the_crones_nest (the_crones_nest) wrote,

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Frank & Jesse

As I mentioned in a previous post, each book had at least one character who surprised me for some reason--mostly by trying to take over the book!

Two of the most surprising characters who were introduced in A Sight to Dream Of were Marsha's sons, Frank and Jesse. What made them so surprising was the bond they formed with another newcomer to the series, Sam Sterling.

While initially suspicious of their mother's relationship with Sam, the two boys quickly come to appreciate him. And Sam, childless and unmarried, the last person I'd have expected to develp an interest in two rambunctious twelve-year-olds, feels just as strongly about them.

I had a great deal of fun with these three and I enjoyed watching their relationship grow and deepen over the course of the series.

The scene below is Frank and Jesse's debut, the first glimpse we get of them...

Marsha was still struggling with the uncomfortable sense of having gotten hopelessly out of touch, or out of sync, with something important--like maybe her entire life--when she arrived home that evening. She found herself actually reaching out and touching the things around her, almost as if to reassure herself that they actually existed.

This did not go over well with her sons.

"Cut it out Ma!" Jesse grumbled when she patted his head in passing. He and his brother were slouched at the table in the dining room working on their homework. The twins were looking less identical than usual these days. Within a week of starting middle school, Frank had gotten his ear pierced and Jesse had decided to buzz-cut his hair.

Jesse’s hair certainly felt real enough, Marsha thought. Although it was nothing like the shiny spun-gold threads she remembered from his babyhood. She patted it again, oblivious to his complaint, just to feel again the discrepancy between how it felt now, and how she remembered it feeling. It was spiky, not soft; coarse, not fine. It was teenage hair. Fiercely independent, but still requiring a great deal of attention--if the time he spent every morning in front of the mirror, was any indication.

Chuckling a little, at the thought of having found the perfect metaphor for adolescence in her son’s hair, Marsha wandered into the kitchen. Her amusement evaporated when she saw the carefully taped cardboard that replaced the missing pane of glass in the back door.

She stormed back into the dining room. "Guys! The window? What the heck went on here today?"

Two identical pairs of blue eyes gazed up at her reproachfully. "We covered it, didn’t we?" Frank answered mildly. "So, what’s the prob?"

"And we cleaned up all the broken glass," Jesse pointed out virtuously. "Before you even asked us to. Think about it, Mom, it’s more practical like this.

"But how did the glass get broken in the first place?" Marsha asked, refusing to get sidetracked by the illogic of their arguments.

Frank shrugged, and went back to his work. "S’no big deal. We just forgot our key, again."

"Yeah, and all the windows were locked." Jesse looked at her accusingly. "Even the one in our bedroom. Why’d you go and do that for, anyway?"

Marsha seethed. "Damn it, boys. That’s the third time this month you’ve left your key. And the month’s only half over! What is going on, with you guys, anyway? You never used to be this forgetful."

"Oh, sure we were. It’s just that Jasmine was usually around to let us in," Jesse explained, smiling sweetly.

"You know, Mom," Frank looked from his work again, and fixed her with a look too eerily like his dad’s for Marsha’s comfort. "Most people don’t even bother locking their doors. So, you know, they never have these problems."

"No, they just have problems with being burglarized. Or- or murdered in their beds, or something! And most people do too lock their doors," she snapped at him. "Even here in Oberon. And definitely anywhere else in the state."

Most people, she added silently, don’t have to worry about people like your father wandering in and snooping around, like he still owned half the place.

At the thought of Alex, an uncomfortable--but entirely too familiar--sensation snaked through her. Her ex-husband was supposed to be coming by, any minute now, to pick the boys up for the weekend, but...oh no. Not again? Suddenly suspicious, Marsha looked at her sons.

"Your father hasn’t called, by any chance, has he? He is still picking you up tonight. Right?"

Two sets of identical jaws clenched, and a mutinous glance flashed between the brothers. "Well, actually," Frank began.

"Now that you mention it," Jesse added, "we did sorta speak to him."

Frank finished with another shrug. "We were gonna tell you."

"What’d he say this time?" Marsha closed her eyes wearily, and waited.

"He can’t come for us until tomorrow morning," Jesse answered, after a brief pause. "He, uh, he has to take Sherry somewhere."

"A doctor’s appointment," Frank muttered.

"A doctor’s appointment is gonna take him all night?" Marsha winced when she heard the venom in her voice, but she couldn’t help it. The mere thought of her ex-husband’s perennially helpless child-bride set her teeth on edge. He broke up their family, and put them all through hell, for that?

"Well, and also dinner," Jesse answered helpfully. "They were going out to dinner, too. You know, afterwards."

"And shopping," Frank put in. "Don’t forget that. They have to shop."

"Oh, yeah, right." Jesse rolled his eyes. "Shopping."

Neither boy was looking at her, Marsha realized with a guilty, sinking sensation. She hated putting them in the middle of these little skirmishes, but sometimes--like right now--she just couldn’t tell if they wanted her to ask the obvious question, or not.

"Lots of shopping," Jesse prompted.

"So, uh, what are they shopping for that’s so important?" Marsha asked, trying to sound as casual as possible, which, exasperated as she was feeling, wasn’t easy.

Frank and Jesse exchanged a long, wordless look.

"Baby stuff," Frank finally mumbled into his textbook.

"Yeah," Jesse added, helpfully. "You know...stuff like...what you might need if you...were maybe gonna have a baby?"

"Oh." Marsha was momentarily nonplused. "They’re having a baby?"

Frank smirked, "Yeah, well, we were kinda hoping they’d just decide to get us a dog instead, but--"

"Are we eating soon?" Jesse interrupted. "I’m starved."

"Oh, right." Marsha looked over her sons carefully. There was nothing in either of their auras to suggest that they were any more upset than they appeared to be. On the whole, they seemed to be okay with the news. Too bad she couldn’t say the same for herself.

Rapidly, Marsha rethought her plans for the evening. Dinner had just been bumped to the top of her priority list. Too bad she didn’t have a clue what to give them now. She sighed, and gave in to the inevitable. "Okay, listen, I have a meeting tonight at the marina. Why don’t I just order a pizza, or something before I go?"

"Cool. But...can we get two?" Jesse asked. "That way we can get pepperoni on ours, and you can still have pineapple, or pesto, or one of those veggie things you like on the other."

"We don’t need two," Marsha said, as she went to get her wallet from her bag. "I’ll eat something later. Just get one with whatever you guys want on it."

"Cool," Jesse repeated.

"You’re the best, Mom." Frank murmured approvingly.

"Yeah," Marsha muttered, as she picked up the phone. "The best. That’s me, all right."

©PG Forte 2006, All Rights Reserved.

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