The Y-files [GL]
“Ahum.” A cough of Ms. Lourdes brought us back to reality. “I understand you are happy, but please remember there are other people here, including your mother, Anna. Save this for when we are no longer on the clock.”
I had been caught in Anna’s rhythm again and ended up doing something really embarrassing like kissing her in front of everyone. But how could I not have? She saved me from the clutches of the devil, by sacrificing herself.
I looked around and when I met Kath’s eyes, I noticed she had an endearing smile on her face, but on her, that looked quite ominous at the same time. My reaction made me look downward immediately and I felt my cheeks flush. But Anna just embraced me and said "Don't be embarrassed. Look at everyone's smile. It was beautiful yuri. That is nothing to be embarrassed about." I felt my face heat up even more. It might be beautiful yuri, but did she really have to point out again that everyone had been watching us with that starry look in their eyes?
When Kath and Maxima started to leave, Anna and I were summoned to Ms. Lourdes' office. She told us she had something urgent to discuss.
Anna and I followed Ms. Lourdes in the hallway to her office. I took the chance to apologize to her for yesterday evening.
“I'm sorry you had to take care of mom yesterday. We had an emergency at Eline's place. I should have known that it hurt her more than she led on. There is no real excuse, Frank and I should have been there for her.”
Ms. Lourdes clearly felt uncomfortable with my apology and replied
“Don't worry about it. I always enjoy your mother's company. Even if the reasons were not ideal, I was happy for a chance to see her. I did my best to make her forget all her worries.” I noticed a little tremble in her voice while she said those words.
I felt so grateful, so I answered “Thank you for being such a good friend to mom.”
We arrived at her office and there was a couple of grownups waiting on a chair in the hallway. Ms. Lourdes walked toward them and said in a very serious and grave tone, completely different from the shaky one she used when we were talking just a minute ago.
“Sorry for making the both of you wait. Let me introduce you to Claire Brossé and the counselor Anna Lyst. Anna, Claire, these are Josh and Nicole Van Illa, Louisa's parents. They asked to meet with you, Claire.”
Nicole embraced me and started crying. It was the first time that I saw these people, and I never really knew Louisa so I did not really know how to react. Luckily Josh guided his wife away from me inside the room.
“I am sorry for springing this on the two of you, but they sprung it on me this morning when they arrived unannounced.” Ms. Lourdes whispered to Anna and me. She could have said something while walking here, could she not? Djeesj.
We entered the office and all took a seat.
Josh then started speaking since Nicole became incapable of doing so, each time she tried. The grief clearly was still very deep and fresh to her, and each time she tried to say the word Louisa, she started sobbing.
“The public prosecutor has finally released Louisa's body, so the cremation will be this Wednesday. We wanted to invite her class to the ceremony.”
Ms. Lourdes nodded. I also think that was a fairly normal request.
“We saw a video online where some girls said they witnessed Claire trying to stop Louisa from committing suicide.” My eyes instantly shot bolts of lightning at Anna. Her outrageous tricks were coming back to bite me. It wasn't funny when it all became serious. I noticed Anna gulp. At least she realized what she had done.
“ I personally wanted to thank Claire for trying to stop Louisa, even if she did not succeed, and I wanted to ask if she could say something about Louisa at the ceremony. Reading her diary, it was pretty clear to us that you were all that was on her mind during the last few months of her life, so I think that is what she would have wanted.”
I could hardly explain to these grieving people that I had not really known Louisa. I felt cornered again. This was just unfair. I felt a tear running down my cheek. When Nicole noticed, she started crying again and hugged me.
“It's okay dear. It's okay to grieve. We miss her too!” she started comforting me. I think I just added an additional layer to the misunderstanding. When I saw the mother's grieve, I realized that it was too late to try to explain things. It would hurt them more than anything. While I was preparing in my head what I was going to say to Anna, as soon as they left, I said “Okay, if that is what you want, I will say a few words for her.”
After that, the talks became rather practical. Louisa would be cremated this Wednesday afternoon so that the kids from school could attend. Ms. Lourdes would organize a group visit for the kids from school that wanted to attend.
After that, we said our goodbyes. Nicole and Josh both gave me another firm hug and told me that I should visit them some time, to talk about Louisa. I think I managed to get away with not really reacting to that. They must have thought I was still too stricken with grieve to react. I really did not feel like visiting them. There were lines I really did not want to cross.
The second Ms. Lourdes led Louisa's parents back to their car, I lashed out at Anna. “You see what happens when you spread lies like that. It's always me that has to suffer the consequences!”
Anna had a really guilty look on her face, but then she said “But think about the positives!”
The positives... The positives... Th-That WOMAN!
“This all started with you blaming me for her death, and look at it now. I have to pretend to have been a lot to Louisa that I have never been, because of you. You always do but never think of the consequences.”
Anna was still not giving up and said “But you are giving them a better image of their daughter.”
“No, I am giving them a better image of me. I was never there to help her. Louisa killed herself because she felt alone and ostracized. She felt like she couldn't talk to anyone. I feel like I would betray her memory to keep up this lie.”
I expected Anna to waver now, but instead, she became determined and strong. “Isn't this better? They would have thought you killed their daughter indirectly, by bullying, if they had just read that diary.”
“It's true that it might be more convenient for me, but I don't want to lie!” I snapped back at her.
“Then don't lie. Because of Louisa, we created the FBY and the CYA to make sure something like this never happens again. I am sorry that I lied, but in this situation, I do not see the need for you to lie. Aren't we making the most of her memory, even if we didn't really know her?”
I sighed. Anna would never change, would she? It is true that in the end, very little damage had been done. Mostly good had come out of the last couple of weeks. The truth would probably have caused a lot more hurt. I felt so frustrated. I slapped Anna in the face. She looked at me completely baffled, touching her cheek. “That was for trying to frame me, the first time we met.” I could see a sad feeling of guilt creep on Anna's face. “You are so impossible, but I can't help but love you!”, I kissed her. She was really outrageously impossible, but she was my outrageously impossible. It was also impossible to imagine being without her. I even had a hard time remembering the time before I met her. It felt like that was part of a different lifetime. I felt Anna submit to my kisses when I heard a loud cough interrupt us.
“It's nice that the two of you settled your little lovers' spat, but let's get back to work now shall we. I don't want to have to remind you a third time today.”
I had not heard Ms. Lourdes return. Anna and I immediately released our embrace and started blushing. Being caught like that is so embarrassing! “I heard we got a troublesome case yesterday. I will join you with the other girls in the FBY office, I think you might need my help on this one.”
Ms. Lourdes accompanied us back to the FBY office. Luckily, she did not mention what happened in her office again. Just imagining that, I felt myself blush again. Luckily the embarrassment train had halted for now.
In the FBY room, the other girls were still excitedly talking about their new contracts. Ms. Lourdes clapped while entering the room and said “Let's start discussing our new case. Eline, Elodie, I will let you do the honors of explaining all that has happened since it is about the two of you.
Elodie, grabbed Gazette's hand, to give her support, and Gazette started telling her story. She told us everything she told me yesterday. “... and that's why I don't want a relationship, in which I can't get married. Claire told me not to give up, that all of us together would be able to find a solution to this problem, and I want to believe in her. Believe in us. We did so much crazy stuff already.”
Ms. Lourdes sighed. “This is going to be really troublesome, but let's start at the start. Maura!”
Maura and Fien were petting Pussyni, and Maura was startled at the sound of her name, making Pussyni let out a grumpy nya at Ms. Lourdes. “Since you are our legal advisor now, I want you to look up all you can find on the legislation of step-siblings getting married. Both nationally and internationally. But be sure to only look for countries where gay marriage is legal. I want to know our options.”
Maura had taken out a pen and a piece of paper and was writing the task that Ms. Lourdes had given to her down.
“Would a media campaign work? Another fight on multiple fronts like we did when Anna got taken?” Elodie asked eagerly.
“You can prepare it, but don't start yet. We need more and certain information on the matter. We don't want to blow up any bridges just yet, and we need to make sure that your mothers are on board, the second we step outside with this.”
Ms. Lourdes sure had some leadership skills.
“We will get back together tomorrow morning over this. I will go back to my headmistress duties now. Claire will inform you of your other tasks, all of you can consider her your chief when I'm not around.”
Everyone stared at me. Ms. Lourdes could have given me a heads up if she was going to this. I might have prepared something in that case. On the other hand, I would have been a lot more nervous if I knew this was coming. It felt a bit weird that I would have three sixth-graders as subordinates.
“Next to this case, this week we will be spending a lot of our time getting everything ready for the school festival. We have got the play, and the idol debut planned, and we also have a case at stake there. Everyone looked at Valerie and Mia, who just ignored the stares, and acted like it wasn't about them. It is an important chance for us to get some good publicity, also to people outside of the school walls. If you don't have anything to do, you can work on the homework you got from your mentor, or read some yuri. Having a good background in yuri is really essential for this job, no matter what your task is. You never know when you are confronted with a case, and the patterns in these novels and manga can save you from some tricky situations. Spreading the beauty and light of yuri is our main task here at the bureau. Yurilessness should never kill again!”
As I heard these words leave my mouth, I realized how much I sounded like Anna when I met her. I looked at Anna, who was staring at me with sparkles in the eyes behind her glasses. She removed the glasses to wipe away a tear, and said: “Brilliant! You are always such an inspiration when you give a speech from the heart like that! It made me fall in love all over again.” She was being her silly old self again. I felt a smile creep on my face. She was so cute when she was acting like that.
I looked around at my audience. They all looked very inspired and ready to work hard. Then I heard a little bleep and turned my gaze in its direction. Gazette said “Brilliant speech, I just had to record it! I will use it in my next montage!”
I sighed. I should have known this would happen.