It was only Fleur, Aveline and myself as we agreed it should be. Fred waited at home for me, no doubt wondering, waiting...worrying. Fleur dabbed at her eyes several times as the warm August breeze danced about the three of us. The sky was dark, the moon high. It was a beautiful night...I would have enjoyed it more if not for...
Sighing, I glance toward my mother's body, hidden from me. I wanted to feel the grief, but it was buried too deeply for me to reach. She betrayed me, betrayed our family and Fred's family. She lied, pretended to love me, to accept Fred. All a ruse to kill him and in turn...kill me. She didn't believe me, didn't trust in me. She never cared about my future, about what I wanted in life. My mother was selfish, and cold. And now she was gone.
"Ma ange," Fleur says, tearing me from my thoughts. I blink and look to her. "It's over."
"Over?" Confused, I realize she is talking about the burial. When I look to my mere again, her body is gone. The Elders watch us silently as Fleur begins to weep again. Aveline slides her arm around my shoulders, her own sorrow evident.
"Is there anything you want to say?"
"No." What could I possibly have to say? I couldn't say any kind words, any stories...I didn't know my mother after all. The woman who died was a stranger to me. "I just want to go home."
Aveline frowned, but nodded, and took my hand. We returned to Fleur's cottage, silent as we entered. Billy looked up from the table, standing quickly and crossing to Fleur. She sobbed against his chest and Aveline went to the fireplace to firecall Charlie. I sat for only a moment before Fleur's tears grew too distracting and I stood, walking into the garden to clear my head.
Moments later, Aveline joins me, her stomach swollen and her eyes tired. She sits next to me on the iron bench, her hand patting my knee.
"You know your mother loved you."
I say nothing, but nod.
"It's all right to be angry with her."
Again, I nod, having nothing more to say.
Aveline sighs and withdrawls her hand. I look down at her stomach before I lift my gaze to hers. "Are you going to marry Charlie?"
She seems taken back by the question because I see her cheeks turn a slight shade of pink. "What a question to ask me, Gabrielle."
I shrug. "You're having a baby together."
"Not everyone who has a baby together should get married."
"So you don't love him?"
"What?" Aveline gapes at me, confusion settling upon her features. "Of course I do."
"But not like Whizzy." I can hear the attitude in my voice, and I know my questions are inappropriate, but I can't seem to stop. I was tired of the questions and talk about mere. I just wanted it all to be over.
"Gabrielle, this isn't the time or the place to be discussing this." Aveline stands abruptly. "My personal life is my own."
"You're my sister," I point out. "Your happiness matters to me."
She looks unconvinced and I sigh and reach out to take her hand. "I'm sorry, Aveline. I'm just tired. I feel like I haven't slept at all since..."
She tugs me up gently, her lips at my cheek. "Come inside. Bill has made some tea for us. You should contact Fred to let him know everything went all right before he worries."
Nodding, I let her leave me inside, resting my head against Aveline's shoulder. Mere was gone and buried. Dead. The word makes me shiver and I push the thoughts away quickly. I would think about it later.