Chapter One

Sunday the 22nd

Ryan Tramblay

If the scene unfolding before me was a well done oil painting I might have allowed myself the joy of laughing. Though this was not a pretty little piece that belonged in one of the many art galleries that Mr. James Boulstridge frequented in his hunt for the finest works. This was my life.

James Boulstridge was throwing a party after the death of his Aunt Jillian's husband Huxley. Not one of those boring celebrations where tea and other inedible cakes are tossed about as family members lament the life of their loved one. A party that a teenager would be proud to attend. There was strobe lights, a DJ, every type of alcohol was flowing and the teenagers that were in attendance were pretty much having sex on the dance floor.

Jillian Boulstridge's husband Huxley had given up the ghost less than 48 hours ago and the Boulstridges threw a party? For such an old and wealthy family they had no manners. Who celebrates the death of a person? It's almost as if they're happy he died.

Though it is hilarious to see a bunch of old stiff British people getting down with their "bad selves". Jillian was full on grinding with Gustav, the butler of her nephew James.

"Look at my lovely little brooder," A male voice purred from behind me. I was seated as far as possible from the speakers and the obnoxious music. Holiday Boulstridge the son of James Boulstridge pulled out a chair, wheeled it around so it faced me and sat right on the edge. I could tell he was drunk. His blond hair had been slicked back from his forehead and now stray waves were flipped onto his forehead. His grin was far too easy for him to have been sober. As if the flute of pink champagne glittering in his left hand wasn't a dead giveaway. "Having a good time?"

What am I supposed to say? Either option could offend. I'm sure you're not supposed to be having fun at someone's funeral. Though you can't offend the mourning family by telling them that their funeral bored you to tears. And besides, I wasn't bored; I was just confused.

I plucked the glass out of Holiday's fingers and tapped the lip of the glass against my lower lip. "Are you?" I asked and allowed my right eyebrow to raise in a questioning glance. I sipped the pretty liquid and my throat burned as though I had swallowed a sweet lit match.

Holiday opened his mouth and closed it. He smirked at me and wagged his finger as though he had caught me doing something naughty. "You're too young to be drinking, you little thing."

"And you aren't?" I spoke to Holiday with such familiarity because we used to date. Once upon a time, when I was fourteen and he was seventeen you could have said we were in love. He was my first kiss and my first love. And for a moment I imagined those days I would spend in his arms and the nights where we would soak in each other's company and I was turning pink. I didn't need love like that anymore.

"I just turned nineteen, like, three days ago so I'm lots legal." He slurred. I had never seen Holiday drunk before and he had admitted to me he didn't even like drinking. He liked being in control of himself. "You look cute."

He gave me the classic elevator, drinking in my appearance from the top of my white blond head, down to the grey bowtie I wore, past my suit jacket and my pants and then the soles of my shoes. His eyes lingered in the places I didn't want him to look for far too long.

"I could say the same thing to you," I reached out and brushed back the strands of his dirty blonde hair. Under the layer of gel he had used to smooth back the strands; his hair was as soft as down. His often cold hands clasped mine and brought it down to his face which was freshly smoothed from shaving. I could hear him let out a low purr as my palm grazed his cheek.

I snapped back my hand as though it had been burned. "What are you doing?" I whispered harshly. "Are you trying to get yourself in trouble? You know how your grandmother feels about us."

"I don't care about anyone anymore, Ryan." In vino veritas, right? "I've wanted you ever since you left me."

I snickered. "Are you trying to impress me with how long that was? Because it wasn't that long. And besides, I never left you, it was vice versa. That whole fiasco happened in July and it's January now."

"Seven months!" Holiday cried. He held up four fingers and waved them in front of my face. "Seven months I had to do without you, and I don't want to be away from you any," he paused to hiccup. "Longer."

I was torn in two. Half of me wanted to fall in love with Holiday all over again. I wanted to kiss him right there in the dining hall surrounded by throngs of senior citizens who's wrinkly hands would fly to their chests as they were scandalized. I wanted to throw my sense to the wind and curl up against his strong chest. I longed to smell his familiar scent of soap and tattoo ink and feel my heart swell as his lips pressed against mine.

The other half of me knew better. Holiday was fickle, he wanted me one moment and eschewed me with a firm hand the next. The last break-up we had - which hapened six months - ago was only one in a series of break-ups. His family should call themselves the homophobes instead of the Boulstridges because of how much Holiday and I were forbidden to see each other. Even though Holiday's dad is gay and only married Holiday's mother because he had no choice, he still forbids us. He hadn't learned from his own history.

I opened my mouth and I could have said anything. I could have told Holiday to forget about us and told him to move on. Or I could have stolen off to the garden with him and had a little impromptu make out session. Though the words that were poised on my tongue never got a chance to be spoken as James Boulstridge strolled over to us.

James Boulstridge looked like how I imagined a fallen angel to look. I could tell he had been handsome in his day and continued to be very good looking, but he had a duplicitous air about him. His hair was dark and thick with curls with a slight tinge of grey. His eyes were sharp and wolf-like, but were bright like freshly cut grass. Like his son's, his face was made of sharp angles, like the straight line of his nose and the strong cleft of his jaw. He had a neatly trimmed Van Dyke beard with a slight point and it added a devilish quality to his face which his pointed hairline didn't help.

His lips cracked into a grin. "Hello boys. Enjoying the party?" There was a pink box in his hands and once he was seated on the left side of me he presented the box to me.

The gold letters on the box read Charbonnel et Walker and revealed to me that it was a box of pink truffles with a Marc de Champagne centre. "Everyone here gets a box but I had an extra one and I thought you would like it." He spoke the words so shyly, I could hear Holiday snorting like a bull beside me with anger.

"Thank you," I opened the box and the truffles and they were so beautiful I was afraid to eat them. They looked like perfectly round pink snowballs with a light dusting of icing sugar. I remember seeing them at my part-time job and they were the most expensive chocolates I had ever seen.

"What do you want, Dad?" Holiday spit. A waiter with a tray of champagne flutes was walking by and Holiday grabbed his pant leg and snatched two flutes. He poured the glittering contents of one into my empty flute and drank the other one himself.

"That's no way to talk to your father." James replied in a soft voice. James had such a quiet voice for a man with such presence. "And I came to talk to Ryan, not you."

"You're not . . . You're not my father!" Holiday wailed, though anyone who wasn't blind could tell that Holiday and James were father and son. Holiday had James wolf-like green eyes and angular face, only his hair was straight and dirty blonde like his mother's. And with another hard snort through his nostrils, Holiday stormed off.

James allowed himself a small chuckle. "Now, I know you have a job, but I have another job offering for you." James clasped his hands together in his lap. His green eyes turned onto me again. "You know I paint, right?"

"How could anyone not?" I cried. "You're paintings are amazing." James's paintings went for thousands of dollars when he auctioned them off. They were beautiful with only the choicest of paints used. Whether they were his portraits or his impression-esque landscapes they were always breathtakingly rendered.

"Well I haven't painted something in so long and I fear I'm growing rusty. I need some inspiration. I was wondering if you could model for me, and I could paint you." James looked at me with a begging look in his eyes. I could tell this moment was the climax of many weeks and he had been building up his courage to ask me this. I don't blame him, he had major guts asking someone so young and so different from him for a favour like this.

Of course it would be an honour. One day years from now people all over the world could be bidding millions of dollars for a picture of me by the famous painter James Boulstridge.

It would be painful and awkward. I can't sit in a position for such long periods of time, unless James truly is a quick artist. Sitting in absolute silence with your ex-boyfriend's father? I'm sorry I think I'll pass.

"I'll pay you." James said as a last resort. He whispered a number in my ear that had my toes curling. I couldn't imagine even having that much money. I had never had more than six hundred dollars before at one time in my life.

"That's . . . that's. . ." I stammered. "I would have to ask my parents." I blurted. My fingers clutched reflexively around the Charbonnel et Walker box.

James produced a neat little card from within his blazer. "If you ever need me, here's all my information. If you could pop by on Saturday for the preliminary sketches that would be perfect." He placed the card within my hand, his skin brushed against my hand. I didn't feel the echoes of his touch when Holiday had touched me. It was hardly what I would call a touch.

And then James bounded away from me, into the gyrating crowd. I could tell where he was because he was so tall. The only lights were the flashing strobe lights and he was wearing all black, I lost him in the throngs of people quickly.

"Are you just going to sit here all day?" October Burgess the son of Beatrice Burgess who was born Beatrice Boulstridge hollered in my ear. His looks lent nothing from his Boulstridge blood and he looked more like his father then anything. He had the same dark hair, same strong jaw, and aristocratic nose as his father. Though his pale blue eyes and his bow-like mouth were both his mothers.

Of course he looked great in his black and white suit. He looked like he actually belonged in a suit, unlike myself who was being forced to play the part of a boy in a suit. "If I get them to play an Ellie Goulding song, you'll dance won't you?"

"No. He's never been much of a dancer." My twin brother Taylor Jude replied quickly. We were identical twins. Mirror twins, was what the doctor said to our parents. I have a leaf shaped birth mark on my right foot and TJ has the exact same one on his left foot. We both have the same pale blonde hair and the same turquoise eyes. Now we both have braces, though TJ's are dark blue while mine are light blue.

Though TJ's better looking than I am. I know you must wonder how that can be if we're identical twins and one of us can be better looking than the other. We just wear our skin differently. TJ's confident, outgoing and proud while I'm none of the above.

"I think after this we're all going to go dance on Huxley's grave." October sneered and the pair of them broke down into hysterics. TJ wiped the corner of his eyes and October snorted. TJ sat down where Holiday had been sitting, and October plopped himself right down in TJ's lap.

"Can you believe this? We're literally celebrating Huxley's death. I think Great-Aunt Jill is actually quite happy Huxley's out of the way," October said. "I think I saw her snogging Gustav in the hallway."

I couldn't help but crack a smile. "How did Huxley die anyway?"

October rolled his eyes and threw his arm over TJ's back. "He was chasing down this little twenty year old thing when he was struck by a cab. You know old people and their bones. So brittle the slightest impact can kill them." TJ snickered at October's words. "His lungs got punctured and he broke his hip in like eight places and he died on the way to the hospital."

"So he was cheating on Jillian?" I inquired.

October nodded vigorously. "Of course." Without even the slightest of warnings October turned his eyes on TJ's and for a moment they both stared into the depth of each other's eyes. October slowly closed his eyes and kissed the tip of TJ's nose. TJ's lips spread into a giggle and TJ's hands ran down the side of October's suit jacket going from his ribcage to his hip.

I stepped on TJ's foot and blew a dragon-like breath through my nostrils. "TJ, are you batty? Are you trying to get October in trouble?" I cried.

TJ raised his blonde brow in a snooty questioning glance. October smirked and they both looked at me with their eyebrows nearly shooting off their damned foreheads. It was like they were daring me to stop them from doing what they were about to do. As they leaned in to close the gap that had formed between them I let out a length sigh.

"You two give me heart palpitations." I sneered.

TJ and October had been going out since August and I think that they thought their love was so great and beautiful no love had ever and will ever be so pure and majestic as theirs is now. TJ met October – who had just immigrated to Canada from Britain - when they both touched hands while reaching for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and the rest is history.

Do you see what I mean? Things like that never happen to me. I'm the die-hard Potter-head and I'm the Anglophile though somehow TJ ends up getting a boyfriend who is British and is enthralled with the Harry Potter series. It's not fair. TJ always gets the better end of the stick. He's gifted athletically, both of the schools that are considered "Harvards of the North" – McGill and University of Toronto - have offered him ridiculously large scholarships solely based on his 92.5 average, he's never been single for more than a year, he makes friends so impossibly easy it's just mind-blowing and he's nice. It's too much.

I stood hastily to my feet and left my brother and his boyfriend who were exploring each other's mouths much to the disgust of the guests. I found the entrance to the ball-room we were seated in and crept out into the hallway.

Kudos to Jillian for choosing such a beautiful place for the funeral's after party. It was very lovely and it wasn't hard to imagine a head-over-heels couple renting the banquet hall for a wedding. There were lovely little paintings adorning the carefully detailed walls, and a softly burbling fountain. There was an ivory grand piano situated in the middle of the hallway, and I wished I was able to play it just for this occasion.

I slipped the turquoise tie from around my neck, bunched up the silky fabric and slipped it into my pocket. I sat on the red cushioned bench that belonged to the piano and placed my head on top of the cool ivory machine.

I hate parties. I hate dancing. I hate drinking. I hate talking to people about trivial little things. Especially relatives when they comment on how much you've grown since you've last seen them. I hate eating with people I'm not comfortable with, as you're bound to when at a funeral. I hate when people watch me while I eat, especially because I've got braces. I just hate funerals.

Even though I never knew Huxley, and he sounded like a major douche-bag I felt sorry for him. He was dead. He was never going to come back. He's not going to rise up through the earth some day and have another fight with Jillian. He's never coming back ever.

I could hear the blood pumping through the veins in my ears and I hated that. I sounded like a heartbeat and I can't stand hearing my heart when it beats. It reminds me of how my body is simply flesh and bone. At any moment my heart could stop and I would be as equally dead as Huxley.

I felt cold hands brushing my bangs back from my forehead. I knew without question that it was Holiday. I could smell his scent of ink and soap, but there was a tinge of champagne. He pressed his lips to my forehead and when he pulled away the rest of my body that he had left untouched felt cold.

"Do you trust my dad?" Holiday asked. He sat down on the bench next to me, his grass-green eyes trained on my own. I've heard that in certain Native American cultures they will never make eye contact with you because it's considered invading your soul and pretty much violating you. I didn't feel violated by Holiday, though his eye contact was unflinching. His eyes were searching the deepest desires of my soul and I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. "Don't trust him."

I wanted to say something brilliant and eloquent but I could think of nothing. I traced Holiday's other cheek which under a thin careless layer of make-up lay a deep and jagged scar going from Holiday's jaw to his cheekbone. The scar didn't detract from Holiday's look it just made people wonder about him even more.

Holiday moved in to kiss me and I didn't stop him. His lips tasted like champagne after it had lost all of its sparkling, effervescent bubbles. His lips were always the warmest thing about him and I loved that. His fingers were on the little fuzz of blond hair at the nape of my neck. I never really realized how tightly I was grabbing onto his shoulder until I opened my eyes when he pulled away. His smile was a slight little thing before he pressed his lips back to my own again.

I hate a lot of things in my life. It was nice to be immersed in something I loved. Even if that was for a few moments, it was still appreciated.

I know I've been gone for what feels like eight million years but I'm back with a COMPLETED STORY. I won't just stop updating this story like I've done all the others. Follies could be considered the sequel to the Teenage Flame Dame, but I've tweaked a few things. Some names have been changed, but things are more or less the same.
So I hoped you enjoy Follies as much as I enjoyed writing it. Reviews would be appreciated :D

-Reve De Neons