Silent Worlds: Dial Tone Book 2

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Ludwig Didn't Know

What alerts you that something is wrong? Do you have gut feelings? A sudden pain that’s unexplained happening in your stomach, maybe even an inactive cavity has randomly kicked up. For some it's an ache in their shoulder; itchy skin. Wives can’t help but twist their wedding rings around and around their fingers when something has happened to their husband that they’ve yet to be made aware of. Or do you simply go about your day until, with no reason at all, you have a pause... just stand still and wonder why?

That’s what it was like that December morning. Something about today was cold. Colder than usual; noted Ludwig who woke up early that morning...

Ludwig Ballantyne took a long shower. He woke up early, around 5 o’clock, and just let himself be hydro-pampered. He is definitely a water baby, born a Cancer in the zodiac circle; he always thought that if he were gonna go, he’d wanna be buried at sea, that way he can float around in the water for all eternity. Yeah, bliss. He needs bliss, right now.

He was completely unable to sleep last night, due to his troubled mind thinking about what had happened between him and Yakusoku. He could still see his hands moving along the male’s neck, shoulders, and head. He could see himself leaning in after listening to the relieved’s breathing, eased from its tension. Why had he done it? Why had he kissed him?! How did it even make sense?! He’s never been into guys... not severely. Maybe once with this kid named Nickolas.

Shampoo slides from his sudsy head and down his body, onto the porcelain tub floor, where it ran its course to the drain... circling; as if to take one last look at the place before going down the drain. He really was feeling grimy after last night. It's always like this when you’re socially awkward. You do, and think, and behave in the stupidest ways and can’t seem to realize you’re doing it until the damage is already done. He’s so stupid!

This is how he’d lost friends at his old school! He was weird, and always assuming he could get away with things. Be like the others, he would tell himself, it keeps friends. Yeah right. But this, this is the first time he’s ever... well, done THAT. What happened with Nickolas was in elementary school. No one minds when kids are sexually fluid. It just takes one good yelling at from your parents to realize that what was done wasn’t right, and you stopped. Problem solved. Never happens again. But dammit... he’s not in elementary school, he’s in high school, where lives get ruined from things like that.

‘Calm yourself Ludo...’ And that was the first time he’d ever called himself that.

God, Yakusoku rubbed off on him more than he had thought. The Asian teen obviously got his everything from Gev, until he dropped the act; so how was Ludwig not to follow his example and, well, behave like Gev. Well, maybe not entirely like him, the musician was sure he’d never dye his hair, or go goth.

Rock music bugged the hell out of him; a lot of it sounds like idiotic angry retorts of what the singer WISHED they had said to someone who had antagonized them to have the song written in the first place. Because if anyone came off as ‘cool’ as their lyrics then what are they singing about pain and annoyance? Give him melodic sounds of Campoli, or the spine-tingling sounds of the Czech violinist Váša Pøíhoda. But it isn’t just a bunch of dead or old guys, he likes Nuttin’ But Stringz as well. And the two put a very lovely hip hop flare to their music.

Shit. His alarm clock is going off. Leaping out of the shower; towel wrapping around him in the process, Ludwig dashes into his bedroom.

Even the room felt funny today. Icy cold- especially now that he’s out of the shower and still a bit wet.

‘Isn’t the heat on?’ He wondered while moving his hand over the vent, discovering that it is indeed on.

Sliding the switch over on the alarm clock, he dropped his weight down on his bed to run the towel through his hair.

’Just because Gev could get away with practically fucking the guy, and all he’d receive is a stream of 'your an idiot’ while also obtaining full co-operation, didn’t mean the sentiment was shared by, or offered to, all. God... Yakusoku probably got home and was wearing his phone minutes thin laughing about it. Fuck!′ Tossing his soggy towel to the floor, he let out an agitated sigh. ‘Calm down, and stop thinking about it. It's not a big deal. Yakusoku’s cool, and he said he wasn’t going to tell anyone, I just have to believe that that includes soulmates.’

And he thought that, if he could be honest with himself, the Gev thing was probably the kind of phenomena that if he and Yakusoku were alone, the Land teen would look over at him and say something like: “Gev’s weird with this whole vampiric kissing thing, just ignore it- I do.” Yeah! He’d been alone with the pair a couple of times since he’d caught them in Yakusoku’s car on his birthday, and Gev would nuzzle his face into Yakusoku’s and pepper little kisses against that hot, pulsing skin... Okay. Off topic. Point is, he knows that it's being done, and during one of those times, Yakusoku had sent him a wide-eyed “can you believe what I put up with” look.

‘He could just be viewing me as another one of those types.’ Thinks the troubled male.

That eased his fears, and the tension in his shoulders relaxed. Getting up from the bed, he dresses in a white button-down shirt then slips a sweater over it, pulling the cuffs and collar out from beneath the knit warmth. Dark blue boxers and black jeans cover his privacy, and he’s ready for the day.

Checking out the window, he sees the thick pile of snow that the street scraper has shoved onto the sidewalk. Even with the assurance that everything was cool, he still thought about calling Yakusoku to, once again, apologize to him for kissing him on the neck... and maybe ask for a ride to school. Would that be too much? Is he not owed a ride because he kissed him?

He shook his nerves away, and coaxed himself to stop sounding and acting like a chick while remembering what he’d told himself only minutes ago- fabrication as it was, it was still a comfort. He was not ready to face him at school, though. Would Yakusoku keep casting him off glances, until someone asked: what was up? Or maybe he’d be the one to blow it by chatting him up, to cover it up.

Grabbing his bag; the report they were working on that, "Doomed", night safely tucked away inside it, Ludwig walked downstairs to fix himself some eggs and sausage for breakfast. His parents aren’t up yet but they will be; he can hear the nearing 2 but is still a 1-year-old cousin clacking toys together from his bedroom as he walks by the door. He’d peeked in at the child, seeing that he’s fine and content being on his own, and headed down.

His cousin Corin used to stay with them too, but that was a brief minute because she goes to boarding school back home in Washington, where his family originally came from. And as far as having his male cousin living with them full time, his aunt is very sick and can only visit the family from time to time. She isn’t fit enough to take care of either of her children on her own, especially after what happened to his uncle.

Running a hand through his hair to smooth his frets; he then tugs open the refrigerator grabbing from it a carton of eggs. Once the fridge door is closed, it's to the freezer where the link sausage is located; he prefers the patties but eh, no one has to shop especially for him, so he makes due. Skillet on the stove, both eggs cracked over the heating pan, he waits until they’re a perfect sunny-side-up before sliding them onto his plate. The sausage he microwaves; and while they’re spinning away and cooking, Ludwig heads upstairs to grab the toddler to seat him before some cartoons while he has his breakfast.

“No, no, no, no...” Cried the child to the television.

The boy can say a few dozen sentences well enough when he’s not excited to the point of baby gibberish. But it's not like hardcore, this baby is going places, just... you know, toddler talk. It sounds a lot like intoxicated gibberish if you don’t know what to listen for. He’ll hopefully become easier to understand in February when he hits ‘The Terrible Twos’, as they’re so often referred.

“Caaaa” Because that is how he says ‘cousin’. “Lu, can I haaaash... some oa’me?”

Ludwig smiled at the kid’s speech pattern; always pausing with the dragging of some word, as if he’s giving menial sentences some added effect so they’re more interesting. “Yes you maaaay... hash some oatmeal.” He snickered hearing the kid laugh. Elias is completely obsessed with oatmeal, especially when it has chocolate marshmallows in it.

While fixing the boy’s oatmeal, Ludwig eats his breakfast in a few quick bites. He can hear the stairs creaking, not surprisingly, since Elias is singing with one of the Kid’s Bop commercial tv has threatened humanity’s ears with, at the top of his lungs. Something is just disturbing and annoying about a pile of kids harmonizing. He shuddered.

“Come on squirt, meal time.”

“It's oatmeal!” Announced the boy staggering into the kitchen to accept his breakfast, hands clapping in cheer.

Ludwig hoisted the child into the high chair, though he puts up such a fuss to just sit on a chair like everyone else does. The kid definitely seems to wanna live by example, and if no one else is sitting in a high chair, then why should he? One hand down on the little table that’s offered in front of the padded chair; he leans forward, to prevent mess, and chows down like it's the antidote.

“Good morning, and goodbye.” He says to his parents; planting a kiss to the boy’s head, he gives it a pat also, before leaving the kitchen.

“Is your report done? You’re friend left awful quickly.” Mrs. Ballantyne’s french accent made the entire sentence sound as if there were less words than there were. She always speaks quickly.

“I... finished it last night, and he said: he wanted to go home because he didn’t bring pajamas.” He lied easily.

It wasn’t entirely a lie, he’d called Yakusoku because Mrs. Land had called. Yakusoku sounded weird but by the end of the call he’d told him that he was just gonna go home.

“That’s odd. He could have borrowed a pair of yours.” That was his father; his accent is there, it's slight but not as slight as Ludwig’s.

“Dad... only kids do that. We’re men now, we don’t borrow each other’s clothes.” Hoisting his backpack on, he adjusted the straps while slowly backing to the door, looking out for furniture as he goes.

Waving a hand, his mother says. “Oh pish-posh... I’ve seen boys sharing sweaters.”

“Yeah, sweaters... but sleepwear?” He laughed with the right amount of ‘you’d be kidding yourself on that one’.

“You’re walking?” Asks his mother when seeing that he didn’t grab the car keys before he’d opened the door.

“I don’t wanna drive on icy roads; it makes me nervous.” He explained.

“We can drive you,” Looking to her husband, the plump woman waved a hand as if he couldn’t see her. “Iggy, drive your son to school.”

Holding up his hands in defense, as if they were going to attack him, Ludwig shakes his head and puts on a charming smile. “I don’t need a ride, it’s fine. I like the cold.”

Shrugging, his mother heads into the kitchen.

Ludwig can hear her making a fuss over her nephew as he walks out, closing the door after him. Blowing some warmth into his hands, he rubs them together. ‘Maybe, if I walk slowly, I can avoid spotting Gev and the others.’ He thinks.

He’s walked or has been driven to school with them since Yakusoku got his car and invited him into the fold; he wondered if they almost expected him now? Would they notice if he wasn’t with them, or just go about it like it was normal? He’d soon find out wouldn’t he?

And that is why Ludwig, didn’t know.

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