"All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players (William Shakespeare).

The stage is set. Actors in motion. Scenery: breathtaking. Warp in. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

"Nattie, tell me what happened?"

"It's nothing, Seth".

"It can't possibly be nothing. I find you out here, crying and you tell me it's "nothing"?. What is it baby? What happened?"

"Aden happened". I then began recalling the tale of how I had gone looking for Aden to a nearby cafe, only to find him having sex with my mother in the bathroom.

"I'm going to kill him", Seth viciously said as he pounded his left fist into the palm of his right hand.

I took his hands into mine and told him everything. I told him that of how Aden no longer mattered. I told him of how I loved him. Most importantly? I told him of how I wanted

all of the previous rusty pages of the charred book, that had drained my energy every millisecond of the day, to be eternally obliterated.

We sat there for what seemed to be forever. We were still there by midday. We were there as the sun began to set on the horizon. It was as if an artist had been granted with a spark of inspiration by his muse and decided to paint his canvas a solitary shade today.

He had made the canvas a brilliant scarlet color, causing the viewers of his piece to gaze in awe at the blazing ball of fire partially overshowed by the red mist.

Another burst of inspiration took over his essence, causing him to focus all of his efforts on painting on a new canvas.

He mixed paints enthusiastically, trying them out on his pallete, and hoping to create a masterpiece.

Brush stroke after brush stroke followed and gradually, a moon and countless stars began to evolve out of the paint that had once sat in an art shop, untouched.

These bright illuminations were caressed by a magical carpet of blue and one could stare at them for all of eternity, letting their dreams overtake them completely.

*********************************************************************************************************************

Props ready. Sound effects in check. Enter the Valette Mansion 2 hours earlier. Time is rewinding. Slowly... Slowly...

"Natalie, are you here honey?". Mrs. Valette's voice reverberated throughout the halls of her elegantly furnished home. She called out a few more times, yet there was no response from any of the rooms.

"Try the bathroom", Aden chimed in.

After making what she deemed to be a thorough search of all of the rooms, Mrs. Valette finally declared, "she isn't here Aden. G-d , I can't believe any of this.

I can't believe that she found us doing...that. I never intended for her to find out that way", Mrs. Valette says as one tear after another slides down her cheek like rain down a windshield.

"Hey, hey, don't worry", Aden said as he approached Mrs.Valette, wanting to give her a comforting hug. She freed from his grasp.

"G-d. I don't want to see you anymore. Why didn't you tell me that you were her teacher?".

"I can't believe you, Bridget. How was I to know that you were her mother? Why didn't you tell me that you were married?".

"You never asked", Mrs. Valette answered meekly.

"Asked? Anyone in their right mind would tell me. Don't you think?".

"How can this possibly all be my fault, Aden? I told you that my name was Bridget Valette".

"Hey! Valette is a common last name".

"Oh don't give me that crap".

"I'm giving you crap? You're the heartless bitch that went and kissed another man right after your husband died".

"Don't you talk about him. You hear me?", Bridget said, her voice cracking. There was intense pain in her eyes and Aden immediately saw that he had touched on something he shouldn't have.

"Hey. I didn't mean it", he said as he once again tried to console her and take her into his arms.

This time, she didn't break away. Not in the blink of an eye, at least. His strong arms caressed her delicate ones for minutes past,

but suddenly, she backed away and looked up into his eyes.

"I can't do this right now. I have to find Natalie", she said.

"Ok", he said as he brushed a strand of Bridget's golden brown hair away from her face. "Come on, I'll help you. Do you know any of her friends?".

"No. She rarely brings anyone over to the house. She's been raving on and on about this one girl, though. I think she said her name was Adara? Yeah, that's it",

Mrs Valette replied after calling upon her memory.

"Adara Mustere. She's a transfer. Do you know where she lives?".

"No, but Natalie probably has her number stored in her phone book. Let's go look in her room".

Aden and Mrs.Valette made their way up the first flight of stairs and into Natalie's room.

It was nicely furnished. A violet net hung over her king sized bed, that stood in the middle of her lilac painted room. Facing her bed, was a nighttable with all of the latest perfumes on display.

Island Kiss. Envy. Poison. White Diamonds. Tommy for her. Makeup brushes neatly lay in the center of an assortment of eyeshadow shades, glosses, and eyeliners.

Nothing looked touched. It was as if all the items were ancient articles in the metropolitan, never to be touched, but simply be admired by it's viewers.

At the far end of the room, on the right side of the bed, stood an office desk with a sony laptop proudly placed on it.

"There it is", Mrs.Valette said as she pointed to the mini address book next to the comp. Yet, something else had caught her eye and the previous object of desire lay untouched.

"Who's that?", she asked. Mrs. Valette was intently staring at her comp screen, with her bright blue eyes.

She had lain her eyes on a picture of some good-looking man who had his arm wrapped tightly around her daughter's waste.

"That's Seth. I told her to stay away from him", Aden said, his eyebrows beginning to arch and deep wrinkles to form on his forehead.

"Do you know him?".

"No", Aden firmly answered. "Come on. I might know where they are".

"How?".

"Just, come on", Aden said as he formed a tight grip on Mrs. Valette's hand and began leading her to his mansion.

"Where are we going?", she continued to ask.

"To my house".

Mrs. Valette's voice began to sound no different than a child's. She had developed a very long whine to go along with every slur of words.

"Aden. Whyy are we goinggggggg to your houseeeee?".

"That's where Seth lives".

Five minutes passed. "I thought you didn't know him".

"I don't. Not anymore".

Another ten minutes passed."What do you meeeeeeeeeeeeean?".

After a long and frustrated sigh, Aden finally gave in. "He's my half-brother".

By the time he had finished pronoucing those words, they had arrived at the mansion.

Aden quickly led Mrs. Valette by the arm, hoping she wouldn't bother him with any more of the questions that arose from her intense pangs of curiousity.