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Holy crap, sorry for the slow update. I don't really like this chapter because I felt too rushed to get it out there. Which is ironic, because this chapter was actually added and not intentionly part of the my original sequence (except for the end). I know this chapter is very rushed and I profusely apologize about that. I hope you guys enjoy it. Hopefully the next one slows down more (at least, that's the plan). The ones after that, however, will jump years, so I'll try to make sure everyone's on tabs.
All righty, comments to comments (lol) are at the bottom.
Chapter Twelve: The First Year
After their first dinner, Manfred had, to his shame, nervously asked Helena if they could go out another time. Helena only smiled (her smile so incredibly charming, he realized) back and agreed. After that, it became, surprisingly, a little known fact that the two of them were “going steady,” as the term became among the college students.
Richard had suddenly called a week after this happened. He was curious as to what Manfred was up to. Manfred had decided to not mention his new girlfriend, and simply said he was doing fine. However, Richard seemed suspicious, for after that one phone call, he’d gotten into the annoying habit of calling every evening, usually during an inconvenient time when Manfred happened to be getting dinner with Helena or studying (which would turn into chats) with her in his room. Richard was usually complacent during these phone calls, but once or twice, Richard would yell over the phone to start doing perfect on his grades “or else.” Why Richard had started to become aggressive, Manfred had no idea. And he was honestly a little at his wit’s end over this.
Only a few weeks later, even Helena saw a change in Manfred. He was charming, in his odd sort of way, and constantly caring towards her, but Helena didn’t like the strange turn he’d taken for the worse. He started pouring over every possible detail with his work and refused to do anything, much less eat
, until he had finished his papers and readings. The change was peculiarly rapid; Helena couldn’t tell exactly what was wrong with Manfred, for any time she asked, he’d simply smile and assure her that he was fine. Despite this, Helena stayed faithful to him. Her psychology prowess warned her that he was hiding something from her, but it also told her that she should probably tread carefully and perhaps wait to ask. It wasn’t as if she didn’t have problems on her own…
It wasn’t until after a particular disheartening and stressful phone call from his father that Manfred finally decided to have a talk with Helena. He knew he looked like wreck: reading and rereading material that the class hadn’t even gone over yet; barely eating or sleeping for days; always worried about each little mistake he did…It’s no wonder Helena’s worried.
Manfred, despite the fact that he feared being imperfect in his studies, he also feared pushing Helena away. But he decided it was time to give an explanation as to his behavior. And also give her the chance to change her mind.
On a Friday evening, Manfred invited Helena to a dinner at the restaurant they had eaten at the first time they met. There was little conversation during the meal and it wasn’t until after the meal that Manfred gained the confidence to begin speaking.
“Helena, I wanted to… explain about my behavior over the last month or so,” Manfred began uncomfortably. He did not know why this weak emotion of uncertainty was sweeping over him now, but it came, nevertheless, and he didn’t know what to do with it.
“…I see,” Helena replied, suddenly grasping her locket. Manfred took a deep breath before speaking. Helena knew about his troubles before he came to the university; all she knew was that his brother was in jail for the murder of his mother and that he had a tough father. That was the extent of her knowledge of his father, however.
“You must understand, I am only careful in my work because of my father. He… expects me to succeed in my studies so that one day, I may take over his defense law firm,” Manfred tried to explain. Helena furrowed her eyebrows.
“Yes, I know. But you never told me it was a defense
firm. I thought you were studying to be a—“
“A prosecutor, I know; my father and I don’t exactly have the best history together,” Manfred mumbled.
“So, what has he been saying to you?” Helena asked. Manfred was almost taken aback by her quick, yet correct, assumption. He should've be used to this; after all, she had the uncanny ability to sometimes know exactly what he needed, whether it was time with no disturbances, or a simple smile of reassurance.
Manfred mulled his thoughts over for a moment. He was so used to showing no weakness in front of people that he’d forgotten that he could let down his guard in front of Helena.
“He’s been calling me every night, as you’ve no doubt seen; reminding me about my studies and doing things the way he wants things to be done: perfectly.”
“You go against his wishes, yet at the same time, you want to do as he asks?” Helena asked.
“I do as he asks… because I want him to stop bothering me,” Manfred explicated.
“Are you sure you aren’t doing this because you think the notion of being “perfect” could be something… you want?” Helena hesitated to ask. Manfred’s eyes became downcast.
“Perhaps. But… I mostly do it for my mother,” Manfred looked up to meet her eyes. “I wanted to become a prosecutor because I wanted not only to go against my father, but I also wanted to be sure that criminals like my brother would be in jail. I also… just want to make her proud,” Manfred sighed slightly, showing little emotion. Helena glanced away and opened her locket.
“I never did tell you why I wanted to go into psychology, did I?” Helena broke the silence. “I did it for my mother, also.” She took her locket off to show Manfred the picture of who he had to assume was her mother. The lady also had the strange bluish hair that Helena had and their eyes were similar. “She… committed suicide when I was younger.” Manfred’s eyes suddenly widened at this new information. “I felt horrible because I didn’t see the signs in time to help her. So I decided to dedicate my life to helping people understand themselves when they cannot.”
“Why did you choose Criminal Psychology, specifically?” Manfred pondered.
“Because I realized that criminals are the ones that need to most help. I don’t believe that most criminals become the way they are because they want to. I want to help them feel understood,” Helena clarified. Manfred nodded in response.
“You seem to be… handling it well,” Manfred mumbled. Helena rolled her eyes.
“Everyone wears a mask, my dear. Some wear it to hide their true, ugly selves from others while others wear it because they want to simply seem “pretty.” Still, there are others that wear masks without realizing it, just because they want to hide from themselves who they truly are,” she acknowledged. “But, is that all that you wanted to say to me?”
“N-no,” Manfred stuttered, trying to stop himself from being completely tongue-tied. “I wanted to explain why I was so distant as of late. And I wanted to apologize for… well, for being a mess,” he finally admitted, feeling so suddenly insecure with himself, he felt sick. “And I’ll understand if you would rather simply leave me be and just find—“
Manfred was suddenly interrupted when Helena gently grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him in a kiss. He was taken off guard, but before panic could seize him, he relaxed into the feeling of being loved. Of being accepted.
Despite the events that happened that evening, Manfred continued to work diligently as ever to prove his worth as a prosecutor and, now, as someone worthy of his love’s attentions. Helena continually expressed her concern over his stressful work, but he only responded with a promise to be perfect to her. Still, Helena and Manfred greatly enjoyed their time together and their conversations (when Helena was able to pull him from his studies); the more intimate matters, such as kissing, were few enough to be cherished, but not few enough to be constantly craved for.
Manfred and Helena’s relationship had become the talk of the campus for awhile. He had even contacted Wagner and Deter to see how their studies were going and even mentioned Helena. Wagner was studying medicine and diagnosis; his social life currently consisted of speaking about the latest diseases with his fellow doctor nerds. Deter had long broken up with Lacina and had gone through two other girls (Manfred retorted to this with a groan and a lecture about respecting women, to which Deter replied that he couldn’t help it if women didn’t like who he was) and was going into business.
Richard’s calls finally became fewer and fewer; although, the downside was that each call he did
make would become an instant downer on Manfred’s mood. His father seemed to be going through a rough time himself, though if that were the case, Manfred couldn’t tell what was wrong.
It wasn’t until he read the newspaper one day that he realized what was wrong: Richard’s law firm was in trouble. There were accusations of false evidence, withholding info, and taking bribes. Manfred furrowed his eyebrows; how was he not surprised?
Still, it wasn’t until towards the end of the year that he heard the bittersweet news: Richard had mysteriously passed away only days before he was to be tried for crimes he had been rumored to have committed. Richard’s lawyer had called Manfred personally to invite him to the proceedings of the will.
Manfred found time away from his classes to talk to Richard’s lawyer. He was left with Richard’s entire estate and most of the wealth. Manfred wanted nothing to do with the very nice, but not necessarily the richest, house; it held bad memories for him. Still, the large home held more resources and materials than his own dorm room; Manfred decided that he might as well move into his father’s house and use it as his temporary home.
The first school year had finally ended. Manfred had passed with stellar grades and was the top of his class. His career as a prosecutor was also assured; professors often spoke in soft whispers of the prodigy and his potential. Students loathed him simply because he was perfect and untouchable; there seemed to be no flaws in a single word that escaped his silver tongue. He was destined to attain the career and title that he desired; a flawless achievement.
Yeah, ending terribly rushed. Again, sorry 'bout that.
Bad Player wrote:
Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid!
Sorry, couldn't resist
Anyway, FINALLY. It was nice, seeing Manny in school. And we meet Franny's mommy! I was thinking what occupation Franny's mother should have, and Criminal Investigator does seem like a good choice...
Can't wait for you to update again!
btw, what color is Manny's hair here? o.o
Lol, quoting Shakespeare, are we?
Yeah, I was thinking carefully about what Helena's profession would be. I didn't want it to have anything to do with law, but I wanted it to do with criminal justice, so that she could relate somehow. I was tempted to have her be a law professor, like Anya, but I decided against it. Also, because the dynamic that she's a criminal psychologist is going to play later when... well, ya know, when Manfred becomes a sort of "criminal" himself.
Oh, and I pictured Manny's hair to be kinda like Mile's hair, but maybe darker. Helena has Franny's hair, basically
Updates make me happy. ^_^
Manfred's first love... This should be interesting. Love is so often imperfect. ;)
Anyway, I like how you're developing Manfred. More and more of the pieces slowly begin to fall into place with each chapter as it should be. The pacing of the story is quite believable which is good as I know plenty of writers who get impatient and force things to happen too quickly, so it's nice to see you taking your time to allow the character to develop naturally. I look forward to more. :)
Lol, indeed, but for some reason, that's all right with Manfred...
Yeah, I'm trying to be as patieint as possible
Which is so dang hard
. But I really rushed it today, so hopefully that won't happen as much in the future.
Ghaleon von Karma wrote:
It's been a long time, but I would like to comment. I am seeing this evolution of MvK in a different way through someone else's eye. It is strange how the way MvK evolves. Right now, it doesn't even look like the demon prosecutor we see later in AA:PW. But he will. There is so much evolution left in his character, but seeing it unfold slowly is quite enjoyable.
I do hope you continue as you have more free time. I am enjoying this immensely.
Long time no see!
Yes, he has evolved, but hasn't quite become the man we know yet. This chapter jumpstarted the transformation more, however. But I am glad you're enjoying it!
General Luigi wrote:
Well, I've read through your work up to this point. You're doing quite well, and this story in itself feels much deeper than your previous works. In fact, this is reminding me of a number of mini-biographies I've read about a number of people, many of whom are generally regarded as monsters these days. It's clear from this work and the biographies I've read that no one is born "evil." The events they experience and the people they meet are often the leading factor behind their actions. Would Iosif Dzhugashvili have become the cruel dictator he is known for having been had his beloved Kato lived? Would Tsar Ivan IV have despised the boyars so much had he been raised by his parents rather than them?
Hm... I think I'll invite my friend Dragus over here. Manfred's one of his favorite characters, and I'm sure he'll have a high opinion of your work.
Well... Now, on a side-note, I actually read up a bit on the origin of cravats. Apparently, they became popular in France after they were seen being worn by Croatian mercenaries. "Cravat" is actually a French mispronunciation of the Croatian word for "Croatian": "Hrvat".
Now that I think about it... Given the evidence and potential motives, it seems rather likely that Richard was the killer.
Ah! You've reviewed!
I'm glad you like this. I enjoy probing deeper into this, despite it being a just a character; but it's fun, nevertheless. I've never been for one to believe that most people are "born" evil; the circumstances around them and how they handle them shapes who they become. That's true for many people.
I hope your friend enjoyed it
The history on the cravat is interesting. What's funny is that in French, the word "la cravat" means a tie; you know, like what men wear with suits.
Oh shoot, you guessed it
I'm pleased i finally got round to reading this. It's really good. I love how you've really delved into Manfred'd life and created his entire life for people to read and follow and see how he got to 4-1. Concidering how cold and obsessed with his perfect win record he is by that time it's very interesting to see him caring about people such as Anya and now Helena (Only in quite a different way than Anya).
At the moment I'm working on something simular to you only about Mia Fey starting from when she started off at at Grossberg criminal defense law firm. Maybe you've read some of it? It's no where near as detailed (or as good) as what you're writing though.
I'll keep following this now and look forward to the next installment.
Yes, the women in his life seem quite important. Heh, that's on purpose. I always thought it was interesting that Manfred never really outwardly said how he felt about having just daughters. But he seemed to not care either way, so I exploited that fact.
And yes, I highly enjoy your Mia Fey story! The details is honestly all in how you plan, write, and probe with the minds. XD
Gregory Wright wrote:
Splendid! Playing "catch up" was never more fun. One of my biggest questions about Manfred was how he got himself a wife and you're doing a wonderful job of answering it. I have no corrections to offer at this point. It's all fabulous
I'm glad you like it. I'm trying my best here. A lot of people thought that his wife must be crazy to ever accept such a "monster" but I disagree. I think she'd have to be patient. And kind. And understanding. Realllllly understanding. XD