All Things In Good Time

© Joan Ann Lansberry

A Beauty Lesson

Four cape-wearing pale people, arriving together, and covering their heads in a mad dash to the shadows, were it daylight, were bound to attract a lot of attention. Four pale people, never seen eating and only drinking water, were bound to attract a lot of attention. How would they handle this?

One night they discussed the matter. Michael, the most experienced, laid out his ideas, and the others each had ideas, too. Michael had long used a form of 'vamp magic' in which he drew a shadow towards him, and clouded the minds of others. Gwen asserted, ''That's fine for singular stealth, but we need a certain kind of glamour.''

Goldie asked how it was possible to have 'glamour', if one did not feel particularily glamorous. Gwen knew just how to comfort the troubled youth. She remembered when she was seventeen, and didn't feel pretty. ''Some things come with time, and require no special 'vamp magic' at all. It was only towards my middle years that I felt beautiful. It helped that I had people believe I was beautiful, for then it opened my eyes so that I could see it too. But once seeing it, no one will ever take it away from me. ''

She positioned herself so that she faced Goldie and looked him in the eyes. ''I think you're beautiful. You have the divine mystery which bridges the sexes. This is a rare, special and magical thing, in and of itself. You ARE beautiful. Are you going to question MY judgment?'' Goldie wondered how he could have that magic for himself. He was uncertain of so many things. Was his inner nature as mixed as his body? Would his exterior be easier to accept if he knew it matched his inside? For one moment, he let loose of several years of self-loathing. He knew he would have to do this for himself, and that no one could walk him through the steps. He must come to truly love himself.

With that, great healing sobs heaved his shoulders. He let go of the pain he'd experienced in the past. It had been so great, but he could let it go. He resolved to look in the mirror and see a beautiful person. With that, he walked to the large mirror above the living room dresser. A plump person with a immense mane of golden hair greeted him. It was scary at first to look. But he got past the fear and he looked again. He posed this way and that, for good effect. Yes, he could begin to see it. He could be the magical being. A shimmer of joy slipped into him, and he smiled. He felt lighter than he had in years, and joy shone through him with a radiant healing. Is this, too, why Michael had named him 'Golden'. He let this be his miracle, and sat back down to join the group.

They welcomed him back with quiet cheering. ''You see it, now?'' Livia asked. ''Yes,'' Golden said, blushing.

''So this is no special vampiric mind gift, this is the wisdom any human might obtain,'' Gwen continued in her didactic mood. And it worked. They each felt beautiful and glamorous, therefore they WERE beautiful and glamorous and were perceived as such.

Humans left them to their right to 'be eccentric' and a few even envied them and their daring glory from afar.

Feeling happily attractive and ready to declare it, they came up with a plan. Actually it was first Livia's idea. She had always been happy to be in the camera eye, and she wanted a portrait to commemorate this new stage in her life. However, the camera eye had an unfortunate tendency to render them as lifeless wax dolls. This would never do. They needed an artist's eye.

''If we're going through THAT much trouble, why not make it a FAMILY PORTRAIT?'' Golden suggested. ''And while we're at it, let's get festive clothing for the occasion!'' Gwen further ventured. ''Oh, do! Let's!'' Livia's fierce eyes sparkled.

So off they were. The ladies took quiet delight in new clothes, compared to Michael and Golden's great excitement. They ran all over the formal shop, trying this and that on, looking in the mirrors, appraising the effects.

When Micheal saw the maroon tapestry jacket, with the black satin lapels, he kept trying each size until he found the perfect fit, a 37 short. He posed before a mirror, and smiled at himself, ''I like this! I am such a proud peacock!''

Despite his preening, he noticed the coat had an unusual smell, owing to its man-made polyester fabric. Cotton fibers have no such odor. Still, Michael smiled at his new-found fussiness, and thought, ''It beats the acrid evildoer stench I've endured for years.'' No matter how many times he'd washed those used garments, the nasty smell of the nasty human that had sweated in them would not leave. And then he smiled again at his reflection, even jutting his chest out a little.

Meanwhile, Golden, in a ruffly and lacy poet's blouse, twirled round and round, singing, ''I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . .'' The actress who played Maria in West Side Story didn't swirl or sing any better. The amused store clerk, who watched his whole performance, thought so, too.

All he'd ever worn were baggy sweats. ''Oh, and that horrid suit for graduation . . .'' The navy pinstriped monstrousity did not flatter him at all. Golden chose a cobalt blue tapestry vest, with rounded black satin lapels, similar to the lapels of Michael's coat. The size wasn't similar, though. He needed a 52 long to encompass his tall girth.

Still, Golden smiled broadly at his mirror reflection. Fortunately, the clerk was in the right angle to not notice his revelation of fang teeth.

For their family portrait, done by an understanding artist, he'd not worry about such things, either. He finally had reason to smile, and he was going to smile, unrestrained in exuberant joy.

Golden was not the only one who joyfully displayed fang teeth for the portrait. Livia's teeth were also clearly visible, as well as a rather fierce look in her eye. Michael looked lovingly at his new family, meeting Gwen's eyes, who returned the gaze with a gentle triumph. The artist captured all of that, so they didn't mind that some of the proportions were a little off. They'd display the portrait proudly on a wide wall in their apartment.

go to Chapter Twenty-Two, Darkening Shadows
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