Like Father

Brunnhold's college town, located inside the university grounds.
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Cerise Maria Vauquelin
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:20 pm
Topics: 3
Location: Brunnhold
Race: Galdor
: Meet me on the lawn, kenser.
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Fermin
Contact:

Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:01 am

A Rental • The Stacks
on the 10th of Bethas, 2719 • in the morning
Image
If anyone could understand why renting an apartment - however small and uncomfortable - in the Stacks was both a terrible as well as an extraordinary idea all at once, well it was Cerise. On one hand it was the Stacks - a fun place, sure, if you were an older university student looking to get absolutely guttered, but she knew it to be a rather crowded and irritating place otherwise. On the other, it definitely provided a sense of freedom and youth to any that visited and chose to stay a while; the close proximity to Brunnhold and all of the resources it provided wasn't a downside either.

Still. Why in Alioe's name would her father be here, tucked away in arguably the most frustrating section of the Stacks, rather than set up comfortable in a nicer, bigger apartment - or at least a standalone one without an occupied ground floor. It was ridiculous really, but she supposed her father's reputation played into account: either he didn't want to be seen and noticed doing what he was doing in there, or he was hiding yet again from his family at home. That was what that long disappearance of his had been, hadn't it?

Hiding. Escaping. Cerise could understand the desire completely, even if not the motive.

The Stacks were far from foreign to the young woman. Although during her first few years of attendance she had resided in an on-campus dorm, she had flocked to the freedom on the other side of the moat quite quickly, finding far more pleasant company outside of Brunnhold's red, fortified walls. She knew these streets like the back of her hand, or rather, the lines that splayed across her palms, and it was difficult enough for one to stay hidden when young Cerise desired to find them, let alone when it was her godsbedamned father. Had he truly expected to stay here, making little visits out and about, and stay completely under her nose? She would've found the notion offensive if it weren't so damned hurtful.

Given, she hadn't made any attempt to contact her father since their fallout either, but this was different. She hadn't went all the way to Vienda and played around while her father was nearby and fully able to speak with her. She might've been prideful, might've been upset, might've even been a bit regretful of the things they had said when they'd spoken last, but she didn't hate the man. She doubted that she ever could - no, she still clung to what approval she could gather from the older galdor with a tight grasp, as much as she hated herself for it.

Not even a hello.

It was cold; not nearly as low in temperature as it had been during the winter, admittedly, but still the wind sent a chill down her spine and raised the near-invisible hairs on her arms. A cloak disguised her form, the fabric lashing against the breeze behind her as she walked, pace quick and certain, hood pulled over top her head. It was quite obvious in the student's face that she was displeased, and not simply with the chill; dark eyebrows pulled closer together in visible irritation, gray eyes a display of concentration, narrowed as they were against the cool air. Only the edges of long, dark locks crept out from beneath her hood, curling in wispy waves and glimmering with redder tones anytime the sun decided to show its face.

Cerise came upon the apartment early in the morning, always having been one to rise early and fall to bed quite late, not even considering the idea that her father might not have awoken yet. It didn't cross her mind; thoughts preoccupied with what she might say, what in the world she could say because she certainly hadn't planned any great speech. It had come as a rather rushed and quick decision to seek out her father during his visit; mention of his presence within the Stacks had found her ears in the form of idle gossip but formed fully only after a hasty duel of not wit, but an idiot holding out on information.

The young galdor pulled her field close to her form as she ascended the stairs, grateful at least to be out of the cold wind once she'd reached the door to (what she hoped was) Anatole Vauquelin's rented apartment. Despite being a concentrated wall of energy about her, her field still allowed subtle errors through; tiny flickers of doubt before a deep breath was taken into her lungs.

No going back now.

Lifting an arm from beneath her dark cloak, Cerise reached toward the door, hesitating again for just a moment before knocking against the surface.
word count: 851

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Tom Cooke
Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 32
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Notes & Tracker
Writer: Graf
Contact:

Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:18 pm

A RENTAL, THE STACKS
early morning on the 10th of bethas, 2719.
If there was one constant in Tom’s life, it was waking up in terror. He’d have been hard-pressed to remember a time when life hadn’t yanked him from sleep by the throat, tangled in sheets and gasping, heart floundering like a frightened bird. So many times his hama had held him through the feverish first seconds, muttering gentle nothings, fingers tangled in his hair; so many more times he’d woken up alone, gritting his teeth and forcing himself to calm down, to push the ghosts back into the dirty cupboard at the back of his mind. A lot of things were different now that he was Anatole – more things were different than the same – but that hadn’t changed.

This morning was no exception. He woke up in the green armchair, his mouth parched and bittersweet with the aftertaste of whisky; the room spun briefly, and suddenly he felt like somebody was driving a long nail into the base of his skull. He fumbled against the arms of the chair, tried to push himself upright. The last of his dream was just trickling out of his mind, hazy and elusive; he remembered gagging, gurgling blood, remembered twisting around and wrestling vainly to see some assailant behind him in the dark.

In the dream, he’d been himself, and when he woke – for just a fraction of a second – he thought that he was himself again. That he was himself, and that he was fighting for his life. Then he saw the hands that gripped the arms of his chair, white-knuckled and shaky. Somebody else’s hands. Freckled hands. Older.

“Oh, gods,” he muttered when the room stopped spinning. “Oh, gods. No, I’m him. I’m still him.”

The blinds and curtains were drawn. A few threads of crisp morning light crept out from between them, cast themselves on the floor and the furniture and the drifting dust-motes. Forcing his breath to even out and his heart to stop hammering, he studied the room for a few moments.

It wasn’t the Vauquelin house, but it wasn’t the shit-hole he’d lived in in Old Rose, either – and it wasn’t his hama’s chaotic mess in the tenements, either. The building had seen better days, creaky and drafty in the clinging frost of this Bethas, but his rooms were clean and well-appointed. A few well-upholstered chairs, a sofa, a table with carved legs in rich mahogany – a real macha old carpet, something from Mugroba, maybe, top of the spice rack – some nondescript wall-hangings. A real golly little apartment. On the table next to him sat the half-empty handle of whisky and an overturned shot glass, glinting oddly picturesque in the half-light.

There was also a glass of water, which he hadn’t remembered getting. It was brimming. He sniffed the air, smelt fresh coffee; squeezing his eyes shut and cradling his head, he listened carefully and heard the sound of shuffling footsteps, stirring hems, soft humming.

“Cecily,” he muttered, massaging his temples. Unsteadily, he reached for the glass of water, spilling a little on the chair as he wrangled it to his mouth. When he set it back down on the table, it was mostly empty. He let out a deep sigh. “Cecily,” he groaned, louder this time.

“Sir?” A familiar shape, red hair pulled into a tight bun at the nape of her neck, appeared in the doorway to the kitchen. “I’m making coffee, sir, and – forgive me for the presumption, but I got you –”

“Thank you, Cecily,” he slurred, cutting her off.

He heard a soft laugh; the shape disappeared into the kitchen. Tom sank back into the chair and decided to stay there for a few more moments, the air thick with the smell of brewing coffee, the apartment chilly but insulated against the outside world’s unforgiving cold. He pulled Anatole’s thickly-lined banyan closer about him, locating his slippers – scattered on the floor near the chair – with fumbling feet.

Thank the gods he’d nothing to do today. The last week had been nothing but a whirl of nonsense; he’d had barely a moment to himself, and he’d spent that moment – the day before, to be exact – trekking out to the phasmonia. Right now, though, it was seven in the morning on a ten of the week, and he had no appointments, and he planned to spend the day as boneless and inert as he could. No fawning academics, no politicians, no students. As soon as the coffee was done, he was giving Cecily the day off, as he had yesterday. She seemed to be enjoying the Stacks, and he was enjoying the time alone.

Then there came a knock at the door.

He scrambled unsteadily out of the armchair, held onto the arm for support for a moment, ankles wobbly; Cecily had appeared in the doorway again, but he held up a hand. “I’ll get it. Let me get it. Fucking – seven in the morning. What in the gods’ names?”

“Shall –” Cecily broke off, biting her lip. “Shall I wake Kalt, sir?”

“Clocking hell. Absolutely not.” Tom swallowed thickly against a wave of nausea, forcing himself to straighten up, square his shoulders. He cleared his throat, running his hands through his hair. “I’m, uh – I’ll handle it, all right?”

Every thrum of the knock was like a little knife in Tom’s ear, and he winced as he made his way to the door. “Now,” he muttered, fumbling the lock, scrambling the deadbolt out of its track and sending it clattering against the door, “let’s see what ersehat son of a bitch—”

As soon as he opened the door, his mouth dropped open.

“—oh, my gods. You.”

He hadn’t seen her in awhile – not since he’d first started inhabiting Anatole – but he recognized her almost immediately. He racked his brain, panicked for a moment – shit, what’s her name? He could hear it in Diana’s mouth, but it was a garbled, jumbled memory, softened and muddled by his splitting headache. It’s on the tip of my tongue – it’s right there –

“C-Cerise. Cerise?”

He recognized her, but her face was still strange to him; he’d not a single clue how a man was supposed to look at his daughter, but he reckoned he wasn’t doing a very good job of it. He held his head with one hand and the door open with the other, and he squinted into the shadowy hallway – squinted at her face, set and determined, framed with thick, dark hair – like he was trying to decipher a line of Monite. Confused, unfamiliar, a little frightened.

Now that he knew a little more about the mona, he found himself taken aback. That field of hers was a heavy thing; it was still developing, a ninth form’s – or eighth? or tenth? how old was she, anyway? – but well on its way to becoming a brick shithouse. Reminded him a little of Corwynn. Wasn’t unpleasant, but it jarred him in this context. He’d expected Cerise to favor perceptive, like her mother and father; he wondered what a politician’s daughter would need physical conversation for.

Beating the hell out of her father, maybe?

His hand trembled on the door; he pushed it open a little more. The smell of coffee drifted out into the hallway. This – this young woman in front of him, whose resemblance to his host was unmistakable – was incomprehensible to him. He’d never even known his own father. What was a father supposed to be like? This woman was on his doorstep – what was supposed to happen here? What was this?

“Do you – what do you –” He stared dumbly at her. “H-Hello, love. Do you – want to come in?”
word count: 1368
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