she’s better than that

I don’t hold her in my heart, I don’t think I ever will. At first, when she asked me out to coffee, I thought it would be a learning experience, it was going to be my first outing with someone who wasn’t family, I thought we would discuss this and that. I was wrong, of course but that cannot be changed now. I don’t judge others because of what she’s done to me, that would be a pretty shitty thing to do.

She hasn’t been around in some time, sure, I’ve seen glimpses of her but I don’t really think that can be considered as seeing her around. If she’d done more than step in and out of the library for the sake of stepping into it, I would have considered her seen. This wasn’t it. Not that it matters much, I don’t make it my goal to keep track of her though she’s hard to miss with her bright bubble pink hair. She changes it now and again but the main colour, streaks aside, always seem to be that pink.

Cyrille doesn’t talk about her often, then again, none of us bring her up, it’s not all that surprising I guess since we have little to do with her other than she’s his sister. I did glimpse her a couple of weeks back, while Cyrille still was staying at home, healing up. I thought she’d actually come to us to check in on him but I guess she doesn’t really care all that much about him, it’s sad. I noticed a couple of bruise on her but really, she doesn’t care about her brother, why should I go out of my way to see if she’s doing okay?

I suppose I might be cruel, that’s just how I am and that really won’t change, at this point. I forgot about it, I thought I’d bring it up to Cyrille, out of curiosity more than anything else but it slipped my mind completely.

Here she is again today, a scarf at her throat, one of those skimpy skirt she seems to love more than anything else in the world, those knee-high boots and a little jacket on top. I can see the dusting of bruise on her, even from where I stand but she’s just looking through the shelves, probably looking for one particular book.

I nudge Cyrille and I nod her way. I figure I might as well do that. He shrugs lightly and hands me a book. I climb up the little step stool and I set it where it belongs. Usually he’d be doing the higher books since he’s taller but he’s still healing and he knows better than to argue at this point, I’m grateful for that much.

“That happen often?” My words are whisper-soft and not even because I’m talking about her but because we’re in the library and I just know that this is how things go. He shrugs again, glancing up to his sister before he hands me two more books.

“Now and again in her pick-up, have sex and walk out in the morning, she stumbles on someone who plays a little rough. She deserves better and she’s better than that, really, but that’s how she plays it. I’m not her shrink, I’m not our father though I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t care unless she came home pregnant. I’ve talked to her about it when she started it up and when she first came home with bruises but I learned soon enough that she didn’t care either. She just covers them up and let them heal.”

I can’t understand how anyone might let anyone get away with hitting them. I don’t know what’s going on in her mind and I guess it doesn’t much matter in the long run. “You think that might actually be from your brother?”

“Niall?” He looks back up again as we move to another row, he shakes his head this time. “The only one rule Niall has in life is that he won’t hit women. If he wants to abuse them, he’ll do it verbally. He’s pretty subtle about it too because I used to be one of his victims until he deemed me old enough to be able to hold myself up to physical abuse. I guess his verbal and emotional abuse might just be the reason why Élodie is how she is, though. I don’t know. We’ve both been seeing shrinks since we were kids, different ones because my dad didn’t want us to swap note or something.”

He laughs, a bitter sound and people glance our way briefly before going back to their books. Cyrille shakes his head and breathes a soft sigh, he seems absolutely worn though at this point it might just be an emotional sort of thing and not a physical one. We grew up in ways that are so different that I can’t really relate to most of what he’s gone through. Though he can’t relate to my life either so we’re not all that different.

We don’t really broach the subject while we’re on the way home. I think we’re all a little tired. People are being nitpicky about things lately and it’s not like we can perform miracles. The contractors are doing their best to not be too loud while they work on fixing the place up but in certain situations it’s just inevitable.

Mira rubs his eyes and I nudge him gently. He sticks his tongue out and stretches just lightly. “I dub you both cook for tonight, I’m pooped. I had this one lady following around most of the day because the books I was finding for her weren’t the exact ones she wanted, that being, the copy she wanted was already out of the library and in someone else’s hands. She kept on saying she’d taken notes in them and we’d just erased them all. I tried as I could to explain how things actually are supposed to work but she wouldn’t hear a word of it.”

Up front, Armin laughs and shakes his head. “I bet that was Arabella. She’s very, very picky about her books and she always wants another because it’s not right. She does tend to take notes in her books however, which in turn leaves us actually unable to put them back on the shelves. We make her pay the new book fee, she goes home with the book and then seems to somehow, miraculously so, forget that she has those book permanently and she comes back to the library to borrow them. I’m pretty sure that she has several copies of particular books and more than likely with the same passages scribbled over or highlighted.”

I don’t know whether to laugh or just be confused by this woman’s behaviour. I roll my eyes instead and lean back into my seat. I tug at the seatbelt slightly as I’m actually used to being behind the driver but Mira opted for that seat today. It feel strange to be wearing it on this side though I know it won’t kill me.

Once home I head out to the back of the building since I know it’s not really time to start preparing dinner and I don’t see the need to keeping myself cooped inside while it’s still nice outside though the air is getting colder. This is going to be my first winter with a roof over my head from the start to the end of it. Before too long, we’ll be celebrating a year with a permanent roof over our heaves, I’m going to have to figure something out because I’ll have to make it special, it has to mean something after all.

I look up as I settle on the swing and Cyrille settles next to me. “Mira said he was going up to his room for a nap. I guess he’s not used to being followed around by Bella. She can be a little crazy, I’ve been around her a few times.”

“I’m going to need your help before too long, Cyrille.”

“I’m here to help?” He laughs softly and leans back against the back of the swing. He’s smiling though, so I know he means it. I’m going to make it memorable.


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