The Y-files [GL]
When we arrived back at the north station, we quickly said our goodbyes to the other girls. We had no time to keep chatting. Due to a train delay, we were back rather late because we missed one of our connections, and Elizabeth would come to pick up Emma.
Luckily Anna had her car parked near the station, so we managed to arrive at the Femme Fatale rather quickly.
When we arrived, mom send me up to the apartment rather quickly. Elizabeth had arrived a few minutes earlier, and only Sam, who was babysitting for Frank, was upstairs. They had again given Tory and Mari the afternoon off, just to avoid Elizabeth, but my train delay had made the situation troublesome because both Frank and mom could not leave the brasserie.
Anna and I hurried up the stairs.
When I got to the apartment a grotesque scene was unfolding. Sam was screaming at Elizabeth “You take that back!”
“Why? He is a useless waste of space. I think it is terrible that I have to leave Emma here every other week.” Elizabeth answered venomously.
“You really can't say that he is bad with his kid. He does everything for her, and she thinks the world of him. Do you never wonder what Emma would think if she had to grow up without a father?” I could see Sam was on the verge of tears.
“If not for Claire, I would have fought custody a lot harder. I wouldn't want to leave Emma with Frank and Lisa.” Now she was attacking mom too. I felt my blood beginning to boil. If Emma was not in that room, I don't think I would have been able to restrain myself.
“I would have been happy with a father like that. I would have hated my mom if she did not let me see my father. They say a kid learns a lot unconsciously from their father in their young years. You don't know what it is to not have a father.” Mom had told us that Sam had never known her father and to be delicate about the subject. I felt some connection to her for that. I saw a tear form in her eyes.
“Well, if that is the case, his example must have been another waste of space!”
That comment was what eventually pushed me over the edge. “You take that back! Right now!”
I screamed at Elizabeth who was unquestionably shocked to find out that I had arrived home and heard everything she said. I never knew my father, but tears were rolling from my eyes. Who was she to say bad stuff about my dead father?
I stepped over to comfort Sam.
“Listen, Claire, I..” Elizabeth tried, but Anna stopped her. “I think you said a little too much in another person's home, don't you think?” Anna walked over to Emma and said “Shall auntie Anna tell you a story while the grownups settle their fight?” The two of them walked over to my room. I was happy that she put Emma first. A kid her age should never be around when grown-ups misbehave.
When Sam saw me she tried to explain what had happened. I hugged her and said “I saw some of it. Thanks for sticking up for my big bro. I think he's a great father too.”
Immediately Sam's eyes turned big and she looked away. “I wasn't doing it for him, you know!”
“Oh, that's what this was about.” Elizabeth then said. “Rest assured. I won't get in your way. EVER! Thanks to him, I no longer swing that way. As do none of his former girlfriends, so you're safe on that front.”
Sam turned crimson, but this time I would stick up for her.
“You are acting pretty tough, for someone who still owes us an apology,” I said rather coldly to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth turned her eyes down. She knew she had gone too far this time. “I'm sorry Claire. I wasn't thinking. You know how things get when you are fighting. You say stuff you don't mean.”
“You also owe mom an apology. She did her best to raise Frank and me. You have no right to criticize her as a mother!”
Elizabeth nodded. “And you certainly didn't have a right to say bad stuff about my dead father!” I added after that. I noticed that Elizabeth felt really bad about that one, which already released some of my anger.
“And to Frank! I want you to apologize to Frank. It's not because things went bad between the two of you, that you have the right to berate him like that when he is doing a great job.” Sam just upped the stakes.
Elizabeth seemed like she was about to explode but then said “Fine! I get it! I will apologize to Frank and Lisa. I went too far.” I could see the relief on Sam's face, and then she turned immediately back to a haughty act. “I just hate to see injustices. It's not like I like him or anything!” Of course not. I had only seen the two of them fight. I would never mistake that for liking each other.
I went to the brasserie with Elizabeth. As long as I was there, I knew she would do her best not to flip when talking with mom or Frank.
First, she apologized to mom. Mom looked at me to see what was happening. I told her she had made Sam cry in a fight and that I had witnessed her saying bad things about her, Frank, and dad. I could see that mentioning dad in this way stabbed her. “I will forgive you only once for talking bad about a dead person you never met. He was a great man.” I heard mom's voice waver a little.
Elizabeth had become very small at this point. “I understand, it will never happen again. I'm very sorry.”
Mom turned around and acted like Elizabeth wasn't there anymore. She was acting tough. I am sure she just did that to be able to keep her composure. I'm sure tonight she will be on the phone with Ms. Lourdes. She always called Ms. Lourdes when something like this happened.
Then, Elizabeth and I went to the kitchen. Frank was busy and almost dropped a pan out of fear when he saw Elizabeth. I could see he was really scared of her. Elizabeth sighed and said, “I'm sorry I said you were a bad father.”
Frank looked with eyes full of disbelief and looked at me for an explanation. “Thank Sam,” I said.
“But that terrible girl hates my guts... Why would she help me?” Frank whispered. I could see de could not believe his ears.
At that point, Elizabeth started to turn around to leave, but Frank stopped her and said “I'm sorry too. I should not just cower in the kitchen, and face you myself. Let's act a little more normal toward each other, for Emma's sake. I can see she suffers from us not getting along.”
Elizabeth looked at Frank like he just said something that she never expected to come from his mouth. “I won't promise anything, but I'll try.”
She turned around to leave. Anna stood ready with Emma who was packed and ready to go. She came to give me, mom, and Frank one last big hug. I was gonna miss her the coming week. But then she said “Mom, can we go look at auntie Claire on the stage next Saturday? Auntie Claire will be an idol at the school festival!”
Who told her that? But then I saw Anna with sparkles in her eyes next to Emma. Never mind, the source was spotted.
Elizabeth sighed. “Well, if daddy is okay with it, I will drop you off on Friday, and you can stay with me for 2 weekends after that.” Emma looked at Frank and he nodded. “Of course, we can go watch auntie Claire on the stage!”
“Thank you, mommy!” Emma hugged her mom. She was obviously super happy that her parents were getting along. “Maybe I will come to watch too.” Elizabeth then said. Frank looked a bit weary at that.
I was amazed. It seemed like Elizabeth and Frank were going to do their best to be reasonable toward each other. I could not remember the last time that happened. Not even when they were still together.
After Emma left, Anna and I made our way back to the apartment.
Sam had changed clothes and had put on some make-up. “Now that Emma's gone, I will go and help Lisa. The quicker she shows me the ropes, the better. I was hired to be a waitress and not to be that man's babysitter after all.”
Those two really got off on the wrong foot. When the door closed behind her, only Anna and I remained in the room.
“Well, it seems it is just the two of us, I said to Anna. I embraced and kissed her. “I waited for that all day!” I said. “I still owe you a little punishment for that stunt of getting those pictures in our bathing suits!”
Anna gulped. She was looking at me full of anticipation. I led her to my bedroom and I kissed her again. I could feel her giving herself to me as I felt her legs go weak. She let me take the lead, and I enjoyed being in control. We let ourselves go in each other's embrace. I felt myself melt away. Even though she could be so outrageous at times, I loved that woman to pieces!
A while later, we were just lazing around on the bed and staring at the ceiling. I got up and started dressing. “Where are you going?” Anna asked sulkily.
“To make us something for dinner. We haven't had dinner yet.”
Finally a chance to cook! I walked to the fridge to find a pork roast in there. I could easily turn that into delicious homemade cordon bleus with a nice hunter's sauce. I decided to bake some croquettes to go with that. After all, Anna and I would be having dinner by ourselves, so I thought it was a rather festive occasion. I was sure that Frank would not mind if I used some croquettes from the brasserie.
I started sharpening my knives while humming when my phone rang. It was Fien. I wondered what she could need. I picked up the phone and heard her panicking voice say the words: “Claire, we have an emergency Y-file on our hands. I need you here now!”
Just when I was almost cooking!Belgian Trivia
2 thin slices of pork, filled with ham and Chester cheese. The whole is breaded afterward. Often the meat has been hammered with a meat hammer to make it more tender. You can get it at any butcher shop or supermarket.
Hunter's sauce: A creamy sauce with red wine, fond, and mushrooms. Often paired with Cordon bleu in restaurants.