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The crime of caring

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Day 8: Crime

“Of course I can set up a queue of all the videos, Hero. It shouldn’t take too long.” Ursula’s voice is, like always, completely calm and without any tone of surprise, but Hero can still sense the underlying tone of curiosity. “I can have it ready for you in a few hours, if you need it today.”

“Oh, no!” Hero quickly replies. “I don’t mean to interrupt anything you’re doing; I just thought it would be fun for Beatrice and Ben to watch all of the videos, and see how much has changed over the past seven months. But don’t feel like you have to do it; I mean, if you have other things you need to be doing, you should definitely prioritise them! I know you said you wouldn’t publish any more videos, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop working on them, and you’re so talented so you really shouldn’t give up on that. Of course, if you want to improve your work a bit more before publishing it, that’s great, too, and we’re all behind you on that.” This, Hero thinks, is the problem with talking with Ursula. Bea would have interrupted her ramblings long ago, but Ursula is too kind to do so, so she just sits patiently on the other side of the phone call and waits for Hero to finish. “It’s all up to you.” She manages to end, somewhat anticlimactic.

“When you say ‘all the videos’, do you mean ‘all’ the videos?” Ursula asks. “Not counting the ones from around your party, there are a few that could put you in an awkward position.”

“You mean the bonus one on your channel?” Hero asks with a laugh. “Yeah, I thought about that, and maybe it’s time we’re honest about that, don’t you think? I mean, a lot of this mess started because so many people on our group didn’t talk to each other, so it would be nice not to have any secrets anymore.” She glances into the living room where her cousin sits with her boyfriend, playing some sort of board game. “I mean, it all worked out for them, so they can’t be too mad, right?”

Ursula laughs. “Knowing them, they’ll probably twist everything around to claim they were right all along, and that it’s because of them, not the plan, they’re together.” Hero laughs too, because that really sound like her cousin. Squeals from the living room tells her the board game has been abandoned in favour of what sounds like a tickle fight – currently, Ben seems to be winning.

“They’re also in their ‘honeymoon’ phase now, and therefore less likely to be too upset, since they’re too busy hiding how deliriously happy they are” Ursula’s voice says in her hear, and Hero’s once again struck by how perceptive Ursula is to everything that happens around them. She had seen Bea and Ben coming from a mile away, she had known just what to say to make Meg feel better every time she and Robbie had broken up, and she knew Balthazar had confided to Ursula about his love troubles (she also knew Ursula hadn’t been surprised either). Suddenly, she felt an overwhelming urge to ask for her opinion.

“Urs, what did you think… of me and Claudio? When we were dating, I mean. Did you know it would end like that?” Somewhere, she hates how small her voice has gotten and how vulnerable she feels, but the bigger part of her is proud she’s strong enough to ask, strong enough to want the truth of her first relationship.

Ursula breathes out as she thinks it over. “I thought you had potential to be really good together. Your personalities seemed to match, and it seemed like you would have that carefree ‘first love’ relationship. But at the same time, I noticed he was quite possessive, especially around other guys. I knew it would become a problem between the two of you, but I didn’t think it would ever end the way it did. I presumed you would have a row over it at one point where you would either manage to calm his fear, or you would break up over it. I’m sorry I didn’t warn you about it, Hero.” Ursula’s voice is tinged with contrition. “I thought you could work it out on your own, and that I shouldn’t involve myself in your relationship, and I am so sorry you had to go through all of that because of it.”

Hero swipes away the tears leaking out of her eyes, before she answers shakily “No, Ursula, you did what you thought was right. None of us could foresee what would happen. Claudio didn’t have to listen to John, and John didn’t have to choose our relationship as his tool to get back at Pedro. And in a way, you did help with all of this. If you hadn’t helped Dogberry and Verges with their crime show, they wouldn’t have figured out how it all happened, and we wouldn’t be where we are now. Oh!” She exclaims, her voice suddenly brighter. “Could you include their videos in the playlist too? I feel so bad we haven’t been watching them; I’ve known Verges for ages, and if we’re watching all the other videos, we should include theirs too!”

“Sure!” Ursula seems a bit relieved to have moved on from the heavier topics, as well. “I think Bea and Ben will appreciate the Sherlock themes in them. I’ll add them in, no problem. Do you want Balth’s songs as well?”

“Yeah, all videos that we’ve put up since Bea started vlogging. Could you do it in chronological order, too? If it’s not too difficult, of course.” Ursula assures her it will not be difficult at all, and they chat for a few minutes about different things. Right before they hang up, Hero says “Hey Urs?”

“Yeah?”

“About Bea and Ben…”

“Rock solid, Hero. They both remembers how painful it was to fight for all these years, so they’ll stop themselves before they get that far. You don’t need to worry about them.” Ursula’s voice is so soothing while also being completely confident. Smiling, Hero hangs up, and walks into the living room to join the couple. The tickle fight has been abandoned, and they are now resting together in a half-lying position on the sofa, playing with each other’s hands while talking softly. The smile on Hero’s face grows, and she decides not to bother them for a while. Ursula was right: there’s no need to worry about them.

 

It isn’t until five o’clock that Hero returns to the living room. Her cousin and her boyfriend seem to have finished their board game, and are now playing Snap, laughing madly at each other.

“Hi guys! Ursula just sent me the link to a playlist of all the videos. She’s put them in chronological order, and even included Verges’ and Dogberry’s crime show; she said we might find some interesting things on there. Do you want to start watching tomorrow?”

Bea shrugs, and Ben says “Sure, I don’t have any homework I need to be doing this weekend anyway.”

“What about that test in Calculus on Tuesday?” Bea asks, looking at her boyfriend. “You said on Thursday you hadn’t even begun studying for it, and I know you haven’t touched your books since.”

“That’s what Monday’s for!” He flashes her a grin, before quickly claiming himself the victor of the game. “You wanna join us for another round, Hero?”

Her own homework is calling her, especially a nasty English essay due on Wednesday, but Ben’s sincere wish she joins them warms her heart. Because even though it is great to once again feel close to Leo, Ben has inserted himself into her family as an extra brother. She has never felt like she’s intruding on his time with Beatrice, or like they never genuinely wanted her to be there, even though they have spent a lot of time, just the three of them.

“Sure” She says, taking a seat across the table. “Be prepared to get your butts kicked!”