– Mum, what do you intend to do? Are you going to meet with dad?
– I… think I should… Right?
“Oh please…” Annabelle scoffed from the bed she was sprawled on, rolling her eyes. Benjamin ignored her: “Yeah, I think it would be good if you could, you know…? Just discuss a little bit?”
“Besides, weren’t you planning on moving here anyway?…” At this Annabelle got up from the bed: “Here you go again!”
“Get real, Ben! Things won’t get miraculously better if we move here! The only thing that will change is that we’ll run the risk of seeing his asshole face anywhere we go!”
“Shut up, Annabelle! You haven’t even seen him yet, on what ground do you judge him? He wasn’t even aware of our existence until now, what do you expect?!”
“Annabelle, chérie… I know this is a very sensitive topic for you, but your brother is right. You should see him at least once, and then you will be able to make your own opinion.”
– If Benjamin hadn’t gone of his own, maybe I’d never have the courage to come here at all. But now, let’s see this as an opportunity, shall we?
– How can you say that, maman…?
Céleste had arranged to meet Gabriel at the café located at the ground floor of their hotel. He had barely parked his car that he received a call from his company. “Do you understand the notion of ‘family emergency’?! It means that I’m not available for work!”
“Yeah, well I will stop answering your calls then… What do you mean, ‘in my position’? I’ve never signed for being reachable 24/7.”
“Taking it up to HR… Fine, go ahead, I don’t mind.”
“Geez… That’s all I needed… Losing my temper over this, what’s more…”
– Oh come on, Annabelle… come and sit with us.
– No, I’m perfectly fine here.
Gabriel arrived at that moment.
“Hi, long time no see.”
“Right… I think I owe you an apology, first of all. I know from Benjamin your life hasn’t been easy, and it was all because of me. I know you had it hard enough at the time…”
“No, no, no…! Let me put zis right: I made my own decisions and although it wasn’t per’aps ze easiest path, I do not regret anything, understood? I share my part of responsibility and I didn’t want you to get involved.”
– Now, I think you haven’t met Annabelle yet.
– Annabelle? The twin?
– Come here and say hi, chérie. Convenablement s’il te plait.
– I’m the ‘twin’, like you say…
– Annabelle, please…
– Sorry, I didn’t mean to…
– Yeah, you probably didn’t mean much anyway! I suppose it wouldn’t occur to you that we might need your money!
– Oh mon Dieu…
– Those two are too chicken to ask, but I don’t have a problem with it!
– Listen, I’m genuinely sorry for what happened but this being said…
– That’s right, be honest now! You want to get rid of us as soon as possible, and that works well for us too! I know you’re loaded, so how much are you willing to spend on us?
– Gabriel, don’t listen to her…
– Never mind, Céleste. I can understand that she’s angry.
– Angry?! I’m not angry, I’m pissed off with that goody-goody attitude of yours! Apologies, my ass!
– Don’t worry, I’m not running away like you seem to think. I fully intend to take responsibility. So you want money, huh? Well, you’ll get money, never mind that.
– Dad, seriously, don’t pay attention to what she says.
“You also want honesty, right? I’ll give you honesty: I think you should stop playing the victim, and get your act together. It’s not money you need, it’s a damn butt-kicking session!”
“If you were hoping to get rid of me, that’s too bad. Because you haven’t finished hearing from me yet, young lady!”
Céleste managed to coax Gabriel out of the café.
– I’m really sorry about Annabelle. She has always been… difficult to ‘andle. She has had a lot of problems too, and I think she was really stressed about meeting you. Don’t believe anything she said…
– Don’t worry. I understand, and I mean what I told her.
– It is true, isn’t it? That you need money?
– Well… It’s not exactly wrong, but…
– Are you still running the B&B?
– Yes, but business is not doing great… I was thinking zat I should sell.
“Sell and leave France and… try my luck here. Maybe?… Would zat be a problem for you?…”
“Of course not! Who am I to forbid you anything? On the contrary, I’ll be glad if I can help you here and see Benjamin… and even Annabelle.”