Eva remembers the first time Ken ever saw Michael. How scared Ken was, and a little uneasy, and how strongly he clung to her when they slept.
She remembers the questions he bothered her with the next morning – who is he? What does he do? Is he your boss? How come we never see him? What was his name?
Eva managed to deflect all questions but the last.
“Michael,” she finally told him, defeated. “His name is Michael.”
She remembers Michael bringing Ken into the house in his arms, dripping water all over the Oriental carpet in the front hall. She’d screeched, terrified that Ken had fallen into the pool and drowned. Michael had calmly set Ken down on the nearest couch and disappeared. Ken seemed healthy enough when he woke up, if a bit flushed.
Ken was about thirteen when he properly met Michael. Maybe fourteen; it was so hard to tell. Time passed differently here, and Ken had never looked his age.
She remembers when he asked if she loved Michael, or as good as asked, and that she cut herself deeply. And later, when Michael asked for her blood.
Was it about then that Ken began to change?
She used to take Ken into town with her when he was little; a shy, silent boy who kept his gaze carefully fixed to the floor. She remembers waking up and realizing that sky little boy was now a dark teenager. He began to sneak out at night, and slip in early the next morning. Not that Eva didn’t know. Or Michael, for that matter. It was somewhere around that time that Michael began to dine with them.
The dinners were anything but family affairs. Smatterings of polite small talk quickly degenerated into barbs and taunts, which Eva would listen to stonily. Michael and Ken would argue over steak, very rare, in the dining room, or Earl Grey with lemon in the sitting room, or cognac in the library. Absolutely ghastly, all the hissing and shouting, and Eva soon found a way to make her excuses. She often wonders why Ken didn’t, instead of always following when Michael beckoned.
It’s pearl one, knit two when Eva hears the shatter of glass on the wall next to her. She sighs, and thanks heaven that it was too small to be the pot – only a saucer this time, unless Michael threw another statuette. She places two new settings on a tray and pushes open the door to the study, just in time to hear Ken chuckle darkly, to see Michael’s hand slide into Ken’s shirt. She takes a breath to steady her hands and then goes back the way she came.
It’s after that when everything begins to pile up. The little things that had no meaning until the meaning was pointed out to her. Ken’s pale skin, which she always wrote off to genetics and the nocturnal hours he kept, and his red lips, which she was sure only *looked* red because of his pale face. The skull necklace that Ken never went anywhere without used to sit on top of Michael’s dresser – she knows; she cleaned it often enough. That Ken’s clothes sometimes have paint on them. Very odd, because he isn’t a painter at all, and the last of the renovations ended years ago. She notices now that Ken’s bed is perpetually made and his room is immaculately clean, and Michael’s always looks as though two people have slept in it, even when there are no guests in the house. And all she does is shudder to think of why Ken breeds so many bats.
She could wonder whether Michael loves Ken, whether he will take care of him properly, whether the blood on the sheets is from sex or from feeding, and which one should she worry about more. But she can’t ask these questions. She can’t. She has it boiled down to one single solitary fact: Ken sleeps in Michael’s arms now, and has no need of hers anymore.