In fair Verona, our tale begins with LAWRENCE VERNON,who is TWENTY-NINE years old. He is often called LAERTES by the MONTAGUES and works as their CAPTAIN.
Lawrence Vernon has been his father’s pride and joy since the day he was born, Alvise Vernon’s window into a life he never had. He was raised to be more than what he was, more than what his father had been; he was put on a pedestal so high that a fall might’ve shattered him and told not to look down. Such is the way of fathers who seek to teach their sons that failure is no greater an option than death. The Vernon boy was shown only how to win, to wear his father’s legacy like a crown—hard-fought and blood-red. Princes born without kingdoms have no choice but to build their own, and Alvise gave him everything short of a throne to begin his empire—the tactical mind of a war general, the hot temper of a king, and the arrogance of a man bred to believe that the world was waiting on bent knee for a ruler like him. He built his ego on the backs of his sister and his peers, believed himself into a god simply by striving to be better in all that he did. No accomplishment went unmatched; no victory escaped his grasp. But for all that he was his father’s son, the one thing he didn’t inherit was his cruelty; it was never malice that drove him to knock his competitors down like dominoes, to belittle them with his own unbridled success. He sought only to please his father—was blinded for want of his love and praise. The man who had given him life would always linger in the back of his mind, and for that reason, the life he would lead would never be wholly his own.
He carried the family name like a torch wherever he went. His pursuit of experience and the knowledge that comes with it led him away from Verona in his early twenties—drew him to corners of the world no one thought to look, but like any daddy’s boy, he always found his way back home to the city and the family that made him; let it be known that Lawrence Vernon was not an ungrateful man. He pursued several degrees from multiple universities—two to match his father and another to outdo him—and paved the way for emissaries to secure contacts in Germany, though he’d inherited his father’s instincts and was far too impulsive to be one himself. Like his father, he served the Montagues well, despite being notably absent from the warzone itself. His success in the foreign field and his little sister’s (albeit surprising) skill for negotiating proved that the ichor of the mob—thicker than blood and pulsing with need—ran in their veins, passed down through generations. It came as no surprise when he was named a captain, and should his father ever perish, the throne of the Montague underboss would undoubtedly pass to his son. Lawrence Vernon had become a prince where he had once been a child, solidifying the legacy that hailed at the right hand of Damiano Montague.
But he never dreamed he’d see the day when his father was no longer there to push him, to demand almost more than he was able to give. It’s a strange thing, the death of a parent. Children think their parents invincible for much of their young lives, convinced by naivety and an unintentional sort of worship that the world, for all that it may be cruel, is no match for the ones that brought them into it, and Lawrence Vernon was by no means an exception. He’d placed his father on a pedestal even higher than the one he’d sat upon, had offered sacrifice after sacrifice at his feet for the chance to see him smile, to have him clap him on the shoulder like something akin to an equal; thus, the loss of him was twofold. Fathers teach their children how to carry their names like torches, to bring honor to the name they’ve been given, but few teach their children how to lose them, and it’s this lesson that separates victim from survivor, success from failure. The Vernon boy had studied under the most brilliant professors he could find at the most prestigious universities in Europe, but learning to live without his father would prove to be the hardest lesson he’d ever had to learn.
Barred from attending the funeral by circumstances infuriatingly beyond his control, his love of it a trait he’d also inherited from his father, he’s returned to Verona with the sole intention of razing his father’s murderer’s kingdom to the ground, and by God, he’ll sooner die than fail. The world should rue the day Alvise Vernon left it, because his son will make it mourn the loss of him and more in kind. A boy conditioned to believe he could be a god if only he dared to try, he was raised to be successful, not good, and he’ll shake Verona to its core if it means the city will never forget the king that could’ve been. All eyes in the city are on Alvise’s boy, and for good reason. Light your funeral pyres and say your prayers; when it’s all said and done, they’ll be the only thing left to keep you warm.
Odessa Vernon: Sister. Be it due to the inexplicable need of older brothers to protect their younger sisters or their father’s conditioning of the both of them to believe that Odessa was incapable of protecting herself, Lawrence has always felt as though she’s his responsibility, an obligation he’s yet to shed even as they’ve both grown into the people their father hoped they’d become. He’s been too distracted since his return to notice the change in her, swept away by the riptide of his own bloodlust, but only time will tell whether or not the golden son will find it within himself to let go of the last piece of his father that he can cling to: his strength, and her weakness.
Roman Montague & Hiran Godrej: Brothers in arms. There’s a certain bond forged among children born into the mob, several long years in the making but strong enough to withstand rifle fire. He scarcely remembers what his life was like before he met them, the two heirs to thrones forever linked to his own, and in truth, he doesn’t really want to. They’re a comfort, a reminder that he belongs even now that he’s lost the man that once united them, and he’s grateful for the normalcy they provide—humbled, too, though such a sentiment will probably never see the light of day. He understands now what Hiran must’ve gone through in his absence, struggling to march on with his grief bearing heavy on his shoulders, and he regrets leaving him to carry it on his own. In much the same way, he’s determined not to let Roman go it alone when the time for him to take his father’s place comes. There are some things that a man must handle himself, and others still that he must not.
Katarina Du Pont: Old friend. She was too good for him. She was too good for him in every sense of the word, and it took him too damn long to accept it. But he has, and the distance between them is a reminder that success and righteousness do not always go hand in hand. He was good at what he did and still is, but it wasn’t enough, and to her, it wasn’t right. They could’ve been good together, the cop and the robber; she could’ve made a believer of a man who worshipped at the shrine of the sins of his father, but they went their separate ways years ago and have yet to cross paths since. But he remembers her. He remembers how she made him feel—like there was still time to change, like there was more than just his father’s nod of approval—and more than anything, he’d like to forget it. There is vengeance to be had; there’ll be time for being right when things have been made right.
Lawrence is portrayed by MICHAEL B. JORDAN. He is currently OPEN FOR AUDITIONS.
I never thought I’d get to see club penguin’s iceberg tip but here we are, probably 10 years since I stopped believing it was possible, and dreams have come true. (Excuse the sniff in the middle - I was holding back tears)
“Egg shells,” I told her. “It felt like walking on egg shells.”
She had asked me what it felt like to be with him. She continued, “So why did you stay? Why did you put yourself through that?”
I smiled. “Because, sometimes, it wasn’t all that bad. If I tip toed in just the right pattern—if I watched my steps carefully—it was beautiful. We were beautiful.” Then my smile fell. “But sometimes, the egg shells cracked if even just the wind blew in the wrong way. And that’s when I should’ve left, but I never could make myself.”
She looked at me with sad eyes.
“I loved him,” I told her. “I loved him so much that I became an expert at every game he played. And he loved who I became for him.”
excerpt from an unfinished book #121 // It felt like walking on egg shells