After over two hundred years I had enough. I had enough of the tantrums. I had enough of the whining. I had enough of the aggression. I had enough of the bad manners and irrational jealousy and obstinance. Therefore, it was time for desperate measures.
I watched the tutorials on the YouTube, I bulldozed through season upon season of the work of a master. Now all I had to do was wait for the opportune time. Luckily with Lestat that time came sooner rather than later.
I heard him stomping down the stairs.
‘Louis don’t listen to him!’
There was Armand, of course he would be involved. The twosome burst into the lounge where I was doing my crossword and they immediately started trying to defend themselves.
‘Lestat pulled my hair and told me I’m ugly!’
‘This idiot is lying! HE pulled MY hair and called ME ugly! AND he slapped me!’
They turned to each other, before they could dig into another altercation I intervened. I stood and got their attention with a snap of my fingers. I could see the confusion in their eyes when I told them firmly to sit on the sofa in front of me.
‘Now then, Armand what happened?’
Lestat interrupted as I had expected him to. ‘Why does he get to go first!?’
I took a deep breath. Keep it together Louis, take the position of power away from the dominant one and force him to learn that he isn’t top dog. You are top dog, act like it!
‘He is going first because I want to hear his side first, you talk over him a lot and it’s hard to hear his side. Be patient and I promise you will get your turn.’ I secretly loved the look on my makers face, he looked like a fish out of water. ‘Armand?’
The boy was frowning, and I knew he was on to me, nevertheless he shared his side of the story. ‘I was in my room, I was getting ready to go out with Daniel and Lestat came barging in. I told him to get out because I was half dressed, as you can see.’ Armand gestured to his unbuttoned shirt and fly.
Lestat interjected as I knew he would. ‘I was just coming to ask you something! You didn’t have to be so rude!’
‘Lestat!’ I put on my best teacher voice and glared him down. ‘I will warn you only once; if you interrupt again when it isn’t your turn to speak you will be sent to that corner over there until I finish speaking with Armand. Do you understand me?’
Lestat mumbled an agreement and gave me a dirty look. Armand smirked and resumed his story.
‘So I told him to get out because I was half dressed. He told me to “stop being a pussy, we’re both men” and then he laughed and said “oh wait….” which was meant to imply that I am not a man.’
I nodded and hummed thoughtfully to show I had heard him. ‘So you felt hurt?’
My lovers face scrunched up. ‘I guess so….more angry than hurt.’
‘I can imagine it feels bad when you are sensitive about something and someone points it out to you. What did you do in response?’
Armand relaxed completely and I knew I had said the right thing. Empathy really does work wonders when used to validate people’s feelings. I felt quite powerful and pleased with myself.
‘I must admit I threw a hairbrush at him….’ My partner had the grace to appear embarrassed by his confession. ‘But it didn’t hit him hard!’
‘Whether it hit him hard or not is not important!’ I tried to look disappointed while hiding my internal laughter. ‘It is just horrible to behave that way, it’s not gentlemanly at all….I am proud that you admitted what you did but I am very disappointed that you had something so mean to confess to. That behaviour is unacceptable, I don’t want a repeat of it again do you understand?’
Lestat sniggered this time and looked proud of himself, he always loved to see Armand taken down a peg or two. Armand for his part looked horrified, I had never spoken to him like this and he wasn’t used to it. I felt awful but at the same time I knew I hadn’t said anything personal, my comment was about what he had done and not who he was. This would benefit them both in the long run. I noticed David and Daniel watching from the doorway behind our two hair pulling name callers.
‘I understand, I’m sorry….’ Armand mumbled and avoided my eyes, I could tell Lestats amusement was irritating the red-haired demon. ‘After I threw the brush at him he grabbed me and started brushing my hair.’
‘I was being-!’
‘Lestat!’ I grabbed his hand and pulled him to the corner, once there I looked him in the eye and spoke in the lowest tone possible. ‘I gave you a warning that you were not to interrupt Armand while he was speaking. You didn’t listen so now you are going to stand in this corner while he finishes speaking. You stay here until I say you can come out. Do you understand?’
The other three vampires were giggling behind me and I thought Lestat was about to hit me he was so angry.
‘You can’t make me stand here!’ He tried his luck when I walked away.
I looked over my shoulder. ‘Can’t I?’
Silence. I continued walking back to Armand to hear him out.
‘He pinned me to the floor and kept trying to brush my hair but I hadn’t brushed it yet and it was tangly from my shower! It hurt and I told him to get off and stop it but he wouldn’t listen!’
‘So how did you get him off and where does the word “ugly” come into this?’
Armand looked up to the right, one of his tells for when he’s thinking up a lie. ‘Well he got off me to stop me from screaming at him and told me I’m ugly.’
‘Is that really what happened?’
Armand’s cheeks were flushed and his ears were deep red. Instead of a verbal answer I got a nod of the head. I knew he was lying but I’d need to hear Lestat’s story to put two and two together.
‘Lestat come here please.’ I stood up so I could have eye contact with my maker. ‘I put you in the corner because you didn’t listen to my warning, you interrupted Armand and you were rude. That kind of thing is not befitting someone of your age. You know better, I know you do, and you do as well. I expect an apology.’
I had my hands on my hips and tried to hold my makers gaze. Lestat was stubborn and he practically vibrated with defiance and irritation.
That would have to do, it was better than nothing. I held my arms open to him.
‘Alright thank you, have a cuddle, I love you.’
I released Lestat and gestured for him to sit. ‘It’s your turn now Lestat.’
My maker sat up straight and looked triumphant before he’d even started. ‘I went to ask Armand a question. I wanted to know If he and Daniel would be back tonight or not so I can know if I must lock the house. He yelled at me because he wasn’t finished getting dressed, I did say what he said but it was just a joke! Then he threw his hairbrush at me. I thought he wanted me to brush his hair so I walked over and started, he turned around hit me with the hair brush on the head; it got tangled in my hair and he pulled it out with absolutely no care! I told him off for it because it’s my hair! He told me I’m ugly anyway!’
Lestat finished and gave Armand a sour look which was returned tenfold. David and Daniel were still watching from the doorway, they were clearly enjoying this. Two conflicting endings to one story, I had a theory.
‘I think that Lestat went into the room to be a bother, not to ask about the locking up; you know full well that Armand has a key he can use when he gets home. I believe you were rude to Armand and I believe Armand threw the hairbrush at you. Lestat I don’t think for a second that you are dumb enough to assume Armand wanted you to brush his hair for him.’ I raised a brow and knew from Lestat’s expression that I was right. ‘I think you held him down and brushed his hair against his will. However, I do believe that Armand took the brush from you and hit you with it before tangling it in your hair and ripping it out.’
‘That’s not true!’ Armand argued with me indignantly.
‘He’s talking without permission!’ Lestat whined.
‘Armand.’ I eyed my lover carefully and he folded under the pressure.
‘Alright yes. I did hit him with the brush, tangle it in his hair and when I ripped his hair out, he cried that I’d disfigured him and I told him he is ugly anyway!’
I smiled; this new tactic really worked. Both men were sitting side by side on the sofa feeling sorry for themselves. I had gotten to the root of the issue and now for the final step.
‘Armand come with me.’ I took him to the opposite corner to Lestat’s. ‘You are going to stand here until I say otherwise because you got aggressive with Lestat and you called him an unkind name. That is deplorable and I expected better from you.’
Lestat laughed and pointed at his nemesis. ‘Sucks to be you!’
‘Actually, Lestat you have a date with that corner over there.’ I folded my arms across my chest and waited for him to walk himself into the corner. ‘You are going to stay in this corner until I say otherwise because you intentionally went looking for an argument, you violated Armand’s space, you tackled him with a hairbrush and you said unkind things to him. You can behave better than this, you aren’t a child anymore.’
I walked out of the room and closed the doors. David and Daniel were doubled over on the stairs laughing together. I joined them and received their congratulations cheerfully.
‘Where did you learn that?’ Daniel giggled.
I smiled and made a dismissive sound. ‘I only watched every episode of Supernanny USA over the last two weeks, it was nothing really.’
David clapped my shoulder. ‘I don’t think they’ll pick bones in front of you ever again.’
‘Not if this is what will happen when they do!’ Daniel couldn’t stop the giggles.
I smiled and mentally congratulated myself, but there was still something left to do. I waited a few more minutes and then went back inside. I started this final step with Armand as he had been in the corner for the longest.
‘You remember why I put you in the corner? You were aggressive and mean to Lestat and it’s not okay. You need to respond like an adult when he tries to rile you up, nip that behaviour in the bud and you will be much happier. I want an apology from you and you better apologise to Lestat as well.’
Armand’s lips were wobbling and he was glad to be freed from the corner, he hugged me and accepted my kisses like a little kid. His apology was soft but heartfelt, even to Lestat. I let go of Armand and went to tackle the bigger problem.
‘Lestat I put you here for a few things, aggression, looking for a fight and being mean. That stuff won’t fly anymore, not in this house. You need to shape up and realize you don’t have the right to bulldoze everyone, if you want something ask for it, if you do something wrong apologize. I don’t want to have to put you in this corner again, but I will. I expect an apology.’
Lestat stood with his arms crossed and his eyebrows knitted together. I knew he would be difficult.
‘You can apologize to Armand and I, or you can stay there a few more minutes. It’s your choice.’
It would do for now. I watched my two miscreants hug each other uncomfortably. It was a proud moment, until of course they both looked at me and then to each other. I was going to be sorry I just knew it.