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Bishop City, MA; a place filled with strangers who every day meet other strangers, by accident or design. It's a place where it's easy to disappear, but also to be found again, by strangers. For years, the city has been de facto divided into four separate sections; the wealthy West Side, the business district of North End, the realm of the average, South End, and the poverty stricken and gang ruled East Side, but the borders are bleeding, for better or for worse. There is hope in the city for a different future, but what kind of future will it be? Can 'Shop City really change?

Closer is a real life game and runs on a liquid time line that loosely follows real life. If it's July in real life, it's July in the game as well, and official board events will be held according to this. However, threads may or may not follow real time.

Closer is inspired by the movies Closer & Sin City, and the TV-show The Wire. The plot is developed by Birthe, contents and graphics are by Birthe and Heidi, and Heidi is the creator of the skin. The tab widget was created by Kismet of RPG-D. The contents of this game are not to be reproduced in any way without consent from the creators. All characters belong to their individual creators, as does any written material posted in the game.
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 DELAFIELD, Phoenix
Phoenix Delafield
Posted: Mar 7 2010, 08:18 PM


I’m not ' ' there
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Group: North Ender
Posts: 614
Member No.: 455
Joined: 5-March 10



PHOENIX ELWOOD DELAFIELD

user posted image

i'm the owner, i go by ASH.
you know you love me, don't deny it.
my hook-up's at PM/AIM, so stay in touch
my little family consists of ARDAN KENNEDY, ANNA-MARIA JENNER-CARMICHAEL, COSTEL NOVAK
i came across this dandy little place at HERE, HERE, HERE
am i under fourteen? NO sir!




I M A G I N E D . I D E N T I T Y



...EVERY STORY HAS A START...


FULL NAME: Phoenix Elwood Delafield
NICKNAMES: Nix, Nixxy, Phee ( as in Fee ), Birdie, ( from Cooper ) Widdle Rent Boy (Cooper again). James Windsor ( as his escort name ).
AGE: Twenty five
DATE OF BIRTH: Seventeenth of June
OCCUPATION: Inherited a lot of money from his mother, which he received in the last year and hasn’t yet touched. He is one of four owners of an adult shop along with Cooper Vale. Previously a high class male escort and has recently started taking clients again.
LOCATION: North End



...JUST A MAP OF THE WORLD...


EYES: Wide, but a little narrow, the nearest comparison in shape possibly being a rectangle. A glacial shade of blue.
HAIR: A rather basic brown, with a handful of highlights, as you might expect, worn long enough to bury fingers in but not enough to be considered ‘long’.
HEIGHT: 6’0
BUILD: Quite slender, but muscles do exist; he has become more toned in recent months and rather likes this. If he didn’t hate the cold so much, he would display his body more.
ANYTHING ELSE:
    Piercings: Secretive silver bar through his left nipple. Demure ring through his left earlobe.
    Tattoos: A winking lady pirate, Sailor Jerry style, on his right arse cheek, gained at the behest of an insistent client. He could have it removed now, but he likes the reactions it provokes.
PB: Gonçalo Teixeira



...WITH THE POWER TO BE...


GENERAL PERSONALITY:
    ” Perhaps everybody has a Garden of Eden, I don't know; but they have scarcely seen their garden before they see the flaming sword. Then, perhaps, life only offers the choice of remembering the garden or forgetting it. Either, or; it takes strength to remember, it takes another kind of strength to forget, it takes a hero to do both. People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence; and the world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget.”
Analogies are all very well, one might assume, but any single one will inevitably fall short of capturing the sunshine and showers mind of Phoenix Delafield. He resists capture at all times. Boundaries, labels, all those awful words and concepts which result in tightly fitting boxes and unspoken expectations. He doesn’t go out of his way to be ‘wild’ or ‘crazy’, he simply follows a path that is naturally slightly off the beaten path, and he rather likes it out there. The air is clearer and he can think. ‘Outside the box’ would be the trite way of describing him. ‘A few sandwiches short of a picnic’ would be the harsh way. But who can blame him? He comes from a fine stock of eccentrics. Those people who don’t fit into society and don’t have to, because money has never been an object. The old adage stands; if you’re rich and mad, you’re eccentric, if you’re poor and mad, you’re just mad. Phoenix likes to think that he still fits into the former, despite not being as rich as he used to be, when he was a child, although technically his wealth now exceeds that, but the vast majority of it, his inheritance from his mother and indirectly his grandparents, sits in a savings account that he has no idea what to do with it. His plans for it change frequently and currently he has been swinging between the idea of giving it all away to a charity, and saving it in case he ever has a family of his own that he needs to provide for, imagining that he won’t want to pay for his children’s clothing with money earned through prostitution. Not that he’s even sure that he wants a family, or even if he should be allowed one. For the moment he has decided that he is too young, too unreliable and too much of a employee in the sex industry to be trusted with raising a child.

An obvious quirk of Phoenix’s is a habit of talking aloud, even if there is no one around to hear what he is saying. Frequently he directs this towards inanimate objects, particularly photographs. He does this while he’s by himself and with other people, it doesn’t really bother him, and he usually imagines what they would say in reply to him, so he could carry on quite a conversation with the radiator if he felt like it. No, he doesn’t hear responses, he imagines what the response would be. Let’s reiterate that point. He’s not hearing voices. There is a distinction, thank you very much, as Phoenix would emphatically insist if the subject was ever brought up in his presence. It’s not his only quirk, of course, but it is a fairly noticeable one and just a facet of his eccentric mind. The peculiarities of Phoenix’s mind are numerous and they produce a rather non-linear way of viewing the world and contribute to his frequent lack of logic in his opinions, decisions and actions. He tends to act on impulse and whims, tugged along by his changeable, inconstant temperament, and there is often very little to offer in the way of justification and explanation for why he does and says the things he does. It has to be said that self-reflection is not something that Phoenix is adept at. Instincts, feelings, colours, sensations are the basis of how he makes sense of being in the world.

Phoenix is not ignorant, exactly; he has a very lively interest in the world around him. It is more that he missed out on vast chunks of his education, and he has a mishmash of curriculum's from England, France, Spain, Australia and Amercia, none of them complete and all of them lacking. He never took any exams that lead to actual qualifications, so he is entirely without any proof that he even had a formal higher education, other than the fact he can give you a list of all the school’s he attended from the age of five to seventeen. The assumption could be that he is an army brat, with such frequent moves, but it’s unlikely the army would allow such a slip in a child’s education. Phoenix doesn’t mind, so much, apart from when he gets disbelieving looks for not knowing some fact that apparently everyone should know. He toyed with the idea of going back to education but his lack of focus would be rather detrimental to the learning process and his short attention span is not helped by the fact he has very little natural aptitude for most of subjects; he was an average student, at best. He can’t spell to save his life, and will easily confuse letters, words and sounds with each other. The difference between English and America spelling and pronunciation leave him similarly bewildered, and let’s not even bring French and Spanish into the mix. He should never be allowed to fill out order forms at the shop, because in addition to the horrific spelling, his handwriting is mostly illegible and scrawls flamboyantly at about twice the size of most people’s handwriting. Numbers similarly don’t sit well in his brain, and he will forget a phone number as soon as he’d told it and struggle with simple sums. All in all it’s quite obvious that Phoenix didn’t receive the help that he needed while at school, but again, it’s not a massive sore spot for him that he can’t spell ‘necessary’ or ‘phallic’ or that people have to read his hand writing letter by letter to carefully form a sentence. There are a few things worthy of his passing interest; reading, for one, poetry, painting, similar to his mother, but the one thing that without fail captured his full attention, was drama classes. Acting is firmly embedded in his veins after all and taking on another persona is something that truly delights Phoenix.

All the world’s a stage and Phoenix seems to have taken the very literal translation of that and applied it to his life. Always prone to spinning the truth for dramatic effect, and exaggerating actual events, after his mother’s death and his subsequent decision to simply leave rather than allow his aunt and father to take him home, Phoenix adopted a process of constant re-invention. The nomadic lifestyle which defined much of his teenage years and into young adulthood have aided this rather loose outlook on the notion of representation, urged on by his employment as a hustler and later a male escort. In those situations he had no obligation to even give his real name, let alone any details of his history. Not that talking was exactly the order of the day, but he has always been good at coaxing conversation out of people and by offering something of himself, it seemed to allow them to open up a little bit more. They never needed to know that he was lying through his teeth about how he ended up doing what he was doing, but that was no bother at all. It was a few hours and then it was rare he would see them again. With regular customers it was a little trickier and he had to try and keep track of who he had told what. As an escort, he decided to take on an alias of James Windsor, a disgraced and distant member of the English Royal Family, the product of a illicit affair. It is a role that Phoenix dons with relish, exaggerating his English accent and generally playing the part of the charming rogue as much as possible. It entertains him, at least, and as he is one of the more popular escorts at the agency, he assumes that his clients aren’t adverse to it either. Although that could be influenced by the fact he is one of the escorts who has no qualms about giving the clients exactly what they want, even if it includes some very strange, kinky or down-right disturbing fetishes.

Of course, you could push Phoenix to give you some kind of truth about his life, or even to explain why he won’t just answer a question with a snippet of truth, if that is what you suspect. In due course this might be answered by a knowing smile and question of how do you know he’s not telling you the truth. Press a little harder, search for some kind of flesh beneath his tricksters makeup and one will probably wish they had not bothered, as the result will likely some pseudo-intellectual and philosophical question about what is the truth anyway, swiftly followed by a rant on the general modern (as he sees it) obsession with the truth, with knowing every fact of everyone’s life and history and desires. Needless to say he does not have Facebook or Myspace. Getting down to the core of the truth, there is no great reason for him to create this needless mystery around himself, or to fear people finding out the truth; most likely nothing would come of it, but Phoenix has been running from his past for a long time, first with his mother and now by himself. What he’s been running from is debatable, as it was debatable with his mother, and it is both many things and nothing at the same time. Part of it is a conscious thing, a decision Phoenix made when he said good bye to his mother; that he wouldn’t let himself fall back into becoming a Delafield again, he would continue with the life his mother had chosen for him and continue moving away from the life he could have had. On some deeper, barely acknowledged level he is still fleeing from the horror of his mother’s death, the pain of removal from his father, from his home, his friends and family and the death of his grandparents, the event which set all others in motion. He was well aware that people might not believe what he says, and want to get to the heart of the matter, but that doesn’t really bother him, so much. It is almost instinct now; to want to keep moving, and the main reason he did not move on from Boston or Bishop City is because of his three friends, who just by their presence manage to keep him grounded enough to stay. He loves them fiercely. Whether they know the true extent of it is doubtful, as Phoenix would never tell them, he allows them a glimpse of it, but the real depths are kept to himself. Evidence of his actual feelings for people is usually contained in his actions, rather than his verbal communications, which are prone to be turned on a tricksters tongue, unless directed at those he is closest too. The ‘truth’, the bare bones and facts of his life are things that Phoenix rarely, if ever, discusses. Life, for him, is a process of continual re-invention, and you only have to be bound by your past if you let yourself. Nothing is set, nothing is definite and so anyone can break free from the ruts they trap themselves in any time they want. So he bends the truth, he exaggerates, he collects titbits of other stories and weaves them his own, allowing his tale to spin out, guiding it with an expert hand.

Generally the ‘default’ position for Phoenix is a vibrant young man, extremely friendly, affectionate and quite charming. He loves to socialise and will strike up a conversation with anyone, looking for an excuse to talk to people in a variety of contexts. Built for adaptation as he is, he can be just as happy in a night-club as he can be hanging out in the store or going to the beach. Alcohol has never been something that he needs to lose any inhibitions, and while he doesn’t mind drinking, he isn’t a big drinker and would rather have something that is pretty and called an exciting name than something that is purely for the purpose of getting drunk. In fact, he usually finds that drinking too much has a slightly unfortunate effect on him, and he can become quite sad or depressed after ingesting more than his usual amount of alcohol. Yeah, he’s a crying drunk. Very unfortunate really. This highlights a certain area of Phoenix’s personality that he tries to keep hidden from other people; mainly the mood swings that can often define his day. Adept at pretending as he is, he is good at keeping these hidden, but similar to his mother, Phoenix occasionally experiences huge highs of sudden, unprovoked excitement before dropping extremely low, becoming listless and generally needing to put a huge amount of effort into going about every day tasks. Internally he can be extremely changeable and this will filter through to the exterior, although he tries to only let this show to the people that he knows well enough to trust with some of the reality of who he is. There is a kind of distance there, for all his friendly vibrance, a keeping of the world at arms length, that is characterised by his need to take on other personas.

While it’s true that he does lie to some degree, for Phoenix it’s not out of some malicious attempt to be deceptive. On the contrary, in general he is quite caring and sweet. It’s unlikely that he would ever try and deliberately cause someone harm, physically or emotional. That’s not to say that he sugar coats everything, he does speak his mind and, perhaps ironically, is very honest about feelings on things, but he will never be harsh for the sake of it. Unless it’s a client, with whom he tends to be extremely respectful and gentle, particularly when they are female. Phoenix generally adores women, and while, despite being bisexual with he has preference for men, he tends to take mainly female clients, often older women, whom he will be particularly charming and discreet with. He tends to treat them with far more tenderness than his male clients, complimenting them profusely and entertaining a genuine desire to make them feel good about themselves. In line with that, Phoenix does like to feel needed and as though he is having some kind of positive effect on the lives of the people around him and in return, has a needy side to his personality that leaves him with the desire to have someone around to look after him. He isn’t overly concerned with how people judge him; as a bisexual man, as a high-school dropout, as a male escort, as the owner of a adult store, but he does have a select few people whom this is bypassed and he finds himself needing some kind of positive affirmation from to to feel good about himself. This becomes more pronounced when he’s having one of his downward mood swings and he can become a little clingy, in those situations, and will become far more physically affectionate when this happened. This attitude is paralleled by Phoenix’s apparent independence and desire to live his own life, which is under cut by a few people who, when they take over and make a decision, he will become immediately more submissive and allow them to lead. He is often generous, with his time, his money, his affection because, again, he does like to see the people around him with a smile on their faces. On a slightly odd level, it is one of the reasons Phoenix likes both his jobs; because in this context he often knows exactly how to cheer someone up.

If that seems a little too ideal, then perhaps that’s because it is. Phoenix is the sharing, caring type, who likes to look after and be looked after, but he’s not as angelic as all that, and definitely has a the devil sitting firmly on his other shoulder to counteract that. He is also demanding, extremely so, and requires a certain level of interaction from the people around him. He expects people to live up to what they promised, put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, and he can be extremely unforgiving if someone falls sort of what eh requires of them. It’s not a side that gets presented very often, but it is there, and as it is a direct extension of his neediness, most certainly becomes more obvious when he’s in one of his ‘down’ periods. It highlights a streak of self absorption that is often the curse of an only child, particularly one born into privilege and who spent a good deal of his life being the whole focus of his mother’s attention. Phoenix likes to get his own way and he doesn’t believe in self denial in the slightest, or having someone else deny him what he wants. Having spent a few years on his own, to some extent, he has improved at this, and no longer makes a hugefuss about not getting exactly what he wants, but he still makes it very clear that he doesn’t appreciate it. The pout is a dead give away.

LIKES:

    .acting
    .films
    .plays
    .most kind of performances
    .a well constructed tale
    .sex, ‘normal’, illicit, kinky, tantric... any kind, really
    .soft hair
    .a smartly knotted bow-tie
    .dinner jackets
    .highly polished shoes
    .boots worn by men
    .women’s waists
    .dogs with floppy, silky ears
    .cherries
    .the shop
    .his other job
    .the colour red
    .vibrant colours on canvas
    .unusual shadows
    .visual quirks
    .magazines
    .day trips
    .airports
    .train journeys
    .Cadbury’s milk chocolate
    .beaches and the sea
    .summer
    .sunshine
    .lounging on sun-warmed surfaces
    .the sound of music playing in the distance
    .noise
    .conversations in another room
    .fancy cocktails
    .energy drinks, but should NEVER be allowed them
    .cats
    .a well-placed compliment
    .making someone feel good about themselves
    .defined muscles, on himself and other people
    .secret smiles
    .the chase
    .ego boosts
    .clients having mid-life crises
    .kisses against his chest
    .distracting people when they’re trying to be serious
    .covertly sexual actions
    .getting caught
    .forbidden fruit
    .front seats of cars
DISLIKES:
    .films with his father in, but he still watches every single one
    .being patronised
    .nit picking and hair splitting
    .the ‘education’ section on forms
    .gristle and fatty meat
    .’perfect’ couples
    .marriage
    .TV programmes that mention his family
    .rude clients
    .having to write
    .computers without spell checks
    .general discrimination and prejudices
    .religion, particularly when used as justification of hatred and discrimination
    .politics
    .public swimming pools
    .cleaning the bathroom
    .the conservative minded
STRENGTHS/TALENTS:

    .can produce fairly flawless accents, particularly French, Spanish & American
    .taking on a role
    .sex.... well, he kind of has to be, doesn’t he?
    .anything kinky
    .client discretion
    .make believe
    .interacting with customers at the shop
    .good eye for colour
    .fashion and dressing sharply
WEAKNESSES/BAD-ATS:

    .asthmatic, though he keeps it under control with inhalers
    .inconstant
    .cannot spell to save his life
    .has truly appalling handwriting
    .struggles with maths
    .... and most things relating to a formal education, in truth
    .has difficulty focusing
    .trouble staying in one place
    .terrible at telling the truth, mainly about himself
    .directions, he still hasn’t quite figured his left from his right
...BORN IN BLACK AND WHITE...


PARENTS:
Camille Delafield [mother, actress & painter, deceased]
Joseph Lawson [father, 54, actor, estranged]
Selene Lawson [step-mother, 45, ex-model & socialite, never met]

SIBLINGS:
Jasper Medina [half brother, 23, actor, never met]
Robin Medina [half sister, 22, university student, never met]

Christopher Lawson [half brother, 22, university student, never met]
Abigail Lawson [half sister, 18, high school student, never met]
Miriam Lawson [half sister, 18, high school student, never met]

OTHER SIGNIFICANT FAMILY:
Audrey Delafield [maternal grandmother, actress, deceased]
Gaspar Delafield [maternal grandfather, actor, theatre owner & philanthropist, deceased]

Lawrence Delafield [maternal uncle, 46, business man and philanthropist]
Marina Delafield [maternal aunt, 40, actress & writer]

Claudia Heath [Marina’s partner, 38, costume designer]
Blue Delafield-Heath [cousin, 20, university student & occasional actor]
Poppy Delafield-Heath [cousin, 17, high school student]
Dominic Delafield-Heath [cousin, 12. high school student]

Georgina Lawson [paternal grandmother, 74, housewife]
Noel Lawson [paternal grandfather, 77, retired GP]

PLACE OF BIRTH: Somerleyton, England
HISTORY:
It happens sometimes; a family will find a little niche for themselves and claim dominion over it. Their children will occupy this place and their children’s children, and so on. The talents for survival in this particular area will develop in the majority of the family members, until no one is sure if it is nature or nurture that leads to this. Like attracts like, and partners bring the same talents into the family, expanding it, allowing it to develop and the lineage to continue. For the Delafield family, their niche was acting; primarily the stage, but film and TV too.

But, first, let’s go back a few steps, There is no beginning to begin at, simply a continuation, but we can pick up the thread where we please. The Delafield’s are not a discreet family, nor an dull one (befitting of their trade) and consequently their threads are woven with vibrant colours and love and tragedy. If we wish to understand where Phoenix came from, however, his great grandparents are an appropriate starting point. Unsurprisingly, that is really where the Delafield legacy came from; they were both English, both on the stage, and having been in the same acting troupe since a young age, they were intimately acquainted with each other; childhood sweethearts, you might say, though it took them into their early twenties before they finally admitted their feelings for each other. A lengthy courtship followed, a marriage and with that, two children and a long, happy life together. If only all that followed could have been so cookie cutter perfect.

Following in the footsteps of his parents, Gaspar Delafield happily spent as much time as possible, from the moment he could walk, on the stage. Of course, having the parents that he did granted him certain privileges in all the right circles and he never wanted for connections or the right word said in the right ear to help him land that lucky role. Training was something he received in abundance, but the talent and a natural presence was already there, supplied by genes, so his success seemed to be already in place, before he even took up his first major role. Gaspar was destined to follow his parents in more than one way, when he met the luminous Audrey Whittaker, whom he acted with in a play. It could be argued that their characters within the play planted the first seeds of love, but whatever it was, the two of them kept seeing each other after the play had finished. Two young actors, just coming into fame, learning the difficulties and pleasures of their new life, they gladly clung to each other, marrying two years to the day after their first meeting, in a lavish ceremony.

Life was not quite as perfect as the senior Delafield’s, but with two careers taking flight, Gaspar and Audrey spent enough time apart to remain firmly in love with each other. After a brief stint in America, the couple returned to England when Audrey revealed that she was pregnant with their first child, wishing to raise her child in her own country. They moved to a small village in the East of the country, Somerleyton, where they established their family home, keeping another house in London, through which they could keep their careers alive. Both parents took a year off work to prepare for the arrival of their first child, intending on only having one and to do it properly. Their son, Lawrence, arrived, happy and healthy, completing their family unit. Or so they thought. Not eighteen months later and Audrey found herself sitting in front of a doctor, once more receiving the news that she was pregnant. Happiness was not quite as forth coming as last time, but still, Audrey hoped for a girl and her wish was granted when Camille arrived. A delicate child, generally quiet and dreamy, sometimes hard to coax into interaction, but occasionally prone to the most dramatic and explosive temper tantrums, shockingly bursting forth from her deceptively waif-like body. Camille was followed by Marina, some four years later, and, finally, they were complete.

Camille grew towards adulthood in a flurry of preciousness and strange whims, labelled eccentric and difficult from early childhood. She was also very loving and affectionate, but frequently vacant, at least to those around her. Inside her head, she was anything but, her mind always darting from one thing to the other, restless and searching. Child psychologists were brought in, various illnesses were bandied around but nothing conclusive was ever found, and eventually it was decided that it was simply her personality, not something that could really be corrected or fixed. And perhaps it never needed to be; Camille herself had no trouble, she was happy and resisted any attempts at change. She was built for flight. Wayward and following her own path, she sporadically showed interest in acting, as was now expected of her and her siblings, coming from such a prestigious family. She put in strange, affecting performances, but unreliable, she sometimes refusing to go on stage or running off in the middle of an act. School was something of a struggle for her, having neither the patience, passion or concentration for any of the subjects set out before her, though she liked the neat precision of maths and the applying of colours onto canvas during art class. There was little to catch her attention until she reached the age of seventeen.

Enter Joseph Lawson. In line with what now seemed to be family tradition, he was an actor. Joseph was talented, there was no doubt about that, but he was also ambitious, and as a struggling actor, he knew that luck could play as much a role in success as talent. So when fate landed the seventeen year old daughter of Gaspar and Audrey Delafield in his lap, he did not hesitate in playing this particular scene to his advantage. Lucky for him that the naive and dreamy Camille was perfectly primed to be swept off her feet by a dashing stranger, one who offered the possibilities of another life. All she had known was a life of privilege and, Joseph, struggling to survive, desperate to realise his dream, held the overwhelming allure of the exotic, tortured artist. In truth both of them were using each other for their own ends, Camille to disrupt her comfortable life and Joseph to further his career. Her fickle mind focused with an strange intensity on this dashing young man, as he opened her eyes to the world as he knew it. Some of those new experiences had rather longer lasting effects than others, and at the age of eighteen, Camille found herself pregnant. Joseph, at twenty six, was not yet ready to settle down, but he did what he thought was expected of him, and asked Camille to marry him. She accepted, rather willingly, and so the two of them found themselves living in her childhood home, with Joseph travelling frequently to London for auditions and the like.

It was a hot day in June when Phoenix was brought into the world, after a hard pregnancy and an even harder birth. He was not a healthy child, plagued by breathing and heart problems which it took some work to fix and it was some months before he was allowed home with his concerned parents. Recovery came slowly, but it happened, though his breathing problems persisted in the form of asthma, which he still suffers from today, but to a milder degree and controls it with regular use of inhalers. Joseph wanted to call him Roman, but Phoenix was the name Camille gave him and insistently told everyone that was his correct name, and Joseph quickly gave up his fight with his young wife, deciding not to invest the effort into it. They were already beginning to drift apart from one another, and rather than uniting them, Phoenix seemed to pull them further apart, with Camille seeming to almost completely forget about her husband, rather focusing all her attention on her son.

The pregnancy had left her more fragile than before, and so, while Joseph continued to pursue his acting career in London, Camille stayed in Somerleyton, caring for her son and letting the rest of the world flow past her. The first eight years could not have possibly been as idyllic as he has always remembers them, but in Phoenix’s mind they are memories hazy with the first years of childish awareness and always drenched in the syrupy golden light of a late afternoon on the cusp of summer and autumn. Trailing flowers, the scent of cut grass, the drone of bumblebees wobbling from one flower to the other, drunk on their own nectar, the sharp freshness of sea water around his ankles and the tug of waves against his young body. Far too perfect, one might judge these memories, but if Phoenix was asked when he was happiest, it would be then, in the house at the bottom of the lane, him and his mother. Camille was perfectly happy to allow her husband to disappear to London, New York, LA, in search of fame, using her name and her parents as a password to another world, the one he had always dreamed of. She saw him occasionally, and that was fine with her. He only disrupted the carefully constructed world she had built around her son, as she carefully guided him from sweet-smelling, milk heavy infancy to the troubling world of toddler-hood and beyond. She cherished her glossy-haired child who so trustingly placed his hand in hers, looking up at her with those pale blue eyes which carried such unconditional love.

Phoenix shared many of his mother’s eccentricities, though he was thankfully spared her explosive temper and he had a more obvious desire to interact with the world around him. Still, he often fell back into his own imaginings and was perfectly settled with his own company. His mother had, possibly unwttingly, made herself the centre of his universe, and they were rarely apart from each other. The inevitable looming presence of school appeared on the horizon, and while the option to send him to any number of exclusive private schools was always there, Camille decided it would be best for Phoenix to remain in the village and attend the village school, which he accepted gladly. His child’s mind only knew that there was some possibility that he might be sent away to somewhere big and scary and now that possibility was no longer a threat, he dismissed it entirely, unaware of the tension that it caused between his parents. Joseph was increasingly away from home, having seemingly given into his wife’s possession over their son, and he made little attempt to bond with his child. Phoenix was bewildered by this, when the more apparent changes in his father’s behaviour began, but over time he simply began to expect things to be as they were. That is not to say that it didn’t cause him a great deal of upset, when his father, on his infrequent visits home, barely paid him more than the most cursory attentions. Phoenix would never hear a word against his mother, but it must be acknowledged here that her disinterest in her husband and her tight grip on their son did it’s fair share in driving them firmly apart. Nothing is so black and white as it might seem.

A steady stream of family members came to visit, often, usually every weekend the house filled up with grandparents, Lawrence, Marina, their various partners and children and Phoenix adored these times, loving his family with all the unquestioning passivity of a child. He didn’t notice the concerned glances sent his mother’s way, which only increased with time, the whispered arguments, usually ending with the loud slamming of a door which caused him to start from his colouring pencils or toy animals to see what the problem was. He noticed her tears, however, remembers them well now, as she would sometimes hold him tightly to her and sob.

As Phoenix later came to realise, it was because of his father that his mother was so upset and this increased the number of visits from his grandparents, uncle and aunt. He had nothing to complain about in regards to this, and was always delighted to see them, putting on clumsy but highly imaginative one-man plays for them all. His grandfather insisted that he would see his grandson on the stage, and took Phoenix to his first theatre production in London. The young boy adored it; a special day out with his Grandfather, sitting next to him in the theatre, legs too short for his feet to touch the ground. He was enraptured by the hush of the room before the play began, the curtain rolling back, the scenery, the lighting, the lavish costumes, everything about it spoke to his soul, and he watched with wide eyes and a rapidly beating heart. From then on, he knew what he wanted to do. However, it was not to be, and life had other plans for him.

It was a few days after his theatre trip that all of Joseph’s infidelities came to light, exposed to the Delafield family and to a newspaper by a young woman named Stacey Medina, who claimed to have two children with Joseph, providing the evidence required to back up the claims. Camille had always been aware of the fact that her husband was not faithful to her, and it had never really been a huge issue to her, however, finding out that he had children with another woman proved to be too much of a slight against her darling son, who deeply missed her father. That her control over Phoenix had been an influencing factor in driving her husband away did nothing to dampen her ire. The couple separated with the intention of divorcing as soon as arrangements could be made. Phoenix sat on the bed in his parents room while Joseph packed and Camille screamed at him, that infamous, deceptive temper rearing it’s ugly head. Understanding that his dad was going away forever awakened all those years of neglect in Phoenix and he clung silently to the man, burying his face in the shoulder of his coat as his father hugged him and told him he would see him soon. The threat of separation seemed to have finally awakened parental affection in Joseph, and he wanted nothing more than to take his quiet child away from Camille’s fevered hold. It was not to be, however, and to this day, Phoenix has not seen his father, outside of the screen in a cinema.

Audrey and Gaspar died that same year that Joseph’s affairs were exposed, the year Phoenix turned eight. A journey on a train, and a derailment was how it ended for them, hurtling into oblivion with a crush of screeching metal. The crash would have always received plenty of news coverage, with interviewees on current affairs programmes denouncing the government, the private companies, everyone they could, for negligence. Accidents like this always send shock waves through developed countries, reminders of the fragile systems which control cushioned lives, muffling us from the reality. Flashes of random violence when the system is exposed and the rug is pulled out from under our feet. Twenty people died in total. That two of the twenty were a well known actress and actor only seemed to increase the horror, as the death of celebrities seem to, as though we imagine they have inherited some kind of immortality with the elevation of status and recognition.

Camille was truly broken by the combination of the loss of her parents and the revelation of those five children her husband had fathered with other women. Something that had been growing continually brittle inside her shattered utterly, the shrapnel flying outwards, punching holes in her heart and mind, severing her from previous mooring posts. On impulse, one morning, she contacted her father’s lawyer and informed him that she would like to begin divorce proceedings immediately before informing Joseph of this step. Seemingly seized by some kind of feverish determination, she packed a few suitcases and boxes for her and Phoenix, leaving her home that afternoon and never looking back.

Ever altering landscapes, constant change; colours, lights, smells, languages. That is how Phoenix remembers much of his life once he left the fixed point of Someleyton. He recalls watching the world go by from the frame of a car window, scenery changing gradually or suddenly, from the flat plains of East Anglia, to the dramatic coast of Cornwall. The other side of the country seemed like a good place to settle after a a divorce and the death of parents. Phoenix was an adaptable child and took most of his in his stride, settling into a new school, a new house. His mother took up painting and seemed to quiet again, for a while. Living right next to the sea, Phoenix thrived, growing taller and stronger with every passing day, drawn out of the labyrinth of his own imagination by physical exertion, running wild on the beach with the other children every day after school, exploring the cliffs and delving into clear, cold waters. At school, he was never exemplary, but he wasn’t the worst student either. He simply had no attention span to concentrate on anything. Similar to his mother, he liked painting and drama and little else. Reading and poetry sporadically appealed to him, but spelling and writing were something that he struggled with, an affliction that he continues to suffer from. His hand-writing remains close to illegible and his spelling is frankly appalling.

One day, his mother explained to him that they were moving again, leaving England this time and going to France to stay with some friends of his grandparents. Phoenix was upset to leave his life in Cornwall, but he knew that his mother was always right, so he quietly accepted this. The two of them packed up and set off one grey morning, and crossed the Channel Tunnel. Phoenix quickly forget his upset as they entered a new country, with all the scents, colours, sounds and objects of another culture surrounding him. The landscape was far more interesting to him in France and he watched with wide-eyed curiosity as they journeyed onwards, particularly fascinated by the French language and accent, which he loudly imitated, as he walked down the street. It was true that he got some rather lethal glances for that, but Phoenix has always been oblivious to these things, so it didn’t even slow him in his quest to imitate everyone around him.

France was fine, for a time, but soon they were moving again, barely enough time to get Phoenix settled into a new school, before the belongings were once more packed into the car. Spain was the next location, specifically Barcelona, though they made slow progress, stopping to stay in places that caught Camille or Phoenix’s interest. School was a superficial concern, and instead Camille brought Phoenix a few study books, and talked him through a few lessons in the evening. Not a substantial education, but Phoenix didn’t mind; he liked being in a new place every day rather than sitting at a desk, stationary, still, watching the rest of the world move around. This changed once they settled in Bracelona and Phoenix joined another school. Language was something that he was quick to pick up, and though he was, of course, more comfortable speaking in English, his Spanish quickly developed.

Now eleven years old, Phoenix was fast heading towards his teen years and the unfortunate wall of puberty was yet to be scaled. A father would have been handy at this point, but Joseph was away in another country, re-married to one of his mistresses, Selene, with three children. His thoughts strayed often to his first wife and his son, wherever they were. The family had generally decided that no news was good news in regards to Camille and Phoenix, though conspiracy theories continued to be entertained about where the eldest daughter and grandson of the Delafield’s had disappeared to. Phoenix found his male influences elsewhere, attaching himself to older neighbours or teachers at school, asking them a surprisingly large amount of mostly uncensored questions about whatever came into his head. He pushed for real answers, not the brush off that adults usually give children when these questions begin, and wouldn’t rest until he felt he had been given the right answer. Through these incessant questions and friendships with other children, whom eagerly shared what they could pick up themselves, Phoenix learnt what he felt he needed to know.

Not long after his fourteenth birthday and they were on the move again, settling for a few months in Italy, before somewhere further afield caught his mother’s eye, and they discarded the car which had carried them faithfully from England to Italy, this time boarding a plane for Japan. Phoenix was getting a little frustrated by the moving at this point, but his ties to his mother were strong enough that he didn’t rebel beyond a few days of stony silence. Japan was temporary, in a similar way that Italy had been, and was mostly spent travelling around. The vast beauty of the country was enough to quickly remove any traces of resentment from Phoenix and he explored everywhere with enthusiasm. Having received a large inheritance from her parents, and the divorce settlement, money was of no object to Camille, so there was no reason for her to find a job and as she wasn’t intending on staying long enough for Phoenix to join a school, they two of them were free to whatever they wished for three months. She never seemed entirely happy, though, or when she did, it was a wild eyed, almost feverish passion, quickly followed by lower periods. This had always been his mother ways, to be so up and down, but as they moved around Japan, it seemed to become more and more pronounced. Phoenix had never known how to help her in this situations, other than to stay close to her, soothing her in the way that only he, as her beloved son, could.

He was not surprised when his mother, in one of her excitable moods, booked them plane tickets to another country, Australia this time, a place that the two of them had often talked about while journeying around Japan. Once more, the move was made, now a familiar thing which the two of them were practised at. They found a house in the Gold Coast, and Phoenix once again resumed his studies, though his teacher’s were slightly horrified over a fourteen year old boy with such gaps in his knowledge and education. His English teacher decided to rectify this problem, taking Phoenix under his wing and organising extra tutoring to help him begin to catch up. The teenager was more than delighted with this arrangement, and over time began to feel the first stirrings of interest in another person that went beyond the usual friendship or superficial attraction. With his usual lack of inhibition, Phoenix made his feelings very clear, doing everything he could to get physically close to the man, who attempted to discreetly discourage Phoenix, without causing him any embarrassment. It was a failed venture however, and the teacher eventually invited Camille in to discuss her son’s behaviour. Rather than deal with her son, Camille simply decided to separate her son from his teacher, pulling him out of the school and heading for Sydney, where they began again. Phoenix was a little upset at being drawn away the object of his infatuation, but it was a passing thing and once his interests had been awoken, they stayed wide awake and he quickly found other people to replace his teacher, both male and female. He dated a little but mostly he explored the limits of his sexuality, ignoring any jibes or threats sent his way, losing his virginity to a friend, a rather forward young woman named Mary, who never made a secret of her interest in Phoenix, and he was happy to take advantage of this.

While Phoenix was exploring this new world and occasionally turning up at school, Camille was quickly sinking under the weight of her own mind, drifting deeper into the sudden swings of her mood. Phoenix did what he could, as he always had, but even he seemed incapable of pulling her back to herself. When she sat him down, and told him that she thought another move would help them, Phoenix did not resist, and helped her make the plans for another life, another country. Their final move was to America, their nomadic lifestyle ending in the city of Newark, New Jersey. It was a strange choice, perhaps, but Camille had decided she wanted to see New York, but not actually live there. She felt it would be too crushing and suffocating. They went through the usual motions; a house, a school, the beginnings of friendships. At sixteen, Phoenix had stopped complaining or questioning any moves they made, he simply accepted them and had even begun to sense when change was coming.

The biggest change was yet to come, however, and nothing could have have prepared him for what awaited him one afternoon, when he returned from school. His mother had been quite placid for the last week, and Phoenix appreciated the change, though it rang no alarm bells in his head. Perhaps it should have, and it’s something he laments to this day. The house was quiet, devoid of the usual music that his mother usually played in the background of whatever room she was floating around. That was what hit him first, and to this day a silent house provokes an intense feeling fear in Phoenix. He checked the rooms downstairs first, calling for his mother as he did, before going upstairs, where he found her, lying on her bed, a large, empty packet of pills lying by her side. Calmly he phoned for an ambulance, which while he waited for it, he walked around the house and turned on every radio, TV and stereo he could find, before returning to his mother’s room and sitting next to her on the bed. Camille was pronounced dead at the scene. There was a suicide note; a small crumpled piece of paper, written in childish handwriting that simple said ‘I’m sorry. I love you.’ Phoenix wondered whether she was sorry she loved him or sorry she killed herself. Numbness descended.

Being only seventeen at the time, Phoenix’s father was called who contacted Camille’s sister, Marina, to break the news, and the two of them agreed to fly over to America together, to bring their wayward boy home. Phoenix had a huge amount of affection for this aunt, but the thought of seeing her and his father sickened him and so rather than hang around, he simply did as his mother had done before him and left. Camille had left him a large chunk of cash, which he hid in the lining of his coat, because if seemed like something that should be done, and headed off early one morning for the train station. Later, he phoned his aunt, informing her that while he was glad she had come to pick him up he was perfectly capable of looking after himself. It didn’t go down well, but Phoenix was decided, for once he was focused. He arrived at the station and brought a ticket for the next train to anywhere. As the train pulled out of the station, he finally, two days after finding her body, began to cry for his mother. Eventually, all cried out, he fell asleep, travelling to the end of the line. In a daze he hopped around from train to train for a while, before finally ending up in Boston. It seemed as good a place as any to stop.

For a few weeks he stayed in a cheap hotel, spending his days wandering around the city, mourning his mother, and giving little thought to what to do next. Rent and general living expenses depleted the money his mother had left him to some extent and Phoenix realised that he might have to get a job. With no qualifications, and no experience, there wasn’t much he could do, but he was young and willing to learn, so he took odd jobs, working in a factory, a shop, a restaurant. While working as a waiter, a colleague told him about another way he could earn some extra money, the oldest way in the book; by charging money for sex. With his colleague, Adam, as his guide, Phoenix entered into the murky world of bar hustling. As a good looking and rather charming young man, Phoenix did a fairly good trade. He built up another persona for himself, relishing the idea of fooling people into thinking he was someone else. It didn’t take him long to pick up what people liked and what they didn’t, which only helped increase the amount of customers he was picking up. The money was good too, and Phoenix had none of the inhibitions or shame that made him feel that what he was doing was really wrong. Eventually he met Pax Whitby, whom he moved into a house with, along with two other men. Not long into this arrangement, one of the other three moved out and was quickly replaced by Cooper Vale, and the four of them quickly became inseparable.

One day, he was picked up by an older woman, while he was frequenting a slightly more upmarket bar than usual, mostly for a drink rather than work, but they got to talking and an arrangement was reached. Perhaps it was his conversation, his looks, or his skills, but something made this slender, tragic young man, with his brash, charming smiles stand out to Grace, and the next morning she handed over her card to him, informing him that if he wanted some real work, he now knew where to find her. Phoenix was never one to pass up an opportunity when it was presented so neatly to him, a trait inherited from his father, no doubt, and so he contacted the agency that afternoon, letting them know that it was Grace who had given him the opportunity.

The next week, he turned up to the agency for an interview and a medical check, followed by training. Phoenix thought it was all very novel, but the agency had certain standards which they liked their boys to meet. This was far more organised and high class than picking up drunks in bars or climbing into the passenger seat of a car as it slowed down. They decided he needed a little refining, some training on how to deal with the higher class of client and locations, but Phoenix was a quick and eager learner, so it wasn’t too long before he was a fully fledged male escort. It was rare that he stopped to question where he was life was taking him, he simply followed the paths that were presented to him. There was no great interest in his life, other than to live it to the fullest, and he wasn’t picky about how he went about it. His quicksilver mind was too inconstant to take on some great passion.

A year or so later, Cooper suggested they move to a place called Bishop City, and Phoenix agreed, not at all phased by moving at this point. The move passed off without a hitch, and when the idea of starting up a business together was brought up, he supported it whole-heartedly, delighted with the idea of owning a shop, especially an adult shop. It would be good fun, he imagined and envisioned fun days ahead. After some searching, he rented an apartment in the North End and threw all his energy into the shop. It was around this time that his Aunt Marina, now as well known as his parents, finally managed to track him down, and phoning him from England, informed him of the money he had come into after his mother’s death. It had been placed in a trust fund, until Phoenix could be found again and as long as he could prove his identity to their lawyers, he could have the money. So, he travelled back to Boston, met the family lawyers and received his money, transferring it into a savings account, where is has sat, untouched, ever since. A small amount of time was spent with his Aunt, but having cut his ties with his family, and determined not to be pulled back in, Phoenix only allowed himself a cursory conversation, ignoring her pleas for him to come back to England with her. He loved her, still, but he had made his own life, and he couldn’t bare to go back, not without his mother, not back to his father who had betrayed them so deeply.

As for the rest of his family, occasionally, around the time of his grandparents death, the Delafield’s history will be dragged up, the focus of a newspaper article or a feature on an entertainment channel, and conspiracy theories still surround his parents death, Camille’s disappearance and eventual suicide; mainly labelling Joseph as the architect of the family’s tragedies. Despite those rumours flying around, his father achieved a high level of success, making the successful transition from stage to screen, though he mostly remains more popular in the British film industry than the American one. Phoenix, despite all his negative feelings, still goes to see every film with his father in. Once or twice, he has been contacted by a journalist asking if he is the Phoenix Delafied, but he claims mere coincidence and carries on with his day. Generally it’s believed he died after his mother’s suicide so he is rarely bothered.

Sometime after seeing his aunt again, Phoenix found the restlessness he had inherited from his mother settling into his bones again. Finding that for once he had a reason to stay in a place, he instead decided to let this energy manifest in another way and he signed up with another escort agency, resuming his former work with enthusiasm. He took on an alias, James Windsor, exaggerating his English accent and hinting at ties to the Royal Family, through an illicit affair. It was all fun and games for Phoenix, and the rush of being an escort satiated his desire for change for the time being.

...I COULD BE A TOWER...


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With a cheeky smile, Phoenix smacked Cooper's arse before following suit with Pax.

The End.

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Pax Whitby
Posted: Mar 13 2010, 02:28 AM


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