2.14 The Pendulum Swings
October 22, 2010 § 1 Comment
Shortly after the family returned to Sunset Valley, it was Monte’s birthday. It hadn’t been forgotten, but when the children checked the calendar one morning before breakfast, they were surprised. Where had the time gone? There wasn’t enough time to plan a party, so Cora picked up a birthday cake for Monte on the way home from work. Charles wasn’t able to show up, as he worked at the grocery store after school everyday and couldn’t take a night off on such late notice, but the rest of the family enjoyed the evening together.
Monte felt like life kept handing him lemons, especially as he aged with the Loser trait. Though he frequently skipped school, he knew he’d have to take high school a little more seriously, and was dreading having to go. To forget his troubles, Monte went right back to his video games. Cora was just relieved that his hair was starting to grow, even if it had more of a purple tinge than it should.
Since Monte was just starting high school, Charles decided to try and help his younger brother out. On his first day, he took Monte on a tour of the school, showing him the ropes, and even introduced him to his crew, knowing that his insane brother could scare his friends off completely. Monte took in everything quite well, though, even if he was quiet most of the day. Charles decided to invite his best and most understanding friend, Demarcus Harden, over for a night over the weekend to play games with Monte, hoping that he might make a new friend. Charles was actually surprised to see how well Demarcus and Monte got along, and that Demarcus was actually almost as good at these games as Monte was. For the first time since his childhood, Charles was beginning to feel left out. He almost felt regretted inviting Demarcus over, fearing he’d lose his friendship.
Though Monte was finally being accepted, Madeleine was still having troubles at school. After having to deal with Monte, teachers weren’t too keen on Madeleine either. The children in her class weren’t too friendly either; their friends or siblings had told them stories about the pale family on the hill, how they were all insane, and how the ghosts of their ancestors walked with them in the daylight. The stories were all greatly exaggerated, but there was nothing that Madeleine could do about them. Every day, after school, a boy named Duncan Preston would mock her about about her insane family, and how even she didn’t fit in with them, with her brown hair and blue eyes.
She pushed aside her problems and focused on her baking, seeming untroubled to the rest of the world. But inside, she was hurting, and only her grandmother’s ghost could comfort her. Evelyn told her that she would survive her tough childhood, like her mother and grandmother had, and she would be a strong woman in the end. Madeleine loved hearing her grandmother’s advice, but she realized that their conversations were just confirming the stories that people told about their family. But there was nothing that she, or anyone, could do.
Madeleine found herself surrounded by family friends at her birthday. Her peers didn’t get along with her, but Charles’s friends and her parents’ friends and co-workers loved her. They knew the real Madeleine, and her peers didn’t. As she stood before her cake at 10:00 at night, with people who loved her yelling her name, their bright faces illuminated by torchlight, Madeleine knew that she would survive, just like Evelyn had told her.
Cora and Brant had always received praise and compliments for their children’s appearances, and it seemed that with every birthday they became even more beautiful. But people were shocked to see how beautiful and mature Madeleine had become. Her parents knew that they would be having trouble with boys soon, especially since Madeleine was now a Hopeless Romantic. At first, her peers at school didn’t recognize her. But once they did, no one said a single, negative word. They expected her to be outgoing and confident now, but she was still shy and outspoken.
Every night before bed, Maddie, as her peers now called her, would read a chapter or two of a cheesy romance novel. She was loathe to admit that she did, but deep down she envied the lucky girls in her books. She now knew that she was the heiress to the legacy, and knew what was expected of her as an adult. She just hoped that she would find her own handsome prince; a boy who would dote on her endlessly, too.
But every time that a boy would try to talk to her, she always encountered the same problem: Duncan Preston. No matter where she and her boy would meet up, Duncan would always show up, angrily storm over to them, and tell the boy to leave. Duncan was the leader of the pack of children who had mocked young Madeleine, and even now he wouldn’t leave her alone. While she found it annoying and frustrating, she couldn’t help but like the attention that she was getting from him. He and his twin brother, Travis, were the ‘hotties’ of her grade, and Duncan was always following her. But why was this sandy-haired, dark green eyed boy always focusing on Maddie? And why was he the last thing she thought of before she went to sleep?