Ms. Quill watched Matteusz in the
kitchen. She had been doing so for a week, but only on days when he cooked
meat. He kind of felt a little unsettled about it. “You look upset?” He asked
“I didn’t come to sit on your couch.”
“Just you seem a little more angry then
“Of course I am. This house isn’t very
big, and every time I see you in here using knives, mallets and implements it
makes me angry. I had a bad day, it isn’t fair I can’t hack at something.”
Matteusz took out a bowl and poured
some flour as she continued. “But no, I just have to bear the anger.” Matteusz
added some yeast and water. “So I need to wait for something to threaten
Charles so I can beat on it.” He stirred it until dough formed. “Would you at
least pay attention to me when I am yelling at you.”
Matteusz slammed the dough on the
counter. Ms. Quill looked at him in surprise. “Have you gone mad?” Matteusz
looked at her. “Here, this is alien.”
“I repeat, are you mad?”
“No. Punch it.” She was annoyed now.
Mocking her. She punched into the dough giving Matteusz the eye. Then stopped.
“Oh. That is good, it feels fleshy.”
“Punch it some more, slam it on the
She picked up the dough and slammed it hard against the stone. Punched and
strangled it. “It is fighting back.”
“It will do that, the more you fight it
the stronger it gets. You aren’t going to let it win are you.”
Fire burned in her eyes. She went at
the dough for 20 minutes. The dough only grew stronger, smaller and denser. Sweat
started to appear on her brow. “It is getting quite tough.”
“You have battled well, but now it
rests.” He suggested.
Ms. Quill looked content. “Lick its
wounds so to speak.”
“Yes, usually 30 minutes, but I think
it might need an hour.”
Ms. Quill left the kitchen and returned
50 minutes later. She had put on a t-shirt and wore an eager expression. “Where
is it?” Matteusz pointed to a bowl on the counter. “It has gotten big,” she
“Looks are deceiving,” Matteusz
shrugged. “I think it has gone weak. Give it a punch.”
She did and the dough collapsed under
her fist. “Ah, it is ruined.” She looked annoyed. “It’s gone soft.”
“Teach it to be strong again.” He
Twice more Ms. Quill worked the dough,
ready for a fourth round, Matteusz stopped her. He cut the dough into three pieces,
and rolled one into a log. Ms. Quill put some flour on her hand and took the
dough. “Gentle.” He spoke. She rolled the dough and placed it on a sheet as he
had. He spritzed it with water, scored it then placed in the oven.
“Now what?” she queried.
“We wait while it writhes in heat.” Matteusz
went back to making stew.
“I like the sound of that.” she sat in
front of the oven and watched the bread as it rose and browned.
A bell chimed. Matteusz bent down
beside her and looked into the window. “Lets check it.” Ms. Quill moved out of
the way as he opened the door. The room filled with the smell of bread. He took
out the loaves and set them on a rack. Ms. Quill’s mood improved.
Matteusz took a loaf and placed it on the
cutting board. Holding a serrated knife he tore into the bread, steam spilled
out into the air. He then slathered softened butter on it and handed it to her.
She looked at it and tore into it with
her teeth. A smile came to her face. “I did this.”
“My anger made this delicious thing.”
“The more anger the better.”
“Your world finally makes sense to me.”
Charlie entered the kitchen smelling
the warm bread. “Have you been baking?” He asked his boyfriend.
“No, I did.” Charlie was surprised. She
thrust a piece of bread in his mouth. “Like that?”
“It is good,” he said sheepishly.
“Damn right. My anger made that thing.
So the next time you see me hit an alien, saving your life. You remember, I am a
weapon and my anger makes beautiful things.” She was about to leave when she
grabbed 2 of the loaves and went to her room.
“What was that about?” Charlie asked.
“Baking, it is very therapeutic. How do
you think I stay so calm?” Matteusz smiled.
Charlie shook his
head and gave his boyfriend a hug. “I…have no words.”
Charlie POV - First day of school and meeting Matteusz
Charlie awoke at 6 in the morning and prepared for school.
Everything here was completely different than his home. As such, everything was
both very exciting, and confusing.
At home, he was tutored in private and had all of his needs
met. While he had responsibilities, they tended to be towards others. Here he
was expected to fend for himself and learn with others. Successes and failures
would be for him to own. This is what life now was.
It was too early to leave, so he sat and stared at his
phone. He pulled up Google and typed ‘expectations for your first day of school’.
Many helpful tips, though many seemed geared to children starting their first
grade. Perhaps still applicable, he thought as he continued reading.
At 7:30 he made his way downstairs. He reached out for the
door when a hand on his shoulder spun him around. Ms. Quill, a thin woman with
severe looks, thrust a brown bag in his hands. He looked down at it confused.
“Only today,” She said with a scolding finger raised to his
“Thanks?” He said uncertain. He wasn’t sure if the thanks were
appropriate, he had no idea what was in it. He gave the bag a quick shake,
nothing sharp or heavy, probably not a weapon.
Charlie packed the bag and headed out the door. He shared a
flat with Ms. Quill, his de facto guardian. It wasn’t far from the school, but
he wanted to get there early and familiarize himself with its layout.
Arriving at the school he paused and took a moment to study
the name, Coal Hill. He began to wonder what the significance of the name might
be. The school wasn’t situated on a hill, though he supposed there could be
coal beneath it.
Opening the main door he entered the school. The forum was
big, and bright. It was also quite quiet. He made a note to himself; he should
maybe arrive after 8 tomorrow.
Ascending the stairs he made his way to his locker. He
emptied the content of his bag, organizing his books based on needs for the
day. He stared at the brown bag sitting on the shelf, lunch he supposed.
His first subject was Math. He liked math. It was definitive.
It either was or wasn’t. Having read many books during the summer, English was
the subject he dreaded the most. Everything was interpretative to something
else, and had hidden meanings. It made him annoyed that authors couldn’t just
speak more plainly.
The bell ringing broke his concentration. Looking at his
phone he realized he had been standing staring at his locker for 20 minutes.
Grabbing his math text he proceeded to class.
Charlie took a seat next to a girl with brown hair. She
smiled at him and he gave smile back. She again smiled at him, it seemed like
they were stuck in some strange loop. He held out his hand to introduce
himself. “Hi, I am Charlie.”
“Hi. I’m April,” The girl said taking his hand.
“I am new. Just moved here, but I think I like this place.”
“Welcome,” April said sincerely, smile returning once more. “Yes
this school is great, and the students are very nice.”
“Oh, I meant London. But yes this place is exciting too.” April
seemed very friendly towards him, which put him at ease. He enjoyed talking
with her, though he was thankful he had his phone. He didn’t understand a
number of things she said.
His next class was biology. Ms. Quill had insisted he learn
more about humans and what better place then what makes them up. Sadly after
the intro it seemed like the bulk of the semester would be studying simpler
At the conclusion of Biology he looked down at his schedule,
physics with Ms. Quill. He had not been looking forward to this class. While
Physics was not a difficult subject for him, it was her presence as his teacher
that made him uncomfortable. But Ms. Quill had insisted he be in her class to
keep an eye on him.
He entered the class and saw April. Good, he thought, I know
someone. As he walked to a seat near her he noticed a boy with his head
slouched over his arm. He looked about as happy to be there as he was. The boy
noticed him staring and sat up, feigning a smile. Charlie smiled back and
offered what he thought was a small friendly wave.
Ms. Quill arrived and began the class. She gave the distinct
impression she did not want to be there either. She wrote a couple equations on
the board and sat at her desk, sipping coffee while studying them.
The class mood seemed rather dour. Looking around the room
he noticed the boy he waved to looking at him. He gave a polite smile and his
cheeks started to flush. The boy quickly looked down at his work, but thought
he saw him peek up at him once more.
“Charles,” Ms. Quill snapped,
“Do try to pay attention, and leave Matteusz alone.”
Matteusz, Charlie thought to
himself. He liked the name, it sounded exotic. At least not English. He was
Ms. Quill was confused. “I won’t give a warmer greeting.” He
seemed ludicrous to her, coming in and out of the doorway.
“No,” Charlie said entering the kitchen. “I am
going to the prom tomorrow night, but I need a proper jacket and pants.”
“Some glass slippers too,” She sneered at him. Charlie was
confused, and took his mobile from his pocket. “Put it away,” sometimes she
thought he couldn’t do anything without the thing. She had broke it in class hoping it would stop being a crutch, all it did was cost her a
“I will need money,” Charlie
said looking at her.
“I haven’t got any,” she said.
“The card the doctor gave us. It
is in your name, I cannot use it.”
She smiled at that. She controlled the purse strings. One of
the few things she could control, it brought her pleasure. “I should get my
Charlie sighed. Shopping with Quill was not going to be like
shopping trips on TV; Laughing, music, and what was it, montages. No this would
be unpleasant. Still, he wanted to look nice.
“I am not going to Redchurch Street,” Ms. Quill interjected.
“We will do the shops around the corner that is it.” Charlie was ok with this,
it was quicker and there were some nice shops there anyways.
The two walked not saying a word. When they arrived at Koss,
Charlie held the door open for Ms. Quill, who brushed by him. She sat in a
chair and took out her book, but not before giving him a quick severe look. “Go
to it then, I am not your girlfriend.” She had seen the shows as well.
Charlie turned and looked at the suits. April had said boys tend
to wear black, so black he would choose. The lighting in the shop was bad.
After looking at a few jackets he couldn’t tell if they were all black or maybe
dark blue. The clerk seeing him struggle, came to his aid. “Do you need help
“Yes,” Charlie said confidently. “I am going to prom. I need
something nice. Black, it should be black.”
“You have a smaller frame. I
think over here.” Following the clerk to the back of the shop; he watched him
pull three suits and placed them on a rack. He felt oddly at home. Charlie
pointed to the one on the left. “That one I think, it looks smart.”
The clerk whipped out a tape and wrapped it around Charlie’s
neck. He felt apprehensive, and Ms. Quill kept a close eye on him. He took the
tape off and handed a shirt to Charlie. “This should fit well.” Ms. Quill
returned to her book. “You can try it on in there.” Charlie thanked the clerk
and backed into the change room.
The room was small and had three mirrors. Charlie thought it
odd that there would be so many. He wondered, do humans enjoying seeing
themselves dress? Perhaps it is to make an illusion, yes to make the space feel
Charlie neatly folded his clothes and put on the shirt. It
did fit. Next went the slacks and belt. He looked up and noticed his backside
in the mirror. These humans are clever, he thought to himself. Admiring, he
decided Matteusz would be pleased.
He was about to open the door and get Ms. Quill, when he
stopped, why would she want to see his suit? He took the suit off, folded and
carried them to the clerk. “I will take these.”
Ms. Quill stood and headed to
the till, glad the shopping was relatively painless. “Is this the lucky lady?”
The clerk questioned him.
“Ms. Quill, no I think not.
Matteusz is my date.” Ms. Quill was unsurprised in the announcement. She had
seen them making eyes at each other in class.
“That is a boy’s name, isn’t it?” The clerk looked at
Charlie disapproving. Charlie couldn’t quite understand. Was it wrong somehow?
Surely humans didn’t put such limitations on who people danced with.
Ms. Quill’s eye’s narrowed at the clerk. She thrust her card
towards him like she was brandishing a knife. “Take it.” The clerk hastily rang
the card through and returned it. Placing the clothes in a bag he handed it to
The two silently walked back to the flat. Before arriving at
the door, Ms. Quill broke the silence. “You should be careful, not everyone
here approves of same pairings.” Charlie looked up at her, confused at her
concern. “Can’t have you getting hurt,” she chided him. That sounded more like
She opened the door and Charlie went to his room. He put his
things neatly away in his wardrobe. He started to think of school. Had he seen
anyone act strangely around him and Matteusz? Matteusz freely held him in the
coffee shop. He had looked around the shop before putting his arm around him.
Charlie thought he had been looking for someone, but was he being careful?
I will look this up, he thought to himself. But first, I
need to learn to dance like humans. He turned on his computer and queried
That night was not Ms. Quill’s favourite. She had to put up
with a great deal of awful music and listen to Charlie stomp around. At one
point she heard a loud thump, followed by “I am ok, just tripped.” She enjoyed
the thought of him tripping.