Chapter 21: Galatea

Another day, another audition. Maybe I’d actually get a callback this time.

I’d been surviving on commercials and brief guest spots on long-running crime procedural dramas. For the commercials, I was trotted out any time they needed some vaguely “alternative” girl in the background or one half of a “hip” young lesbian couple. And on the guest stints, I almost always played a hacker.

Hey, I had a niche. Or blue hair, anyway, which was apparently all I needed.

Starlight Shores is a pretty big town. And there are a lot of people. And a lot of people who look alike, because that skanky cookie-cutter gets around.

But when I was walking home after my audition, I thought I saw Bas.

I knew he wouldn’t want to see me. I probably didn’t want to see him. What would I even say? Hey, sorry I was such a raging bitch as a teenager, I was young and angry and hostile then and now I’m…older.

Yeah right, like he’d even want to look at me. I could imagine the confused look on his face when some fat chick wandered up to him in the land of the beautiful people–and then the horrible disappointment when he realized it was me. Years of freedom, only for me to ruin that.

He was probably waiting for someone anyway.

And I had to get back to Trash and Garbage.

…Yeah, right. I liked how cats didn’t really need anyone–it was one of the reasons I got them in the first place.

I could tell they kind of bugged the shit out of Daisy sometimes, but she obviously tried really hard not to say anything, even if they sat on her pristine wannabe chef counters.

Or slept on her pristine wannabe chef counters.

Or expressed their deeply committed gay love on her pristine wannabe chef counters.

She probably wasn’t a huge fan of them clawing the furniture–and it was almost all her furniture–either.

But she never yelled at them, or asked me to rein them in or anything. She was nice. Too nice. It bugged the shit out of me, honestly.

“You’re so pretty,” she’d told me within a day of meeting me for the first time. “And curvy! Ohmigosh, I should introduce you to my brother. I used his computer to rewatch episodes of Young, Haught and Rich on Simflix as a kid, and then I accidentally looked through his entire browsing history, and he loooves curvy women. Really, really loves them.”

I hated people who tried to call me “curvy.” Or plus-sized, or full-figured, or whatever else they thought sounded better than “fat.” No, Daisy, I do not want to meet your porn-addict chubby chaser brother, thanks. And learn to stop oversharing.

“Sorry,” I’d said. “I’m getting really into the whole method acting thing, and I’m playing a cool young lesbian mom in my next commercial. Trash and Garbage are the stand-ins for my kids.” She couldn’t know that all I had to do was channel my grandma Vilhelmina, the coolest lesbian mom I knew, ancient vampire or no.

I really should be nicer to my roommate. I wanted to be. Maybe I was defective–well, in more ways than one, and one of those ways included not being able to be nice, even to people who deserved it.

When I got home from the audition, she was practically vibrating with excitement. It was dinner time, and there was kitty litter all over the counters, so she was eating up in her room instead. (I lied and said I already ate, but I was trying to lose a few pounds in hopes of getting a role on a pilot episode of any of the new TV shows gunning for a full season order.)

She grinned at me. “Guess what.”

Ugh. Did I really have to play that game? I tried to mimic her enthusiasm. “Garbage shat in your bed.”

She spooned some meat mush in her mouth, shook her head, and swallowed. “I got a new job! A chef job. Working for…you’ll never guess who.”

“You’re right,” I said. “I won’t.”

Rhys Straud.”

As an actress, I was pretty good at keeping a straight face when I had to. But I knew some of my disgust filtered in anyway. “He’s a shitty actor.” And a shitty brother, but I used Galatea Lockwood as my stage name instead of Galatea Straud.

To hell with my family connections–or the shocked and disappointed looks when people saw what the beautiful, famous Isla Straud’s daughter looked like up close. “Why would you even want to work for him? He’s a nightmare. Or so I hear.”

“Didn’t you watch Young, Haught and Rich when it was still on? He played Roland Rich, who was both the hottest and the richest one on the whole show…” She let out a dreamy sigh. “Rhys Straud needed a personal chef, and he could’ve hired anyone, but he hired me. I’m such a huge fan. Can you believe it?”

She was hot. I could believe it–him hiring her, not her being a huge fan. I’d never, ever let her find out that Rhys Straud was my brother–she’d probably want an autographed pair of his monogrammed boxers. Ugh. “Congrats,” I managed.

And then I escaped to Finn’s apartment, leaving the cats to keep her company. They were probably better company anyway.

“Long day?” he asked, opening the door after I banged on it a few times. Okay, more than a few times.

“You should fuck my roommate,” I said, by way of greeting. “She has too much energy. I bet she squeaks the whole time though. Seems like the type.” For some reason, being around Finn had sort of a calming effect on me. It was like he was the one sane person in our whole family.

He just smiled at me. “She sounds nice.” He didn’t sound too interested though, which was good–I always liked his boyfriends better than his girlfriends. Maybe I was secretly a self-loathing misogynist or something, but I didn’t have a therapist to help me explore my “deep-seated psychological issues” anymore.

I headed for the couch, idly wondering if Dr. Puck still practiced therapy. “Is your freaky fuck-buddy lurking in the shadows somewhere? Because I can leave.” It was strange, how that was a thing. I would’ve expected Dad to go after one of my now-legal childhood “friends,” not Finn.

“Please don’t call her that,” he said. “And there’s no one else here.”

He sat down next to me, and then it hit me that this was probably his “Simflix and chill” couch. But I didn’t want to find out if they did it here or on the bed or on some skull-studded obsidian altar or whatever the hell that girl was into. Luckily, Finn’s loft didn’t look much different from mine and Daisy’s, aside from the monochromatic color scheme.

“Why do you even live here?” I asked instead. “Don’t you still have that massive sex pad Dad gave you?”

“Maybe I like living next to my little sister.”

“Little, my fat ass. What’s the real reason?”

His smile faded slightly. “I don’t know what to do with a mansion like that, Gal. It’s too big, and too lonely.”

I could understand his dislike of huge, empty houses, so I changed the subject instead of making a (way too easy) porn joke. “I just auditioned for this part in a new TV show about vampires playing chess or something. I bet it started out as a show about chess, but some studio exec made them add vampires so people under fifty would watch.”

“Good luck,” Finn said. “I think you have a real shot at it, with your talent.” For some reason, it didn’t bother me when Finn said shit like that. Maybe because I knew he believed it.

“Doubt it. I’m probably too fat for network television.”

“You’re not fat.”

“Look out the window, Finn,” I said, patting my stomach. “I’m practically a whale in Starlight Shores.”

This time Finn changed the subject. “Dad’s unbirthday is coming up. I know he’d like to hear from you, Gal. I got a card and signed both our names, but a call would be even better…”

“Don’t lie and pretend I actually give a damn about him.”

“But can’t a lie be a good thing sometimes…?” There was a weird undertone to his question, like he really cared about my answer. “If it makes someone feel better. If it gives them hope.”

“You’re asking a fae,” I said with a shrug. “When given a choice, I’ll lie my ass off.” I sighed. “Fine, just tell him whatever you want. He’s a sad, dirty old man whose kids and ex-wife don’t love him. Let him forget about that for just one day.”

“You don’t love him?” Finn was always trying to keep the peace, to make everyone happy, to shove everyone’s anger and jealousy and resentment into a giant coffin and bury it six feet under. Maybe someday he’d learn to accept that some people just fucking hated each other, even if they were family.

Especially if they were family.

“Don’t be like that. I don’t love Mom either. Or Rhys. You’re not bad, though.” I didn’t have to fake a smile with him.

“I wish I knew where it all went so wrong,” he said. Maybe it was a middle kid thing, to always feel like he was in the middle of everything while I was the youngest and couldn’t care less. Dr. Puck would probably know. “I wish everyone got along, at least. I wish…”

One day, he’d finally realize that wishing was about as productive as watching a turd swirl down a toilet bowl.

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17 thoughts on “Chapter 21: Galatea

  1. Galatea is really, really beautiful. It’s a shame she thinks of herself as ugly. Also I love her little cats, and their gay love; they’re not ugly at all! She should get another therapist, methinks, but I don’t think she’d want anyone else but Dr Puck to do that.

    I thought Child Daisy’s teen soap might have been Rhys’ show. I kinda want to know what Rhys, Dru and Leopold think of her…

    Also, FINN. I love Finn. He’s so lovely; too bad his family is nuts. At least he has Ophelia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those cats are the true stars! I’m changing the story’s name to From Fangs to Trash and Garbage. 😉 And Galatea definitely does have a bit of a warped sense of reality…she sees the worst in everyone, including herself.

      You’ll find out a little about what Rhys thinks of Daisy in two more chapters…! Leopold and Dru will come later.

      Finn tries so hard! He’s still got his issues (the chapter is his), but he’s the most well-adjusted of the bunch.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Galatea hasn’t changed much even though she felt bad about her teen behavior toward Bas. But he didn’t see her!!!! I’m so disappointed. 😦 I really wanted to see a little banter (although I think Bas isn’t into banter. He’s more of a straight shooter.)

    I ROFL’d when Gal talked about the kitty litter all over the pristine counters. Poor Daisy. She’s so nice to a fault, but I think, deep down, Gal likes her roommate. I find it hilarious that Daisy doesn’t know Gal is a Straud. I cannot wait to see Daisy and Rhys interact!

    That Starlight Shores backdrop looks so perfect! I’d bet, looking at that, we had a Hollywood EP. 😉 I’m really hoping Gal gets her break and she becomes this famous star, making her brother jealous. Ha ha…

    Finn is such a nice guy! Now I’m REALLY shipping him with Benny. But Benny’s the diva in the pair, so it’s fitting Finn is so humble and nice. He’ll be able to help our Benny out just like he handles Gal well.

    I think it’s so sad how Gal treats her father who worships and adores her. That’s something I don’t understand–Graham loves her but I guess he left her alone too much that she resents him? I can see Graham’s sad face if he heard what she said about him. 😦 I’m such a Graham fan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, as Gal said, she’s just…older. Oh well! She has to run into Bas eventually, right?

      Gal probably does like Daisy more than she admits, even if she doesn’t understand her and feels envious. Maybe that’ll improve over time!

      I want a Hollywood EP. *cries* I’m glad you think I do a good job fudging it, though! I have the gallery to thank for that–people make such amazingly creative stuff. Poor drought-ridden Starlight Shores…though I guess it’s not too far off from the real Hollywood? LOL.

      HA, I knew you’d be shipping Finn and Benny even harder now. ❤ Finn's a sweetheart, and very calm and patient. He takes after a certain uncle rather than either of his parents…

      Gal thinks her dad is really immature, and doesn't like the part he's played in all of her parents' divorces. I mean, it's Graham–he's always been immature. But she doesn't appreciate the ways he does try to be a part of her life either.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s funny — you know I was never a Grisla shipper, but they certainly gave us the most interesting family dynamics! The Straud kids are my favorites to read about this gen (don’t tell HGR 😉 )

    I’m really looking forward to Finn and Rhys’ chapters too. I am sure those two have their own demons too. 😦

    Excited to see Daisy and Rhys interact 😉

    And Gal… you keep breaking my heart 😦 I’m glad she has Finn though. She really needs someone who loves her and supports her (who she will believe haha)

    She’s still my fave. Great chapter ❤️ (on a lighter note… I know the aftermath of those Franks and beans…. 😂😂😂 that amused me)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What, you weren’t a Grisla shipper?! I never would’ve guessed! 😉 But I’m grateful for the kids they had together too–and to think, I almost deleted Finn and Rhys because I wanted Gal to be an only child! (And to cut down on the sheer number of kids…)

      Finn and Rhys definitely have their own demons too. Their PoVs debut Monday and Wednesday respectively!

      I love Finn and Gal’s relationship. Now that they’re adults and next-door neighbors, they can see each other whenever they want. (Except when Ophelia’s around–Gal still hates her. Maybe even more now that she’s Finn’s friend with dark, terrible benefits.)

      THOSE FRANKS AND BEANS. Aaaa. ROFL.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Finn’s optimism even though Galatea is right about the turd in the bowl analogy. Especially when it comes their family. Parents are supposed to be the leaders of the family but they were too wrapped up in their own lives before to care about their kids and now they want the kids to care about them? Pssht!
    I’m starting to like Finn a lot, and Daisy. They’re so good to Gal and she barely recognizes them for it. I suppose it is hard to trust and care for others when you’ve been disappointed so many times throughout your life by the same people who were supposed to love you unconditionally. Ugh, Graham and Isla are such jerks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Optimism can only get you so far. 😦 And as the old saying goes, you can pick your nose, but not your family. But you can create a new kind of family too…maybe Daisy will become part of that for Gal. She really is great to Gal, along with Finn–and really underappreciated.

      We see Graham and Isla through a very cynical, jaded lens–Galatea’s. Do they want their kids to be happy? Sure, but they put their own happiness first sometimes (okay, more than sometimes, maybe) too, and make terrible decisions, and…I guess that kind of does make them jerks–LOL. But it also makes them people, I think.

      They try to be parents to their kids…? Definitely not in the most effective ways… But kids don’t sign themselves up for therapy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh . Finn is genuinely good ! And he is quite physically beautiful, too ! Gal seems to be doing a lot better here … more self-acceptance, less self-loathing! There’s nothing wrong with being a misanthropic curmudgeon when one accepts her own nature !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Takes one to know one, Ms. Tea. 😉 Like you, Finn is very patient and accepting and tries to see the best in everyone.

      Gal’s a bit more accepting of herself now too, even if she has some stuff to work on. (But don’t we all?) And maybe it’s a little too easy for me to write misanthropic curmudgeon characters…should I be concerned? LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 Aw. You’re sweet ! Most of my friends have misanthropic tendencies ! Lol ! Hard to avoid when living in an insane world ! Misanthropy often stems from high ideals for goodness and ethical behavior that have been repeatedly betrayed , I find, especially when those who betray it are parents or others who have power over us . And that’s seems to be the case with Gal. Which is why, deep down , she seems to turn to Robin Goodfellow ! He does have the power to show her her own goodness , and, from there , to help her learn to forgive those who betrayed her for not living up to her ideals! It’s a lifetime of work , but that’s what living is for !

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad your friends with misanthropic tendencies have you to turn to! You do so much to make everyone feel welcome on the forums, so I’m sure you’re a wonderful friend too.

        That’s such an interesting point about misanthropy, and the relationship between that and parents or other people in authority. Gal’s parents definitely let her down… But by the way she keeps thinking of her old therapist, maybe she’s ready to reach out for help again–and this time on her own terms, rather than her parents’.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I soooo wanted her and Bas to meet up. I think she does really like him…shipping them big time. At least for now she knows that Finn really does love her and she loves him too in her weird way. Finn is such a sweetheart. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She came so close! And I think this gen is going to have the most ships, LOL. The harbor is going to overflow…!

      She may not say she loves Finn, but you’re totally right–she does, in her weird way. 😉 Finn is great big brother material.

      Liked by 1 person

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