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As weeks passed and then turned into months Nan and Bran became a real couple. They spent all their time together, going to the beach on warmer days, kissing on park benches, walking the school hallways hand in hand… It was strange at first to have someone who actually liked her, someone she didn’t share a womb with but it turned out it was pretty easy to get used to. She loved the way other girls looked at her now, she loved the gleam of jealousy in their eyes as they saw Bran walking besides her. Once she got her hands on him the timid little boy that crept around the corners was completely gone. The boy Nan dated was confident and happy, full of jokes she didn’t quite get and smiles that could light up the world. And all those smiles were directed only at her.
What could be better then becoming the center of somebody’s world? Having besides you a person who would turn it all upside down if you as much as asked for it?
Getting used to Bran was easy to, there was a sweet person behind those warm brown eyes, in more ways then one he reminded Nan of her sister, but mostly it was the way he would get excited over the smallest of things, Della was like that too, ever since they were small. And like her sister did Bran shared everything with her, up to his deepest secrets, like the fact that he could sing and he had a lovely voice, it was a shame that no one knew that but Nan believed in a little more time she would get him ready to show the world his talent. Once other girls heard that beautiful, heart-melting voice they would only be more jealous she was sure…
But in a way Nan had changed a bit, having Bran around gave her all the satisfaction she used to get for tormenting other people, she had even eased up on her older sisters. She wondered if that was being happy or something but it scared her a little…
But the scariest thing was just about to happen… Winter holiday approached in full speed but instead of feeling the usual happiness that came with the thoughts of weeks away from the idiots Nan had to endure for five hours each day she felt dread and sorrow. She didn’t have to be a genius that she was to know why that was. Bran was going away, his sister had gone to college this fall and he was going to visit her there.
Being a considerate boy that he was he asked first if she minded, she dismissed him saying she didn’t, saying she was fine. She lied. She was no where near fine facing the thought of not seeing him for a whole month but she lied because she didn’t want Bran to feel bad and that was something Nan never thought she would do, not for anyone but yet she did it and now he had gone away and she was alone again…
The first day of the holidays she woke up utterly miserable. She dragged herself to the dining room and ate breakfast without even registering what she was eating. She barely registered her older sister Maja who was sitting there with her. She was rambling on about French music, or maybe classical music, or could it be classical French music? Nan couldn’t really bother paying attention. She knew Maja got on the honor roll this semester and as a reward the school had given her an opportunity to apply for an exchange program in France and she was working on a application, Nan knew that only because that was literally the only thing Maja talked about for the past week. Right now all Nan’s thoughts were on Bran. A month… She wasn’t going to see him for a whole month… The pain of emptiness she felt was so bad it affected every single bone in her body, it was suffocating….
Once she was done eating she waked out to the living room, not caring if Maja was still talking to her or not. There she found her other two sisters, Lena and Della in the middle of an intense video game. “…I might not have as much time to paint but I think I could live with that.” Lena was saying while hurriedly pressing the controls. Della didn’t reply, she kept her eyes glued to the screen. Nan had no idea what they were playing but she knew Della would win. Lena simply sucked at everything.
“What are you two doing?” She asked throwing herself in an empty armchair.
“What does it look like?” Lena asked in a cold, mocking voice. Nan smiled.
“Well I see you are trying to destroy the buttons on that joystick. That would make it hard to ask for a rematch once Della destroy you.” Lena frowned and stopped hitting the buttons for a second, a second Della needed to win. Nan’s twin didn’t make a sound she just smiled brightly.
“Damn!” Lena yelled angrily dropping the joystick to the seat next to her. Nan’s smile widened. She could always get in Lena’s head easily, she was glad she didn’t lose that ability. She was thinking about more things to say when Della turned to her,
“We were discussing the internship we applied for, at the Doo Peas Corporate Towers. We both got it.” Nan smirked.
“Well of course you would, what sane person wants to work over break?” She said but she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment. This internship was advertised all over their school for the past month. It would have definitely made time pass faster if she had something to do with herself but she hadn’t really given it much thought since she was so preoccupied with Bran.
“Well it’s good experience.” Lena said defensively distracting Nan from her thoughts. “And it would look good on any college application.”
“You think YOU are gonna get to college?” Nan asked her mockingly. Sometimes Lena really perplexed her with her naivety.
“Oh just shut it Nan!” Her sister yelled. “I swear I’ll throw this controller at your stupid head. Just go, call your boyfriend, or whatever, just leave us alone!” Nan’s face darkened but she had achieved what she wanted so got up hastily.
“Fine. You are boring anyway.” She added before leaving the room.
She proceeded to sneak into Lena’s room and steal her favorite pants. She stopped to look at her reflection in the mirror. She concluded she looked far better in them then Lena ever did, or could, but she was sure her cry baby big sister would run to their mother or more likely, their father once she realizes what Nan had done so she went down to the garden. The weather had worsened, heavy grey clouds had gathered in the sky, it was winter after all.
All of the plants her father so carefully tended over the year were dead or dying. The ground was frozen solid. There was no work to be done there but she lowered her self, sinking her knees on the ground and started pulling the weeds. The least she could do was get Lena’s damn pants dirty so she couldn’t wear them any time soon.
The rest of the month would have continued in the exact same pattern, her playing petty little pranks on her older sisters to keep herself occupied but then her phone rang and everything changed…
It was early in the afternoon. Lena and Della were still at their stupid jobs in their stupid tower and Maja was in her room fiddling with her chemistry set. She didn’t go to France in the end, she was grounded because of something that happened last week. Dad, usually the bigger pushover of her two parents was furious over what happened and Maja was stuck at home for the rest of the break. It was killing Nan, not knowing what happened but neither Maja, nor her parents were willing to talk to her about it, and Maja had changed the location of her diary so even that options was, at least for the time being, unavailable to her.
Nan was getting so desperate she had even considered being nice to Lena, softening her up a bit, if Maja told anyone it would have been her twin. She was carefully planning that approach when she heard her phone ring. Her first thought was of Bran but then she saw it was an unknown number. Curious she answered the phone cautiously.
“Hi, Nan?” The voice on the other end spoke, it was a vaguely familiar male voice but Nan couldn’t place it immediately.
“Yup, and who is that?” She asked.
“It’s Aenys, from school.”
“Maja’s friend.” She said.
“Yes.” He answered more confidently. It was a peculiar thing, Maja’s dorky best friend calling her and Nan’s brain which was always working at full speed started processing the situation. If played correctly this could bring her closer to finding the answers she was seeking. She didn’t know the boy very well, but Aenys always seemed a tad naive to her, which could make him the weak link she needed, it could prove to be easier then working on Lena since he didn’t know Nan her well and would be less likely to assume something was amiss.
“So Maja’s friend Aenys, what is it that you want from me?” She asked with a smile, feeling her evil plan hatching, taking form…
There was a brief pause on the other end. “I was hoping…” The another break. “I was hoping you and I could meet up tonight.” Now this is something…
“Really? You and me? And why is that?” She asked trying to contain the sudden burst of excitement.
“I’ll…I’ll explain tonight.” He replied. There was some unusual strain in his voice
“Is this about Maja?” She asked cautiously.
“I just need to speak with you. Eight o’clock at the bistro?” He asked again.
“Fine, I’ll be there.” She said.
“Great! See you there.” He replied relieved as he ended the call.
Nan really didn’t bother to dress up that night as she left home. She wore the same sweater she wore around the house that day, regular green pants and small leather boots. She knew the bistro was a fancy place but she didn’t want to bother, not like this was a date or anything. Aenys probably wanted her to convey some message to Maja, mum and dad had probably took her phone and computer privileges and that made the whole case even more interesting to her.
She was confident she would find a way to persuade him to tell her what got her older sister under home arrest, she was ready to plead, blackmail, anything… She was sure they would wrap up their conversation before they even step in to the bistro…
As it turned out Nan was right in only one of those things.
She got there a little late and she noticed Aenys pacing in front of the building, waiting for her. Once he saw her he stopped and smiled. “I am so glad you came!” He said as she walked up to him. Both his voice and smile were unusually warm. It made Nan pull back and regard him for a minute, she had never payed him much mind in school, he was just another of her sister’s friends, and it had been years since he had last been to their house. He had changed, he was less dorky then she remembered, he had grown, he wasn’t as tall as Bran but he seemed more proportionate, his glasses were gone and one could really appropriate how unusually pretty his violet eyes were.
Still, she came here with a plan, and she didn’t want to get distracted into wasting too much of her time. “So why are we here?” She asked sharply crossing her arms over her chest and looking around. Classical music could be heard from inside the bistro but the street was quiet and deserted. When the boy in front of her said nothing she focused her gaze on him. His smile was gone and he was staring at his own feet, apparently too scared to meet her gaze. Nan narrowed her eyebrows trying to keep herself from sighing loudly, this whole endeavor seemed like one big mistake. Maybe he still was a dork, a really social anxious one to boot she thought as she observed him. “Why are we here, for dinner or to talk?” She asked again.
“I… I was hoping… maybe both.” He said stuttering and Nan was getting more annoyed by the minute.
“Then speak, I don’t have all day, or night.” For a brief moment Aenys did not move, he kept staring at his feet as if expecting they would tell him what to say and then suddenly, without any warning he stepped forward, looked Nan straight in the eyes and then leaned in and kissed her.