The day had gone by in a blur, unlike yesterday where it had been so quiet that I had spent the better part of my day almost lounging along one of the windows, just following the patches of sun, today was a rush, there were people coming around left and right, most of them not looking much older than Cyrille.
Armin said something about how the next few days would be a rush of the sort as students who were missing particular books to their studies, mostly the collegial or university kind, were coming in to try to see if there weren’t some copies that could be taken out on long-term. He did that, rent long-term though they had to deposit a fee and once the book came back in good condition at the end of the term or the year or whatever, the deposit was paid back. That whole thing confused me a bit but I figure that’s just the way life happens.
Cyrille dropped by with lunch but we couldn’t all eat together. The place was still so jam-packed that I ate with him during the first half-hour and Mira used the second half-hour of the break to eat with Armin, we said that if it still was this way tomorrow we’d just switch and he’d get to eat with Cyrille, I don’t mind.
After lunch, he stayed and helped, it made things just a little bit easier and the afternoon isn’t quite as much a blur as this morning was though not by much.
When the rush finally died down and Armin was able to close the doors for the night, to the dismay of a couple of people who had come in just barely five minutes before the usual closing time—Armin noted down the books they needed and said he’d set them aside for tomorrow to be picked up—we all stepped outside to breathe a quiet sigh of relief. I can freely admit that this was one of the hardest days of work I’d had to handle to that day. It had been worth it though, I felt worn but not in a bad way, as if I’d done my part for today.
We were about to cross the street to head to the bus stops when Armin was bumped into and you could almost imagine a bomb had gone off for what happened over the next little while.
Armin stumbled, of course but with Mira at his side, there was no real harm done, I turned to face the bumper and I’d been moments from giving them a piece of my mind when the words died in my throat. There was Zora, standing tall, her nose slightly upturned as if the sight of us wasn’t good enough for her.
“I see you boys still work in this place. That’s a shame, if you’d moved in with us, you’d have much better jobs and you wouldn’t be around this monster.” I don’t think it so much was her comments about the job as it was the comments about Armin that set me off. He was good to us, he took care of us and taught us new things, they all did. I almost lashed out at her but Cyrille’s arm across my chest kept me from going anywhere.
“Look at you two, hanging around this half-man and this-” her eyes swept over Cyrille and now even his arm couldn’t really keep me back, “this whatever he is, it’s pathetic, I didn’t raise you to be like this.”
“You didn’t raise us!” I was in her face, just barely an inch away, neck craned to be able to look up at her and I was silently cursing the damned inches she had on me. “You dragged us around, from one place to another, begging for money, trying to find us food, not even teaching us this one language as if you could keep us to yourself well that’s bullshit. We’d probably have been better off if you’d dropped us off at some orphanage!”
That one might have been pushing too far but I was tired of the bullshit that came from her. It was unlike her, she hadn’t been this way before. She still was calm as she looked down at me, she even smiled and it was a pleased, winning sort of smile. “I don’t miss you boys a whole lot. Niall takes care of me just fine and I don’t need you two punks in my life to hold me back anymore.”
I felt Cyrille shudder slightly besides me and I had to assume it was the name, I can’t imagine there are a lot of folks with that name in this particular city and I felt bile try to rise in my throat. It was Mira who finally stepped forward, he pulled me back though I suppose Cyrille might have helped him. When I was a few paces away, he stepped up to her, his voice was low and calm, peaceful almost and I think I envied him the ability to keep his cool. I felt like I was going to be ill or that I was going to start crying, I couldn’t decide.
“I don’t think you’re wicked, Zora, but I think you’re too easily swayed by the person you believe to be in love with. Personally I think you’re in love with the idea of being in love. If Niall is who we think he is and I’m pretty sure he is, he came to threaten us, he was the one who took us into the station that one time with the incident and if he knew you were related to us, he might not let you stay around much, I’m sure.” He shook his head, a sad look on his face as he turned away.
“We have better things to do than stay here and be spoken to this way. If you ever decide that you’ve had enough of your current love life, the apartment is still open though I can’t guarantee settling back into a kind of peaceful lifestyle will be easy. ” I really do envy his ability to stay calm. He moved past me, gently touching my arm as he went and he settled at Armin’s side once more. We walked to the street corner and crossed.
I don’t know how I managed to keep myself from crying until we were home. I don’t know how I felt either, betrayed, hurt, confused, the emotions were swarming when we finally stepped into the apartment and I broke down. I cried and I did so hard. At times I understand that I’m not really the one who’s all that strong. I put up a strong front for Mira and I protect him best I can but in situations like these, he’s better at controlling his emotions than I am.
He hugged me, it’s all I needed. He hugged me and held me until I calmed down and until the need to cry had passed. Her words hurt. It’s one thing to act as if they meant nothing but when you stopped being all hyped up and stopped being angry, it all comes crashing down and it hurts so bad.
Armin was hesitant to let us go upstairs to our apartment but eventually Mira managed to persuade him to let us go. That he was all right and he’d take care of me. I suppose he was only half convinced because after a while, there was a gentle sort of knock on the door, it was while I was soaking in the tub, trying to calm myself down but I heard talking and eventually, Mira came join me in the bathroom, just sitting down next to the tub. He said Eoghan had dropped by to make sure we were okay. We might not have our older sister with us anymore but we have a bigger family now than we’ve had for years, I want to believe we’ll be okay.