Fuzzy By D.I. Jolly
“Ok so tell me again what her thinking is? Why is she coming to spend her holidays with me?”
“She’s curious about you, you’ve always been this dark mysterious figure that comes and goes in her life, mostly through the medium of gifts. Plus you live in one of the coolest cities in the world, and she’s 16 and wants to prove some independence from her parents.”
“Ok, so she doesn’t think I’m her father or anything like that?”
Janette let out a little laugh and swopped the phone to her other ear.
“No, she doesn’t think you’re her father.”
“Oh good, and how much does she know about my uummm… condition?”
“Only the practical points, she knows you need to sleep at odd hours so won’t always be around, she knows you have a super specific diet so that you probably won’t be eating together much, and she knows no matter what she has to at least leave some information as to where she is going if she leaves the flat without you being around.”
“That, yeah that should work.”
“It’s basically the same things I was told when I came to visit you the first time.”
“Things were simpler then, none of this smart technology and teenagers wanting to be adults. We spent that time playing chess in the library by the fire.”
Victor sighed and rolled his eyes,
“Does she know anyone here?”
“Yes, actually that’s another thing. One of her old primary school friends moved there so there might be two teenage girls in your place.”
“This is punishment for something isn’t it, I’ve said or done something to you and this is your revenge.”
Janette laughed again,
“It’ll be fine don’t worry, now her flight lands at 9, are you going to be able to pick her up in person?”
“Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem. It will be nice to see her actually; it’s been a few years now.”
“She was so excited at the airport, her first big adventure on her own and into Europe with her mysterious Godfather. So don’t spoil it for her.”
“Please, I love her why would I do that. I actually had a television and game consoles delivered today for her. The sales person and I couldn’t work out which a teenage girl might like most so I got all of them.”
“Oh my god you aren’t going to spoil it, you’re going to spoil her. Just don’t let her stay inside all the time, take her out and show her the city some nights out. I mean I’m fairly certain she’s safer with you than anyone else on earth. Just, you know, use your best judgement.”
“Do not worry, I will make sure nothing bad happens.”
“I know, I know, but it’s also the first time she’s been away from me for this long and it’s weird not having her stomping around the house complaining she’s bored.”
“So thaaat’s what this phone call is about. You know, you can come visit me too, I still have the chess board.”
“I know, and I want to but it’s hard to find the time, and oh god and speaking of time I’ve got to go. Please give Victoria a big hug from me when she gets there and let me know when you’re safely home and everything all the time, all the information.”
He shook his head at the phone and sighed,
“I promise, now go.”
There was a kissing noise before the phone went dead. He had been pacing through the halls of his penthouse as he always did when on long phone calls. His home took up the top two floors of his building and he’d had a private elevator installed from his underground parking lot. As a result, almost everyone else who lived there had never seen him or even knew how to get to his apartment. He ate while he waited, then called for the driver to get ready to leave.
While at the airport he made an effort to stand in view of the arrival door but not directly in front of it and realised that he too was excited to see his goddaughter. He watched every face that came through the doors thinking ‘could that be her, has she changed so much, what if I do not recognise her.’ Then the doors opened and a pretty little blond girl with sparkling green eyes and two of the largest suitcases he’d ever seen appeared, and he knew.
She ran up to him dragging her bags and only let go at the last minute before throwing her arms around him.
“Hello my dear, how wonderful it is to see you again.”
They let each other go and he looked at her for a moment.
“You truly are growing into a beautiful woman, just like your mother.”
Victoria blushed and looked away, suddenly becoming aware of every out of place hair and spot she had.
“Come now, the driver is waiting for us outside. I do wish I’d been warned to gather the army to carry your bags though. I wasn’t told you were permanently moving in.”
She stuck her tongue out at him.
“Don’t be silly this is just for two weeks.”
“I have lived here for a very long time, and I do not believe I own that many clothes.”
“Well, you’re a boy, you’re not supposed to.”
He reached down and lifted them both before leading her to the car, and she started explaining how flight. He tried to keep up with what she was saying but it was coming so fast and with so many words he didn’t fully understand that it felt as if she were speaking to him in a foreign language. So he resigned himself to smile and nod and make understanding noises when he actually understood a section. What astounded him most during the whole conversation, was that she also seemed to be having multiple other conversations on her phone at the same time. Then suddenly the barrage of words stopped and she looked up at him.
“Oh and that reminds me I’m starving.”
“Ah, well your mother tells me that you have a friend here as well. Would you like to pick her up and we shell go for dinner? I, unfortunately, have to eat on a schedule so I’ve already eaten. And it might be less awkward for you if you’re not eating alone.”
“Oh, yeah no I don’t mind eating alone, also I wanna catch up with you a bit first before I meet up with Tammy. We don’t have to go out, maybe just get a pizza or something at home?”
“If that will make you happy then of course, but we do have some of the best restaurants in the world here, so you shouldn’t eat at home every day.”
Victoria started to look more like a child for a moment as she became a little embarrassed.
“Yeah, but umm… aren’t they really expensive and stuff?”
Victor laughed and looked away for a moment,
“And so sensible at such a young age, it’s nice to see your father has an influence on you as well. But let me assure you, that is not going to be a problem. You will find I am reluctant to buy you things, but when it comes to good food and entertainment it is only a pleasure.”
She smiled again and the excited sparkle returned to her eyes.
“Do you like Sushi?”
“I know just the place.”
He pressed a button on the door and spoke to the driver in a language Victoria didn’t understand. Once done he smiled at her and she launched back into her life story while simultaneously messaging people, and listened still trying his best to understand her.
Eventually, after lots of feed and much gushing about how amazing everything was, they made it to his house. As the elevator doors opened to reveal the two-story entrance hall Victoria’s hand flew up and she screamed with excitement causing Victor to stiffen and wince.
“This place is AMAZING!”
She ran into the room looking up and round sprouting ‘oh my god, oh my god’ then took off down a hallway poking her head into every open room. Another scream of excitement told Victor that she’d found the new entertainment room he’d set up. She reappeared in front of him.
“You have all the consoles.”
As happy as Victor was that she was so excited, a part of him wondered if he’d made a mistake somehow.
“What games do you have?”
“Oh, uummm, the salesperson told me that games can be purchased through the devices, so I thought it best to simply let you pick the games you wanted to play rather than me purchasing them all.”
“OHMYGOD, you got those just for me?”
He inclined his head slightly an braced for another scream.
Her mouth dropped open and to his surprise, no sounds came out. Then a thought occurred to him.
“But there is a condition.”
“Oh, uummm ok?”
“They will remain here with me when you return home, and you’ll have to come visit more often to use them.”
He smiled to himself proud of his idea, she leapt forward throwing her arms around him again.
“I never want to leave this place is a-amazing.”
He hugged her in return and silently hoped she was not being serious.
“So which room is mine?”
He lifted her bags and led her up the stairs to the east wing and down a much darker corridor than the others, with three doors.
“These are the bedrooms. The one on the left is for you, the one in the middle is mine and should your friend want to spend the night she may take the room on the right.”
Again she screamed as she walked into her new room, which was a third the size of her parent’s house.
“Now your mother has told you about my condition correct?”
“Wha? Oh yeah, she said you sometimes have to sleep a lot and that it’s really important not to disturb you or anything like that.”
“Wonderful, the walls here are very thick so you don’t have to worry too much about noise in the house reaching me, but perhaps try not to scream while standing directly outside my door. I wasn’t aware how loud you can be my dear.”
And again she blushed and then yawned.
“It is a long flight and you must be tired.”
“No, I’m fine, plus I still want to talk to you I think I’ve been talking this whole time I want to know more about you.”
“There will be time for that, why not get some sleep now. I probably won’t be awake in the morning but my staff will be here during the day should you need or want anything simply ask them. I have a very well kept pantry and kitchen so if you are hungry do not hesitate. I will ask though that if you decide you want to drink, you do so only when I am awake and in my company or with my knowledge. I am happy for you to have beer or wine with your friend, but please do not hide it from me.”
For the first time since she’d arrived his voice had taken on the tone of authority, and she remembered that he was her mother’s friend and her godfather.
“Of course, that’s actually really cool of you.”
“If you like there is a bathroom through that cupboard door where you will find everything you need and I assure you there is enough hot water to fill the bath a few times over.”
She smiled and hugged him again, only this time she also had worked up the courage to kiss him on the cheek.
“Thank you so so much for letting me come here, it’s already gone far beyond what I was expecting.”
“You will always be welcome where ever I am, with no question or hesitation, never forget that.”
For a moment she thought she might cry but managed to hold it back.
“Thank you, ok but tomorrow we’re bonding promise!”
She held out her little finger at him.
He looked down at her hand then back at her frowning.
Victoria rolled her eyes and reached across to lock her little finger around his.
“Pinkie swear, it’s like a double promise now you really can’t break it.”
“Oh, ok then, yes pinkie swear. Now get some sleep I will see you tomorrow.”
He closed the door behind him as he left the room and made his way quietly into his private library. He filled his glass and sat down, strangely exhausted.
Victor sighed before opening his eyes and looked around the room. He hated it when he fell asleep in his chair. He followed the sound of strange music into the entertainment room where he found Victoria listening to music from her phone.
“Oh cool, you’re awake, uummm. So Tammy’s parents are being super weird about her coming to some random man’s house and want to meet you before they let her come over. Is it cool if we go round there to pick her up and you can meet them?”
“Of course, have you eaten?”
“Awesome, I’ll go get my jacket and meet you at the door.”
She jumped up and ran past him towards her room.
“No Uncle Victor I was waiting for you, hoping we could have a meal together and bond, pinkie swear.”
His voice was flat and slightly sarcastic, even though he knew no one could hear him. He sighed and continued his little conversation with himself down the hall to wait for Victoria.
The weather had turned heavily overcast and the dark grey clouds grumbled promising a heavy thunderstorm. Tammy’s parents lived in a nice apartment in a nice part of the city. The family had moved there for her father’s work and as sad as Tammy was to leave her friends the city was being kind to her. Victor rang the doorbell and they waited. Tammy’s parents both gasped as they opened the door.
“Oh my God you’re, you’re Victor Von Rittersberg.”
Tammy’s father quickly reached out a hand. Victor smiled and waiting not moving for a few seconds as the hand was slowly retracted. Victoria stared at her godfather for a moment trying to figure out what was going on.
“It’s an honour sir, I… I actually think I work for you.”
“Oh, and where is it you work?”
“Uuummm… Syn General on the eastern docks.”
“Oh, then yes you do.”
Victoria’s voice broke through the conversations.
“You run a hospital?”
Tammy’s parents back stiffened at her comment but Victor just smiled, suddenly looking like himself.
“No, I own it.”
“How does someone own a hospital?”
To try and save himself from a situation that was making his anxiety climb in leaps Tammy’s father put a hand on Victoria’s shoulder.
Victor’s eyebrows shot up and he took a long deep loud breath in and his smile faded. Utterly killing the whole conversation.
“Please, my goddaughter is named as a tribute to my name. I would ask you address her in my presence with the same respect that you would me. For I trust you have no intention of ever refereeing to me as Vic.”
His voice was absolute and his message perfectly understood. Victoria bit down on her lips and looked down at the floor, pretending to be embarrassed but actually trying to hide a smile. She really hated being called Vicky. Victor let the conversation fall silent for a few seconds before clearing the air.
“Now, I believe I am here to ease your minds over your daughter going to an unknown man’s house. Which of course I completely understand and respect, I equally would not allow Victoria too simply announce she was going to spend a day with a total stranger, without, as it would seem, even knowing their name. So may I invite you all to dinner at my house later this evening.”
“That umm…. That would be lovely sir. And I’m sorry about before.”
“Let’s simply move past it, and fantastic, I shall send a driver for you at around 8, so that you may both join me in a drive over dinner and in the meantime, I’ve been told these two have some catching up to do. With your blessing, they will return to my home with me now.”
“Yes, yes of course and we’ll be ready and waiting when the driver gets here.”
“Marvellous, oh and don’t feel an obligation to dress up, it will only be us five and the situation should be uncomfortable enough without the addition of uncomfortable clothing.”
Tammy’s parents laughed nervously but he could see the slight relief in their shoulders. He didn’t often have guests but they always seemed to think they needed to come in evening gowns and suits. On the drive home, Victor was astonished to realise that Tammy seemed to be able to equally speak in this strange new language while messaging on her phone and that Victoria appeared to understand everything that she was saying. His home once again filled with the sound of screams as Tammy was shown around before they settled in the entertainment room. Victor watched them quietly from the doorway for a few minutes and smiled thinking back to how different the world was compared to when Victoria’s mother had first come visit.
He pulled out his own phone and walked off toward the library.
“Too much for you already huh?”
“No, not too much. Perhaps a bit louder than I had expected but she is a delightful girl and looks so much like you.”
“Maybe back when I was young, I don’t look like that anymore.”
“I have no doubt you are more beautiful now than I could even imagine.”
“You better not be using that kind of charm on my daughter old man. I expect you to be on your best behaviour.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it, although I think I might have scared a few years off of Tammy’s father.”
“Oh no, what did you do?”
“Me? Nothing, he, on the other hand, had the misfortune of referring to your daughter as… Vicky.”
She could hear the disgust in his voice as he said the name, and it made her laugh.
“Well, you’ll be happy to know she hates that name, and you probably went even higher in her books by standing up for her.”
“Wonderful, it is a little hard to tell with her, these girls seem to speak in a language I don’t fully understand. I mean, I’m sure it’s rooted in English but, no dialect I’m familiar with.”
“Teen speak, yes it takes some getting used to. Just remember, L.O.L and O.M.G are good, and W.T.F is bad.”
“I will do no such thing, I refuse to be taken in by modern language trends, I will simply wait for it to swing back around to a version I understand.”
They both laughed and Victor sank back into a chair with a freshly filled glass.
“Tell me though, did Robert have a talk with her before she left or is she naturally frugal?”
“No, it’s natural.”
“It’s funny what’s genetic, I had to really reassure her that going out for dinner wasn’t going to be to expensive.”
“Yes, lots of it.”
“She’s a funny girl, but lovely too.”
“That she gets from her mother.”
“You, are being very charming today, is everything alright?”
“Of course, it’s just been a long time since I’ve had a guest come stay. It’s nice to have other voices echo in the halls.”
“You can always come here too you know, you don’t have to spend all your time alone in your castle.”
“I know, I just forget how much time can pass when you stop paying attention. It feels like it was just yesterday and forever ago since I last saw you.”
“It has been both of those things. Anyway, there will be time for melancholy later. How are you dealing with a teenagers mess and apatite?”
“I hired a few day staff to clean up after her and a chef, which reminds me, hold on a second.”
Victor finished his drink and whipped clean the edge of his mouth as he made his way back to the girls.
“Excuse me, ladies. If you are interested my chef has said that he can teach you how to make pizza from scratch. So perhaps if you’re hungry for a snack before this evening you could do that? If you’d like.”
They both shot up at the idea,
“Before you run off, Victoria talk to your mother.”
He held out the phone, and she grabbed it on her way to the kitchen. Victor smiled as he heard her say,
“Oh, mom it’s so cool here…”
As the afternoon slipped into night Victor found himself feeling a little left out as the two girls kept each other occupied and he could help but wonder what he normally did when alone at home. Shortly before Tammy’s parents arrive he excused himself from the open part of the house and returned to his private library to eat.
The dinner was every bit as awkward as Victor had expected. Tammy’s father had started out manically talking about property prices and the value of his apartment now in comparison to when they had originally moved there. Then as the wine continued to flow moved onto speaking about potential changes he thinks should be standard and universal across the hospital, and how much money it would save the company. All of which Victor listened to with a concerned look, as his mind let the words slip in and out taking no notes. His concentration was brought back when he realised Victoria had started talking.
“So if it’s ok with you guys, my favourite band is playing a gig tonight at midnight in this super small venue and only a select few members of the fan club are invited and I’ve got a plus one invite so I was really, really hoping to go, and it’s tonight.”
Victor turned his head to the side and looked at his goddaughter for a minute then turned to Tammy’s parents.
“As I have very little experience in these matters I will defer to you.”
Tammy’s mom instantly took the lead and Victor wondered if he’d actually head her speaking before.
“Well, girls my first concern is if it’s going to be safe going to some bar in the middle of the night and then having to get back later. My second is that it’s in a bar.”
“Oh, I can solve one of those problems. My driver will take them and at a pre-determent time collect them. That way they will get back safely and will also not stay out until sunrise.”
Victor turned to the two girls.
“And will not, stay out until sunrise.”
“Well, my age is listed on my profile and it’ll get checked when we enter so they’ll know we’re sixteen. I guess we’ll get marks on our hands or something so they can’t sell us alcohol.”
Tammy’s parents looked at each other and nodded.
“And you trust your driver to get them and bring them home?”
“I will accompany him to make sure.”
The two girls excitement levels skyrocketed as they could feel the yes coming, and then screamed when it arrived, burst from the table to run up to Victoria’s room to start trying on clothes. Once the sound faded Victor smiled at his two guests.
“Well, we retire to the library for a final drink?”
Upstairs as the girls started throwing clothes around looking for the perfect outfit Victor took drinks orders and filled three glasses. He complimented them on their daughter, saying she had been perfectly well behaved the entire day and they should be proud. He also offered for her to spend the night in the spare room, so they wouldn’t have to wait up for her to return after the concert, which they were all too happy to agree to. All the while Victor tried no to believe that his Goddaughter had come to visit the band, and it had nothing to do with him.
Everyone left as soon as the girls had gotten ready, and Victor soon found himself home alone and for the first time in a very long time, it felt empty. He walked the halls quietly, looking at all the old paintings on the walls while taking long drinks. In a particularly melancholy moment, he set up his old chess board and thought about phoning Janette, but didn’t. The girls went straight to bed when they got home and Victor decided he might as well do the same.
As soon as he was up the next day the girls announced they were going to a mall to watch a film he’d never heard of and would probably spend the day shopping and wouldn’t be home for dinner. A later text message said they were spending the night at Tammy’s and since the weather had turned sunny again the day after that was spent at a lake, followed by another night at Tammy’s.
Victor allowed himself to slip back into his usual routine and grow numb to the rejection, telling himself that if she didn’t look so much like her mother it wouldn’t bother him as much. It was only on the fourth day in a row that the girls had left as soon as he woke up, only calling to ask for the driver, that his temper started to crack. This time a party at Tammy’s place, mild drinking but her parents would be there and she’d seem him tomorrow.
He stared at the untouched technology he’d bought her and could feel his muscles tighten. For a first moment as his phone started ringing a desperate hope blossomed in his mind, but it was an unknown number calling him, not Victoria.
“Oh uummm, hi this is Sally, Tammy’s mom, Janette gave me your number.”
“Oh, yes hello, how can I help you.”
“I just wanted to say how nice it is of you to be letting the girls throw their little party in your house. They’ve had such a nice few days together and it’s very sweet of you to let them take over like this.”
The small ball of anger that had started to form in the pit of Victor’s stomach began growing, and he forced a smile to keep his voice even.
“It’s only a pleasure, I so rarely get to see my Goddaughter and besides, it’ll justify me having so many housekeepers.”
Sally tried to make her laugh seem anything other than envious and almost succeeded.
“Anyway, if you do need any help please feel free to call me.”
“Thank you, but I believe there will be no problems.”
Victor hung up the phone and started going through all the messages he’d been receiving from his goddaughter, suddenly wondering which he could believe and which were a lie. He downed the rest of his glass and moved with purpose towards the bedrooms. He pushed open Victoria’s door and stormed into her bathroom. It took him a second to isolate a single one of her hairs from the hairbrush and he gently rolled it in his fingers while smelling it gently, then he quickly put it in his mouth and closed his eyes. His consciousness immediately shot across the city to a university dorm room where a loud party was in mid-flow. Victoria was sitting on a bed heavily kissing a boy Victor did not recognise. A faint growl escaped his lips as he continued to watch. Then all at once, the boy’s hand slips up Victoria’s leg and under her skirt. The ball of fury in Victor’s stomach erupted and he burst into a furious cloud of jet-black bats that hurtled up the chimney and across the city. The skies became suddenly dark as a storm rolling in out of nowhere, covering the city in a thick mist, which seemed to swallow up the cloud of bats and they become one.
Victoria suddenly pulled away from the boy as his hand made it to her pantie line, and she stared at him, wondering if she knew what she was doing. He looked at her and smiled.
“Don’t worry, we can do this slowly.”
She swallowed nervously and stared at him some more trying to figure out if she still knew how to speak.
“I… I think we might already be going too fast for me.”
The boy moved a little closer to him and leaned forward hoping to get another kiss, but she turned away feeling incredibly self-conscious and vulnerable. Wishing that someone other than Tammy knew where they were.
“I, I think we need to stop it here. Just for now though, but now is the rest of the night. I, uummm, I don’t want to do this today. I’m sorry.”
The boy leaned back and thought for a moment, then closed his eyes and took a long breath in.
“Are, are you alright?”
His words were quick and to Victoria, they almost stung.
“I’m… I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s cool, you don’t have to be.”
They sat there in silence for a few minutes and Victoria was sure she could hear her bones creek every time she dared move, so tried not to.
“Are you going to ask me why not?”
The boy took another long breath and smiled.
“No, well I wasn’t.”
Then as enough blood returned to his brain he remembered himself.
“Oh no, I mean, it’s just because I kinda think that if a girl says no, it doesn’t matter why. It’s just no. It’s your body and stuff so I mean I’m not going to take anything from you I just want to share a great time with you but I also want you to have a great time and feel ready and happy and enjoy it. I don’t like the idea that you’d come away from it with regret or anything. I just also needed a few minutes to, calm down as it were.”
Victoria’s face lit up as she smiled and the boy suddenly thought he might need another minute.
“Come on, let’s go back to the others. My friends have a pool table in their room, do you know how to play?”
“Yeah, and I bet I can kick your arse.”
Victor slowly sank back down to the ground and reconsidered ripping out the boy’s throat, and decided on a different course of action.
Victoria’s plan as she crept back into the house, was to sneak up to her room and go straight to bed. But found a note on her door which read.
“Please join me in the library.”
She very slowly walked into the room and sat down. He smiled at her then poured her a glass of wine. He held up his own glass and waited. They touched glasses but she avoided his eyes.
“I’m very proud of you.”
A cold shiver ran over her body as she wasn’t sure where the conversation was going, and she felt as if she’d been taking advantage of him.
“Because tonight you managed to stand up for your personal beliefs under pressure to change them, and you managed to find a true gentleman. Most people never manage either, and you, have done both.”
Victoria looked up shocked and bit angry.
“What the, have you been spying on me?”
“Like this whole time! What did you do, hack my phone!”
“No, not the whole time, just since Tammy’s mother phoned to thank me for hosting your party. And no, I didn’t hack your phone, in truth I was listening at the window.”
Confusion took over and she turned her head sideways, hoping to see some hint of a joke somewhere on his face.
“But we were five stories up.”
“There is a lot you do not know about me, things I would like to share with you but they require a lot of trusts. From both of us. I must trust you, and you must trust me.”
“I do trust you, Uncle Victor, I’m sorry I lied about the party but Tammy said it was the best way to go and that there was no way her parents would let us and I really wanted to see Josh again and I wanted to tell you, I thought you’d be cool with it but I was too scared to risk it.”
Victor lifted his hand to stop her, then walked around to sit next to her.
“Let us start fresh from the morning. I will bring you into my world, and you please, will start trusting me.”
With a naughty little smile, Victor lifted his hand and held out his little finger.