situation.

"Yeah. Let's get ready for dinner," Naomi said, grabbing Thackery's hand and leading him out of the room. When the door closed behind them, Elmira was alone with the most intimidating man she had ever met.


Elmira wanted to plaster herself against the wall and slide across its length until she reached the door. Until she reached freedom. But Troy had her pinned to the spot with nothing more than a glance. She felt like a mouse caught in the ever-tightening grip of a constrictor.

"And where were you while all of this was going on," Troy said coolly.


"I'm so sorry, sir! I was just downstairs handling-" Troy raised a hand, silencing her.

"Ms. Johnson, let's just get one thing straight- Your primary function within this household is the care of my children. Your other responsibilities are secondary at best. I understand that mishaps will occur but at the end of the day, I would rather not come home to Naomi kicking Thackery, kicking a doll. Is this in any way unclear?" Elmira swallowed hard and nodded, blinking back tears. This man had dominion over everything. Her one opportunity to become a Resident, her home and her livelihood all depend upon his favor. Her life was his to do with as he pleased. "Good," he said flatly.

"May I go now?" Elmira glanced at Troy's shoes when she spoke. She couldn't bare those jewel-like eyes or that eerily boyish face.

"Yes, you may," he said quietly and if Elmira wasn't mistaken, compassionately. She turned to leave without another word.


Once outside the room, Elmira allowed herself to sob only once, then wiped her face free of tears and went back to work.


  1. Poor Elmira :(

    Between Enoch slapping her ass and Troy blaming a stupid sibling fight on her... bah!

    I hope we get to see Laurie and Cully together again soon :)

  2. Hmm yeah I want to see them soon too. *peeks at schedule*

    According to ye olde schedule, the next time we'll see Laurie and Cully in a chapter together isn't until Chapter 52 :(

    And then after that, we'll see them again in Chapter 57 (which will be an adorable, squishy moment, I promise).

  3. Awww, long wait...

    But yay for adorable squishy moments! :D

  4. Wow, this chapter was just full of twists and turns! Poor Elmira(just like Van said) She can't get any kind of relief huh? Geez! Between a stupid male, bratty kid(s) and an overbearing father(although I have to say Troy knows how to use his voice) she just was stuck!

    Great update!:P

  5. It's not easy being Elmira but to her mind, this will all pay off five years down the road when she can apply for residency.

    One of these days, I'll write a little blurb about certain Pleasantview laws and restrictions. I'll probably throw in a little about the structure of the government as well. But if a Townie can claim an address in the suburbs for five years, then he/she is eligible to become a low-caste Resident. Or if Elmira is lucky enough to find a husband that is a Resident, she could marry her way in.

  6. I want moar Laurie and Cully. MOAAAARRRR! *Makes big hungry mouth face*
    Anyway, I still love this, Pen. Although the family tree crashes my browser, *sigh*. So I'm just trying to figure it all out as I go while not worrying overly much about it, haha.

  7. lol Well you just might be getting MOAR LAURIE AND CULLY for chapter 37 but we'll see.

    And the family tree crashes your browser??? What browser are you using? I typically view it in either Firefox or Safari without an issue. Hmm I wonder what the problem could be. It's a pretty low-tech site. Do you have some kind of pop-up blocker enabled that might be conflicting?

  8. I use Safari, so...*shrugs*
    If you post it again I'll see if I can view it now (since I got a new computer recently, whoo! I keep forgetting because it is EXACTLY like my old one, only better.)

  9. Hmmmmm Well here's the address to the main page. (Blogger won't let me make links in the comments section.)

    Hope it works this time! :)

  10. Question, do Troy and Siren have any knowledge/suspicions about Laurie's sexuality? Or do his siblings? Roan seems worldly and/or old enough to realize that some boys like other boys, maybe he might be thinking along similar lines as Enoch.

  11. Good question!

    Both of Laurie's parents suspect it but their reactions thus far have been very different. Troy desperately wants Laurie to inherit the house and the money and to carry on the Caliente legacy. As I was saying to Tiana the other day, Laurie is Troy's biggest source of pride. He is the one with the strongest sense of morality and I might also venture to say that he's the one most like Siren. But Laurie can't inherit if he can't have kids. So what Troy has been telling himself is that even if Laurie is gay, he can (and will, dammit!) still marry a woman. Why not? Troy married someone that he's not romantically interested in and they have a splendid life together. If Laurie were not the child that Troy wanted to be his heir, then he would be 100% okie dokie with Laurie's sexuality.

    Siren feels a little differently. She's in denial. She would be just as happy to pass everything to Shane but the idea that her little baby is some kind of pervert is just despicable. It's a forbidden topic as far as Siren is concerned.

    Lydia is the only person that Laurie has confided in about this so she knows for a fact that he is gay. She has been nothing but supportive.

    Shane suspects that Laurie is gay and mentally checks off that suspicion on his list of "Reasons Why He Should Be the Heir Instead of Laurie". Shane is very bitter about not being chosen (even though Laurie is older by several years).

    Roan doesn't know and doesn't care. I'm certain that he does realize that some boys like other boys but he's never seen Laurie engaged in romantic activity with another guy so the thought has not dawned on him. Also, Shane has never mentioned it to Roan because Shane is not totally sure.

    Then Thackery and Naomi are of course much too young to even consider these questions. Though I imagine that when Laurie has this conversation with them ("I like to kiss boys.") much ewwwww-ing will be heard.

  12. I laughed out loud the whole time. "I'm sorry I kicked your doll and told you you were adopted."


    Oh, and maid brutalizations, so unfortunate. She totally should have slapped Enoch's face.

    I'm sorry I don't comment more often, but I always get around so late. I just adore your writing.

  13. That's funny because I laughed the whole time I was writing that. :D

    If Elmira had touched a hair on Enoch's privileged little head she would have been in MAJOR trouble. Not necessarily with the Calientes but certainly with the Goths and the Pleasants. Those two families run this town with an iron fist.

    And hey, as long as you're reading, I'm groovy. :)

  14. Now that I know more about the caste system and know what I know about Troy, he was frightening me too when he was looking so sternly at Elmira. Certainly not a man you want looking at you sternly and reprimanding you.

  15. One of my favorite things about Troy is that he doesn't really have to do much in order to be seriously, seriously intimidating. He's the type of person whose presence can be felt from a mile away.