Par Jolie Adam
Lola was in her room, meticulously twisting her hair into a neat bun. She’d laid black tights with a matching black hoodie and bandana on her bed. Even without make-up, she looked effortlessly stunning. She wouldn’t need any face paint for where she was going tonight. At the corner of her bed were black studded, spiked rocker-chic boots to complete her bandit look. It wasn’t Halloween but she was definitely about to try on a different character for size tonight.
On the other side of town, Jen was in her room, painting her nails a jade green color she’d purchased earlier that day to match the dress she bought just for tonight’s event. It was a halter dress, baby doll style that fit her perfectly, showing off her pregnancy-enhanced décolletage and her toned shoulders. Green wasn’t one of her preferred colors but she’d been surprised by the pleasant contrast it offered her tanned, olive skin. It made her look like she’d been sleeping and drinking healthy smoothies for a week while on vacation in the Virgin Islands. And all for a rather reasonable price. It skimmed her developing curves perfectly and was the perfect fit between adorable and beautiful which was the winning combination for an event like this. Genevieve had been planning this anniversary party for weeks, the entire extended family was going to be there and of course, more importantly, Larry would be there. He was finally going to tell Laurent and maybe once that was settled, they could finally break the news that she was pregnant. But tonight was Genevieve’s night so everything had to go as smoothly as possible.
Jen hummed along the Edith Piaf tune, dramatically raising her tone to match the sublimity of the lyrics. The weather was still mild, following a trend of rain and fog as per the previous week. She hadn’t minded when she was spending time in Larry’s arms and bed but now that she was back in her own place, the weather was putting a serious damper on her mood. It made her sleepy and slightly melancholic. Nothing a little chocolate treat can’t cure, she thought as she reached for her Maison de Chocolate bag, courtesy of Larry, to choose a tasty delicacy. He was so sexy when he was mad, she almost secretly wished he’d be upset at her more often. Especially because he felt so guilty afterwards. And she loved milking the cow for all it was worth. Remembering how he managed to turn her day around never failed to bring a hearty smile on her face.
Yesterday when he’d arrived at her house, he was fuming. Jen had gotten home and felt so overwhelmed by nostalgia the minute she entered her apartment that she delayed picking an outfit in order to start cleaning up the mess Em had made. Larry spent ten minutes, sitting on her messy bed, trying to pace his breathing. She was too scared to ask what was wrong. Finally, he slowly said, in a tone that sounded slightly menacing to her,
“Lola is the reason you got fired. I talked to her before I came and she had something to do with it.”
In the spirit of letting bygones be bygones, Jen had mindlessly replied, after giving his comment less than a few seconds’ worth of consideration,
“I don’t care about that anymore.”
She thought he’d be relieved that she was no longer upset at the loss but he completely detonated after her reply.
“You should care because Lola is evil. She threatened you and I told her…” Larry took a deep breath to deliver the rest of his message as calmly as he could, “I told her to leave you alone. But that doesn’t mean that she will. I’m here now but what about when I go on tour? Stop thinking Lola is just some jealous ex-girlfriend. That’s what you thought about Em and look what he did. Look what he tried to do to you.” He had been standing next to her, almost shaking her with the volume of his shouts. “So just imagine what Lola could do.”
“She won’t do anything. Larry, just relax. The worst is over. Em is gone. Lola got me fired. I’ll be okay. We’ll be okay.”
“See. That’s exactly why I’m worried about you. You’re too nice. I want you to think the opposite. I want you to think Lola is at every corner, watching you. At least that way, you’re prepared and vigilant.”
“Larry, you’re scaring me.” He was looking at her madly, his frustration visible, his fear for her transparent.
I’m sorry. I just want you to be safe…and careful. I wish I could be here all the time but I can’t. You’re pregnant, Jen. It’s not just about you anymore.” He whispered as he held her a little too tightly in his arms and she understood. Even if she thought he was worrying more than needed, she understood. He was certainly right about Em. She’d completely put her guard down, even as he stood in front of her full of malicious intent, she didn’t fully grasp what was going on until he ripped her towel off. She wanted to believe in the good of people, the positive in others but being too optimistic might be her downfall. Just for the sake of her unborn child, she needed to be more aware of her surroundings and more doubtful of people’s intentions. She hated how Em ripped away the safety of her home in less than an hour but she needed to constantly remind herself of that example.
As he helped her clean up the mess, he suddenly stopped in his tracks, as if what he was doing was pointless. Jen hadn’t even noticed until he grabbed her from the back to get her to stop. Once he had her full attention, he stated something she hadn’t been expecting, something she surprisingly hadn’t even thought of.
“Let’s get another place.” For a brief moment, she thought she’d heard wrong. That he meant he’d help her find another place but when she failed to answer, he reiterated his previous statement.
“Let’s move in together.” Jen had turned around to face him putting her newfound suspicion to test as she eyed him in a questionable manner.
“Are you sure about this? I don’t want you to feel like you have to move in with me. I’ll be more careful. I promise.” She wasn’t sure why she was even bothering to convince him out of his idea when deep down, she desired to be with him everyday. A part of her felt as if maybe he was doing this because he had to. If that was the case, she wanted to give him back the option to opt-out. Yet he looked at her with nothing but genuine emotion and said,
“We’re moving in together. Let’s start looking on Monday.” She wanted to jump for joy in that instant, at the thought of waking up next to him, sleeping in his arms and basking in his natural warmth. There she was, picking up remnants of a bad memory, wondering how she’d ever feel safe in her place again and Larry wiped all of her concerns with just one sentence.
As if the day couldn’t get any better, once the decision was settled to move in together, Larry found it pointless to spend any more time fixing up the place so he offered to pack her clothes for the time being and take her shopping for a new dress for the anniversary party. Looking at her reflection in the changing room mirror, she got out of the dress quickly so that Larry wouldn’t get a glimpse of her in it until the following day. So they paid and he took her for dessert after that, stopping by Maison de Chocolat for some take-away treats for the road.
Jen shrugged happily as she indulged in her second treat, daydreaming about living with Larry and soon, their baby as the song changed to a more fitting, upbeat Piaf record, La vie en Rose.
Larry was at the mall, sitting across from a gay real estate agent. How did he know Antoine was gay? Because the flamboyant man had made several advances on Larry within the half hour Larry had been in his office. Antoine’s attention was currently devoted to his computer screen, browsing for appropriate apartments to fit his new client’s needs.
Larry had stopped by the bank beforehand to speak to his financial advisor. They rarely met, usually settling for e-mail communication. But this was urgent. He’d recently made a large purchase, buying the wedding ring, which had been unplanned. Moving in was also something he hadn’t foreseen but once he thought about it, it seemed like the logical thing to do. He loved Jen, they were having a child, and her apartment was unsafe. He couldn’t wait to move in with her. It’d make him feel a lot better, especially when he was out of town, knowing that she was in their home. And it would certainly make him look forward to coming home a lot sooner. Even though, he was the one who suggested waiting until Monday to look for a place, he woke up anxious. He didn’t think he could even manage to hold off for the whole weekend without thinking about it so he figured he’d start looking and hopefully by Monday, they’d have a list of places worth visiting. Based on their booking availability, the next workshop had been cancelled which bought him an extra week. It was perfect since he needed two more weeks for his foot to fully recuperate as per doctor’s orders. Even though he felt fine now, he was happy to not have to go behind the doctor’s back a week earlier than planned. That gave him two weeks to find a place, buy it, go shopping for items, move in and do a little bit of decorating before the twins’ trip to Japan. They had a huge fan base there and were expected in two weeks’ time for interviews, TV appearances, photo shoots and performances. He was looking forward to that but not the being away for 3 weeks’ part. Japan was far and his heart was in knots just at the thought of leaving Jen so helpless. He needed to get this new place sorted out.
Originally, the plan had been to rent an apartment but after meeting with his financial advisor who had drawn up an elaborate investment plan, it was in his best interest to purchase instead of rent. Luckily, the ring hadn’t made too much of a dent in his savings. Ayara’s three cities’ tour was probably to thank for that. They’d gotten so overpaid that it was almost a surprise when he saw how much was remaining in his accounts after the purchase of the ring. He had enough for a solid down payment and then some. So the financial analyst advised him to go for it, that the investment would certainly work in his benefit, especially since he was so young and had a considerable income. Now that they were getting world wide recognition, their salaries were likely to increase. That along with busier schedules would guarantee a healthy influx of money. He’d pay off the house or apartment in a few years at the most and then it would become an asset. All that sounded great and inspiring to Larry which is why he’d rushed to the mall immediately after to begin the process. It was funny how something that seemed so foreign to him a mere day ago was now something he couldn’t wait to finalize.
Antoine looked back at him with a goofy smile,
“Voila!” He turned the screen so that Larry could see the results he was referring to. Facing him were two houses and five apartments. Antoine went through each listing diligently, showing him pictures of the homes, detailing the pros and cons, the neighbourhoods, and convenient surroundings. Larry immediately rejected three of the apartments for being too old. If he was going to splurge on something so valuable, he wanted either a new house which was very unlikely or a newer model. One of the apartments piqued his curiosity because of the space – a concept that’s very rare in France. It was large with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a washroom and a living room that was separate from the dining room. The area was nice but it was slightly out of his price range. He told Antoine he wanted to see it regardless. It wouldn’t hurt to check it out. It seemed like a perfect starter home. The other apartment was decent sized but was well-equipped with large windows throughout the place so it would always be very bright which Larry found appealing. The two houses that were listed were in good areas of town, but a little far from downtown so he’d probably need to get a better method of transportation. A car might come in handy once the baby was born anyways so Larry didn’t cross off the houses as an option despite their considerable distance. On second thought, Jen would probably love it because it was so far away from chaos and the constant hustle, traffic and noise of Paris. He nodded his head so Antoine could select the two homes as places his client wished to inspect.
That left four places to visit on Monday and he liked all of them based on what he’d seen so far in the pictures so all Jen had to do was pick one. Antoine made a flirtatious joke and Larry smiled politely. Hopefully the effervescent real estate agent would be as persistent in his field of work as he seemed to be behind the scenes. They shook hands and set a mutually convenient time for Monday. Larry had to rush home and get ready for tonight. With a full house of siblings, he should’ve already showered and chosen his outfit but he hadn’t imagined the day to be as busy as it turned out.
Lau was on his bed, listening to music and in the middle of texting Ayara back. He’d been in a funk all day since overhearing Larry ‘s conversation with Lola. It all made sense now. The mysterious guy Jen was in love with – out of the blue. The necklace. The distance between him and Larry. When had it started? They were twins for God’s sake. They never even needed to talk whenever something was wrong, the other just knew. So how was it that his own brother was sleeping with his ex right under his nose and he had no idea. Sure, once or twice, the thought might have crossed his mind. If Jen could fall for him, there was nothing stopping her from falling for his almost identical brother. But he held her in higher regards than that. Most girls found it appealing and sometimes on tour, they’d swapped girls. Or at worst if one of them didn’t want a certain girl; she had better luck getting with the other one. But Jen? Of all people. He was floored by this discovery. Disgusted, appalled, betrayed and angry – sure. But shocked above everything else. She was so damn ethical. Or at least, he used to think she was. Lau was curious as to how it began, who initiated it, who developed the relationship, how the entire thing happened. He bit his tongue trying to swallow the anger that was slowly rising up in his veins. His iPod changed to an electro pop song he’d downloaded while on vacation with Ayara. They’d gone clubbing one night on the French Riviera and he thought the beat of the song was so hypnotic. He’d made a beeline for the DJ just to ask him the name of the song. Larry would flip once he heard the bass on this track. Lau chuckled to himself at the thought. If his own brother could do such a thing to him, he really couldn’t trust anybody.
He was dozing off when his phone vibrated again. He’d forgotten to press send on that text to Ayara and she was asking him for the address. He felt so bad about what had happened last night. He hadn’t meant to hurt her, that wasn’t his style. She was just a misplaced bystander in the crossfire of all the raw emotions and resentment he felt yesterday. After Larry left, Lau sat down to digest what he’d just heard. He didn’t want to be home when his twin came back because the way he was enraged, he truly feared for the worst. Trying to avoid a big argument that would inevitably lead to a fight, he left the house to go see Ayara. She was expecting him for dinner but certainly wouldn’t mind if he showed up earlier. Once there, he barely got through her door before ripping off all of her clothes. The look on her face told him she hadn’t been expecting that at all but she didn’t say anything. Bless her heart, she didn’t scream, or yell or cry the whole time. She let him do what he wanted to her. Without questions or concerns, without fear. Lau wasn’t unfamiliar to raw, rough sex but what happened last night crossed boundaries he didn’t even know existed. He remembered her biting his hand that stuffed her mouth to muffle her moans, or screams, when he penetrated her from the back. He was punishing the wrong girl, taking his anger, frustration and deceit out on the wrong person but that didn’t stop him from deflowering Ayara from her backdoor virginity. A lone tear escaped her and he felt the drop on his hand as it still gripped her mouth tightly. He didn’t stop until he was done. Completely exerted. There were teeth marks embedded in his palm when he removed his hand out of her mouth. She was shaking. Poor Ayara. But she didn’t make the slightest whimper as she simply covered herself and locked herself in the bathroom for half an hour under pretense of taking a bath. Lau sat on the plush king-size bed and dwelled silently in remorse. That wasn’t sex. That was rape. Or at least felt like rape. In the midst of the moment, he forgot that she was just a girl who happened to like him and that whatever problem or issue he had or was going through, he needed to deal with them. When she came out, he apologized to her and she nodded. She knew it hadn’t been about her. Lau was nothing but tender and passionate in the bedroom. That was just a moment of pain – for both of them. He made it up to her by cuddling with her for the remainder of the night until she fell asleep. And he followed suit.
Lau texted Ayara back with his address. He was hoping having her present at the party would tame him. The last thing he wanted was a big confrontation in front of the entire, extended family. It would make everyone look bad. Not to mention ruin a party that his mother had put so much effort into planning. It was so gloomy outside that he couldn’t help but let his eyes close once more. The weather nestled and coddled Lau into a sleepy trance. Before he knew it, he was in a blissful sleep dreaming about making love to Jen.
The darkness loomed over the clouds, suffocating any remaining daylight. It was barely 6:30 but it felt like midnight. The night had arrived so early and the weather felt like late October instead of the end of a rather humid summer. Jen looked outside and wished she had accepted Larry’s invitation to come pick her up. She couldn’t wait to see him semi-dressed up and also for him to see how great she looked in that emerald dress. Although she might have to cover up, based on the weather channel’s predictions of heavy rain for the night. She gave herself one last glance in the mirror, satisfied with her DIY hair success. She’d curled her hair into loose waves that skimmed her naked shoulders. Her make-up was simple, fresh and barely there but noticeable enough to make a difference. I would date me. She didn’t know if Larry was coming back home with her tonight, but she certainly hoped so. Her hormones were going through the roof and she was getting hot at the mere thought of Larry’s lips on her skin. Hurriedly, she left her apartment, locked the door and made her way downstairs hoping to grab a cab. She wasn’t even going to attempt taking the subway in this weather. The sooner she arrived, the better.
With rain, came traffic. A trip that generally took 20 minutes by car was 45 minutes with cars going at a much slower rate due to the reduced visibility and heavy fog. It was almost 7:30 when the cab made its way to the front of the Bourgeois’ home. Even though Jen spent the summer working there, the house looked so different on this dark evening. There were cars parked up to two blocks in front and behind the house. The entire street was filled with various cars parked on curbs. Another taxi stopped right behind hers and out came three people who made their way to the house. Jen paid the driver and exited the cab, following the three strangers to the door. They were greeted by a young, light skinned woman, dressed casually in a navy cardigan and khaki pants. She was maybe in her late twenties, and very lean. Jen looked down and as she suspected, the woman was wearing flats and still stood tall. Close to 5’11, Jen estimated as she smiled shyly at the woman who introduced herself as Chloey. As in Larry’s older sister. Jen blushed as she introduced herself in return and was relieved when Chloey knew who she was. Apparently Genevieve had spoken about her and how much help she’d been around the continuously busy house. They laughed as they sized each other up briefly and subtly in the way long lost acquaintances often did once they saw each other again. Larry was downstairs catching up with family and distant cousins and some people he just pretended to remember even though he felt as if he’d never met them. His mother sure knew a lot of people…or he had a lot more family than he’d remembered. An older lady was pinching his toned arms and made a comment that made Larry laugh. One of those pesky aunts, Jen thought as she smiled along as if she was alongside Larry, involved in the conversation. Chloey turned her attention once more to the door to welcome the newly arrived party and Jen took the chance to make her way to Larry.
By the time she was done taking off her shoes, Lau was standing in front of Jen, his expression still and sombre. He suddenly looked taller to her, in his all-black shirt and trousers. Even his socks were black.
“Going to a funeral or a party?”Jen cracked, hoping to break the ice.
“I need to talk to you.”
“Those are never good words, these last few days…” She said mostly to herself, but followed him nonetheless. They made their way to the basement where the younger siblings were rounded up in front of the large screen television playing Wii loudly and energetically. They entered one of the storage rooms where numerous supplies of food and drinks were kept in reservoir. Without any delay, Lau got right down to it.
“Is there anything you need to tell me?”
Jen felt her throat go dry and her tongue stuck with heaviness in her mouth. She wasn’t sure if Lau could hear her heart beating or if her chest in question was heaving up and down frantically as she imagined it would be with the rate her heart was pounding at.
“I don’t want to lie to you.”
“I think you already know.” She looked down, feeling ashamed and sorry.
“I don’t know.”
“Before or after me?”
“Who started it?”
The question cut at her like whiplash against frostbitten skin.
“It just happened.”
“It just happened? Me and you –we just happened. You having sex with my brother? Being in love with my brother? That doesn’t just happen. Either you started it or he did. So who started it?” She winced involuntarily when he mentioned her being in love with Larry so Lau confirmed it, “It is Larry you’re in love with right?”
She finally looked right at him and replied in complete honesty. She owed him that much.
“Yes, I love Larry.”
“Did you ever love me? Or was that just for fun?”
“I was lonely Lau. And you were there for me. I’m so thankful to you for that. But I don’t know if I loved you. I cared about you. I loved being with you…but this is different. I love Larry. And I’m sorry if we—”
“Don’t be sorry. You’re not sorry yet. You’re going to be sorry. Trust me! I know my brother. You think just because he got you that necklace and said some nice things to you, he loves you? Larry is not like that. He doesn’t care about you. He only wants you because I wanted you. This isn’t the first time we’ve shared girls and it won’t be the last. So I’m sorry – if you thought you were any different or special.”
Jen’s facial expressions were muted but deep down, she wondered if what Lau was saying was true. He didn’t even seem mad or bitter, just sardonic. He looked at her like she was a naïve fool and she truly wondered if she was. Was this all just a game between them to see who would bag her first? How many others have there been? She wanted to reply to Lau, to tell him he was wrong, to explain that this was different but she honestly didn’t know. And if the one person who knew him best was telling her she was being foolish, she needed to step back before launching back in.
As if reading the doubt creeping over her face, Lau added,
“You should be sorry. I slept with you. My brother slept with you. And you’re not going to end up with me or him. I’m not sorry. It was easy. And it was probably easy for him too.”
With that, Lau deserted Jen in the cold storage room, as if nothing had happened. She stood there, feeling overly emotional and talking herself out of a potentially tearful moment. After a minute, she forced herself back upstairs when she was immediately spotted by Larry.
“Hey, where were you?” He was very touchy and she smelled a fruity alcoholic smell on his breath. He was tipsy and in a very good mood. At least one of us is.
“Having a talk with Lau.” Larry instantly snapped out of his happy, idyllic inebriated state. “Yeah, he knows.” Jen said.
Genevieve came out of nowhere, looking a bit worried, and mumbling to herself.
“Maman, qu’est qu’il y a?” (Mom, what’s wrong?”) Larry asked.
“Il n’y a plus de glacons. Je vais en chercher d’autre.” (There’s no more ice. I’m going to run out and get some.) Genevieve said as she grabbed her jacket and began putting on her shoes.
“I’ll come with.” Jen added glad for the distraction.
“No, I’ll go. You both stay!”Larry announced.
“No. You stay! I’ll go! I could use some fresh air.” She ordered. She needed to get out of the house ASAP before something else was said. One secret was already bursting open. She didn’t want to wait around for someone else to miraculously discover she was pregnant. She threw her large cardigan over her dress and slipped back into her heels. Larry watched as Jen and his mother made their way out of the driveway.
The weather was worsening by the second and they certainly didn’t need the radio to tell them that. But Genevieve was old fashioned and liked to listen to the radio in the car. The announcer was spewing warnings about the rain, saying it was about get a lot worse and a few regions not too far from Sarcelles were already flooded and awaiting possible evacuation. The windshields wiped back and forth rapidly as they made their way back on the road. Jen had insisted on running and getting the ice bags. It was one thing that Genevieve had to leave her own party to run an errand, she wasn’t about to let her get her dress ruined too. Jen put the four, heavy bags of ice into the thermos bag and carried them to the trunk of the car. Within ten minutes, she was out of the store and they were on their way back.
There were cars waiting on the road, not moving the least bit. Genevieve grew frantic trying to figure out what was going on. A patrol officer ran to the car to tell them a water pipe had burst on the side of the road making it inaccessible so they were waiting for the firefighters to come and fix it. Since there was so much traffic already and this little incident was simply worsening it, they didn’t know how long it would take for them to get here or for it to be fixed. Before Genevieve could even reverse and look for an alternative way to go home, she was blocked by other cars who had obviously also intended to take this road. The officer left them to go explain to the slew of incoming cars that were now blocked by the incessant incoming traffic. Genevieve cursed at the radio announcer for not advising listeners that this road was blocked. Jen felt awkward and nervous sitting there in a foggy car with her ex-boss/baby father’s mother. She didn’t even want to initiate conversation with Genevieve who was visibly upset and understandably annoyed. She was missing her own party. Jen sat tranquil, trying to breathe as she felt a bout of nausea and hyperventilation coming on. She felt like she was being asphyxiated in the clammed up car, slowly finding it harder for oxygen to pass through. She lowered her window and nearly gasped when the crisp air hit her nostril. She swallowed the gust of wind, every polluted ounce of air, in relief.
“Asthmatique?” (Asthmatic?) Genevieve asked worried.
“Non.” (No) She shook her head.
Once the air slowly began seeping into her respiratory system, Jen felt lightheaded and dizzy. It was like every pregnancy symptoms she’d skipped for the past two weeks came surging back with a vengeance. Wasn’t this supposed to be a good, good night? It was sucking for her…and presumably for Genevieve who was on edge to get home.
“Je dois vomir!!” (I have to throw up) Jen wheezed, looking around for something empty to throw up in. Genevieve opened the glove compartment and pulled out an empty grocery bag. By the time Jen seized it, she began throwing up into the bag, her stomach compulsions so strong, her throat could barely manage to get one passage out before she had to throw up again. She exhaled once she felt she was done and wiped her forehead with the back of her hand.
“Ca va, cheri?” (You okay sweetie?) Genevieve asked sweetly.
“Oui, merci.” (Yes, thank you!) She barely managed to whisper, her throat croaking with sensitivity.
“Tu veux de l’eau?” (You want some water?)
“Non, merci.” (No, thanks.) She feared any sort of intake might just make her want to vomit more.
“Es tu enceinte, Jennifer?” (Are you pregnant, Jennifer?)
Jen thought quickly and very hard at her answer. If she lied, Genevieve would just find out the truth in a few months. If she didn’t, it might make for a very awkward drive home. Opting for the smarter solution, Jen replied honestly,
“Oui.” (Yes.) So much for keeping secret #2, her conscience smacked herself in the forehead.
Genevieve sighed loudly, exasperated. The sound of a parent who feels as though they’ve failed their duty.
“Jen, tu sais que je t’aimes bien et je trouve que tu es une fille super sympa. Laurent viens d’une grande famille mais ca ne veux pas dire qu’il est prêt pour commencer sa propre famille. Il n’a que 23 ans. Et toi? Vous avez le meme age non? C’est beaucoup trop jeune pour un enfant. J’etais plus jeune que ca quand j’ai eu mon premier et c’est trop dur a cet age. Je ne souhaite pas ca a aucun de mes enfants. Tu comprends ce que je veux dire?” (Jen, you know I like you and I think you’re a great girl. Laurent comes from a big family but it doesn’t mean he’s ready to start his own family. He’s only 23! And you? You guys are the same age, no? It is way too early for a child. I was younger than that when I had my first and it was way too hard to raise a child at that age. I don’t wish that on any of my kids. You understand what I’m trying to say?)
Although Jen was looking straight ahead, she could feel Genevieve’s eyes on her, slowly unmasking the young girl she obviously thought was going to ruin her son’s life and promising future.
“Oui.” (Yes) Jen replied, even though she wasn’t a hundred percent sure she fully comprehended what she was insinuating.
“Je sais que c’est dur mais tu as les symptoms du premier trimestre alors je suppose que c’est assez recent. Je connais une infirmiere qui peux t’aider prendre soin de ca. Le moins douloureux que possible, bien sur.” (I know this is tough but you have the symptoms from the first trimester so I’m assuming it’s fairly recent. I know a good nurse who can help take care of this. It’ll be painless, I can assure you.)
Jen sobbed silently once Genevieve actually said the words out loud. Of all people, she hadn’t expected that from her. She didn’t want to cry but she couldn’t help it. Larry’s mother was giving her blessing to get rid of her own grandchild. Genevieve hugged her, giving some support to the fragile girl who had been foolish enough to get knocked up by one of her hot-blooded sons.
“Est ce que Laurent est au courant?” (Does Lau know?) The elder woman questioned.
Jen couldn’t make out words so she shook her head and felt the relief drag down Genevieve’s chest.
“Peut etre on peut garder ca entre nous?” (Maybe we can keep this just between us then.) She continued as if they were bonding over news that were meant to be secretive.
Jen felt like her chest was going to burst with anger, emotion and sadness. She tore herself out of Genevieve’s arms and looked her in the face. She couldn’t believe her audacity. With all due respect, she wasn’t in the position to be making these sorts of demands. It wasn’t her body, it wasn’t her decision.
“Il n’appartient pas a Laurent.”(It’s not Lau’s) Jen said bitterly, watching Genevieve exhale once again from significant relief.
“C’est pas grave. Je peux toujours t’aider.” (It’s okay. I’ll still help you if you want.) She offered generously, genuinely thinking it was the biggest favour she offer Jen.
“C’est pour Larry!” (It’s Larry’s!) Jennifer stated quietly but concisely. Genevieve’s eyes bulged out of her head in anger as her chest rose up and down, trying to contain her disbelief. Without hesitation, she slapped Jen harshly across the cheek and looked her with disdain. Feeling intoxicated and claustrophobic, Jen grabbed the bag of vomit which expressed exactly how she felt about what had just happened and exited the car. She didn’t care that it was raining and she wasn’t suitably dressed. She crossed the road to find a sidewalk and began to walk back to the superstore.
An hour later, Genevieve was home with four bags of ice and not in the mood for her own party. When Larry questioned her about Jen, she looked at him coldly before walking by him to place the ice in the freezer. She loved all of her children and her twins equally. But even she was at loss of words for what had happened. Lau was easier to manipulate, he adored his family, all she had to do was advise him that there was plenty of time for him and Jen to have a child and he’d listen. He’d take care of the rest. But Larry was much harder to get through. He had always been a little more detached, a little solitary. He would want a child of his own, to start his own family. He would want to do the right thing and there would be nothing she could do about it. She blamed herself for welcoming Jen into her house so freely. She was a young, attractive girl. How could she have been so foolish to think her sons, who were at a ripe age, wouldn’t be attracted to her? But did that excuse her sleeping with both of them? Or was she dreaming when she thought there had been chemistry between her and Lau? Genevieve hated feeling remorse, especially when she knew she was right. Yet the guilt piled on as she tried to shake the feeling that she hadn’t handled the situation properly. She turned back to explain it to Larry before Jen did but saw his back as he closed the front door behind him. She didn’t need to ask him for she already knew. Larry loved Jen, very much.
Jen stood inside the supermarket shaking as she tried dialling the taxi agency once more. Apparently, she wasn’t the only person stranded in Paris. On the third try, she got a representative who told her the earliest taxi they could send out to her destination would be in 27 minutes. Jen agreed right away. At least she was inside, a supermarket at that. She wouldn’t go hungry or cold. She walked the aisles slowly, looking at every single item on the shelves, trying very hard not to think about what just happened with Genevieve or the fact that she was freezing in her damp clothes. She forced herself to think happy thoughts. This night had been a complete bust. She grabbed a pack of chips, putting them back just as quickly when her stomach groaned in repent. She was hungry but didn’t feel like eating. The aftertaste of vomit still lingered on her tongue and she wanted desperately to wash her mouth and gargle some warm honey-infused tea to stop the nausea. She checked her cell phone for the fifth time in ten minutes which was pointless since the cab would call her once he’d arrived. She began browsing in the clothes section, landing in the baby aisle. Being right in the middle of an infusion of blue and pink colours, she began to wonder whether it was a boy or a girl. She obviously wanted a girl but would settle for either as long as it was healthy. She imagined naturally Larry probably wanted a boy. Her heart sang but only momentarily, at the brief thought of Larry. She suddenly recalled her conversation with Lau, it had been so unpleasant and vicious that she had to ask herself if there was any truth in his words. Lau just wasn’t a mean guy. He wouldn’t blatantly attack her without any motive. He was obviously hurt but maybe there was more to it. She tried to shrug it off as she felt the soft varieties of fleece and cotton materials of baby clothing. All the clothes were so cute, and tiny. She smiled thinking about their tiny feet and hands. Her phone buzzed and she walked right out of the store and into a warm cab that would finally take her home.
Drenched in rain, Lola was getting more pissed off by the second. Her night hadn’t been going according to plan and this treacherous weather was not helping at all. A younger, rowdy teenager she was with began asking questions and she told her to shut up and go back to her hiding spot. Adolescents were so annoying…and awful with orders. For 100 Euros each, you’d think they’d do as they were told but they were constantly interrupting her and putting her on edge which ended up throwing her off more. She watched around, lurking back and forth on the vacant street as the rain pounded on the pavement. The three young girls huddled together watching a YouTube video on one of their cell phones. Anything to keep them amused and out of my hair, Lola figured. There was absolutely no one on this street; she had to face the cold truth. Her plan might just have to be postponed. A homeless man passed by, hollering at her as he did so and she practically shoved her middle finger down his throat. The man mumbled something inaudible and continued walking by. A few cars drove by before a taxi stopped in front of the building. It was still dark in the taxi and it provided a temporary distraction from being on the watch. However that temporary distraction turned into a main attraction when Jen stepped out. Lola motioned the three reckless bandits over as she watched the taxi drive away. By the time, Jen reached her building’s buzzer to enter the code, they were behind her. The three girls grabbed her forcefully and shoved in the corner of the street where they’d spent a better part of an hour and a half to do their jobs and earn an easy 100 Euros. They were used to beating up ratchet chicks in their neighbourhoods so when some tall bimbo asked to pay them to help beat up some girl, they didn’t ask questions, just told them how much they wanted each. Might as well get paid for what you’re good at.
One of them kept watch, blocking the small entrance of the dark corner as the other two along with Lola handled business. The girls threw Jen down and she fell with a thud like a heavy sack of potatoes. Lola removed her black bandana over her mouth and smirked,
“Hello Jen, my little friend.”She laughed before throwing her first, forceful kick into Jen’s stomach.