Dorian Montoir
From older brothers
Fri Aug 11, 2017 23:50

Dorian stepped off the wagon and tried to tell himself that he did not feel... That word for when things were too much. He was sure there was such a word, a single word or maybe two word combination for it in English, but he could not call it to mind - a fact that only served to heighten said emotion. He had tried to spend the wagon ride here keeping his thoughts in English, for practise, but it had only made him more nervous and frustrated. He could function in English, this he knew, but Dorian was a person to whom sharing intimate thoughts and feelings was important. He wanted to get to know others on a deeper level than small talk allowed, and was worried that his language skills would form a barrier preventing that connection. A world without closeness to others sounded grey and cheerless.

Prior to actually having to go through with it, he had been feeling optimistic about starting Sonora. There had been a day late in the summer where the heavens had opened, and he had sat in the attic watching the rain drops running down the windows,placing silent bets with himself about which would merge with the static drops further down the pane, giving them the weight and momentum they needed to continue their journey, and which would fall short, either skimming around the others or grinding to a halt themselves. He had been in the attic because of Matthieu. His older brother liked to go outside and do things, and rainy days made him miserable. And, whilst Matthieu was generally not a generous person, given to sharing with his siblings, bad moods were one thing of which he made an exception. Even if Dorian and their sister, Émilie, stayed out of his way, taking their activities to one of their bedrooms, he would seek them out. When it rained, he had nothing to do except pick fights. Dorian and Émilie, armed with enough cookies and colouring books to while away the morning, had tried the attic as a retreat, and Dorian had started to think longingly of the freedom he would soon experience from his brother, who attended L'Institute Quebecois. Perhaps it was too much to hope that he could enjoy his rainy days, all his days, without some meat-head bully looming over him. He was sure Sonora had its share of Matthieus, none of whom would take kindly to someone like him. But at least they wouldn't have the deeply personal mission of making his life hell that seemed to go with being brothers. He tried to hold onto this hope and this optimism now as he disembarked. Many of the things he would miss, the familiarity of home, his sister and his parents, he would be without now had he gone to school in Canada. There would only have been the safety net of a familiar language, but the price to pay for that was living in Matthieu's shadow, and for Émilie to have come here instead.Since father had determined that one of them should go to America, to make connections either with the Americans or the increasing number of French students there, the possibility of him attending school with his sister had disappeared.

He wished he had a moment to compose himself, both mentally and physically. He had packed his comb close to hand so he could smarten up but not found an opportune moment to use it, it seeming a strange thing to do around other people. He supposed he would have to trust that his dark hair had not suddenly abandoned its genetic predisposition to absolute poker straightness, and nor had the anti-creasing charms that his mother had cast on his black slacks and pastel blue shirt let him down, and that he just felt ruffled rather than actually appearing it. First impressions counted. He had chosen the shirt specifically to compliment his skin tone - provided one ascribed to the Western ideal of a healthy tan. His mother couldn't quite let go of the Chinese ideal that pale was beautiful, and made many wasted efforts every summer to shield them from the effects of the sun. Even Dorian, who was more of an indoor boy, couldn't help but get a few shades darker. Upon meeting him for the first time, many people did not immediately twig that he was mixed race. Whilst he had his mother's straight black hair and dark eyes, his facial features took far more strongly after his father. The resultant effect seemed to be that he slightly puzzled people. He could see it, when they met his mother, that it answered a question that they might not even have realised they had. It explained why his appearance hadn't quite met their expectations but without being so obvious as to fall into the category of 'foreigner.' This was where they often then placed him, in spite of being Canadian born and a fluent French speaker. Pureblood society wasn't exactly used to diversity and the reactions ranged from the overtly hostile to, at best, a sort of accidentally patronising attitude, whereby people complimented him on how well he blended in in his own country, how good he was at speaking his native tongue, or how they had totally thought of him as white until that point, as if this was some grand and higher status to aspire to. He had realised early on that he was never going to meet everyone's expectations - he had failed by default for some of them, merely by existing, and everyone had a different version of what it meant to be proper. There was some shared doctrine, sure - sit up straight, learn to dance, marry well - but it was already apparentto him that he was never going to please everyone. Rather than try to jump through a set of contradictory hoops, he had decided instead not to set too much store by those whose versions of 'the rules' he didn't care for.

He occupied himself with a snack whilst waiting for everyone to assemble, and then tried to listen carefully to Professor Xavier. He understood the information conveyed but there were one or two turns of phrase that threw him, and his perfectionist streak, especially when it came to communicating, caused him to write this experience up as failure. Hoping he would have more luck with his classmates, he approached another boy. He was surprised to find they were similar heights - Dorian was pretty small for his age and used to being loomed over.

"Good morning. I am Dorian Montoir, of the Quebec Montoirs," he introduced himself. It was strange how even this incredibly familiar ritual felt odd. He wasn't sure he had ever introduced himself in English outside of lessons. At least though, to start with, any conversation would likely be on safe, predictable territory, as they worked through introductions. He tried not to do a double take at the boy's response.
"Someone is dead?" he asked, his accent quite obvious in the way he spoke, which would explain both his poorly constructed question and confusion. "I - I am sorry to hear this," he stammered out, struggling to remember the correct English expressions of condolence. Formal expressions of grief were not something he had expected to need on his first day of school.

"I am Dorian," he replied, dropping the formal introduction as the other boy hadn't used it. The other boy's name registered. "Jehan?" he confirmed. Then added, in a mixture of hope, but also doubt and confusion because Jehan's accent was decidedly American, which prompted him to ask the question in the negative. "You are not French speaking?"

  • Freedom?Jehan Callahan, Fri Aug 11 16:02
    Jehan was small for his age, with faraway eyes and hair that was cut a little too short for its natural curliness to really show. Of course, his curls were nowhere near as wild as his brother’s. He... more
    • From older brothers — Dorian Montoir, Fri Aug 11 23:50
      • Well, mine isn't too badJehan, Sun Aug 13 16:14
        Jehan was a little thrown off by Dorian’s assumption, not really having considered that as a possible response. Still, there was logic to the other boy’s question. It was a big world, and who knew... more
        • Lucky youDorian, Wed Aug 16 22:20
          "Oh, I am sorry for misunderstanding," Dorian apologised. "My English is terrible," this was a conclusion he had been forced to reach in the past ten minutes. Prior to disembarking the wagon, he... more
          • Lucky you, it sounds like!Jehan, Sun Aug 20 07:01
            “No, I quite like your English,” reassured Jehan, not wanting Dorian to think badly of his language abilities. After all, people often said that Jehan didn’t always make much sense (even if Jehan... more
            • I'm starting to feel that wayDorian, Mon Aug 21 05:35
              Jehan liked his English. Dorian was not quite sure whether this was just a way of saying that his English was fine, or whether it meant something else -that there was something special and different... more
              • Yes, this is all going very well!Jehan, Wed Aug 23 09:55
                Jehan beamed at Dorian as the other boy said that he made sense, and that he had good thoughts. No one had ever said that to Jehan before. His flights of fancy were seen as, at best, amusing, if not... more
                • Then let's keep goingDorian, Fri Sep 15 00:48
                  "Yes, that will be very good! And I can also read some more harder English with you to help," Dorian nodded, glad that Jehan had brought up the idea of shared language study so that he didn't have... more
Click here to receive daily updates