Dinner was going fabulous until Annabel decided to mention Lenore’s move.
“It seemed so sudden, I thought you had liked L.A?” Annabel asked with perfect sweet innocence that Lenore usually adored but today shunned. Ok that was totes emo, but you get the picture.
Lenore froze like a deer in headlights. Oh god, all her friends (and Eddie) she was supposed to be catching up with were looking at her with frank curiosity.
“Yes darling, do tell, I'm dying to know what made you hurry away like that!” Oscar exclaimed. Lenore cringed and tightened her fingers around her wine glass.
“Oh, that. Yeah, uh nothing you know, exciting, just uh...family stuff, you know…” Lenore blustered her way through her excuse. She tried to seem nonchalant and play it off as no big deal, but she already knew her friends would treat it as a big deal. Lenore made a point not to go into her family drama with her friends. Ever.Her parents were long dead but it hadn’t always been that simple and her brother...even before what happened, Edgar was a mess. He was flighty, he moved all the time, he was dirt poor despite always working, his mental illness was always very present, he always,always was asking for money (that had been the original cause of their previous strained relationship but she didn’t want to remember those times) and to top it all of Edgar had slowly become a drunk. Her friends knew the bare minimum about Lenore’s brother.In fact, the most that they have heard if him was that he exist. And she designed to keep it that way until she had better figured out her new standing with him. Edgar had always been her older brother and it was bizarre for him to now need her. Even when he begged her for money she never thought he needed her.
Lenore was pulled from her thoughts by Charlotte’s voice.
“Family? I thought you didn’t have family.” Charlotte stated in that slightly condescending voice that sometimes made Lenore want to strangle her.
“I don’t. Well, I don’t have a lot of family, or….look it’s not a big deal you guys. Look! I’m here! I told all of you that we’d still see each other a bunch! Can we go back to our drinks now?” Lenore pleaded with a little more force than she would of liked. She look a long drink of her wine and caught Annabel’s sad look.
“Is it Edgar?” Annabel asked in a quiet, soft voice. Lenore winced. Damn. She had totally forgot the Annabel knew about Edgar from when they were kids.Lenore and Annabel had been best friends,and while Annabel's memories of Edgar where foggy at best, it was evident she never quite forgot about Lenore's strange older brother.
“Who?” Eddie asked, leaning over to Annabel to make sure everyone knew that he was only talking to Annabel, goddamn Lenore hated when he did that. Why couldn’t Eddie just ask her? It was totes obvi that Lenore knew what Annabel was talking about, so why not ask Lenore? It totally pissed her off. “My brother.” Lenore answered him, her voice just a few shades away from a growl. God she didn’t like Eddie. He was way shady and always trying to set Lenore up with his brother. Hello? Lenore had way better things to worry about then Eddie’s lame brother. Lenore composed herself.
“He’s my brother. He’s ,uh, kinda going through a rough time, You know? I just thought I was needed and the move was kinda needed so…” Lenore let the train of thought go and prayed the conversation topic would go with it. But unfortunately it would seem that her friends weren’t that cooperative.
“And you uprooted your life because you were needed?” Charlotte asked with a raised eyebrow. Lenore gave her a dark look in return.
“Because you don’t have any other family?”
“Yes.” Lenore answered Charlotte’s question with gritted teeth. God, they were having such a great time before this too. Everyone was laughing, making jokes, getting Lenore up to date on all the drama and happenings, she was having a fabulous time. Why couldn’t they just go back to that and trust Lenore would spill the goods when she was ready? Not that Lenore wanted to do that ever, given the tragic circumstances that caused her to move in with her brother and away from her friends, but they didn’t know that.
“You know I think that’s kinda selfish of your brother.” Eddie declared. Lenore’s eyes narrowed into slits as she tried to shoot Eddie a warning look of “Don’t go there, asswhipe” but as usual Eddie ignored anyone’s opinion but his own. “I mean, to totally turn your life around because he’s having a ‘rough time’? What kind of self respecting adult lets their younger sibling do that for them? I know I would never need Guy to take care of me because of my alleged ‘rough time’” Eddie huffed.
If Lenore could pick one person sitting at that dinner table to kill, Eddie wouldn’t even get a proper burial.
“Alleged?” Lenore repeated. Eddie seemed to realize what a fucking ass he was being.
“I didn’t mean to imply-”
“Alleged.” Lenore said before knocking back the rest of her drink. Fuck it. She tried to respect Edgar’s privacy, tried not to tie down her friends with her family drama, but fuck it. If they wanted to be nosy, then why even bother?
“I think having your wife die at home would qualify as a rough time, don’t you think Eddie?” Lenore asked with just enough acid to make Eddie cringe. Lenore didn’t get enough time to revel in Eddie’s shame because then Lenore heard Annabel gasp and what she just said dawned on her.
Lenore sighed. This wasn’t how her night was supposed to go. They all sat in silence for just a moment while Lenore composed herself.
“I am so, so sorry for your loss.” H.G quietly but sincerely said. Lenore jumped a bit. God she forgot he was even there he had been so quiet all night. Lenore swallowed. She couldn’t say anything but she managed to nod in acknowledgement.
“I didn’t even know he got married.” Annabel said. Lenore turned to look at her. Oh, she looked so sad and surprised and out of the loop. Just like Lenore had when Edgar and Virginia finally told her that Virginia was sick.
“Yeah. Um, right out of high school actually. Well, Virginia did, right out of high school, cause Edgar had already graduated, but yeah. Uh, they started dating only a few years after you moved. Crazy right?” Lenore rambled to Annabel in a significantly brighter tone. Remembering the good things about Virginia and Edgar and Lenore’s relationship with Edgar was always so much better then remembering the bad. Lenore would never forget the wedding. There had only been five people, Lenore, Edgar, Virginia, Virginia’s mom and Virginia’s brother. It was an insane night of everyone panicking and trying to time this barely put together wedding just right so the happy couple could make the airplane for their honeymoon in Virginia. Jesus, Lenore was getting ‘lost in her head’ as her brother helpfully called it. Whatever.
“How dreadful! I can’t imagine how awful it must be! If you need anything, anything at all, do let me know” Oscar said in a typical Oscar fashion. Lenore was once again at a loss for words and could only nod.
“Terrible indeed! It’s no wonder you haven’t been yourself. I don’t know what I’d do if my sister died.I'd be at an absolute loss,Lenore,darling,my condolences. May I ask how she passed?” Charlotte asked. Lenore felt her stomach knot.
“Um, she was sick. I don’t know all the details, uh, Edgar, and I weren’t really besties when she was sick and didn’t really talk. And when we did talk no one wanted to talk about that, I mean who would? And I didn’t know how bad her...passing, was for Edgar until recently...my brother’s always been kind of a hermit I guess but the man was getting his groceries delivered to him and he hadn’t left his house in three months. I kinda figured someone needed to get him out of his funk. Now, that Virginia’s gone he doesn’t have a lot of...well, people, you know?” Lenore rambled and though her friends nodded she could tell they really didn’t know. Edgar hadn’t left his house in what was closer to nine months now. With the exception of when he went on a four day bender, wandered the streets, tried to kill himself, and got locked away in a hospital room where the staff then called her. His only living family. How could she say no? She and Edgar were never really super close but Lenore still cared about him and she knew Edgar still cared about her. He told her he wanted to die in a moment of weakness and Lenore realized then how terrified she was of that happening. She didn’t want to be alone the same way Edgar didn’t. So, she moved in with him. Now, neither of them would be alone.
“Lenore?” Annabel asked in her sweet and innocent voice. Lenore pushed away her thoughts of her and Edgar's.Tonight was about her friends and bringing them into her new life.
“Can we change the subject guys? This is supes depressing and I came out here to get away from that. Oscar, tell me about that new vintage shop that you’ve been posting about, it looks amaze”
And like that Lenore forgot about what was waiting for her at home.