Bill and Kevin smiled at him politely. The twins were Christian’s age, so they didn’t remember him. They examined him with their glances, like if he was an object in a museum exhibition. This actually made Christian giggle a little, the way they treated him like an outer space being.
“Come with us to our room, since Mom will excuse us from work!” They said in unison.
Christian was surprised by this, but their mother, Vera, was used to them saying things like that at the same time, and simply shrugged.
“Well, I have to go now, have fun boys, but don’t ruin the house, please… And be quite, Nana is still sleeping.”
They nodded, and grabbed Christian by his arms, pulling him up the stairs. They guided him through the long corridors of the villa, and finally opened a door painted in light-blue.
“We actually were looking for a darker color, but Nana threatened to have a stroke if we did so to our room door…” Bill, the one with no scar, explained.
“Oh, I see…” Christian said.
The twins noticed he seemed distant, and kind of sad.
“What’s wrong, Christian?” Kevin asked.
He was as protective as a big brother would be, and was actually concerned for his cousin’s sake, even though they had just met.
“Call me Chris… What you told about my father… He… I don’t really believe he did it… Or at least not without reason…” He said, looking through the window. “He never laid a hand on Tania, my step-mother… Not like that, anyway…”
“Can we please forget that and talk about something else?” Bill begged.
Christian looked around the room. There were two beds, each in opposite sides. Down at the foot of each bed there was a worktable, both of them were filled with papers and drawing material. Then, on the far corner, next to the window, there were two more tables, each with a closed laptop on top. Though messy, the room was cozy, and Christian suddenly felt what he hadn’t feel for almost two weeks. He felt like he was home.
“I like your room…” he stated. “So, are you working?”
“Indeed we are… Or, we’re going to. Today was our first day, you know? But since you came back unexpectedly…” Kevin explained. “We are working for our sixth cousin, Jessica, that owns the coffee shop on Campwall Main Plaza, The Talks Corner.”
“Why is it called like that?” Christian asked.
“Oh, well, because that’s where all the women of all ages gather to gossip about everyone… If you’ve been to town, you’ll probably notice that everyone seems to know or guesses who you are.” Bill continued.
He took a closer look to the twins. Kevin seemed more mature than Bill, but Bill seemed to be more careful with the words that came out of his mouth, almost like he was shy. Almost… Kevin, on the other hand, transpired confidence and leadership. Christian already looked up to him. He guessed that they were a little like their parents: Kevin more keen to leading and caring for others like his Dad, Father Richard, and Bill more discreet and careful like his mother.
“So, what do you want to do?” Kevin asked.
“I don’t know, what is there to be done around here?” Christian inquired, trying to match Bill’s grammar skills.
The boy seemed to be impressed with his cousin performance and gave him a weak but encouraging smile.
“Well… We can show you the town, before everyone wakes up, and then you can talk to Aunt Lora.” Bill said.
“Sounds nice to me… Are we going on foot, or are we riding? I have my car parked in front of the house…” Christian said, blushing.
He was actually eager to show the Shelby to the twins, and see their surprise expressions once more. Kevin looked out the window, to the front of the villa, and his jaws dropped.
“Dude… Are you shitting me?! Is that your ride?!” He screamed.
“Shush, you’ll wake Nana.” Christian said, mockingly.
“What’s so special about his riii-you fucking lucky bastard!” Bill said, as his brother showed him the car. “We NEED to see it… no, we NEED to ride it.”
Christian smiled, grabbing the keys from his pocket, and rocking them from a side to another, making a tingly sound that made the boys go silent.
“No… You NEED to drive it.” Christian offered, mimicking Bill’s tone.
“You must be-“ Kevin started, but he was interrupted by his twin.
“I’m first!” he yelled, running towards Christian and ripping the keys of the boy’s hand. They all ran loudly down the stairs, and suddenly a female voice talked from behind them.
“Would you please be quiet?! Nana is sleeping!”
They turned around. The woman was tall, wearing a tight white dress with a generous V-neck, and high - no, not high, giant - heels. Her hair was like a cataract of fire, running from the back of her head, flowing over her shoulder and falling over her body, reaching her waist. Her eyes were of a mysterious brown.
“Sorry, Aunt Lora…” Kevin said, encouraging Christian.
The boy came out from behind the twins, facing Lora. Her eyes opened wide, as she recognized her first born. At first shocked, then sad, and happy. This reaction left Christian with a puzzled look. Nevertheless, both their hearts missed a beat when they saw each other.
“Good Lord… Is it really you, Christian…?” She asked.
“Yes…” He answered, in a faint whisper.
She hugged him.
“We’ve missed you. Where’s Charles?”
“He passed away about two weeks ago…” Chris said.
Lora’s expression went from cheerful to mournful in just the fraction of a second. Once again, Christian thought it was strange how his mother could change her emotions so quickly in so little time. Something about her felt cold and distant, but that was probably just because she had been told the father of her children was dead.
“I think… I think I need a moment…”
“OK, Auntie. We’re going to show the town to Christian.”
“OK, of course, you do that, sweeties.” She squeezed her son’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about telling the rest of the family, I’ll do it, honey.”
Christian thanked her with a nod.
“it’s ok, mother, I’d rather be the one doing it.
After saying their goodbyes, the three boys walked towards the car, now less excited than before.
The twins and Christian were walking down the street on their way to the plaza, when a male voice called for Bill and Kevin.
“Hey there, twins, and who is the guy with you?”
“He’s our cousin Chris.” They answered, once more in unison.
“Hey there, I’m Chester, but everyone here calls me Flash.”
Christian observed the guy he had just met. He had black as night hair, pale skin, amber eyes, and was athletic. He was actually riding a red bike. His clothes were all of bright colors, that made a positive impact on Christian, which justified his nickname.
“So, are you boys up for some games back at my place?”
“Sure we are!” Kevin replied.
They followed Flash to a house nearby. He opened the garage door, to store his bike, and they all entered. As the other boys talked cheerfully, Christian couldn’t help but notice the large piano, the electric guitar and all those instruments needed to form a band. He smiled, hitting some of the keys, making a melody he always liked to hear. Suddenly, he heard someone singing behind him, surprising him.
“When I was a young boy,
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.
He said, ‘Son when you grow up,
would you be the savior of the broken, The beaten and the damned?’
He said ‘Will you defeat them,
your demons, and all the nonbelievers, the plans that they have made?"
Because one day I'll leave you,
A phantom to lead you in the summer,
To join The Black Parade’."
Kevin was singing loudly, but melodically, and his brother grabbed the bass, while Flash sat on the drums. While singing, Kevin grabbed the electric guitar, and they went on with the song.
“We'll Carry on, We'll Carry on
And though your dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And in my heart I can’t contain it
The anthem wont explain it.
A world that sent you reeling from decimated dreams
Your misery and hate will kill us all
So paint it black and take it back
Let’s shout it loud and clear
Defiant to the end
We hear the call
To carry on
We'll carry on
And though you’re dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're broken and defeated
You're weary widow marches on
And on we carry through the fears
Ooh oh, oh”
The song grew in loudness and velocity, and Kevin seemed to be singing his lungs out, as the other two were singing the chorus behind him. It was all so spontaneous! Christian couldn’t help but feel like he was surrounded by joy. Music had always been a big part of his life, and to know that the twins and his friend seemed to love it just as much, made him feel like he did fit in.
“I didn’t know you could sing and play so well” Christian said.
Flash smiled, his eyes admiring the twins’ cousin.
“You seem to handle yourself well in the piano, will you play for us?”
Christian blushed, and tried to tell them he couldn’t, because of his shyness.
“Well, why don’t you give it a try, at least?” Kevin said. “Please, we would like to hear you sing…”
“Ok… What do you want me to play?”
“Do you know any songs from Evanescence?” Flash asked.
“I can see we’re in the mood for some rock…” Christian said.” Ok… Let me see if I remember… Ok, I can play one.”
“Hit it.” The twins encouraged.
Christian sighed. He knew how well the song applied to his feelings. He stroked the keys, and, to amaze of the other boys, his voice came out clear and strong, though deep and melancholic.
“Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without
Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow
oh but God I want to let it go
I can't hold on to me,
Wonder what's wrong with me
Don't want to let it lay me down this time
drown my will to fly
here in the darkness I know myself
can't break free until I let it go
let me go
Darling, I forgive you after all
anything is better than to be alone
and in the end I guess I had to fall
always find my place among the ashes
Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without
Lithium, stay in love you
Oh, I am gonna let it go…”
The twins played along with him, but knew the song came from deep within his soul. It was how Christian felt about the death of his parents. He felt just like that, like he needed some kind of healing medicine, to make him forget the pain, but, at the same time, he didn’t want to forget, because it would mean he was letting them go. They would be completely gone, and so would be all the memories, so would be the glances, the smiles, the hugs, the kisses, the good and the bad. Christian wanted so bad to hold on to them, he wanted them to stay alive inside his heart, inside his memories. Bill almost cried, feeling every word with ache in his own heart. And when Christian finally sang that ‘Oh, I am gonna let it go’, Bill had to try hard to restrain himself and not show the tears he almost let go. His cousin sang so well, he could actually feel him, he could feel the sigh of relief Christian let out when he said he would let go, like if he was talking to his father. It was almost like Charles himself had begged his son to let go and move on. Kevin and Flash congratulated him, but Bill just stood there, looking to Christian, trying to understand what was going on behind those big emerald eyes. As their gazes crossed, they turned their eyes away from each other by instinct, but soon would be once more locked in a warm glance into each other’s eyes, not even noticing that Kevin and Flash had left the garage.
All rights to the song Welcome to the Black Parade , cited above, belong to My Chemical Romance and no copyright infringement or plagiarism is intended with the quoting of the respective song lyrics.
All rights to the song Lithium, cited above, belong to Evanescence and no copyright infringement or plagiarism is intended with the quoting of the respective song lyrics.
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