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Oh Brother

26 février 2011

Her brother always seemed to get away with everything he did and she both envied and hated him for that. He had the guts and the arrogance to do as he pleased and never seemed to give second thoughts about consequences nor gossip.

Of course, someone had to walk behind him and clean up the pieces. Life is about balance she thought… He had no boundaries and therefore she lived surrounded by walls of duty. She took care of their parents as they declined in age, she kept their house cleaned and livable. She eased things up with ex-girlfriends and bartenders and even went as far as to pay his tabs once or twice. 

Yes, when her brother moved away from Oldbrooks to cold and wet Perth in Scotland, she had felt relieved. 

For seven years, her life fell into a well oiled routine, between her part-time job working for the public library, her parents in their lovely house with a garden and a spruce, and Olbrooks’ Ladies’ Bookclub. She had been courted once or twice in the past by the doctor’s son and by the Pastor. The son followed his father’s step. He became a doctor and grew both a moustache and a beer stomach. The Pastor married Jane who was blond and carefree and younger, with light grey eyes and lips like pink rosebuds. 

The idea of love appealed to her, but her heart never fluttered. At 34 she didn’t think she had it in her to make any man happy, and even less for her to be happy.

When their mother died, her brother barely made it to the funeral and seemed nonplussed. He’d « made it good » over there in Perth, and was planning on marrying a widow of some sort. He kept his visit short, which was fine by her as it meant less time fearing whatever mishap he was bound to make. It there’d been any she never heard. He stayed out mostly, looking sombre and mysterious, and she didn’t pay much attention to rumours about poker games and money he may have owed.

After he was gone, she reflected that not once had he asked if there was anything she and her father needed.

A few years went by, news from him became scarce. He appeared to succeed in marrying his widow but the marriage didn’t last long. She had no idea how he earned his living. Some letters addressed to their father sometimes pleaded for money. He would sigh, then shrug, then write a check swearing it was the last time.

Now her brother was coming back, arrogant as ever, and she was waiting for him with a vengeance. He’d written with instructions about how he saw fit to « handle » things and the succession… About him being « the Man » now… But she was well prepared and ready, she had her little secret boiling in her heart and making it beat slightly faster and a mite too hard. 

Their father had finally given his last breath, poor soul, after months of agony during which she’d stayed at his bedside, fed him like a baby and cleaned his sheets. Some friendly souls from the parish came to look after him so she could keep on working. Their father left them with a good house thanks to her, and a very lovely bank account. She knew all about this, she’d kept his books and made good choices with the investments. She also knew what she wanted to do with some of the money. She wanted to go on a cruise and have the kitchen repainted. The house would feel more like it was hers, and after all these bitter years dedicated to others, she felt she’s earned it all right.

Her brother was coming back, tonight. He would be welcomed with the Irish stew he’s requested, but with a twist. She had finally given in to the Doctor’s son’s attentions, with a few conditions well spelled out. It wasn’t so bad after all, sleeping with a man, she could get used to it. She could get used to being courted on a regular basis and to being his mistress, marriage was out of the question now, she was going to have a little house and sharing was out of the question. 

She put her hand in her pocket and took a vial out. A few drops, that was all that was needed.

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