Even though I was trying so hard to cheer her up again, Axelle seemed to be really out of it. The fact that she wasn’t her parents’ real daughter hit her really hard and I could not begin to imagine what a sudden info bomb like that would do to someone. So, I said the first thing that came to mind.
“Does it really matter? Aren’t your parents still your parents? The people that took care of you?” I asked.
Axelle looked at me and started to smile. “You’re right of course. I just did not think they would lie to me like that. All that stuff about continuing the family legacy, when I wasn’t even real family.”
“Or maybe you are to them? They might not have told you out of fear of losing you.”
Axelle looked at me baffled and then suddenly giggled. “Since when did you become the strong dependable one?”
I felt my face turn hot. “I-I’m sorry. I did not mean to… I just wanted to cheer you up since you helped me when I was troubled.”
“Don’t be sorry. I just think this is something I will have to think about for a while and talk about with my parents. It just puts so many details of my life in a different perspective that I need it to let it sink in for a while.”
She was pushing me away with a smile. I did not want her to push me away. I would be there for her. “Can I at least give you a hug? You look like you could use one.”
Without waiting for her response, I gave her a firm hug, trying to convey to her that she could count on me.
If Fleure was my best friend, what did that make Axelle? I felt like it was different, but I could not really place it.
Axelle was clearly surprised by my hug and stiffened up, but a couple of seconds later I could feel her relax and she returned the hug.
I felt my lips curl up. When I released the hug, I smiled at her and asked “I hope you got the message. I’m here for you. Whatever it is, you can count on me.”
I expected her to just affirm my support but then she said “Well there is something…”
I looked at her with big eyes. “Tell me.”
“Not here, let’s go somewhere else.”
I wondered what it could be. I picked up my instrument and things and I took Axelle’s hand. “Okay, let’s go somewhere else then.”
Axelle seemed to freeze up the second I picked up her hand. What she wanted to tell me must be serious if she was that nervous about it.
“They are there, quickly hide.”
Nastya took my hand and dragged me behind one of the statues while keeping an eye on Sara and Axelle.
“They are holding hands. So, they made at least some progress.” Nastya said excitedly while we watched them leave the church courtyard. “But seeing how nervous Axelle is, it doesn’t look like it happened yet.”
Wait, we were holding hands too, weren’t we? I suddenly became very conscious of Nastya’s delicate hand holding mine. We had walked hand in hand plenty of times before. Was that something so significant? Don’t friends just hold hands all the time?
She looked back at me with a playful mischievous look. Nothing like the otherwise always serious Nastya we got to see at school or when it wasn’t just the two of us. “Let’s follow them. We might get a good show.” She gave my hand a little squeeze before pulling me with her.
“We followed them from a distance and sometimes Nastya pushed or pulled me into hiding to avoid detection. I could not help but get a little nervous by how close she held me in those moments, but I got that this was simply to avoid detection. They were walking in the direction of Roi Baudouin Park. The two of us were giggling like we were 2 mischievous children, while Sara and Axelle seemed to be happily talking. Well, it seemed like Sara was doing most of the talking. Axelle seemed nervous but nevertheless, she seemed to be enjoying herself, listening to Sara. Each time Nastya laughed I felt a rush go through me. Which in turn made me feel guilty toward Lise. I felt like I got entangled in a situation that I shouldn’t be in, but on the other hand, it wasn’t like I was doing anything wrong, and I am sure Lise would be interested to know what happened between Axelle and Sara too.
Nastya on the other hand seemed to be having the time of her life. I was seeing a whole other side of her. It was just like when she was talking about coupling Fabio and Toby. Who would have thought the always prim and proper Nastya was so crazy about matchmaking couples?
“Why do you like coupling people so much?” I asked her while we were forced to hide behind a corner again.
“I like it when I see people happy and know I played a part in it. Even if they don’t know that. And these two would be so amazingly cute together.”
I thought a bit about those words, and the longer we were spying; the more I got into it too. I felt like we were partners in crime. Doing things like this in secret with Nastya sure was a lot of fun.
In an emotional rush, I asked Sara to go somewhere else. Confessing in church ironically just felt wrong to me. But was I really going to do this? I looked at Sara. She was doing her best to be the dependable one and looked happy that I was going with it. But how would she react? Would she keep that smile for me? Or would it never return?
Playing the part of a Casanova is easier when you do not mean it from both sides. All that it had ever amounted to for me was a bit of flirting. Nothing more. I had no real experience with this kind of thing, but I felt that if I failed to confess today, I would probably never find a good moment ever again.
Sara was explaining to me how Lise and Fleure, and she used to go to the same school near here. It was weird to couple all those stories of Lise with the idea of a sister that I had never known. Strangely enough, the idea of having a sister did not come over too weirdly. It felt more like something that I felt I missed fell into place, only to have obtained the knowledge that I had already lost someone important forever.
“I will have to visit those people and learn more about my sister,” I promised myself.
When I looked around me, I suddenly realized we were no longer walking between houses but were walking in a large, beautiful park. Sara clearly seemed to know this place. “Our parents let Lise and me often play on that playground over there.” She was clearly reminiscing about good memories with the girl that looked exactly like me. But my feelings toward her were not those of sisterly affection like my sister used to have. They were something more. I would make that difference clear to her today. I steeled my resolve. I was nervous, but I knew it would be now or never. We walked over to the deserted playground. I guess it was a bit cold and early for the kids to come here in November.
Sara sat down on the swing set. She only just fit inside one of those seats. This was clearly made for kids. “This thing has clearly shrunk on me.” She giggled. She was just too darn cute.
I took a deep breath and looked around. I could only see a girl pinning another girl against a tree. They were clearly not paying attention to us since they were mostly out of sight. And how much attention do you give to your surroundings when you are in that kind of a position… I took that as a sign and crouched between Sara’s knees on the swing. She smiled down at me. She was clearly wondering what I was doing. Should I really do this? This could be the last time she smiled like that for me…
“Sara, you know that Fleure and Lise were a couple and that it is possible for a girl to be into girls, right?”
“That’s right. I am sad that I never got to see them together though. Lise never told me back then. I am sure they must have been perfect for each other.”
“Well, in that regard, I am like Lise.”
Sara’s eyes suddenly turned big and her smile evaporated. Did I screw up?
“You like Fleure too?” she asked a bit perplexed. “I am pretty sure Fleure is into Nastya now though…” Sara started on an endless rant.
I put my hands on her thighs and said “No, you are getting it wrong.”
Sara looked back at me, confused and puzzled about what I was trying to say.
“I am someone who likes girls too” What on earth was I blabbing on about? Girls in plural… Really, Axelle?
I closed my eyes and said, “I like you, Sara.” I opened my eyes, and she was staring back at me with a shine that I could not completely place. Did I shock her? I brought my face closer to hers and noticed she closed her eyes. I did the same thing and brought my lips to hers. After a few seconds, I pulled my head back and looked back into her eyes. I could see her smile brightly with a very shy look on her face. Before she embraced me and kissed me again.
I was happy that Fleure was getting so into my foolishness. I just loved playing cupid and it felt even better to share it with someone.
Sara and Axelle had walked us toward this large park and were now walking toward an abandoned playground.
Sara sure knew her clichés. If I did not know Axelle’s intentions, I would think Sara was the one pulling the strings here.
I noticed Axelle was about to look back and I quickly pushed Fleure to a tree. I could not help but pick up the smell of her hair and noticed her gulp. “Sorry, she was about to notice us,” I whispered in her ear. Fleure meekly nodded.
“It’s about to happen.” We both looked around from the tree to watch Axelle kiss Sara. Or was it Sara kissing Axelle? It was hard to make out from here, but it was safe to say that our mission was a success. Another couple to add to my collection.
“Must be nice to have someone like that,” I said a bit envious.
“It is. Until you lose them. Then it becomes hell.” Fleure sounded bitter.
Lise again… The mood turned heavy in a second. It stung that the first thing she thought about was another girl.
“But you brought her back, didn’t you?”
“It’s different. Even if we can talk from time to time, it is like this huge barrier has come between us. I know she feels it too and we pretend it isn’t there, but it is. Things keep on changing. Why can’t things just go back to the way things were?”
Fleure started crying as I held her in my arms. This was not the time for me to be offended or for the jealousy that was coursing through my veins. I knew exactly how she felt. I also wanted my papa and mama back. So, I said the words that I would want to hear most and meant them from the bottom of my heart.
“I promise I won’t leave you.” And held her a bit tighter to let her feel my words. I could feel her hug intensify too, as she cried on my shoulder.
I would be there for her just as I trusted that she would be always there for me.
Happy Valentine's everyone!
I had quite the puzzle to have a romantic chapter for you all today, but i succeeded in the end. I hope you all enjoyed it.