The next, I'm at rock bottom.
Fri Jan 11, 2019 07:42

You know that my family passed away when I was young?

Honestly, the answer to that was no. He had not known that. He couldn’t remember ever really talking much with Professor Brooding about her family, beyond them being like his, a bit, and her having a brother. He had thought she didn’t really talk about them because she was a grown up, not because they were gone. All of them? Even her brother?

“I did not know,” he admitted, because honesty was important, “Maybe… maybe you said something before, but I didn’t notice or understand… I’m sorry,” he added, mostly apologising for his own lack of linguistic aptitude if he had missed something in their conversations, but glad for once that English was strange enough that the one word could express both his apology and a degree of sympathy, even it didn’t seem like something Professor Brooding was outwardly upset about. He wasn’t sure that was the kind of hurt that ever got totally better. And she’d said it had happened when she was young. How young, he wondered? He had never thought about the possibility of anyone younger than a great-grandparent dying and it was terrifying. Even if grown up Professor Brooding was alright he was still sorry for Small Pre-Professor Brooding, who must have had a very tough time.

With this context, and with the repetition, the detail of the explanation, her request sunk in.

“I-” he began. He wanted to say I’m not that important. He didn’t really think he could possibly be, of all the people someone as lovely as Professor Brooding must have in her life, he could not possibly be the best choice. But she was asking him. He was her choice. She needn’t have even invited him to the wedding, not really. And that meant there was no way she was doing this for him. It was for her. She wanted him to stand in for her family. And once he looked past the shock and the surprise of that, was it really so strange? People were supposed to, more or less, love you like you loved them - it would be strange for one side to consider someone a close friend but the other to see them merely as an acquaintance. He had not had much luck with that lately. He loved Jehan, and he had no idea if Jehan loved him back in the same way. He loved his Mama and Émilie, and they said they loved him but they didn’t know everything about who he was and if they did, they might not. But maybe, here, finally, was someone who loved him back exactly the way that he loved them. Because if he had been asked how he felt about Professor Brooding, he would have said she was like family to him.

“I would love to,” he told her earnestly. “Yes,” he added, because even though the phrase sounded right he also thought that ‘would’ indicated the conditional and he did not want to leave any doubt. “I will do this.” The thought of her getting married was exciting enough, and that she wanted him there at all was special but… Everything about Professor Brooding’s life right now, and his part in it, made his heart swell with happiness.

Everything about his own made it feel like he was drowning.

“Mm,” he nodded to her assertion that Professor Hawthorne’s family were in politics. Politics could mean a lot of different things. There were a lot of different viewpoints in the world. It didn’t really seem comparable, especially if they were fine with her marrying Professor Brooding. Not that she had exactly said that, but he felt it was implied. If it had been Professor Brooding’s family, he might have asked, sought the confirmation that they approved, which he desperately wanted to hear could be true. But, even though she had said he could ask what he wanted, he still felt funny asking questions about Professor Hawthorne. Her assertion that ‘you can love anyone’ was… complicated. There was ‘can’ and there was ‘may’ and they were different, but he wasn’t even sure English speakers really used that distinction properly. And every thought he formulated about it all - about the politics, the philosophy of it all, the fine distinctions between types of people and auxiliary verbs - seemed convoluted. He found that all his questions had rather dried up. The hope she had given him had not been extinguished. It was nice to know that it worked out, sometimes, for some people… He knew he would cling to that, privately, desperately, trying to believe it could work out for him. But he was no longer burning with the desire to ask a million questions to help him plan his perfect wedding to Jehan, or even - selfish though he knew it was - talk much more about hers. Because everything he had said had brought his home life rushing back into the room. The world of expectations and pressures he was under, and all the fear of potential consequences. The conversations he didn’t know how to have. He had always been so close with his sister and his mother. Had been honest and open, telling them all his thoughts and fears. And now… Now this very important and very complicated and utterly elating and totally crushing thing was happening, and he couldn’t talk to them because their reactions were half the reason it was terrifying - Jehan’s being the other half. He felt cut off from all the people who mattered most to him.

Except one.

“I know,” he said quietly, “that you cannot choose who you fall in love with.” He knew it wasn’t a proper way to sit, but he found his knees had crept up towards his chest and he hugged them there as he took a deep breath and said… “Because I’m in love with Jehan.” His chest felt tight. He knew that it was fine to talk to Professor Brooding. She was not going to hate him, or judge him. But it meant making it real that everyone else might. “And…” his pitch rose and his eyes filled with tears. “And I - I don’t know what to do,” he continued, the fear evident in his voice as several tears spilled over, the final sentence disrupted as his breath kept hitching in his throat, “I - don’t- I don’t - know - know whether - whether anyone else will understand.”

  • I think you get to decide. Mary Brooding, Wed Jan 9 22:58
    OOC -- fine by me! XD. IC: Mary considered Dorian with a careful gaze. He was obviously excited, but she wasn't sure whether his reluctance to accept the proposition was due to his uncertainty that... more
    • The next, I'm at rock bottom. — Dorian, Fri Jan 11 07:42
      • I had a pet rock once.Mary Brooding, Fri Jan 11 10:41
        Mary grimaced at the realization she had perhaps field to mention her family members' deaths before. It was a morbid topic and not one she preferred to spring on people. Her grief ran deep but it had ... more
        • Over and over, all day longDorian, Fri Jan 11 20:38
          OOC - oops realised I never specified him sitting down and then suddenly he was. I pictured him more having taken a seat at some logical point, rather than collapsing to the floor in a miserable... more
          • This too shall pass.Mary Brooding, Sun Jan 13 01:58
            Mary considered quietly and carefully. She was loathe to frustrate or embarrass Dorian, but he was a rational boy and she doubted that comfort would help him any. She couldn't use Tabitha as a... more
            • “Can she do that?” he asked, in a frightened voice when Professor Brooding talked about the risk of Professor Skies firing her for marrying Professor Hawthorne. He knew people could be mean but there ... more
              • Undo! Backup! Reverse! Abort!Mary Brooding, Mon Jan 14 17:45
                Mary grimaced, realizing with a big lump of dread that she shouldn't have used the example that she did. This wasn't exactly the time to admit that yes, sometimes people of non-normative sexual... more
                • Come back!Dorian, Tue Jan 15 19:40
                  "Ok," Dorian nodded, when Professor Brooding assured him that he wasn't about to be kicked out. "And are any of those other things going to happen? To you?" he asked, noticing that she had only... more
                  • I'm always here. Mary Brooding, Wed Jan 23 20:51
                    Mary allowed her shoulders to relax, surprised by how much tension they'd in carrying through this conversation. She was certain that she was projecting, or possibly just confronting some of her old... more
                    • GoodDorian, Sat Jan 26 21:39
                      Nothing bad was going to happen to Professor Brooding. That was one less thing to worry about. Well… that was one thing to worry less about. He wasn’t sure he could stop worrying altogether. He... more
Click here to receive daily updates