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Chapter 1 : or how they got away
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Not much else to say, except I hope you like this spur-of-the-moment story!
Love, stuff, and snickerdoodles,
how they got away
Dominique is dead.
You did not cry when you heard the news. Louis had told you. You had been outside her building when you heard. Dominique is dead.
There had been a bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums in your hand. Golden. Just like her hair. She would not have appreciated the imagery, the allusion, but she would have thrown her head back and laughed at you for your pathetic romantic gestures. They had fallen from your grasp, and you wonder now what happened to them.
“Dominique is dead,” Louis had said. There had been tears in his eyes, and you had hoped–feared–that he would not see the flowers in your hand.
You had not questioned it. Louis probably thought you a fool, or a womanizer, or both–probably both–but you had not questioned it. Dominique is dead.
You insisted that the dead girl’s brother leave, support his parents in this crisis. He had done so, and he had left before you had the courage to ask him how he knew where you would be. Waiting, waiting, with golden yellow chrysanthemums in your hand, you were waiting. They were her birth flower. Golden chrysanthemums. She wouldn’t recognize the thought in that gesture, either. She would have thrown the bouquet in the rubbish bin, the one next to the bench where you had just been waiting, but you would have stolen one and then weaved the lucky blossom into her golden hair. She would have laughed and complained and slapped your gentle hand away, but she would have kept it there until it fell away, rotting, decaying.
Dominique is dead.
When Louis left, you stayed put, on that bench in front of her building, where you had been waiting with yellow chrysanthemums for her to throw away. You did not cry over it, you did not question it. Dominique is dead. Now what?
The bouquet fell from your hand. Probably fell in the dirty snow at the foot of the bench. You don’t know exactly, but it doesn’t matter anymore. She was going to throw them away anyway, save one.
You did not save one. You sat on that bench across the street from her apartment building and did not cry and did not question that Dominique was dead.
It has been three days since that night. Three days since Dominique died. You have taken your first holiday from work in three years. She was three years younger than you. Funny, how that blasted number comes up again and again. Three days, three years, three years.
“Her funeral is tomorrow,” says Bill Weasley. The scar on his face that once upon a time frightened you beyond belief now glistens with hardened tears. “Tomorrow,” he repeats, none too gently, for no one seems to hear him. Not his wife, the dead girl's mother, who has been babbling to her parents ever since they arrived last night. Not his son, the dead girl's brother, who deems it disrespectful to speak. Not his daughter, the dead girl's sister, his first and now last daughter. You wonder why she does not bother refilling her empty wine glass. She has been drinking for three days, but now she does not.
“Go to bed, everyone,” the patriarch of the family advises, voice cracking. “We have… we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.”
“Won’t fall asleep anyway,” mutters Louis, but he acquiesces. Victoire follows him, with glass still in hand. Apolline Delacour trails along, as well, dragging her bereaved daughter with her. Bill is last, and when he pauses, you wave him upstairs and bid him a solemn goodnight. He does not question why you choose to remain here when it would be so much easier to trudge onward, and leaves without a word.
You, however, do question your motivation for staying here. It might help to go upstairs, after all–you’ll be closer to her, if you go. Dominique is dead. And without a doubt, she is in heaven now. She was too horrible to have gone anywhere else. And upstairs, she’ll be closer to you, and you her.
But you were never meant to be close to her. It would never be. Dominique is dead.
The whisper of fleet tiptoeing comes from the grand staircase. Could it be she, coming back down? From heaven? To you? Dominique is dead. Would she come back to you? For you?
You know the answer before the question is even born on your lips.
She is nonplussed; the voice comes from everywhere and nowhere–is it really your voice? You sound so different; not at all like you have lost someone. You do not mourn. You know she would be surprised. Mourning, she once said, is as pathetic as buying flowers. Everything dies. Everyone dies. Dominique is dead.
“Just returning a glass.” She treads delicately to the bar situated in the drawing room. The glass clanks on the mahogany wood when she puts it down. A hollow, ringing sound fills your ears. Not unlike her scornful, beautiful laughter. “You should sleep.”
“Can’t.” You are reminded of Louis, for this is how he reacted when his father told him to retire for the night. But you are no Louis. You might have loved her, but not in the same way he did.
You cannot see her face, but you think she smiles tersely at you. “Try.”
“I’ll sleep when Dom wakes up.” Her name slips from your lips like vomit. You can’t help it, but you hadn’t made any conscious decision to never say it again. So you say it again. “When Dominique wakes up,” you vow.
Perhaps it is a wan smile that twists her lovely visage now. You imagine it as such; imagine what it would look like to slash that smirk across her face. What a horror. The dead girl would get a good laugh out of that, you’re sure. “That’s a long time to stay awake.”
“Dominique is dead.”
Maybe that smirk droops a little bit. Like golden chrysanthemums, except her lips would be more like pink carnations. Such pretty flowers, but what a horrible scent, you think. “I miss her, too, Teddy. I do. She was my sister, remember? My sister.” She exhales sadly–the sound is like breaking glass.
The sound is breaking glass. It tinkles as it falls to the carpeted floor.
“Nah. The glass just fell and broke.” There is a slight swoosh as Victoire draws out her wand, and a disconcerting pop. A satisfied sigh, and then the rustle of cloth as she returns her wand.
“What was that?” you ask.
“Vanished the shards. They’re all gone.” Her feet glide across the floor again; she returns to the upper floor. You won’t speak to her until tomorrow, until the funeral.
Dominique is dead.
“Victoire, wait.” You rise from the sofa cushions, hands in your pockets. Your wand is in the left one, and your fist curls around it. You’re ready.
She stops, and you reach the foot of the staircase. There are long, rectangular windows in the foyer, and you finally see her. She looks exhausted, there are circles under her eyes, and her lips are chapped; she is like a wilting, drying flower.
Dominique is dead, and Victoire dying.
Your voice does not shake. It does not betray you. It does not say that you’ve never wanted anything more than for her to throw out your chrysanthemums. “Did she know?”
She doesn’t answer, and you wonder if you are wrong, but you are not. You know that as well as you know anything anymore. As well as you know that Dominique is dead.
“Did who know what?”
You repeat, “Did she know?”
Victoire does not answer for a long moment, nor does she move. She is not high enough on the staircase to be hit directly by the rectangle of half-light, but she is illuminated well enough. Immovable, a statue carved of loveliness and wilting carnations.
As sure as you were, as you are, the word seems to have been spoken by someone else. Not you, not her. Maybe the dead girl said so. In any case, Victoire still does not move.
“She said it tasted… divine.”
This is definitely Victoire now.
“Divine. That was the word.” You can just barely make out her chest heaving with heavy breaths. “Divine. I watched her myself. That was the last word. Divine. Divine. She said it tasted divine. I was relieved, that she liked it, I mean. She said it was divine. And she gave one of her little smiles, you know? And she said it again. This tastes divine, that’s what she said, she said it tasted divine. She didn’t know.”
For all her tortured fervor, she still has not moved. She has avoided your eyes, just as you have hers. You say nothing else, and she turns her back on you, like you had done to her so many years ago, and ascends. In your head, you register dimly that she is coming closer and closer to her dead sister.
And you, at the bottom, are still far away.
“I’m not sorry, Teddy,” she says.
You reply, “Good.”
She said once that being sorry was pathetic, too–just as mourning was, just as buying bouquets of gilt chrysanthemums was. Now, you wholeheartedly agree with that exact sentiment.
Dominique is dead, Victoire is upstairs, and now they have both gone, left you, got away.
An eye for an eye.
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