Some days I wish things were the way they used to be. Does that make sense? It doesn’t seem like it makes sense. For so long I’ve wanted things to be different, I don’t know how to want things to be the way they are.
I think I’m tired of being the mother of the group. I’m tired of keeping up with everyone and everything. I’m tired of being the one to reach out. I’m tired of being the obvious adult while the others seem to float on, ageless, and expect my unconditional support and love. I doubt any of them know how difficult it is to love each of them and support unconditionally each of them while they fight against each other so hard. But that’s my place, my character, my role; I am the backer. That’s a nasty word for it.
It’s nice to be able to rant and rave and be a big child. If I didn’t have an outlet I would explode. That would be pretty.
With the yards – among them – of flowing, waving, curling, rich black hair and the six pairs of sage green eyes, rimmed with long, thick black lashes and set in porcelain faces, the women could have been sisters, or they could have been as unrelated as six people can be in a world with a population of roughly six billion.
They met randomly. The first two to meet were Lolania and Sean-Blayse. They were at a discothèque in Rio de Janeiro. For whatever reason (call it fate if you must), as the sun rose and the partiers began to trickle out, Lolania and Sean found themselves standing just outside the entrance facing one another. Friends and strangers alike were in awe of the similarities between the two young women. But Lolania and Sean simply took it in stride, exchanging phone numbers and hotel room numbers and finding that they had been in the same hotel on the same floor for over a week. Both women were what you could call “independently wealthy” and, without jobs or school or family to create ties that would bind, traveled extensively. They agreed to keep in touch by phone and email and in person when schedules permitted, and went their separate ways.
Not even a month later they were having dinner a small Spanish restaurant on the outskirts of Greenwich Village when they looked up and saw a third figure with dark curls attempt to sit at the bar near the entrance, only to be ushered toward their table. All three laughed and the third woman, Isa, took a seat. She explained that she had been wandering around the city alone while she waited for a friend and had decided to duck into the restaurant for a glass of wine. Her friend appeared at about that time, and was astonished to see Isa sitting at a table with Lolania, a close friend and sometime business associate. Nykolas immediately put in a call to yet another mutual acquaintance by the name of Julian, who agreed to meet up with the four of them for dinner the next evening.
When Julian arrived he had in tow two more stunning dark-haired, green-eyed porcelain goddesses: Aurora and Blaise, who had met on the Metro in Paris a week before and who had since been inseparable. Investigation uncovered the similarities in childhood, education, opinions, likes, dislikes, and even close proximity in age, and brought to light astonishingly dissimilar facets of personality. By midnight the party had been moved to a townhouse belonging to Nykolas’ cousin, Arden. Lolania was pleasantly surprised to see Arden, whom she had known for years, as well as Bianca and Andrion, two more friends.
By this time they numbered ten, and all had made plans to postpone any other obligations to work through the list of mutual acquaintances and interests, in an attempt to find why they hadn’t met previously. As the days passed and weeks turned into months, Aurora grew quiet. On one particularly chilly evening in October, she sat nestled cozily between Arden and Bianca in a huge leather armchair, sipping red wine and staring at the fire as Blaise and Isa argued philosophy and the other seven threw in miscellaneous comments.
Nykolas sat in the floor and leaned his head back on her lap, looking up at her and smiling gently. “You haven’t said anything in days.”
“Not true.” Julian said, laughing, from his spot on the couch. He had a particularly pleasant view of her from there. “She told me that she wanted red wine instead of white wine just this evening.”
“But all she said was ‘red’…” Lolania said, frowning suddenly as she looked at Aurora. “What’s wrong with you?”
Aurora shrugged. Nykolas laughed. “Don’t do that. Your true nature shows when you laugh like that.”
The entire room went awkwardly silent. “Ah, so we now see that the sparrow hasn’t spoken because she fears she’ll say too much.”
Everyone turned to look at Andrion, who was sitting cross-legged on the coffee table in front of the fire. Aurora turned dispassionate eyes to Andrion and shrugged. “I know, Lolania knows, and the five of you know. But what of the other three? Is this like lying to them?”
“Yes, you’re right. It is. Let’s go to the kitchen and discuss this.” Julian motioned for Lolania to follow as he pulled Aurora up from the armchair and gently guided her out of the den.