In spite of the near catastrophe that had befallen, Martin Luther’s birthday went off without a hitch, as soon as his new, uncharred cake arrived. January and Connor dutifully clapped and cheered their son on before wandering off to pursue their own interests. February observed her parents sadly, but Martin Luther seemed unaffected by their apparent indifference, choosing instead to race down to the park for a rare moment of human interaction.
As the kids grew older, January and Connor had less and less to do with their children. In spite of any worry either of them might have felt at the total preoccupation Martin Luther had seemed to have with Marie, both parents completely ignored the sudden string of kids he began bringing over once he started high school. February, on the other hand, noticed her younger brother’s friends; in particular, she noticed a boy with violently red hair and sharp, angular features. Although most of the other teenagers cruelly referred to Hector Cusack-Little as “Ronald McPlumbob,” the somewhat garish mascot for a popular chain of restaurants that sold cheap llama burgers, February found the boy to be unusually intuitive and sensitive. She caught herself thinking of him often, but, as he was merely a freshman while she was a freshly minted graduate, she knew it was best to keep their relationship platonic.
February was not the only one preoccupied with somewhat romantic thoughts concerning Martin Luther’s friends. Although he never played with the weird doll he’d been so obsessed with as a child anymore, Martin Luther seemed completely uninterested in girls. In fact, he didn’t seem interested in anything in particular at all…except maybe for boys. Girls, he had decided, could not be trusted. Marie had told him that long ago, and, although he had thought that she had been overly dramatic about the whole thing, he had come to believe that maybe she’d had a point after all. First, of course, there had been his mother. He knew that no one thought that he had noticed how little attention she paid to him in all this time, but he did. He had thought that he could count on her, because she was his mother; instead, all he could rely on her to do was ignore him. And then there was his sister. For the longest time, he had really believed that he could trust February to always look out for his best interests, no matter how different the siblings were…but then, first chance she gets, she brings home some stranger that turns around and beats up other kids. He had known all along that that Cameron guy was trouble, but she had brought him home anyway. She didn’t care about him, either. Finally, Marie herself became a traitor. For years, she had insinuated that the little friendships he tried to build with girls were nothing compared to what he had with her, thus isolating him…and finally abandoning him herself. Her voice had grown fainter and fainter, until it finally disappeared altogether, leaving nothing but a hollow feeling full of doubt and paranoia…and the belief that, though she now refused to talk to him, Marie still kept close guard on his activities at all times.
So, Martin Luther concluded, if females were dangerous creatures that should be avoided at all costs, that naturally indicated that perhaps boys were a safer option…