The Parting Of The Ways

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A Shocking Revelation

Anthony and Athene were helping Mark and Julie with their English essays. They had started studying Chaucer, that week and they were supposed to be translating a section into more modern English.

“I just can’t get a hang of this old English,” sighed Mark throwing aside an old dictionary from the top of Anthony’s bed.

“Be careful Fred!” muttered Julie, “that one nearly hit Athens on the head!”

“Sorry Athy,” called Mark poking his head over from where he had been lying on Anthony’s bunk.

“As long as you don’t start throwing hardbacks, I should get by without a concussion,” shrugged Athene casually picking up the dictionary and opened it to the right page.

“I think we’re done for the day,” beamed Anthony closing the books with a hint of finality.

“Thank God for that,” exclaimed Mark practically leaping from the top bunk to the floor.

“I’m nearly late for rehearsal,” he muttered retying his tie in the mirror and straightening his shirt.

“And now my dear friends anon,” said Mark giving a deep exaggerated bow.

“But before I go fair maiden, may I beg a kiss from your sweet lips?”

Julie shook her head and kissed Mark on the lips.

“Get on with you,” chuckled Julie, “or Wells will clip your wings.”

“Till the morrow comrades!”

At this, he leapt from the room leaving the door swinging behind him.

“Don’t you have rehearsal too Julie?” asked Athene.

“Oh Mr Wells wants to see the fairies on their own for half an hour first, I’m not needed until six. Mark’s playing Puck, but I’m playing Hermia.”

“Let’s face it Mark was born for the role,” muttered Anthony as he got out Maths textbook, “he’s always been away with the fairies.”

“He is going to be great,” nodded Athene, “I can’t wait to see you all in it next week.”

“Can you guys believe we’ve already nearly finished the first term of our A-Levels?” asked Anthony.

“What do you guys want to do when you get out of this joint?” asked Julie.

They both looked at Julie and gave her a significant look. All that Athene and Anthony had talked about for the last two months was university. The colleges they wanted to apply for, what they were going to study.

“We all know what you and Marky want to do. But to be honest, no matter how talented he is, he’s got more chance of being a film star as Graham does of getting elected prime minister.”

Athene looked at Anthony slightly crestfallen, they all knew how talented Mark was.

All of them had dreams, yes Mark and Julie’s dreams were a lot more ambitious than some of theirs. Anthony out of them was the biggest dreamer of them all, making up fairy tales for his nieces and nephews.

Anthony talking down his brother and Julie’s dreams made her feel slightly disappointed in him. Anthony was Mark’s twin brother, if he didn’t believe in Mark then who would?

Anthony straightened his glasses and bit his lip seeing the disappointed expression etched onto his girlfriend’s face.

“Look I’m sorry Athy darling, but it’s true. The entertainment industry is hard for anyone to get into, and that’s even if you’ve got the right connections and been to the right schools, which Marky hasn’t.”

“He went to stage school,” interjected Athene.

“It’s not good enough,” sighed Anthony.

“If you two will both shut up arguing for a minute, I’ve got some news for you.”

They both whipped their heads around and looked at Julie slightly confused.

“There’s a talent scout coming to the play next week, he’s a friend of Mr Wells. You’ve got nothing to worry about Tony.”

“Why didn’t you tell us earlier?” asked Anthony knocking over his pot of ink all over his maths problems in shock.

“In case nothing came of it,” shrugged Julie as Athene helped Anthony clean up the ink.

“Nothing still might come of it.”

“That’s a pretty big might there Jules,” said Anthony.

“You don’t seem so excited,” said Athene confused, “I thought you’d be jumping for joy.”

“Mark is,” muttered Julie, “but I’m not.”

“Why not!” exclaimed Anthony, “don’t you want to get spotted and flown off to Hollywood with the hubby?”

All that Mark and Julie had talked about since they were five years old, was being film stars like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. They still used the nicknames now even though Mark was now seventeen.

“Mark does, but I don’t. Not anymore.”

“What?” stammered Athene.

“I can’t move to America even if I wanted to. When I leave school in two years, I’m going to have to learn how to look after the land and run the business.”

Anthony was astounded, not only was Julie talking about this so casually, but she didn’t even seem slightly upset.

“Anthony, stop looking at me like that!” she laughed.

“I might as well have just told you that I’m a magical fairy princess, who grants wishes and rides a bright pink flying unicorn.”

Anthony was halfway between checking for wings on her shoulders, and telling her that a flying unicorn would actually be a Pegasus but seemed to decide against it. Even he could notice sarcasm that heavy.

“But isn’t this what you’ve always wanted, to be a famous dancer or film star.”

“It was when I was little,” shrugged Julie, “it might have been different if I had siblings, but Dad’s not getting any younger and somebodies got to take over.”

“Do you know how many cows the Fforbes Hamilton farms actually have?”

“No,” said Anthony, “but I know it’s a lot.”

“Well, there’s about sixty farmhands, working in thirty cattle farms throughout Sussex and Surrey. Someday, I’m going to have to be in charge of running all that.”

The idea of Julie driving around farms in muddy wellies and a range rover almost made Anthony laugh. She was just so sophisticated, and never had a hair out of place. It just didn’t make sense.

Was this some kind of an alternate reality and Charlie was about to come waltzing into the room, and announce that she had just won the Miss World beauty competition?

“I think that’s wonderful Julie,” said Athene as Anthony stared into space.

“If that’s Tony’s reaction, imagine how confused Mark’s going to be when I break the news to him!” laughed Julie.

“How long have you known though?”

“I don’t know, a couple of years maybe, but I suppose for I’ve always known deep down. It’s different for Mark and Tony, they don’t have to take over the family business they’ve got siblings.”

“I suppose that I’ve always known that I’d have to take over the business and get married so I can provide an heir.”

“Now that will be a sight to see,” laughed Anthony breaking out of his trance.

“Fred and Ginger’s finest dairy products, the best milkshakes this side of Hollywood Boulevard.”

“I could go off you, you know,” said Athene hitting him with a Latin dictionary lightly.

“I couldn’t marry Mark!” said Julie who couldn’t help herself from laughing.

“What are you talking about?” asked Athene.

“You two hardly let each other leave a room without snogging,” said Anthony.

“Mark’s not the marrying type,” said Julie evasively.

“Yeah, I can’t see him settling down to be fair,” said Athene.

“You know you’re right," chuckled Anthony, "he is more of a crazy uncle than a husband type.”

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