((Maxim Kehlenbrink, pregame start))
The flaxen-haired boy sat in front of an oversized study desk, his legs crossed and his head lowered. His grayish blue eyes were directed at the water-stained page of the paperback he held in his hands and his eyebrows were, as usual, furrowed to form a fretful frown. As he sternly stared, his mouth slightly agape and occasionally biting at his lower lip, the door to his room began creaking and was then gingerly pushed open, inch by inch. Seconds later, a head emerged from the gap, a somewhat questioning look on his facial features. "'Tschuldigung, Maxim. Is it appropriate for me to enter right now?"
The boy flinched slightly as of the sudden sound, having lost touch with reality for the briefest of moments while immersed in his imagination. His hand reached up to massage his temple and he let out a sigh before turning around in his chair, book still in hand. "Well, I am - I was reading. So technically, no, it's not the best of time for you to enter, Papa. But since I already paused...you might as well." He spoke slowly, carefully culling each word, like he was trying to phrase a written sentence, not have a casual conversation.
His father shrugged, then opened the door further so he could fit through. "As you wish, mein Junge." Maxim could now see that he was holding a tray in his hands, with a recently polished plate of greenstuff on top. "Thought it couldn't hurt to have you eat something healthy for a change." Joachim Kehlenbrink showed off his most friendly, fatherly smile while presenting his charitable gifts to his son. "Iceberg lettuce, a few carrots, some radishes...here ya go, you little bunny." He cheerfully winked at Maxim, then reached the tray over to him. The latter accepted, then slowly spun around in his chair once more, in order to place the newly acquired plate on top of his table.
"Go ahead and try some, nur zu. I just brought those back from the marketplace, they're as fresh as you can get them." Maxim peered back over his shoulder to cast his father an unintentionally grim glance, then averted his attention back to the green in front of him. Gingerly, he raised his hand and let if hover over the plate, his fingers slightly shaking, like a malfunctioning claw in a crane game. He finally settled for a single radish, picked it up, shrugged and swallowed it whole.
Herr Kehlenbrink chuckled at this display, before raising his voice with mild concern. "Hey mein Junge, you should chew that. You always forget to chew." The boy turned his head towards his father, his mien indifferent, then shrugged once more. "It's faster this way. Besides, I can't say I like the taste of it, so chewing wouldn't really be in my favor." He rubbed his forehead with two fingers, then wiped a drop of saliva from the corner of his mouth. His lips formed a slight smile. "But I appreciate it, still. Danke sehr, Papa."
His father smiled back, then turned around, ready to leave the room. Midway through the doorframe, however, something seemed to have suddenly come to his mind, as he turned back towards Maxim, now with an inquisitive expression. "I was wondering: What were you reading just now, Maxim? Something concerning your exams, maybe?" His voice gave off a hopeful air, which irritated the boy somewhat. He was not used to his father purposely prying into his affairs, let alone implying that he was neglectful of his duty, even though the latter was more or less true.
"Actually..." Maxim reached back onto his table and picked up the pocket book he had been wholly enchanted by a mere minute earlier. "This here is titled 'Skullduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil'. It's the fifth book of that series. And as you might be able to tell from the cover, lieber Papa..." He held the book up for his father to see, the front of the book showing a skeleton wearing a black jacket and a hat. "This has obviously naught to do with school. Sorry to disappoint." The tone of the last sentence was rather snide, more so than Maxim had intended and he immediately felt bad. "But...I will read some things for my exams later on, versprochen! I'll just--- read this first, okay?" He spoke more quickly now, hasty even and as a result, his accent noticeably thickened.
Maxim's father's air didn't change, at least not momentarily. He still retained a soft smile, though it was clearly visible to Maxim that it was not genuine, a mere facade to hide the fact that his father was indeed disappointed. "Well, that seems fun, that book you got there. Interesting cover." He scratched his chin, his eyes wandering around the room in an attempt to avoid looking directly at his son. "I'll leave you to yourself then, in Ordnung? Still got some dishes left to wash. We wouldn't want Joan to complain now, would we?" He let off another brief chuckle, even more fake than the smile he had shown before.
As his father turned to leave the room once more, Maxim's conscience got the better of him, very much to his own surprise. "Hey, Papa?", he softly called. Herr Kehlenbrink turned his head, now looking at his son from the side. "Ja?"
"Well, you see..."
Just out with it. Being a coward has never done me too much good.
Maxim nervously drummed his fingers on the armrest of his chair, before finally finding the courage to continue. "You don't need to conceal your thoughts in order to not hurt me, Papa. If you have something to say regarding my way of dealing with my exams...just say it. I probably deserve to be called out on it by now. Ich werd auch nicht sauer auf dich sein, Ehrenwort." He managed to look his father into the eyes while speaking, even smiling a little while he did so. His father looked back at him, his facial features freezing in accordance with the sentiment of pleasant surprise he was obviously feeling. His lips then curled up into a warm smile and his eyes shone proudly.
At least, that's what Maxim had imagined in his head. That was how he had wanted things to go, how he had wished the situation would play out. In reality, however, his father never did smile at him, nor did his facial expression change. In fact, Maxim never even opened his mouth.. He only blankly stared at his father, unable to bring himself to open up and admit his own shortcomings. His mouth stood slightly agape, until finally, he managed to speak.
Herr Kehlenbrink didn't move for a brief moment, instead scrutinizing his son, as if to determine what bothered him. He then shrugged, rubbed his chin a final time and silently exited the room, carefully closing the door behind him.
Maxim leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes. A pained sigh escaped his lips. The book he had been reading was still in his hand and he proceeded to throw it across the room with a growl of frustration, only hearing as it hit the opposite wall. He felt no appetite, in fact, he felt guilty that his father had even bothered preparing a healthy dish for him. Clutching his forehead, the flaxen-haired boy decided to simply take a nap, to try and escape the current situation.
Meine Gott. I am pathetic.
((Maxim Kehlenbrink continued in The Dynamo of Volition))
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- Joined: February 22nd, 2016, 6:09 am