Tuesday, May 30, 2006Choices 21: Claudia's memory
I sat back to watch my most beloved sensei. He looked so enchanting and Surreal, absorbed into the swirl of the music. I crept up and hugged him around the neck. The playing stopped. Lestat peeled my fingers away. “Cherie, don’t. I feel very hot when you do that.”
“Why? Don’t you like my hugs?” I tried to sound unaffected, but my heart was stung.
Lestat continued playing for a while, a faster and more intensive piece than the romantic one. Right thumb was covered by a silver thing. “What is that for? You have many in the drawer. ”
He responded, getting up, “It is to scrape the skin from my victims… sometimes I bite but the blood sprays out, so if I scratch first, I can just sip. More for a Little Drink.” The concept of the lesson for the stronger of his kind, where they did not need so much nourishment to survive. He has taught this to most of his pupils , highly encouraging them to try it. Officially there are six fledges, half of whom perished or left him. I wondered if there were unofficial numbers not listed in the Chronicles. Lestat must have heard, but he ignored me.
I flopped down beside Louis, who shifted further without looking up from the pages. I leaned over.
“Hmm? I cannot believe composers had such dramatic lives. Chopin became asexual after he was engrossed with composition! Are you like that, cher-honey?” Louis murmured. Green eyes flecked with gold, I think he looks like an anime guy, those with large emotional pupils. Of course he deleted that, but I re- included them when I logged in in the daytime.
Tension arose with the musician’s frank comment:
“Bianca, please do not hug me around the neck in future. It reminds me too much of my fledgling.” Lestat sounded monotonous when he stated this. In a flat voice. “I know you are affectionate. Still, that makes me lose concentration. I would prefer if you just let me know.”
Before I even thought of an answer, a placating one, Louis inserted quietly, “These are two Different people. No offence. Do you not dare mention her name?”
“What? I am not! Claudia, the wicked child, the schemer…” String of French words, did not sound polite. Pointe’s face was coldly furious. The subject of their daughter always provokes him to the maximum extent. “I do not fear mentioning her. Why should I? It was Your fault, if not she wouldn’t have to die! The petite princesse perished in the rays of the sun! Why did you bring her to France?”
Louis rose now to his full height, slightly taller than the blonde. He spoke cuttingly, “Lestat, it was you who went to Armand for help, for justice. Theatredesvampires arrested us on that fateful night. We would have been very happy, when we were in Paris. Without your meddling.”
I was saddened. Old wounds reopening at this point. Inside my teacher’s head were numerous insults, retorts—he never been able to triumph over Armand’s hold over his cher, Claudia being his Child too, don’t be selfish Louis. Damn you! A violent tendency to hit him.
Louis’s was blocked up completely, I encountered a steel barricade. Stay out.
Lestat dashed to him and grabbed Louis by the collar. The other just stared at him icily. “How Dare you! Make yourself the goody goody, huh? I could never win you, could I? And now you speak of this, this—you never truly forgave me! Claudia was as much my child as yours, but she didn’t choose me. I was shutout of the Pair you made.
“Why why? I Gave her life, out of my blood, though it exhausted me…. And that is a pathetic excuse for liking and attracting and Tempting Amadeo. DON’T DENY THIS LOUIS!! YOU LOVE HIM! YOU’D GO BACK TO HIM IF HE SO MUCH AS ASKED YOU,” Lestat yelled towards the last part. Tears stained his cheeks, red sticky and hot. He breathed hard, his shoulders and chest heaving. After released his fledgling, he sobbed, smudging his cheeks with his hands.
I did not know what to do. The dark-haired vampire straightened his collar and spoke mentally, Bianca. I am so sorry you had to watch us fight. The truth is, we have been fighting for some time already. It’s because of Claudia. Claudia’s memories. A quick flash of scenes where the golden little girl, cheeky smile, endless long doll-like curls, white dress. We both blame ourselves too much for what happened, what could have been prevented. I’ll go off now. He is so mad.
Lestat went to get a box of tissues, sniffling and hiccupping. His hands were sticky with the red fluid which smeared on the table, the white clothing. Plus he shook so much, his vision affected. I helped him to open it and took out a handful. I waited, watched him do some cleanup, blow his nose.
Sensei, how… I’m not sure how to phrase it. How are you feeling now?
My sincerest apologies---- I lost it. Spoiling the nice evening like that. My fault. Brat Prince, solemn and broken, fell into his armchair and rubbed his nose bridge. Can—can we talk? I’ll go wash my face first, looks terrible. When he came back, the remnants of clear water over his cheeks and his forehead, Lestat had the most contrite expression. Sweetie, please don’t be alarmed. I should not have shouted, I promised you right? I—I wanted it to be perfect. I guess that is the problem with yearning for perfection, it never lasts. Louis, he infuriates me! Why can’t he just stop cutting my heart? I have to be the Bad Guy when he is around. I blame myself too, when she died. I still have terrible flashbacks, sometimes when I am in a floating dream world, I meet Claudia. I am haunted by her face, her laughter. Her yellow dress. I was holding it after she perished. He let his hand fall to his lap, a sign of defeat, of weariness.
Lestat closed his bright pupils, inhaling and exhaling. I listened as he confided in me some more—I also don’t like it when Paris comes up. Paris equals to, to my archrival. And now he sees him again, here! I regret telling him, should’ve known that Armand would seek justice. He was always the Child of action, the vigilante. But to a Child! My child… my heart is broken, repeatedly.
I offered to tell Louis this. As conciliatory. Lestatie, I should not have hugged you in that manner. I didn’t realize…. His arm came about me and he kissed my cheek.
“It is alright. Non, he will think you are taking my side. You’ve done enough listening to my ramblings. We should not make you in a difficult position, cherie. Does my voice sound husky? I think my tear ducts will rip when I keep at this. Haha.” Lestat smiled tiredly. He asked me if I felt hungry. Louis was just coming down the stairs, as we headed for the kitchen. The Master stopped, a tender expression on his white face. “Hey.”
“Um. I—I think you ought to take it easier later,” Louis interrupted. I summarized what Prince had conveyed. Louis nodded and said we’ll talk later. Go eat first. I let the blond open up a packet of Oreos, then busy himself making Iced tea. The ice cubes clinked into the glass. All seemed like a normal night over. I opened the two sides, licking the cream like Oreo fans do.
Lestat sat down. We resumed a normal chat. He was happy I was wearing a skirt, pink fluffy one tonight. “I seldom see you so feminine, angele. Your hair is such a nice purple.”
“Thanks. My friend got this for me. It’s crumpled, I cannot wear a skirt without making a mess of it. ‘stat, teach me telekinesis.” The vampire conceded. He asked me to push the saucer across the table. I concentrated, staring at the item.
Nothing. I pouted.
“Okay, it means that you haven’t mustered the full concept of it yet. Gather up your energy, then release it to the dish. Say push to yourself. Does it work, Bianca?”
I managed to inch it some way to the edge. Lestat clapped, and moved it closer to me. I tried several times, each time making it slide across at a faster pace. Later I had to pull it. Summon it to come to me. That was hard. My headache came in surges and I gasped. Lestat was anxious.
“Good. You have to rest now. It is very tiring. Well, telepathy you already know. Moving things is not necessary, unless you’re bedridden. Or you want to make flames. It is adequate.” I was rewarded by the sense of pride he was experiencing. It had taken away his bad mood. My headache subsided after ten minutes. I opened my eyes.
Lestat clinked the spoon on the saucer, staring into space. His blankness a huge intensity, like he was gonna catch the air behind me into flame. “I’m ok now. How did you learn all these? Lestat, you’re a genius.”
He laughed bitterly. “No one. I learnt all by myself. Marius just gave me a few tips, then he sent me away. I had to learn everything from scratch. … what is that saying? We were young orphans together, learning how to walk….. I don’t know why I had to take it the hard way. I want the nice smooth path too, darling. Do you understand me so far?” He waved this away and switched. “Mustn’t go into that dark area again. You accept me. I ought to be thankful for that.”
“Yea,” I replied, draining the tea. Lestat, forever an outcast among his own people. I felt for him. It was almost like he would not amount to anything. Louis had hurt him so much, acutely. He manipulated him emotionally, just by being silent and unrelenting. It was so cruel. How could a fellow person of the same race profoundly hit below the belt?
Pointe, not as gentle as he seems…..
I had to do something. When I got upstairs, the other preter had gone into his coffin. It was some time before we had a private conversation. Most of it was pretend-to-be-normal in front of guests. But no passion or aficionado between them.
Louis was unwilling to acknowledge any of it as his fault. I was frustrated.
“What happened to your sense of justice, of balance? You went too far! Do you not realize? Sensei- chan is abnormally subdued. He’s so sad. How can you mistreat him like that?” I almost shouted at him.
Louis went to the balcony and pushed back his silky hair. His answer was placid. “He provoked me. All assumptions. Of course I know he loved her. But I have forgotten Armand. Let him think what he wants then. So be it if I still miss the leader of the Children of Les Innocents.”
I had to take another approach. What was wrong, how could he behave so acidly to his Maker? “Do you forgive him, or not? Please answer me.”
I sensed his inner turmoil. He couldn’t lie to me, “I do.” Pause “I wanted him to see.”
“See what? Lestat is not stupid.”
“I didn’t expect him to blowup. I just pointed out that he should not associate everybody hugging him from behind as something personal. That is wrong. You wanted to be sweet and nice. He rejected you.” Louis gazed into my eyes directly when he finished saying this.
I was touched but, “Louis, I know you are sticking up for me. But at this old age, he has suffered immensely. I don’t mind whatever he says. It was frightening that he reacted so strongly. And he’s still very frail.” Louis put his arms around me in a gesture that was foreign--- he seldom, if ever, hugged anybody.
You’re an angel. I didn’t want you hurt. I must not fail again. I failed her. We both did---------- Louis told me gently. I knew what he meant. That night, Louis did not say yes, he was wrong for angering the one who’d given him life. But he conveyed that he missed their daughter. If only I could be a good substitute.
Lestat was always glad to see me, especially now when Louis ignored him. We still kept up the research about the sickness and the cure, not leave Puppy alone in the event he might pass out; but no true connection was made. Pointe did not tell him where he went. Lestat was deeply hurt by this gesture. “Maybe he left a note. Let’s take a look. Hmmm.”
“So positive, Child? Come, teach me something. I want to do art. Teach me teach me.” We sat down comfortably on the couch. He cleared the table. I spread out a red paper and snipped a few times. Open: Chinese calligraphy of Happiness and Prosperity. I was doing these for art and the next one was origami, the folding of paper cranes, flowers, anything.
“The Japanese are really artistic. I was so taken by this Japanese painting!”
He showed me the picture, a simple round pond with dragonflies, koi fishes. “Haven’t thought where to put it up. Maybe some of the English ones should take turns being up.” Then he changed the CD with his mind, an invisible hand putting the discs in place and replaced the non-playng one in its case.
For a while Lestat snipped coloured paper. We made quite a mess on the table. Repeated patterns. “We could use these to print on the walls. Or the tiles. Cool!”
“My goodness! I can’t. It looks so ugly,”Lestat said with a horrified expression. It killed me. I held my stomach. “What is it, petite fleur?”
“Have more confidence, man. You’re progressing at an accelerated speed. Lestat, could I say something? Ok. Are you feeling better? It’s good to express yourself. You seldom open up, I notice.”
Brat-prince smiled and said in a whisper, “Thank you. I’m fine now. I was very pained, but I guess I cannot force others to be worried or feel the way I do. Bianca, you’re so strong. Hungry? There’s a pizza in the oven. Cheese-flavoured. I’ll go take it out.” I took his arm.
“Later.” My little brother had a similar abandoned look once, when he hurt his head. I could barely comfort him and this was a deep deep emotional scar. Scar over scars. I debated if I should hug him hard and tell him he need not be alone. My mother could heal you. She passed me the genes of Compassion. “Um, what would you like for your birthday, ‘stat? We keep forgetting. 7th Nov right?”
The vampire sat down once more, one arm around me, his free hand gathering up the discarded rubbish. “Yep. Some fun. A cake… anything. Anything’s ok with me. It feels the same every time. You do not need to remember. I forget your birthday too.” I leaned into his embrace. He sighed deeply. My lovely dove, strong bird of prey who sees everything and into the heart…. Fiery Warmth into my everlasting winter. What about your present? I Will remember this time, I promise. Anything you ask.
I laughed. “Sheez, isn’t this getting too mushy? Let me distance myself. No offence.” He let me go and I pondered what present I wanted. “Big dangly earrings, like the large rings… but not that design. I want something special. You go scout for it k?”
“No problem.” Brat prince scribbled it on a book and underlined it. I saw the cross on his neck, like an amulet against suffering. It is not death he fears, but suffering. He appreciates it, coz he normally hates wearing jewellery. Utada’s It’s automatic in the background. We sat like this, peaceful, serene, a rare moment for the usually excitable amorous vampire.
Louis walked in, threw the keys and they caught on the hook. It was 12.30am. “Where have you been?”Lestat snapped. “Didn’t you have any idea of the time?” He got up in a blur and strode towards a shocked speechless Louis. “Where were you? Why didn’t you wake me? At least wait! ” Lestat usually woke up by five but this time, he was bound to sleep in till six.
“Calm yourself. Went to buy groceries. I left a note. Didn’t you guys see?”
That failed to appease him. The bushfire temper. I hugged myself. Ruined, again. Lestat’s fangs were out and he was livid, the veins all out on his neck. No don’t bite him! But he was deaf and slammed his fledgling into the wall. Louis winced and held his fisted hands, like holding a child back from hitting a lego building. Lestat! Stop! The note’s here! It had flown to the floor.
“Bianca. Who is right? You tell me! I am frantic, worried sick. And this boy runs off. Can’t even tell me personally where he goes! DO NOT go out.”
I shook my head and began to shiver. Louis stepped out of the manhole and grasped him by the shoulders.
“What? Am I your servant, to order around? Lestat, be reasonable. You know it is bad to be raging. Sit down.”
The tone softened somewhat: “I thought something had happened. I could not lose you, darling.…. If it were not for Bianca, I would feel isolated again, without someone.” Vanish. Stricken.
Louis sighed, rubbed his face. Sorry to scare you. I bought things. The note should’ve stayed there. Bread, foodstuffs, a big bottle of Coke, fruit juice. The servants lavished on! Lucky people! But luckier still, you do not face the wrath of a preternatural master. Did he hurt you?--- he ventured.
No. we were doing patterns. He was so different. He’s a nice person. I don’t understand why he’s still mad. I thought he was ok. I hope he is not suffering too much now.
The next room was empty. Not in the bedroom either. The things were still messy. I was worried, so we shouted for him, straining to hear sounds. Finally Lestat revealed that he was in the corner room. He sat in the armchair, clutching his stomach. “I almost died! I bet you don’t care.”
This was aimed at Louis. The other did not react and touched his shoulder. Lestat curled up tighter. He concealed all the throbbing from me. “Something’s wrong with…. Me. Why… so much pain all the time? Even when I am calm.” Louis and I looked at each other. The secret almost in the open. It had been two months. But if we chose to say now----
“Don’t fight anymore! Please! I freak when you do.” Both of them stared at me bewildered. I unsheathed my claws, gripping Lestat’s hand. Blood. I had cut him. My hand with its talons. “At this age! How could you? Why yell at Louis when he’s innocent? I’m sick of this!” I slammed the door as hard as it could go and ran towards my room. I was having a temper tantrum and it was downright stupid. I felt bitter though, and guilty. So guilty to have lied.
I didn’t deserve to warm up his heart. “Hey don’t be mad. I’m not angry anymore. Right Louis cher? Can we come in?” he spoke gently. The normal adult tone. when he saved me. I said all right.
Oh no. “Your stomach. It’s bloody.” Lestat waved this away, saying he’d cut himself and some of it was splashed. Louis pulled up a chair. The blond sat gratefully, general debility all over.
“We were totally fucking asses. Sorry. Now is there something you’re keeping from me? I can’t tell from Pointe-sweetheart but he looks guilty all the time. Since we’re all calm, let’s talk. Is it my sickness?” Lestat said briskly.
I leaned back on my pillows. Like I am the sick one. “You cannot afford to be so angry, ‘stat. It is different now.” While we talked, Louis made him change out of his soiled shirt and put on a fresh blue Tshirt.
Lestat was not surprised realizing that he was not cured, but a long long way to that goal. We were so naughty to keep a secret this huge from him, seeing it was concerning himself. “I’m glad it’s out. We didn’t want you upset, so we kept it underwraps. The doctors said it was important that you’re in a normal state. And we have done a lot of research,” Louis said. The papers, photocopied and a book.
“This Chirac… blooms only every 100 years? So what year is this? The 60th? Hey don’t look so depressed. It’s not your sickness, cherie.” Lioncourt browsed the reports. “This info is quite useful. I wanna read it. Only for Daylight people.”
“But it can cure anything! It is very powerful. Don’t give up hope.” My sensei chuckled, nodding. Did he have a temperature? How can Lestat stand being ill all the time?
On October 30:
Quinn604: heys, gal. still awake. It’s 11.
B. elfinprincess: yea. Not having school tmr. Lestat miss u.
Quinn604: smiley. Yes, tell him I miss him too, want to visit.
Bianca: when, when? Come soon! Haven’t seen u personal b4.
Quinn604: I’m dark haired, curly, six foot four, violet eyes, porcelain skin. Dun worry, u can see me when I come. Soon, soon promise. How’s my Boss?
Bianca: not gd, he’s sleeping now. he can’t drink much. Lack of energy.
Quinn604: omg. I wanna come tmr night then. That’s terrible. Does he know secret yet?
Bianca: pout face. Yea, last nite had big- big fight. He knew from our look. What time coming? Diff must note.
Quinn604: hmm. Dun worry, will settle myself. Me expert.
Bianca: uh huh! Heheh. Lestat’s very positive tho. He doesn’t panic when he’s serious? I wonder…
Quinn604: I think he does not wanna fright u. he’s veteran, battled plenty of demons. Read his chronicles?
Bianca: yep yep. Huge fan! He’s so exciting. Oh yes, yr book Rocks baby!! Luv all yr stories. How long u took to write?
Quinn604: 1 year. Had to rearrange events in order. So honored to have brat prince endorse. He came for booksigning too!
Bianca: I am awed! Want to publish my own novel too. Will u read pls? all these what I recorded abt us!
Quinn promised to read them all and give me an honest review. He was so sweet! I loved him already, and he was Coming faster than we expected! Louis gestured that it was cool, and we’d have someone else to consult when he arrived. He had been standing behind me, watching the whole chat. Photo of him, Lestat and Mona together at an island resort. (It was a place where the preternaturals gathered annually over with Marius and location was top secret.) Quinn Blackwood as described. I smoothed the glass over the portrait and smiled. Yea! I’m going to see him in the flesh!