Wasteland Boy – Chapter 20
Beginning of Fame
Clyde returned home upon sunrise. He couldn’t get rid of some heavy feeling in his chest that he did something wrong. Victory was never too blinding for him, because he always felt bad for the opponent that lost. Upon entering the house, he met eyes with his caretaker, standing right in front of the door, waiting. The old man never bothered to ask where Clyde went; he either didn’t care or chose to mind his own business. This morning, however, the inquiry was very stern. Clyde chose to remain silent and simply stared straight ahead like an interrogated soldier. Carl walked slowly across the room echoing his footsteps in the sleepy silence of the house and concluded the echo by dragging a chair underneath himself. The room was dead silent once again.
“Listen. I respect you and never bother to look into your personal life. But goddamn it, boy, don’t try to tie me into it!” Carl restrained himself from a burst of frustration. Clyde gave him a questioning glance. As it became apparent from Carls further lecturing, Clyde was already starting to develop a name for himself, but instead of something noble, it was something among the lines of a brat who found out the name of a powerful man and now goes around saying it just like that.
“But you adopted me, I have your last name now.” Clyde smirked as his guardian furrowed his eyebrows in attempts to explain how complicated it all was. The boy has already heard his lectures about the importance of secrecy, individuality and the complexity of the world, but he felt the need to remain silent. It wasn’t news to him that his attempts to self advertise didn’t go too well. Once the lecture was over, Clyde finally spoke up again.
“Ok, Sir, I understand that people are annoyed with me. But how else am I supposed to be famous and known like you? No one knows about me but I’m supposed to take over your business and have as much respect as you and as much influence. How the hell do you want me to act?”
“The best way to let people know about you is not that direct and it appears it is time to begin.”
Clyde was sent off to bed.
His morning classes were canceled and instead, a tailor showed up to take Clyde’s and Lizzie’s measurements. After that, they were taken to a room cleared of furniture where a tutor spent the day teaching them how to dance. Lizzie seemed to be a bit more free in her movements and caught on to dancing very quickly. Clyde, meanwhile, was very stiff and clumsy whenever he had to lead and keep in tact, but he liked to see Lizzie dance with him. That lunch, a question ran through his head that he was too afraid to ask. He wanted to know if they counted as siblings, but no matter how he tried to sort his words out, they all sounded too creepy. With a sigh he concluded that if he is too afraid to ask, then they probably do count as relatives somewhere in his subconsciousness.
It was by far one of the most exhausting and seemingly pointless days of Clyde’s life, however the payoff was waiting a week ahead, in a large house occupied by all the city’s high class residents. Clyde and Lizzie, with Carl right behind them. Walked into the brightly lit hall. Clyde was somewhat used to such places, he even saw a few familiar faces, but Lizzie looked anxious, clinging to his arm. Over their heads and to the sides of them, Carl was giving out polite smiles, nods and handshakes to anyone they came across. The kids were instructed to go find a few peers, who, presumably, were upstairs away from the adults. Climbing up the blindingly white staircase, Clyde regretted forgetting his inhaler. Once they reached the top, he asked Lizzie for two favors; to speak for him most of the time and to not question anything he does. He wanted to have a memorable impression on his future accomplices. Neither Clyde nor Lizzie have ever met any of the rich kids. They kept to themselves in their house and only interacted with adults or the children from the factory. From what Clyde understood, those peers of his could easily pose a personal and a more global threat because of their spoiled characters and influential parents. He was vaguely instructed to be cautious and very careful and respectful, yet not to expect the children to do the same for him. Their eyes locked on a few teenagers, entering some room and with a forceful push through their anxiety, they followed.
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