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Title: Little Brother
Author: kiwachou [personal profile] elydesia
Fandom: Fixing Loving Eliot Groussé (original)
Characters: Eliot Groussé/Marina C. Groussé, Melanie G. Fitzgerald
Prompt: 011. Cry
Word Count: 1,331
Rating: K+
Summary: Melanie remembers about her little brother, and talks with him about the family inheritance.
Notes: 2013 edit.

Fixing Loving Eliot Groussé
011. Cry

There was always a wall between him and other people. Ever since he was young he'd been able to see right through people and get to the heart of who they are. There was a time when he would come home from school and lock himself away in his room until supper. Oftentimes he would spend this time crying, and when I look back on it, I wish I had enough courage to barge into his room and hug him.

The children at school didn't like him; it was obvious when I caught sight of him on the playground. He would sit alone next to the mesh fence with a book in hand. Other children would run by and kick him or his book. Sometimes kids would throw sand in his face and hair. After school I would wash his hair in the family washroom and do my best to make the day's bullying unnoticeable. But, besides helping him hide what was going on, he never let me help him.

He was always alone. I never told anyone, and when high school came for me I didn't want to leave him. He was three years younger than me; my cute, lonely little brother. When it was time for him to go to high school, he suddenly brought up the idea to attend a far away boarding school. Our parents liked the boarding school more than the private one I went to, and that was the last I saw of him for years.

Next time I saw him was at our father's funeral. He was just as angry-looking as ever and it brought a smile to my lips. On his arm, right beside him, was a young woman. She looked small and intimidated, especially when compared to the proud man beside her.

Our eyes met briefly and he let go of the woman next to him to approach me. She looked around franticly for a couple seconds before following.

"You've changed." He spoke first and then turned to the woman next to him. "This is my fiancée."

I bowed to her gently and held out my hand. "Good afternoon. I'm Melanie Fitzgerald. It's nice to meet you."

She took my hand meekly and shook it. "H-hello." She turned to Eliot. "Is she an ex?" I laughed but he looked almost angry.

"She's my sister." He glared at me and I backed away. He glanced briefly at his fiancée before following me. "Wait for me," he called back to her as we exited the main hall. The two of us wandered to one of the outer upstairs balconies in silence.

"So she's your fiancée, huh?" I asked as I leaned on the stone railing. He came up behind me and rested a hand on my back. He had a very serious expression on, with a furrowed brow and frowning lips.

"Melanie, I know Father left everything to you. I know how angry he was when I moved away and separated myself from the family."

"What do you want?"

"If you give me the inheritance, I'll give you a portion hefty enough to live comfortably for ten years."

"Why would I want to do that?" I laughed. "I could keep it and be happy for the rest of my life! My children could go to college carefree, too." He looked at me strange.

"You have children?"

"Two children and widowed. Of course you'd never know, though. Being separated from your family doesn't let you know you're an uncle." I was upset with him. He's gone for more than a decade and still expects something? He thought Father wouldn't give him anything, so he came crying to his big sister who was soft and nice to him. I have a family now, and can't put a run away in front of everything else.

"I'm sorry," he said and for a second his small, proud yet shy self came back. He sighed as he leaned into me. I wrapped my arms around him and let a faint smile creep across my lips.

"Let me tell you," I said and he nodded his head on top of mine. "A year after I graduated, Father married me off to a man and gave his estate as a wedding gift. He built a new mansion in Germany, and I hardly saw him since. I missed you a lot, Eliot. Right down to speaking our wedding vows, I had hoped you would come back to save me. You never talked, were incredibly kind, but you were strong and proud."

"I never loved Mother or Father. I didn't want to get you involved in my troubles, so I scarcely asked you for help. I loved you, Melanie."

"What, are you telling me you don't anymore?" I wasn't playing fair. I knew it was hard for him to talk about his feelings.

"That's not it."

"Tell me about your problems. How about explaining to me what happened to you? Where are you in life?" He sighed and we separated. He leaned against the balcony railing and I leaned in next to him. He was silent for a long time, most likely constructing the thoughts in his head.

"A lot of things happened. I graduated at the top of my class, but still had no friends nor a clear objective of what I wanted in life. Father told me to come home and take over the family business, but I rejected. It wasn't what I wanted. I moved to America and went to a university. Got a job as an editor after graduating with a major in journalism and a BA in fashion. I was so dedicated to my job, I took a college editing course to become a better editor. But, even so, I wasn't happy. I moved to France and started working in a smalltime fashion magazine. Over the years I've had over a dozen girlfriends and even more one-night-stands." He chuckled and gave a wry smile.

"When I was in a dead-end relationship and feeling depressed, I met a homeless young woman. I eventually took her in and paid for her tuition. She's still in her first semester and I'm already having money trouble. Ever since Father disowned me, I've been on a road of ups and downs."

He turned and smiled at me. "Made a whole new life, Melanie."

I closed my eyes and imagined his new life, with a satisfactory-paying job and new, beautiful girl. I envied him and what he made of his life. But I know I wasn't allowed to be jealous, since he disobeyed Father and I did as I was told. In this way, he could stand on his own while I always relied on someone else to help support me.

"Are you positive you need the money?" I asked him and looked straight into his eyes.

"I do. I need it to keep living without complications." His face was stern and confident, something I could never accomplish. I smiled and gave him a comforting hug as I said:

"Father never disowned you. Mother was always the one behind Father's misgivings. You're still in our family register, and you're the one inheriting all of Father's assets." I paused a moment to let him take it all in. "Eliot, Father loved you the most. Up until the day he died, all he wanted was to see you again."

His eyes flickered slightly. "It was Father? He loved me?" Deep down Eliot had always respected Father. I knew this. I always have. After more quick blinks his breaths became ragged. His eyes glossed over and were staring at something I couldn't see. "Father?" Finally the tears started to fall. They started off a drizzle, but after I wrapped my arms around him and gave a tight squeeze, the tears came in large waves.

He cried silently and was very still, gently reminding me of when he used to come home and lock himself in his room.


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“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'”
― C.S. Lewis

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