|The offscreen catalyst, like (ladymacbeth) wrote in repose,|
@ 2019-09-09 14:22:00
|Entry tags:||*log, heath fairchild, shiloh foster|
[Backstory: Shiloh & Heath]
Who: Shiloh and Heath
What: A day in the life, @ 2 years ago.
Where: Meadowside, in Kentucky
When: Summer, 2017ish (Completed)
|It was mid-summer, and the air was sticky and warm, and the days were so long that it was shining bright at 8pm at night. That's the time it was, 8pm, and Shiloh had spent the day getting himself into trouble in the town beyond his family's prison manor. But he was back now, stretched out on the dock and looking up at the sky, arms folded behind his head and the whole big universe up there for taking a gander as crickets sang their songs and frogs called to each other from one side of the dock to the other. |
There was a whole bunch of land between here and the house, though it wasn't nearly as tree-thick as their summer place in Repose was. Lands End had a different sort of appeal than Meadowside and all the historical blood that was shed deep into the ground around the plantation home. But either town worked for Shiloh's main purpose in life: Causing trouble. Repose wasn't as affluent as Vestavia Hills, Alabama, but it was just as prone to gossip, and Shiloh lived to bring a fair bit of gossip to their doorstep.
That morning, he'd been caught smooching the police chief's wife. He wasn't underage, but that didn't lessen the gasping and whispering as a result of a very public groping out behind the local beauty salon.
Shiloh, he was feeling pretty good about his day's work, and the police chief's wife wasn't even bad to look at, so it was twice as nice. Three times, really, since he managed to piss off the chief as a bonus, and he'd come home with loads of the man's hard-earned money in his wallet.
He currently had his t-shirt balled up under his head, beneath the folded hands that also pillowed black curls, and his Calvin Klein boxers peeked from beneath his loose designer jeans. His feet were bare, shoes and socks left at the beginning of the dock, and he had a joint between his fingers that sent sweet smoke spiraling upward into the early night sky.
Heath wandered out to the dock, quiet as a wisp of cloud, and about as direct. The tacky scent of the lake was prominent, and it wasn't until Heath's step on the dock made it shift back against the water that Shiloh would get a chance to smell Heath's approach. The younger man brought with him the scent of baked bread crusted with sugar, a yeasty-yet-sweet smell, and it was soft as the dandelion of his hair. Then his shadow slid over Shiloh's prone form, and the wood creaked again as Heath sat down next to his brother's head.
Heath wore loose shorts that would stay in fashion for another few years, eventually billowing out and then coming in short like cotton balloons deflating, but now hovered somewhere around his knee. His flat toed shoes went over the edge of the dock as he faced the water. His laces were filthy and dragged so low that they now just touched the water lapping at the wood underneath them. He held out something in front of Shiloh's face, hovering it about six inches above his brother's nose.
It was some kind of croissant, but instead of airy pastry it seemed to contain a solid center. It smelled like semi-sweet chocolate, hazelnut, and butter. It was also massive, and Heath held it in his entire hand, which, long fingers spread, was fully capable of picking up a basketball solo. It hovered there, playful, out of reach. The chocolate was beginning to soften in the heat.
Heath was wearing designer sunglasses, more round than flat, with mirrored lenses. "No one came to dinner," he said, in a conversational tone.
"You always smell like a damn cookie," Shiloh called out. He was still reclining peacefully, eyes closed and as if he wasn't a terror to the entirety of the county. But his voice was fond. Shiloh liked his siblings. He didn't like them because they were all adopted outcasts; he liked them in spite of it, and he didn't see any need to hide the smile that softened his mouth as he looked up through his closed lids at the night that wasn't yet quite convinced it wanted to be night.
Shiloh listened to footfalls, and then he held the joint up blindly to the shadow that loomed over him. "Something else sweet, if you're interested," he said, but he didn't think Heath would take the offer. You never did know with Heath, though. He seemed sweet as pastries on the outside, but he was stronger than anyone knew beneath that coating of spun sugar.
At this point, Shiloh finally opened his eyes. His smile was something made for long summer days, slow blooming and bright, and he Heath was loose shorts and an offering baked to perfection.
Shiloh tossed the joint into the water, and he sat up and claimed his croissant with long fingers and hoisted knees spread and folded up against his chest. He dug bare toes against the dock that had featured in all their isolated, childhood games. He took a bite of the croissant, and he made a smooth sound of approval. Heath really could bake the sin out of a croissant.
Croissant in one hand, arm draped over his knee, he looked at his blond sibling. "Are we blaming me for everyone's surly avoidance of the family meal?" he asked, sounding untroubled, even proud, if that was the case. But he did know Heath would've preferred everyone dine together. "I'm sorry," he added, and only his siblings would ever garner apology from Shiloh Fairchild.
Heath smiled his thin, sweetly vague smile into the air above the surface of the lake. "I am a damn cookie." He didn't say the words with the same tenor his brother did. Instead, it was the absent amusement with which he seemed to say everything. With his siblings around he tended to say more than usual too, like a soft, living echo of their jubilant voices. He watched his brother more carefully than was immediately apparent, the mirrored lenses entirely concealing his sideways gaze.
The baked offering was taken with every evidence of enjoyment, which pleased Heath and yet did not surprise him. Layers upon layers of phyllo pastry went soft under the teeth, and the chocolate had an edge that bit back over the salt of the butter. Crumbs went everywhere. Heath had eaten the other on his way out to the lake, and now he licked his palm and fingers free of the chocolate smears. Leaning far down to splash his hand in the cool water to take the sticky off, he looked up as Shiloh offered the joint in exchange.
He was still deciding whether or not to take it, his expression smooth, when it was spun out into the lake. Heath took a long time to make some decisions, made others like the snap of a match, and you could never tell from his face which it was to be. The mirrored glasses didn't help. He'd had many of his quandaries nullified in this way over the years, and it didn't bother him. If he had really, truly wanted a thing, he trusted himself to make the decision fast. He might have taken the joint, but it didn't matter now.
Heath pushed his damp fingers through his sweaty pale hair. If Shiloh was dark like a slow summer evening, Heath was light and flickering, like the bugs already buzzing. The one looked at the other. Heath said, "I didn't know it was your fault. You get Mama's goose yet?" She was hard to rile, their mother, and Heath knew Shiloh tried.
"Mind yourself," Shiloh suggested helpfully, tongue in cheek and with a fair dose of teasing, "people eat cookies, even damned ones." Shiloh, he always did sound like he was mocking, but his tone held a fondness reserved for his siblings. Even his mother, who he butted heads with from sunrise 'til sundown, he had a fondness for. Most people wouldn't see it, but he was such a damnable nuisance because he wanted to see inside her belly. Beneath all that stoic steel, he suspected there was a real woman to be found, and Shiloh had spent the entirety of his life seeking her out. It led to escalation, seeing as the more she refused to bleed red, the more he decided he needed to see her do it. Now, that was just a colorful turn of phrase, mind; he didn't really want to gut her, he just wanted to know she felt something. He could see it in her eyes, and he just couldn't unsee it however much he tried.
Shiloh knew Heath was confident about his baking, and it was worth noting that he didn't do anything to knock his brother down a peg. He was proud of his siblings and their accomplishments, and he wanted every last one of them to thrive, in spite of Mother's influence. There was that one time he'd snitched on Chris, but he'd been jealous, and he was prone to fits of feeling, but it didn't mean the love he felt wasn't true as true could be.
Licked fingers, and then the croissant was gone, and it didn't take long for that to happen. Shiloh looked over at his brother. His own curls, dark and sweaty, were clinging to dockwood, and he stretched back and let his arms extend over his head, as if he was grabbing at something beyond his reach. "Mother's goose is always got," he replied with audible exasperation. "I don't know how you just sit and listen. Doesn't she make you want to do something, anything, to get her to react?" He rolled onto his side on the old wood, and he propped his head in his hand, elbow to the dock. He could look at Heath better this way. "Sometimes, I want to throw something at her head so hard that it knocks some humanity into her. Barring that, I make her seethe on the inside, and someday she might bubble right over and get humanity all over her polished pumps."
Heath was unconcerned at being a small cookie in a big glass of milk. He wanted for nothing except the approval of his parents, and he thought he didn’t need that. He was given whatever he desired, the freedom to dabble in his sugar and his flour, and only the distant expectation of an old-time respectability really bothered him. His mother expected things of him, just like she expected things of everyone else, but he had so consistently failed that no one was surprised anymore. She was not impressed by his baking, no matter what he did to it. It was therefore only a diversion, incapable of the true status of occupation.
Likewise, the croissant was just a croissant, though exceptionally delicious. Heath didn’t want anything more from it, so it didn’t do more than taste good. Sometimes something of Heath’s would give a person a feeling. But it was so hard to tell. Heath looked around on the dock to see if there was a pebble to skip across the water, but there wasn’t one in reach, and it was too hot.
“You like to rile everybody. It’s just she don’t want to rile. I don’t know why you waste your time over and over.” Heath shook his head, and scooped another handful of water to draw on the hot wood with, the darkening lines curling in random designs. He thought about the times he’d wanted her to react, and she had, but bad instead of good. He thought of other things he hadn’t wanted her to notice, and she had anyway, and it had been even worse than bad. “You could try making her happy instead,” he suggested, without much hope. It was what Chris did, and she seemed best off of them all. So far, anyway.
Shiloh knew full well what he was lacking. He understood himself better than anyone had a right to understand themselves, and his life was missing a fair amount of personal deniability. He knew he wanted to see something in Mother than indicated some kind of caring beyond the superficial nonsense that came with the publicly charitable work of adopting a whole gaggle of unwanted children. He thought, and he believed that one day that woman's facade would crumble like some of Heath's particularly flaky pastries, and she'd show them all that they were more than some life mission to make a name for herself as a humanitarian and philanthropist. He had to believe they were more than a newspaper headline, because he couldn't just think her inhuman and callous, or he'd hate her enough to do something dreadful. Something more dreadful than all his acting out in the name of hedonism.
But Shiloh was hedonistic; it wasn't all an act. Maybe at first, but now it was who he was, and he liked powder up his nose and warm bodies in his bed, and what had once served a purpose was also his tailored way of getting through the days of nothing in this big house.
"I like seeing people react," Shiloh admitted with a candor reserved for his siblings; he'd never been inclined to lie to them about himself. He liked to think they granted him the same courtesy. "I like to see their insides, where they're all squishy and warm and real," he told Heath, and he proceeded to roll to his side on the hard wood of the dock. It wasn't comfortable, but sometimes discomfort was worth it, and it was worth it now as Shiloh reached out with long fingers to tickle Heath's side. "Y'all try to make her happy all the time, and I don't see it working. I'm innovative," he insisted as he squirmed away to try to avoid retribution. Heath could be too serious sometimes, and a laugh now and again couldn't go wrong.
Heath thought himself a pretty simple guy. He wanted a mother the way all children wanted a mother, hoping for a mix between Betty Crocker and a proud, glowing Queen of England. He kept thinking he was going to give up on pleasing the queen, but he never did. This time the disappointment wouldn't hurt so much, he would think. Or this time, she'd be impressed, because this time it was the perfect recipe, or the better school, or the highest mountain. Heath was simple, and he wanted his mother to be proud of him. Shiloh wanted something else, something uglier. Heath had never really understood why.
"It hurts some people to be that real," Heath said, flicking his wet fingers and making diamonds sink into the muddy lake water. He rarely spoke with judgment, and he didn't now. It was the same soft voice as ever, a little airy, a little thoughtful, always deeper than anyone expected from the cherubic face.
Heath, who had always been very ticklish, laughed and squirmed away. Half the time they were on this dock someone ended up in the water. They'd ruined a lot of clothes, and their mother hated it, though she was never the one that did the washing. Heath rolled back over onto his hip and made a grab for Shiloh's foot as his brother got away. He didn't even think about it, retribution automatic.
Shiloh couldn't recall a time when he wanted a mother. Mother was all he recalled, though he knew there must've been a time before he realized how she was, and maybe then he'd wanted more from her. But in his memory, there was only this understanding that she wasn't ever going to love him, and it lived beside an understanding that she had deeper depths of feeling than she showed, and it was that depth that drove him insane. Love him or not, but show something, and he couldn't stand the fact that she didn't. So rather than wishing she'd change her thinking about him, he focused on proving she wasn't some creature molded from marble.
"I don't think we can be expected to determine how certain people react to being real with them. I can't read their minds, and everyone reacts differently. The only thing we can do is be how we are, and the world can take or leave us," he said, head turned as he watched his brother flick water off the dock. There was more to Heath than people realized too, but it wasn't a deliberately crafted void, at least not to Shiloh's skilled eye.
He tickled, Shiloh did, and he smiled when Heath laughed and squirmed. The laughter was a good sound, one that reminded Shiloh of childhood and its simpler times with fewer complications. Not that they had very many years on their bones now, but things were different this summer than the ones prior. There was something electric in the air, and Shiloh almost felt like a lick to his finger would make the air around them crackle.
But there would be time for explosions later. Just now, Heath grabbed Shiloh's foot, and Shiloh reached for his brother's wrist and, predictably, attempted to drag the other boy into the lake with him.
Heath didn't think this was Shiloh being real. He thought Shiloh tried too hard for that, went out of his way to find the dark in people, prodded with verbal needles and smiles until they reacted the way he thought they would--angry. Shiloh was good at making people angry. Heath, who was angry in a different way than most people, saw it over and over. It was this he was thinking as he gave his brother a low side-eye in response to his searching look.
They knew each other well enough. Heath didn't feel like discussing it. He didn't know exactly what Shiloh had done yet, and he didn't really want to know. He had been irritated no one had come to eat his food, and he'd known it was Shiloh's fault, but he felt himself letting it go the way he'd known he would when he came out here. Shiloh would always be Shiloh.
The two of them tussled in a predictable way, rough and random, like when they'd been boys. Heath tried to get a handful of Shiloh's prominent underwear band to give him a wedgie. This was difficult with Shiloh pulling his arm sideways. There was some kicking, laughing, and the two of them plunged into the lake.