Chapter 4 - Impress Me
As nights flew by, the boy seemed to become one of the clan but Haven remained distant, even more so from Kale. Two more times the moon rose and set and the stars remained unseen. Many have tried to show Haven the city but she opted to stay at the castle each night and duty to Manhattan called them away. She secluded herself, always distant, always cold.
“So when are you going to tell her?” Brooklyn, Lexington, and Broadway were out on patrols when Lex asked his question. “Huh? What? Who?”
“When are you going to tell Haven you like her?” Lexington repeated. “I…I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Brooklyn said a little embarrassed.
“You’re not fooling anyone.” Broadway asked, “You look at her the way you used to look at Maggie.” Brooklyn thought about what they could mean. He must have had the stupidest expression, “So what. It’s not like she’s interested.”
“Have you even tried?” Lexington inquired.
“I’ve tried showing her the city but for some reason, she doesn’t want to leave the castle. She won’t even come to the edge.” He frustrated. “Well you could always try giving her flowers. Angela loves it when I do that.” Said Broadway.
“Yeah! Girls love flowers.” Lex agreed. Brooklyn thought about it for a moment, “That’s actually not a bad idea. You guys keep going, I gotta stop somewhere.” Brooklyn later returned to the castle with some red roses; hand-picked. “You’d think claws that can dig into stone and steel could resist thorns.” He observed to himself.
He approached her at the fountain hesitantly since that seemed to be her favorite spot, but as he rounded the corner, the fountain was found unmanned. Figuring she’d be back later, he left the bouquet on the fountain’s edge and went in to patch up his bloodied fingers. “Lad! What happened to yoor hands? Ye been pickin’ posies?”
Hudson stopped him when coming out of his TV room. “Lucky guess.” Brooklyn sighed.
“Tryin’ to impress the lass, eh? It woon’t work getting her pretty things. She’s smarter than that. Have ye tried talkin’ to her?” Brooklyn sighed, “I’ve tried but she always seems like she doesn’t want to see anyone.”
Hudson rested his hand on Brooklyn’s shoulder, “Give her time, lad. She’s far from anything familiar and living with very uncomfortable accommodations. It’s just a bad case of homesickness.”
“I guess you’re right. Maybe I could do something to bring her home to her.” Hudson raised an eyebrow, “Maybe…”
“Anytime, lad.” After cleaning up his hands, he went back out to check on the flowers. They were just as he left them, only he didn’t remember leaving them on the floor. Upon closer inspection, the flowers were gone; only the stem remained. It didn’t take him a long search to find the petals scattered in the fountain. If this was some joke, that person was going to rue it. Yet, he had to admire how the petals really gave some color to the boring fountain. It was starting to turn the water a faint pink shade, “Maybe she did this…”
Moments later, Kale could be heard groaning from the courtyard entryway. “Hey, kid. You ok?” The boy dragged his feet and slumped down the wall, “I’m dying. There’s nothing to do in this place.”
“You wouldn’t perhaps be too bored to go for a ride would you?” The boy found his energy and leapt onto his back without hardly a word. Brooklyn snickered, “I guess that’s a yes.”
They took off from the ledge so soon, only pausing to warn the boy to hold on tight, “THIS! IS! SO! COOL~!”
They looped, made sharp, quick turns, barrel-rolled, dived deep as if trying to crash from a nose dive and using the momentum and air currents to shoot back up a second later, “This is Better that a roller coaster!”
Brooklyn only smiled; this was just a normal night for him. They did that for about another half hour until he got tired, “Ok, I’m beat. You got a place in mind that you’d like to land?”
Kale thought for a second but it didn’t take him long, “The Statue of Liberty! I never got to go all the way up to the torch.” Brooklyn laughed a little, “Not bad kid. Ok, Lady Liberty.”
The harbor looked black in the night scape, only lit by the reflected city. The tours were over for the night but it was tricky gliding unseen by the guards since the monument was so well lit. The hotdogs they picked up on the way were great though, a famous snack in New York. “This was awesome. I can’t believe Haven didn’t want to do this.”
Brooklyn imagined this being something she wanted to do. No one wants to stay inside forever. “She didn’t. How come?” Kale shook his head, “I don’t know. I think she doesn’t like me.”
Now this Brooklyn was sure didn’t make sense, “What makes you say that? She told me you were special to her.”
“Well she’s been avoiding me since a few nights ago.”
“I don’t know. Haven just started acting weird. She yelled at me and someone else to stop talking to her…at the same time.”
“I don’t know. It was just the two of us.” Brooklyn began to wonder if something might be wrong. Then Kale added, “She doesn’t even sit at the fountain anymore.”
It was quiet after that. Car horns could be heard combined from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey City, not uncommon at this time of night. “I wonder if any of those are my dad’s.”
“You miss him?”
“NO! He lied to me. I hope he gets into a crash.”
“You don’t mean that.”
“Yes I do. He lies about everything. Santa, Anything about my mom, going to the Clippers game; he even lied about my grandparents. I don’t care if he gets a bee stuck up his nose and into his brain. I hope it stings him forever.”
“Is that why you ran away?”
“No, I ran away because he lied about my mom. He told me she died giving birth to me but I saw her at the Puerto Rican Day Parade. After I asked him about it, he looked and then we went home, just like that. He wouldn’t talk to me the whole way home and kept saying I saw someone else. But I’ve seen my mom from pictures so many times, there’s no WAY I’d mistake her for some other lady.”
“Did he ever explain?” Brooklyn saw his eye turn pink, tears were spilling over his eye lid. “Yeah. He said my mom left me as a baby and started a new life. But there’s no way I can believe that! What mother would dump her child to do that?! I hated him for saying that!”
“And that’s when you ran out.” The boy could only nod at this point. Brooklyn sighed, “Have you ever thought about going back?”
Kale wiped his nose on his sleeve, “I’m never going back to him. I’ll find my mom and I’ll live with her.” He couldn’t say anything, not a word of wisdom. The child wasn’t ready to hear it, not from him. He took the boy back to the Xanatos Tower, getting an idea along the way, “It can get pretty boring around here but maybe you can hang out with Hudson. He’s always got stories more exciting than the stuff on TV.”
Kale sighed, “I guess…” the boy walked to the doorway, stretching like he was ready for sleep, “Thanks, Brooklyn.”
Brooklyn smiled and waved, watching him disappear inside as Lexington ran by, “Hey Brooklyn, have you seen Alex?”
Lexington had a look of worry and a hint of panic in his voice. “I just got back with Kale. What’s going on?” he asked.
“Well, I was playing with Alex when he just disappeared.”
“He’s a baby, you need to watch him better.”
“No, you don’t understand! I was watching him. I was actually holding him when he clapped his hands and zapped into thin air.” Brooklyn face palmed and shook his head with frustration, “Oh, don’t they make magic wet-nurses for magic babies.”
They started running around the complex, encountering Goliath on the way and knocking him down, “I hope this is urgent enough that you must tackle me to the ground.”
“Uh…” Brooklyn as the second in command was obligated to answer, “We’re playing magic hide-and-seek.”
“With Alex…” Lexington finished. Goliath was not so easily fooled and stared Lexington down. “Are you telling me you lost Xanatos’ baby?”
“Hey, I didn’t teach him magic.” Lex protested. Golaith stood tall, “Alert the others, tell Xanatos his baby has enchanted himself somewhere and have Puck help you find him.”
Just then, there came a crash from below. “Isn’t that the library?” They rushed up a floor to find books flying in the air and Haven getting hit by them. They knocked her right off the second-level balcony. They rushed down to help her, finding she landed on the reading chair. The chair lifted off the ground with her in it before they could reach her. Haven leapt from the chair onto the stairs winding up to the second level. She just sat there on the stairs so they could reach her this time, “You ok?” Lexington asked.
Brooklyn was the first to notice her shaking. All this magic must have been unnerving to her. When he touched her, her eyes started glowing and she darted up the stairs to face baby Alex giggling from a few feet away, “Playtime’s OVER!”
Haven grabbed him and picked him up before he disappeared again. “Who was going to tell me la niño wasn’t normal?!”
The books were still flying in the air and hitting them, “Well, he’s still in here.” Brooklyn stated, “hitting us with the books is making him giggle.”
Indeed the giggling could be heard throughout the room, loud enough to attract Owen and Xanatos, “What’s going on in here?”
“Sorry, Xanatos…” Lexington remorsed, “I don’t have much practice with vanishing babies.” Owen removed his glasses, “Sadly no, but I do.”
In a blinding second, a short, elf-like creature stood before Haven, causing her to fall backwards, “Sorcery...”
“Well, actually I’m Robin but people tend to dub me puck.” Puck flaunted. Brooklyn helped Haven stand, she not once taking her eyes from him, “How is this possible?”
“Here’s the short version,” Brooklyn started, “He’s one of Oberon’s children and he works for Xanatos.”
“Who’s Oberon?” Puck sighed, “And there it is. Honestly, this is what happens when you raise anything under the Catholic Church. It grows up not knowing anything at all. Darling, we simply must get you up to speed. But first…Alexander, it’s time for beddy-by.” He snapped his fingers and the books froze mid-flight before falling to the ground, some hitting the gargoyles. Alex crawled out from behind the shelves but the manner by which he did so shocked them, “Look!”
Xanatos watched as his son stood on two tiny feet and walked to his dad. He didn’t get far like that and rested right on Haven’s foot, much to her distaste after bludgeoning her countless times with hardcover encyclopedias. She lifted her foot but the tyke had a steady grip and only giggled. Brooklyn urged her to let him keep going so she put her foot down and sure enough, Alex walked the whole way to his dad who picked him up lovingly, “Oh, Fox would have wanted to see this.”
“Yes indeed. The defiance of gravity on multiple items at a time and pulling a Houdini is quite impressive…oh, you meant the walking.” Puck pointed out the mess before Xanatos turned to him, “I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right; I did teach him vanishing but he learned levitation on his own. Smart little thing. He even has a knack for disturbing the peace, might make a good Puck someday.”
“Well for now, he needs to go to bed.” Puck nodded and changed back into Owen, “Quite, sir. I will attend to the security footage to show Fox young Alexander’s first steps. You four could do to help clean up the mess.”
With that, they left them. Haven left shortly after, “Ugh, I need some air.” Brooklyn and Goliath stayed behind with Lexington to clean up the mess. “I thought all gargoyles knew about the Third Race.” Lex averred.
Goliath piled books on top of the other since he had no idea how to organize a library, “It is just as Puck said: growing up sheltered from such things leaves you ignorant of them.”
Brooklyn concurred, “Yeah. A convent isn’t exactly the place to learn about magic. Makes you wonder how much she knows about her own race.” As Brooklyn was stacking books, he found one that made him pause. Then he got the biggest idea, “This is it! This is what I need. I’ll see you guys later. I gotta do something.”
With that, he left them to finish up. Hours later, a commotion could be heard coming from the kitchen attracting the attention of the others. “What be going on here?” asked Hudson in his Scottish accent.
“It’s Brooklyn, he locked himself in the kitchen and he won’t come out.” Lexington replied.
“Why?” Goliath inquired walking up to the scene. “That’s what we’d like to know.” Lexington answered.
“I don’t care why he’s in there. I’m hungry and I can’t make myself a sandwich.” Broadway complained frustrated. Goliath pushed past and knocked on the door. “Brooklyn? Will you come out for a moment?”
“One minute.” he called back. A loud clutter could be heard from the other side until finally, the door opened. What stood before looked not like a gargoyle, but a pasty, dirty, red something. Brooklyn was covered in raw food residue and flour from nearly head to toe.
“What are you doing in there?” questioned Goliath. “Just working on a project.” he replied.
“Do you need any help?” Brooklyn turned to Angela, Haven standing next to her. “Uh, no! I just…”
A smoke smell covered the kitchen. “Is something burning?” Kale asked. Brooklyn turned around to see what he put in the stove was now starting trying to catch fire. He blew out the flames with an extinguisher and then sunk into despair. “Never mind.”
Broadway almost felt sad until he saw his poor kitchen. He, as well as the others, stepped into the room to better view the chaos formerly known as the kitchen. “Look at this place. What were you trying to do in here?” Broadway bellowed.
There were pots on the stove filled with sauces, used mixing bowls and measuring cups & spoons on the counter, and hand-sized somethings so extra crisp in the oven that it was unidentifiable. Everything in the pots and pans on the stove were wither burnt, poorly seasoned, or over flavored. Then, Haven picked up a smell that intrigued her, even over the crisp, smoke smell, coming from one of the smaller pans on the stove. She opened it and found a discolored blackish-brown substance. She took a spoon, not hesitating to reach in for a taste. “Don’t!”
The others cried out in objection, but it was too late. She took the whole spoon in bravely, cringed and swallowed, then her eyes widened in a long pause. Then she went in for another scoop and repeated the process twice, encouraging the others. One by one, they hesitantly approached the pot on the stove. Each dipped a finger in the sauce and, slowly but surely, they stuck said fingers in their own mouths. All agreed, it was the worst thing they ever tasted. “Jeez, Brooklyn, what did you do to this stuff?” Broadway choked.
But they watched as Haven kept going for more. Goliath was the first to notice the tears on her face, “Haven, are you alright.”
Brooklyn felt really ashamed now, “If it’s that bad, you don’t have to eat it.”
“Wha…” she seemed as if she didn’t realize she was crying as she reached for her cheek and found it wet, “That’s…excuse me.” Haven pushed past them politely and walked out of the kitchen. “Maybe she’s sick.” Lex guessed.
Hudson sniffed the substance on his finger but he was the smart one who didn’t try any, “Or…maybe you gave her a better taste of home than you know…” he motioned for Brooklyn to go after her.
He found her heaved over a plant. “I guess Lex was right. I’m sorry for making you sick. I was just trying to bring some of Costa Rica to you.”
“You didn’t…” she coughed. He held her hair back as another wave came over her, “You brought back *cough* an old memory.”
Brooklyn followed her to the nearest bathroom and sat outside the door waiting for her. He could hear her vomit more, then the sink, then a nudge of the door like she slumped up against it, “Monja Iveliesse had to sneak food down to us for years. She got so good at it. I had a craving for a quesadilla but there was no Lizano sauce to put on it so I made it from scratch. I screwed it up so bad I nearly vomited.
“The kitchen friar was coming back so I hid under the sink. He didn’t think anything of it and served it to the friars. They all got mad at him and he didn’t know why. But the priest said it was wrong to waste food so they had to eat all of it. I made enough to last them for days since they were on a fast. Mi hermanos and I joked about it for months but Monja Ivelisse was furious with us, especially me. I’d almost forgotten that sauce. Somehow, you made it just as bad as mine: it almost tasted the same too.” Brooklyn didn’t know he tapped That deep into her memory of home. “Brooklyn…”