Brendon couldn’t help but want to kick himself every time he ran into the commander, which happened a lot. Brendon had been at this house for a few months and couldn’t fathom why, recently, at every turn he took, the commander was there. It seemed to Brendon as if he was even going out of his way to run into him.
The ceremonies had gotten less painful, still uncomfortable but it didn’t feel like he was being ripped in half anymore. He found that if he focused on something else completely, he could almost forget what was happening to him. That was until the commander came inside of him and then just left. He wondered if Keltie could tell when her husband has finished because she always gripped his hands harder and dug her nails painfully into his hand.
Brendon always went back into his room afterwards and looked at the crescent moons that
Keltie had engraved in his palms. He never found himself able to be angry with her over the nail digging. He would probably do the same thing if he were in her position.
Every month that Brendon went to the doctor and came back with a negative test, he felt like Keltie was going to smack him. “You are so useless,” Keltie would yell. The first time that had happened Brendon had to hold back the “Well if I’m so useless, then you do it. Oh wait, you can’t,” that threatened to spill from his mouth.
Apart from that Brendon and Ofwentz had grown much closer. On their walks to and from the city, when they were alone, they’d come up with crazy ways to escape from this. They’d learned each other’s real names and Patrick had even trusted Brendon by telling him about Pete and his past. He tried to remember why they started sharing so much and he remembered that that day in the city they had run into William.
They had been in one of the shops picking up bread when the store went eerily silent. Both Patrick and Brendon turned around and saw a Guardian with a Carrier walking through the middle of the store. All Brendon could focus on was the large bump protruding from this otherwise tall and skinny man.
“Hi, Ofross,” the pregnant man said. Brendon looked up and his eyes went as wide as saucers.
It was William.
“Hi, Ofsaporta,” Brendon replied.
“How are you?” William asked.
“I’m fine,” Brendon said, “But you-“
“Yes, I’m pregnant, six months to be exact,” William cut him off. He had a smug smile
adorning his lips.
“Well congratulations?” Brendon questioned.
“Thank you,” William replied.
“Ofross, I think we should go,” Patrick had pulled him out of the store but not before William had told Brendon, “May the blessing be bestowed upon you,” in a mocking tone of
Brendon rolled his eyes. He looked back at the store and through the window he saw that the other men parted down the middle to let William pass through. Brendon’s stomach churned at the sight.
Brendon’s mind drifted back to the present and he thought about the commander again.
“Freaking weirdo,” Brendon said to himself.
The house was empty, Keltie was off getting drunk with the other wives, Commander Ross was off doing whatever he did, and Clara and Joanne were given the day off so God knows where each of them had gone.
Brendon wondered about the house looking into each of the rooms because he knew they would all probably be home late. He opened the last door in the long hallway on the floor and lost his breath at the sight.
In the far left in front of a window sat a Steinway that looked exactly like the one that was
in his old apartment. Brendon walked over to it and ran his fingers over the keys. It was perfect. He pressed a key and smiled at the note it played.
Brendon sat down and began to play some of Beethoven’s Fur Elise before launching into something he had made up and played for Rebecca to get her to go to sleep. Brendon began to lose himself in the music just as he always used to. He didn’t know how long he’d been playing until he heard a cough come from behind him. Brendon was so frightened that he hit a wrong note and the song he had been playing came to an abrupt and ugly end.
Brendon turned around and was face to face with the commander, who was standing at the doorway looking on fully interested.
“Abusing my piano?” Commander Ross asked.
Brendon remained silent.
“No really, go on, I liked it,” Commander Ross urged him.
Brendon didn’t know what to do, so he did as he was told. He turned back around and faced the piano. He took a deep breath and began playing where he had been interrupted.
Brendon finished the song and took his hands off of the piano and placed them in his lap, looking at the floor.
“Do you sneak into here every time no one is home?” the commander questioned.
Brendon shook his head.
Brendon shrugged, knowing it probably looked childish.
“Well, what was that?” the Commander asked, referring to the song Brendon had been playing.
“I don’t know, I made it up,” Brendon answered.
“So you do speak,” the commander smiled, “I was beginning to think you were a mute.”
Brendon gave a small smile.
“I’m Ryan,” the commander said, “And you are?”
Brendon looked up at him confusedly.
“I know who you are, but I mean, what’s your real name?” Ryan rephrased the question.
“Why do you care?” Brendon countered.
“I don’t know really. I shouldn’t, but I find you intriguing,” Ryan said honestly.
“Brendon. My name is Brendon.”
“Okay Brendon. Can you tell me why you were down here?” Ryan asked again.
“I don’t know. I was bored so I decided to look around. I found this room and I couldn’t help
myself,” Brendon answered.
“Well, you’re welcome to it. Nobody else knows how to play. I tried to learn, but I sucked,” Ryan laughed.
“Oh um,” Brendon started.
“Well, you can play when no one’s here,” Ryan said, answering Brendon unasked question.
“Okay, thanks,” Brendon let out a breath.
Ryan nodded and said nothing else before walking out of the room.
A few days later as Brendon was walking down to meet Patrick, Ryan’s driver came up to him.
“Tonight, after they’ve all gone to sleep, Ryan wants to see you in his study,” the driver to him.
Brendon nodded and went on with his day.
That night after sneaking down the steps quietly Brendon knocked on the door three times. The door opened slightly and Ryan peeked through.
“Brendon,” Ryan sighed and pulled him into the room.
And that’s how it all began.