I hadn’t really seen much of her in a few weeks. Since I’d settled in to live with the twins, I guess. I’d seen glimpses of her left and right but we haven’t really talked. Not that we talked much while we still were both at home, she never was around. Niall had his own apartment and Magali stayed home because of the on and off cancer issues but Élodie was usually staying with whatever boyfriend of the moment she had then.
So when she bumped into my, not even accidentally I’m sure, I was more than a little surprised. We didn’t always fought but at times, some things just seem to happen and they make everything turn bad. I don’t know when we drifted apart but we did. I felt sad about it for a while but I got over it. We used to be close but then she discovered boys and that distance grew. We didn’t fight then, she was just distant. Then I assume she might have gotten dumped for the first time in who knew how long, she came home, pissed as hell and we had out first real fight.
I didn’t expect her to pull me to the side to talk to me after she bumped into me. I’d expected her to snap at me to get out of her way. She can be absolutely sweet and angelic to anyone she wants to get close to but she’s a regular little hell spawn with me. So when she did pull me aside, just tugging on my sleeve like a kid trying to get their parent to look at something, I went with, I was too surprised to just stop her and tell her to let go of me. The whole library was quiet as could be anyway so it wasn’t as though this would disturb much of anyone.
“When are you coming home?” Her words confused me. The family house hadn’t been her home over two years at this point, at least that was how I saw it. She started coming and going by the time she’d hit fifteen or so but she had mostly disappeared as a whole from our lives around our seventeenth birthday.
“I’m not going back there, Élodie. At least not until Magali does and even then that might not happen. I’m in no hurry to go back to a place where Niall can just come out and about as he might like and beat the shit out of me because he feels like I’ve failed to live up to his expectations somewhat.”
She looked taken aback for a few moments, her lips pulling into a frown. Years ago, I would have felt the need to reach out, brush some hair behind her ear, it usually made her smile but now I found myself not even able to reach out and touch her this way. I didn’t really feel as though our connection as siblings still existed.
“The place is empty, it’s boring.” There was something in her eyes, I couldn’t really tell what it was and I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it either. I didn’t want to think about it. She hadn’t even addressed the issue I’d brought up about our brother, so why would I bother with the rest?
“Yeah, has to be, now you can get an idea of what it’s been like living in there on my own since everyone’s been gone.”
“You had Magali with you, don’t be selfish!”
“Selfish, Élodie? Magali spent more time in the hospital than she did at home because of her cancer, you’d know that if you bothered keeping in touch when you’re not spreading your legs to whatever guy might catch your attention.”
Her eyes grew wide at that point, her cheeks flamed and I felt no need to apologize for what I’d just uttered. I’d had that weight on my chest for years at this point, I’d kept my mouth shut about it all, at the very least in her face and I’d never complained about it before. I didn’t need her to try to guilt trip me into going back to a house where I didn’t feel at home.
“Thing is, I’m staying where I’m staying. I’m keeping in touch with Magali and so far she’s doing better spending her time with Joana than she was being stuck at home with Ophé as her only companion since I worked to earn some money-“
“What’s the point of working for money when we have all we want in our accounts and we’ll have even more once we’re twenty-one?” Her voice was almost shrill as she cut me off. I shook my head. I found this situation sad at this point, I couldn’t tell if what I felt for her was pity or something else altogether.
“Élodie, this is why you’ll more than likely never amount to a whole lot in life and no, don’t you give me that hurt look of yours, it no longer works with me. You think you deserve everything in the world, that everything is yours for the taking and that you shouldn’t have to work a single day of your life just because, oh goodness me, there’s some money in your account. That’s not how life is supposed to be lived.”
“Magali doesn’t work!”
“Oh for fuck’s sake. Magali used to work until her cancer got so bad she had to stop because her chemotherapy made her unable to work. She’s worked since she was fifteen otherwise so get off your entitled horse. Leave me the hell alone.”
“What about Christmas?!”
I couldn’t help it. She’d just stepped past the line that separated pity inducing from outright pathetic.
“What about Christmas, Élodie? You want someone to tell Santa you’ve been an absolute angel this year and that you deserve all the gifts on your list? Well get in touch with the parents and see if they might not feel like giving you a little extra money that you honestly don’t even need so you can buy yourself even more shit you don’t need.”
That was it, I turned away. I couldn’t handle her anymore and she was starting to put me in a bad mood. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be the moody one because the twins, and even Armin, had done nothing to deserve that. I didn’t stay to watch her walk away if she did, I just walked back to where I’d come from and I apologized to Armin for disappearing without a warning.
He only smiled at me, patted my hand somewhat and told me it was fine as it was. He’d just had a long talk with Eoghan and some workers were going to begin packing up books for the building transfer so the library was going to be closed by the end of the afternoon so they could work in peace. There would be a sign posted on the door, saying that books that were due now were given a month’s extension without any penalties due to the move.
I sighed, excused myself for a few moments and disappeared off into the back room. It would be empty like everything else pretty soon but it was the only place where I could be alone for a few moments. I needed to breathe, I needed to not think on everything she’d just said because it wasn’t fair.
Last I’d spoken to Magali, she’d talked about perhaps staying with Joana in a permanent way, at least, that much she told me after I’d told her how well I had settled in and how comfortable I was with the twins. I guess she thought that if I felt safe in my new environment, she could chance finally having a little happiness in her life. For a second I felt bad, I felt as though I’d kept her from being happy by sticking around at home.
But then, seconds after I’d started thinking just that, arms wrapped themselves around my waist, slight arms, a small form that pressed up against me. I laughed softly at Mira’s closeness, I could see the hint of his blue scarf peeking at my side, and I closed my eyes. I curled my arms over his and let myself breathe out a sigh.
“Didn’t mean to bother you, Cy, but I saw you coming in here and you looked like you could use a hug.” He spoke against my back, just hugging me as tightly as he could and happiness swelled and spread its warmth everywhere through me.
“Thank you Mira. I needed that and I think I’m not going to be leaving you guys on your own any time soon. I’ll tell you and Agni more about that when we get back home.” Home really was the term I was going to use and it was sticking. This really was home, I belonged there with them.