Log:Can We Talk
While Theodore isn't much of the comforting sort, the twins could tell that, for whatever reason, he was on their side and was willing to lock them in a bank vault to keep them safe. The rest of the day, however, left the boys in quite a mood. On one hand, the dress down given them by their uncle, was something that both boys feared would ever happen. They struggled to work, to fit into the Marchant household and because of one misstep their futures were in jeopardy. How could Robert Marchant put any trust in them. Not only that, it made Theodore look like a fool as well.
Not much was said between the pair as they made their way up the stairs to their room. Lucas was probably relieved that they wouldn't be locked in a safe overnight, though this level of disappointment has him rather sullen and Landon leaves him to shower in the hopes that he'll be able to wash the stresses of the day off from him.
They wouldn't have the safety of the vault and that leaves Landon all the more concerned for his own life and that of his brother. Standing near a large airy window, staring out at the darkening skies outside, they were safe in here right? They had walls and gates... but these vampires could fly. They had security and staff and... He was tired, his anxiety kicking in. That's when he sights turn to the phone on a nightstand. Taking the cordless receiver in hand, he almost hangs up rather than make the call, but he knows that it's something he must do, so he presses those buttons, before dropping himself down onto his bed, leaning against the headboard, body stretched out in an attempt to relax. Waiting for an answer, he murmurs to himself, "Pick up. Pick up."
Esme was too anxious to go to work so she plead ill. It didn't take a lot of work, because for as calm as she is, when she thought about the idea that everything was real, that they saw a lady getting ripped apart, they really, really did, that she thirsted for her blood and might be... one of those monsters one day after accidentally and stupidly ingesting blood from a mystery drink? Oh, it's not that hard at all to look nauseated and take a trip to the bathroom to dry heave a little at the sink. So is it really a lie? She's scared of the moon.
Her dad answers when he's on his own way out of the door and when Esme is requested, he comes up the stairs to toss the phone at her lounging in bed before heading to the cafe for evening shift to relieve his wife and cover a spot for his 'sick' little girl. Thankfully, he's not talkative.
While curled in bed, already in pajama pants with sheep on them and a crop t-shirt, she's reading for school English and absorbing none of the novel they're on for study. She's thankful (and hopeful as to who it might be) to have the call as distraction.
Families tended to share lines still in this day and age, so Landon wasn't sure who would be answering the phone. His mind goes back to their meeting with Robert again, replaying the discussion, especially some of harsh words that their uncle had said. He wanted to bring up Mr. Chen and he probably should have. Maybe Robert Marchant would've paid the elder man a visit and learn all about how these vampires plagued the city since even before Lake Havasu City was created. Or, he might've threatened to have London Arms shut down. One of those.
Hearing Esme's voice brings him this much needed sense of relief. Shifting so that his posture is straightened, moving from the phone which he held idly against one ear to now press against the other, he quickly stammers out, "Esme? This is Landon." She can probably recognize his voice by now. It's not surprising that he sounds stressed. "You called in sick from work today?" He probably should've called Big Bens first, but that would've complicated things, so he's relieved about this. "Good. I needed to talk to you about something."
"Landon... hey." Esme closes the book she has open and sits up straighter against the pillows while holding the phone to her ear, brows pulling slight knit at the tone of her voice. It's not surprising to hear him sounding that way so much, it's how she feels inside too despite the soft and fond greeting of her voice for him. But she is naturally concerned, especially when he says he needs to talk about something.
"I played hookey, I'd be useless. I can't keep my mind on anything." She leaves out the part about really feeling ill with nerves, they're so bad, "You alright? Did something happen?"
Landon's not quite the overly emotional type, but his heart felt heavy this evening and there's still a part of him that wanted to throw up. Yes, Landon. Did something happen? There's so much that he wanted to say about that, voice his frustrations, his fear. Give in to the negative feelings weighing heavily on his shoulders. He was trembling where he sat, seated forward now, those once squared shoulders now rounded in a slouch. He even draws his legs in to sit Indian-style, his body rocking.
There's a moment when he looks over at the bathroom door to see how Lucas was faring. The twins took strength from one another. If one of them was in higher spirits, at least than the way Landon felt right now, perhaps Lucas would be able to lift his. But with the door mostly closed, there's no sign of Lucas to emotionally reach out to.
"We spoke to Morrison and Theodore about our situation." He does his best to hide the disheartenment from his voice, taking in a deep breath to give him courage. "Theodore had a good plan, but in order to be able to follow through with it, we needed to talk to Uncle Robert." Esme would now how fond the twins were of Robert Marchant.
"Oh." Esme bats her lashes with surprise, though the tone of her voice drops considerably with a touch of sympathy already because, as she says next, "That can't be easy to do, having to //explain// to grown people our situation without telling them at all. And to have to do it with your Uncle..." It's hard to lie to the family adults for people like Esme, and she knows it's even harder to make something believable that doesn't sound absolutely mad. That's why she's not saying a thing as yet to her own parents, even though they're known for being 'open' in a couple different ways.
She also knows enough to know that's //not// a confession or story the twins wanted to bring to their uncle, at the very least.
"What... exactly are you telling all of them? What was the plan?"
"Hector's already been talking to Morrison about everything and after we told Theodore about his fiance, I think he believed us. And when I say believed us," Landon's voice strengthens to clarify his own words, "I mean, he believes that we are being harassed, possibly blackmailed by a gang, who might actually be a long-standing cult in town." That last part is spoken quickly. "They've both taken it rather seriously though. Serious enough that Theo was planning to keep Lucas and I tucked away in the vault at the bank for the full moon come Monday. This is what Theodore needed to speak to Robert about. And what our Uncle Robert vetoed, because it's just a gang and we have walls and a gate and security littered around the property." He then comes to the point that he planned on making when he first dialed those numbers, "And he's disappointed that we were..." He hates to say this part, and there's anger in his tone when he does so, "...stupid enough to be placed in this situation." Once those words are said, his eyes immediately lift once more to look on the bathroom door still set ajar. He knows that Lucas blames himself for dragging Landon into this mess. "He'll be speaking with Chief Thistle soon to get to the bottom of this."
"... I'm not sure we ever had so much choice to begin with. It's really hard to remember or say or feel properly, you know?" Esme leads with this after sitting and listening to Landon explain on the other end of the phone line, quiet and attentive. She couldn't focus on that novel, but she can sure focus on the tone of the guy's voice and the little pang in her heart she feels for him when he's finished speaking.
After pulling up her legs to study her toenails while talking, she says into the phone after small pause, "I think we were prey more than we were stupid. But..." She says the next teen sentiment with weighted feeling despite the casual phrasing, "That sucks. Seriously. Are you grounded even worse now for protection or punishment?" The girl sighs into the phone, "I wish I could give you a hug right now. Close your eyes and pretend for three seconds before you answer that?"
"He threatened to talk to Mr. Gibson to ask why the school paper would send students out to investigate a biker gang." Finally feeling slightly less agitated and on the verge of a breakdown enough to resettle back against the grand headboard upon his bed, Landon adds with a shake of his head, "I had to remind him that we didn't know anything about the biker gang," A pause, "But that still doesn't excuse us from taking that first drink from a stranger. We know that now," And even at the time, Landon was reluctant and distrustful enough to do so, "But it was like... It's indescribable, this urge that made us want to drink."
Before she even asks him to do so, Landon's eyes are closed as he tries desperately to purge their conversation with Uncle Robert from his mind. "Something like that. I almost get a feeling that Uncle Robert's washed his hands of us. We're Theodore's problem now." When his eyes flash open, he's about to spit out something vile about the comment that Robert made that both he and Lucas might be better off with their mother, but he catches himself right before he spills that much information.
Instead, he tries to do as Esme tells him, breathing in deeply at first, then allowing his eyes to close once more. He can't help but smile a little, "I believe you when you say that you wish you could give me a hug right now." He's actually allowing himself to imagine exactly that. Perhaps it's why his smile widens. It's a nice feeling, but when he realizes that he's doing it, it's a little embarrassing and he knows it. "I can't believe I'm doing this, Esme. But it feels nice."
"Yeah..." Esme breathes pipe in of agreement that's almost wistful even now, because it's still part of her, the dreams, the want, but enough of her is scared and self-preserving enough (for now) to end that agreement with a bit of a lamenting sigh over the whole bad situation. After a beat of pause, she murmurs small encouragement and hope on the 'hand washing' bit, "Maybe he just needs time to process. Or maybe we //should// try and tell some of them the truth, I don't know anymore, Landon. Did you hear what Chen said about our families being in danger now? Maybe they need to know, but at the same time... I have no idea how to even say it." She pauses, "So I don't."
Maybe Esme needs a good squeeze right now too because when Landon takes his pause with breathing, she does too, dropping her own eyes closed. Then she smiles suddenly when he confirms he's doing it, right when she is, and he can hear some of the creeping smile in the uptick of voice despite taking a stressful turn of relating, "Maybe I really am like... magic or something. 'cause it does feel nice."
Landon seems content to just linger in this imaginary hug for a while longer, though he can't shake what she brings up next, "Our families are in danger now because of our poor judgment." He states firmly. "If we tell Uncle Robert that because of what Lucas and I had done, his family might be in danger..." There's a heavy breath escaping his nostrils, when he adds, "I don't want to give him more of a chance to try and get rid of us. We've already disappointed him enough." He's thinking about not only his own future but Lucas' as well.
"Esme, are you really going to have all of those kids gather together at your place? If the more of them are with you, I'd think that they might ignore Lucas and I. And Thea to go for the bigger prize." He then has to say, "I think Theodore had the right idea to try and keep us separated from everyone else, even if it's hard being kept away from... our friends. And you. Maybe it's not such a good idea to gather together like that, but I don't even know."
"Yeah. I don't think it's even possible to explain, at that. Just guilt talking more than logic, I think, in my head." Esme falls back into a lay and crosses her legs up in the air to look at her toenails that way now, blowing out a huge, destressing breath of air. Or something like one, anyway. Also one of her pink toenails is chipped. It bothers her, she'll have to fix that.
"I guess so. Lana had the right idea about clearing out my parents to host being easiest, I think they're into it. We'll see for sure after Mom gets home." Esme doesn't sound real certain that it's the safest or right thing either, she doesn't, however, when she decides to do something, she is 100 Freeland and does the hell out of it because she started it, "Are the triplets staying back with you there? I mean, if I have no one over, it'd just be me and Lana and what if she can't restrain me or something? My parents can't be here either way because they'll try to call cops or open the door or something, so..." She pauses, "People seemed to want to do it, I said it, no way is a good way. So we do it like he said."
One more look is given the bathroom door before Landon shifts on his bed so that his back is turned towards that direction and he moves the phone from ear to the other again, leaning his head to the side, keeping that receiver steady and trapped between his ear and his shoulder. "Maybe guilt should be talking." He shakes his head quickly, "I can't believe we allowed ourselves to be trapped in this way, practically blackmailed by these... monsters." He then adds, sounding resigned to the fact that, yes, this was their life now, "Will have to see if Theodore will call upon Morrison and the rest of the clan to help keep things secure as they had planned for when we were moved to the bank."
He then nods slowly a few times to what she says about her parents, "I'd invite you here, but the family doesn't want to be the ones responsible for other family's wayward kids. And, I don't know about Mona or Jade, but Thea is also Theodore's responsibility, which means that he'll have her do as he says." He then blinks, "Would that be bad? Your parents calling the cops? Maybe the cops can distract them or scare them the hell away."
"... my parents are way more into trying to talk to them through doors and windows or something, or hells bells, just opening right up and calling us rude. I'm not sure they know a stranger. But if it comes off as a threat, maybe..." Of course, to so many degrees, Esme would feel safer with Mommy and Daddy home because they have a good family unit and there's natural bonded safety in that with the parentals. But at the same time, if they're here and hurt because of...
"I don't want them here to get hurt because of me." The feminine voice drops on the phone line when she says it, "Bad enough Lana and Ash are drug into this now, they didn't even drink. But they won't leave my side through this, so it... you know. We'll see what Mom says, I guess."
Then she pauses and says with sudden hopeful uptick in her voice, "Hey Landon?"
"Our Uncle Robert believes we'll be safe here because we have security patrolling grounds." Landon says as he straightens his neck from the tilts, before stretching it out in the other direction after clutching the receiver within his hand again to be held to his ear. "I should feel safe, right?" He then asks, "Do you even believe that we're actually dealing with vampires? I mean, great! Mr. Chen believes us and everything we say, but..." He shakes his head, "Nevermind."
"Our house is full of staff, so there's countless people here. But would they actually invite some ruffians inside? Only if they want to go looking for a new job and maybe suffer an impending lawsuit for endangering the family." He does realize that if the man wanted to, Robert could take such petty action such as that against them. But it would be much easier to disown or kick the boys out.
When she says his name, he asks curiously, "Yeah?"
"Those... are probably securities and liabilities at the same time, kind of like my predicament. Like I said, there's no good way about any of this, I think. Or any real way to know what's right. And it's hard. I don't want to believe it. But I know what I know and feel too. I think I just needed someone to say it to make the reality of it click against my will. I don't know. I think I just started rambling. Let's try this again..." Esme gets a little backwards stuck with new concern for the boy twins' situation given the pros and cons of having a populated house and then some, then she tries to soothe with some commiserating empathy and speak-aloud.
Then she remembers what she was about to say and suddenly sounds a touch bashful, despite the wit and quiet charm combo. He can hear her breathe in full with intake and exhale before she starts anew to say...
"I'm so not going to prom with a vampire. Soooo... that means you have to be safe and okay, right?"
Landon hadn't touched his schoolwork since returning home from London Arms. The afternoon was full of trying to convince Theodore and Morrison of the danger to come and then Uncle Robert. Reaching for one of his thick, glassy covered text books that was laying at the side of his bed this whole time, he randomly flips through it, but his mind can't focus on the text within and soon enough, the book finds itself closed and abandoned before too long.
"You know that we're not going to invite them into our house if they threaten to tear some maid's throat because she foolishly wandered outside that evening, right?" This is said incredibly casually for the dark subject matter. A subject matter than even they know is true.
He then falls into contemplative silence. He knows that Esme had something she wanted to say and he didn't interrupt it. He could hear the shower in the other room finally turning off which means Lucas would be here soon. And then she speaks of the Prom and vampires and he just has to laugh, "I thought girls liked vampires. Who doesn't want to be eternally young and beautiful?" While there's humor in his tone and she can hear the smile on his lips through his voice alone, there's also this nervousness to be found. If they were vampires, Lucas and Landon... It was the start of a thought which he quickly shakes away and out of his head. "I promise to be safe. If that's your ultimatum." There's laughter in his voice again. "Esme, we are going to the prom. So just... I don't know who all will be there with you to watch over you and Lana and Ashley, but I'll be thinking about you and praying that we both survive the night. For Prom." He can't help but laugh at that too.
"Uh huh. Ultimatum. Safe and sound over there." Esme confirms with a trailing noise that sounds partially like a giddy sort of laugh after the prom date is set, rolling over in bed to curl up and rub her feet together with tiny excess energy of helpless girlish happy tick expression. Then she tacks on, keeping the affirmation on safety up on her own end, "And I'll be safe. We're far too pretty already, anyway, you and me, we'd break the vampire world. Do you know how good we're going to look in pictures dressed up together?"
The teenage brunette cradling phone between ear and pillow goes more serious, though, after that little burst, winding down into return sentiment, and she hears the door downstairs, possibly Mom, "I'll talk to you later, Landon. Promise. And if you can't sleep or anything? I'll keep the cordless in here. If you call, I'll read to us from the stupidest column letter collection." She pauses, "You know. Even if it's just for the noise." Another pause, "Bye." A pause, "For now."
No need for actual goodbyes right now, even if it is habit to do before hanging up. Given their situation... she needs a disclaimer.
With Lucas soon emerging from the bathroom, Landon pulls himself out of bed to stand to make his way over towards their walk-in. Despite the both of their worries, this conversation has been somewhat therapeutic. Not that Landon would forget the conversation with his uncle that they had today, but he was still a bit soothed by the imaginary mental hug given him.
Standing in the middle of this oversized closet, he opens a few drawers and takes out a plain white tee and some pajama pants. "No matter what I'm feeling, your cute perkiness always has a way of making me feel much better."
When Landon hears some noise coming over the phone line, he's about to ask, but Esme reassures him with her words, telling him that it's just her mother. They've all been a bit jumpy for a while now and the talks of vampires had made things worse. He'll quiet to listen, taking the time to pull out a fresh, clean towel which is draped over his shoulder. He's waiting to hear confirmation that, yes, that is Mrs. Reed. He doesn't want to worry her further with his own paranoia, however. "If something's wrong, don't hesitate to call me. Or the cops, but let me know right after." Heading back towards his bed and the nightstand where the phone base is, he responds in kind, "I'll call you before bed. Then I'll let you know whether I'm sleepy enough or not or if I need Mr. Thistle's history of horror book read outloud to me." He bites down gently at his bottom lip in a smile before he adds, "Bye. Talk to you later. Stay safe."
It's totally Mom. The Reed House is safe this evening and Esme resolves to relax some with breathing exercises before going to have a talk downstairs. Things might be entirely different at the Reed House the next night, and not in a good way. It's probably a valid worry for the Marchant place as well.
But imaginary hug magic //is// a little bit magic.