Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


“I have come to the conclusion,” Gerard says, sitting against the tree where Patrick already is, “that my new sisters are actually sent from hell to make my life absolutely miserable.”

“I thought this fact was already established,” Patrick asks.

“Well, I was aware of it being likely, but now I’m sure of it. They’re literally here to make me wish I were dead, or being tortured, or slowly being eaten alive by vultures.”

“That’s a colorful way to describe someone.”

“They’re so fucking awful. They literally couldn’t be worse human beings if they tried.”

“You literally said that about Sir Edgar like two hours ago,” Patrick replies.

“Yeah, but I’ve never met him. I’ve been living with those assholes for like forever now.”

“Ah yes, forever,” Patrick nods, “Also known as three weeks.”

“Okay, but how long have you known them and how many times would you like to stab them in the chest?” Gerard asks.

“I don’t believe in violence,” Patrick says, “maybe, just greatly inconvenience them by, like, dampening all their clothes.”

“Oh yeah, you can really stick it to them that way,” Gerard says.

“Hey,” Patrick says, “You have fun enjoying prison, I’m going to walk out here a free man knowing I totally ruined their day once.”

“Not polite,” Gerard frowns.

“Hey, I’m not the murderer here.”

“Okay, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t waste a blade on either of them. They are awful, truly awful, and I wish them many ills, but I wouldn’t let their putridness turn me into anything so vile as them,” Gerard says, making a face just thinking about his stepsisters.

Just last week, they chewed Ray out for ‘improperly tending to the house’ which was their sugared up way of saying that they hate his presence in the house. Gerard knows that if they could, they’d fire the guy on the spot, but that’s one thing in which they have no say, thank god. Really though, they’re such pampered brats that he doesn’t know how they’d deal with life if they didn’t have someone to cook and clean up after them. Surely they’d just hire someone else, but there’s no way the three of them could survive a day and a half without someone to tend for them. No one as compassionate as Ray would be up for the job anyway, and the day he leaves the house is the day Gerard runs away.

Also, neither Hattie nor Olive have any sense of time management at all. Either they’re up far beyond the sunset, or they’re late to everything. He doesn’t know what it is the two of them talk about in Gerard’s old room in the meager hours of the morning, but there’s nothing interesting enough to mouth off about for that many hours in a row.

The last few weeks of Gerard’s life have been some of the worst. He’s barely gotten any sleep, too haunted by the memories of his brother, ten times amplified by the surroundings he now has to live with.

Buggy thinks she has the right to boss Gerard around like she’s his kid, when they both know he isn’t. That doesn’t give him any wiggle room to say no to her orders, but it does mean that he’s spiteful of everything she’s forced him to do. He’s scrubbed the floors on her command at least five times by now, and when he did the floor in her room, he used a combination of floor wax and also some tree sap he picked up in town. Her shoes have gotten glued to the floor twice now.

Gerard is sick of being the good little servant boy for them, so he doesn’t give them the chance if he can help it. He’s never home anymore, and he really does pity Ray who can’t escape as easily, but Ray assures him that he wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, Ray doesn’t have to obey every order he’s given so it’s much less dangerous for him to have to listen to those pests at all hours of the day.

“I don’t know if that could really be called taking the high road or not,” Patrick says. “You’re essentially admitting to hating them so much that it would be a waste of your energy to harm them. I don’t know that it’s really the bigger thing to do or not.”

“I’m not snotty to them for the sake of it, I treat them only in the fashion that they treat me,” Gerard says, “it’s not rude of me, it’s what they’ve asked of me given their own behavior.”

“That’s a cheap cop out.”

“You’re a cheap cop out,” Gerard says with a shrug.

“Ugh, whatever, so when do you want to meet tomorrow?”

“Meet for what?”

“Uh, the Prince,” Patrick replies, looking at him like he has totally lost it, and in all honesty, that’s not completely impossible. With the new changes in his life, Patrick almost thinks Gerard deserves a round of applause for not having dissolved into dust yet.

“Oh,” Gerard sighs, “is that tomorrow?”

“Seriously? Were you paying attention at all in class today? It’s not like Mrs. Mcvae reminded us like seventeen times or anything,” Patrick tells him.

“I just drifted off, I suppose. I mean, what’s it really matter? What’s it going to mean in two days anyway? He’s just the Prince.”

“He’s just the guy who’s going to shape the future of this kingdom, and has the power to ruin our lives. No biggie.”

“Yeesh, I’ve already said I’ll go with you, but I was never told that I had to be happy about it, so I won’t be.”

“Fine,” Patrick says, shaking his head, “But we should go, because we can get extra credit if we attend, and you might actually need it.”

“Bitch,” Gerard says, shaking his head, “Well I suppose Hattie and Olive will be there. We can make fun of them, and watch them swoon over how oh so gorgeous the Prince is.” Gerard starts laughing to himself at the mere thought of the two of them being in the presence of the Prince. It’s almost too much for his brain to bear, thinking about their ugly faces so twisted up in their obsessive glee.

Gerard almost pities the Prince because of it. He almost pities the fact that anyone could be so adored by such awful people, and probably many more as vapid as them. He almost pities the Prince, that is, if not for the fact that he lives a cushy, perfect life full of no worries or annoying stepsisters. Gerard refuses to envy the Prince though.

“I actually have to be heading home or Ma will kill me,” Patrick says, standing up and dusting off his pants of grass and dirt.

“Yeah I should be going to,” Gerard says, pulling himself up after Patrick, “tell her I say hi.”

“Will do, and same for Ray,” Patrick tells him, and they start heading off in different directions.

“Sure thing,” Gerard says, already knowing that Patrick was going to say that.

“Oh, and how does ten sound? I’ll meet you at the fountain?” Patrick calls, and Gerard gives an offhanded gesture and agrees.

He doesn’t really want to be headed home, but he might as well go now if Patrick isn’t going to hang out any longer. Maybe he can help make dinner to avoid everyone. His father’s already off on another trip to who knows where, so Gerard is alone with the three hags, with only Ray there to help him retain his sanity.

There’s never much foot traffic outside the center of town, so Gerard makes his way down his usual path unimpeded with nothing but the sound of birds and nature to accompany him, which is how he likes it. He does thoroughly adore Patrick, he’s his best friend, but Gerard only has one friend, and has only ever had one friend. Sometimes, you just need to be alone. He wishes there were new company, but seeing as that’s unlikely, he has to settle with being alone as an escape from everyone he knows too well.

Gerard doesn’t see or hear anyone on his walk back to the house until someone decides to ruin the peace by swearing up a storm. Gerard stops in his tracks, looking for the source of the sound, until he figures out it’s someone somewhere in front of him. He keeps walking until he sees the outline of a human in the trees off to the side of the dirt road.

“Ah fuck,” the someone says, “ah fuck. Fuck!”

This someone is a man, but Gerard can’t make anything out of his face from where he is, too hidden by tree branches.

“Yeah see, they don’t put the no trespassing signs up for kicks, they actually put them there because they don’t want you to trespass,” Gerard says, smirking as the guy who just stepped into an animal trap hops around on his foot trying to get it off.

“What the fuck is this thing?”

“You don’t get out much, do you?” Gerard asks.

“I... is it that obvious?” the guy asks, and he turns his back on Gerard, leaning against a tree to try to pry the trap off his foot.

“Well, I mean, either you are an overgrown fox or you really have no idea what a fox trap is.”

“Why are they trying to trap a fucking fox?” he asks, “what the hell did it ever do to you, you fucking bastards?”

“You really don’t get out much,” Gerard says. He tries to figure out how anyone could be clueless as to why someone who owns a farm would want to get rid of foxes. Maybe he doesn’t know he’s on the grounds of a farm, but really, it’s not that hard to figure out.

“Would you... maybe?” the guy asks, and Gerard groans.

“You got yourself into this mess.”

“Just fucking help me out,” the guy says, and Gerard frowns with his entire face. He gives into it as his body makes its way over the thin wire fence and walks the few feet to where the guy now is, still hopping and making these weird whining sounds.

“I mean I hate to say you deserved it, but come on man,” Gerard says, bending down, “If you climb over someone’s fence where it explicitly says no trespassing but still choose to ignore it, then you really do deserve it.”

“You don’t need to be condescending,” the guy replies.

“Oh but I do,” Gerard replies, “So what were you trying to achieve anyway?”

“I thought... I mean I didn’t know it was private property. I thought it would just be a more secluded way to get where I was going.”

“And where were you going?” Gerard asks.

“That’s really not something you need worry yourself with,” he replies.

“Do you really want to sass the guy who’s trying to help you out?” Gerard asks him, looking up, but the sun is setting and the shadow of the trees is making it impossible for him to see the guys face.

“Sorry, sorry,” the guy responds, “I mean, I didn’t really have an ultimate destination, I just don’t like to be around, uh, well, people.”

“New in town and already trying to avoid the townsfolk. You are not going to hit it off well here,” Gerard says.

“I’m just passing through,” he replies, “I won’t be here long.”

Gerard tries to pull the mouth of the trap open, but it’s really tough, and he’s honestly not sure if he’s got strength enough to actually get it to come loose. The poor guy’s foot, it must hurt like a bitch. Gerard would probably be screaming and crying in his place, but then again, he’s not stupid enough to go walking around through other people’s property, especially if he can’t see where his feet are going.

“Lucky,” Gerard says.

“Why, what’s wrong with Frell?”

“It’s just so mundane,” Gerard says, making a face as he tries, with no avail, to pull the trap open.

“Well, I’ve got news for you, and that’s that everywhere is mundane. It’s the people that make it worthwhile, but unfortunately, most people aren’t worthwhile.”

“Tell me about it,” Gerard says, smirking, and even if this guy is a complete idiot, at least he doesn’t seem that bad.

“How’s it coming?” he asks.

“Man, this thing is made out of diamonds or something, I literally can’t get it to even open,” Gerard says, shaking his head, “Hold on, let me try from the other side.”


“Like, I’m going to see if I can’t dismantle it one way or another,” Gerard tells him.

“Is that going to imply more pain or should I just cut the foot off now?”

“I’ll try to save it, but don’t count on it,” Gerard jokes, though there’s no real danger that his foot is going to come off, maybe if he were a fox, but he’s got thicker bones, hopefully.

“Ow!” he shouts, “motherfucker.”

“Sorry!” Gerard says, wincing even though he can’t feel it, but whatever he just did to the trap made it clamp even tighter.

“Some help you are,” the guy groans.

“Okay, I am trying, it would help if you gave me a little faith.”

“I’m sorry, I forgot about pleasantries because my foot literally feels like it’s going to fall off.”

“Stop exaggerating,” Gerard says, and he pulls a screw out of the contraption, though he doesn’t know where it came from, but at least he’s making some progress. “I’m starting to get somewhere.”

“Oh please, take your time.”

“Stop with the sarcasm or I will leave you hear to be eaten alive by the wildlife.”

“Oh I’m so scared, what ever will I do to fend off an impending squirrel attack?”

“There are Ogre’s around here you know,” Gerard says, “I mean the likelihood of them hurting you are almost nonexistent but-”

“Uh, I beg to differ.”

“Oh you’re one of those,” Gerard groans, pulling another screw out of the trap.

“One of what?”

“The gullible people who believe a race who have been peaceful for the last several hundred thousand years all of a sudden just decided to be carnivorous tyrants, stomping up and down the kingdom eating everything on more than one leg.”

“I lost someone really important to an Ogre attack, I’ll have you know,” the guy says.

“Yeah well, I lost someone really important to a lake once, but you don’t see me boycotting all sources of water, do you?”

“Let’s agree to disagree,” the guy says.

“You’re ignorant,” Gerard replies, “that’s not my fault, but whatever you wish. I don’t know you, it’s not like I can change your mind with a few fact based words. Emotions are always more reckless than fact anyway.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Just that the truth is often overshadowed by a need for someone’s opinion to be reality,” Gerard tells him.

“Wow, that was like, really deep,” the man says.

“Well thanks I guess,” Gerard says, and at last, he can feel the trap loosening and he grins to himself over his great handiwork.

“Oh my fucking god,” the guy says, managing to shake the trap loose from his foot. “Thank you so much!”

“Yeah, you’re welcome,” Gerard says, pulling himself up, and making his way back over to the path, because there’s really no telling how many more traps might be set up around here, and he doesn’t want to have to deal with another one.

“Oh yeah, good idea,” the guy says, and Gerard hears leaves crunching behind him as they both make their way out of immediate danger.

“Now that you’ve saved me, do you think I get to know your name?” the guy asks, and Gerard steps back over the wire fence.

“It’s Gerard,” Gerard says when he returns to the dirt path, and he waits for the guy to catch up so he can finally get a look at his face.

Gerard turns around, ready to ask him for his name when all the moisture drains from his mouth.

“Holy shit, you’re-”

“I’m Frank,” the guy says offering him a hand and this huge, heart-stopping smile that makes Gerard feel a little bit like his stepsisters.

“Yeah well I know that now,” Gerard says, “Why didn’t you... why are you... you’re like... and I didn’t know... fuck.”

“So you know who I am then?” he asks, and Gerard is literally seconds away from having his eyes popping out of his skull.

“Yeah,” Gerard says emphatically, “you’re the fucking Prince.”
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