Poison's Bend: Chapter 3
“Aerin! Aerin come here! I want you to meet someone,” Nervous’ happy voice called from the foyer several months later.
I sighed and put down my paper. Since we had broken off our engagement on the night Nervous had revealed he was gay, I had begun feeling more like his mother than a former lover. I still cared about him... and sometimes I thought he still felt something romantic for me, too, regardless of his sexual tendencies... but it was too late. The damage was done.
“Coming...” I called, and I stood up, stretched, and walked into the foyer to meet whoever it was Nervous had visiting.
I caught my breath.
The black-haired, bespectacled, slightly older man who was standing there held out his hand to me. “It’s good to meet you,” he said in a low, quiet voice. “I’m...”
“Aerin, this is my friend Pascal Curious,” Nervous interrupted excitedly. “He’s a scientist. Very important, too. He’s even met aliens! Pascal, sit down. I’ll get some coffee...”
The black-haired man sat down at the dining room table, clearly not knowing what else to do.
“Isn’t he just amazing?” Nervous whispered as he passed me on the way to the kitchen.
It was obvious from the way Nervous was fluttering about that he had high hopes of his “friend” becoming something more.
However, if this Pascal Curious preferred other men, then I was a turnip. Plain and simple.
I sat down at the table with our guest, not bothering to hide the attraction I felt. He clearly felt attracted to me as well, and by the time Nervous came back with the coffee, we were deeply in conversation, unmindful of everything else around us.
Nervous passed around the coffee, then sat down at the table; his eyes moving from my face to his friend’s during our engrossed conversation. After a while, he stood up and said, a little too loudly, “Um... Pascal, don’t you think you should go home now?”
“Oh, is it that late already?” Pascal replied, glancing at his watch. “I didn’t even notice the time... but you’re right, Nervous. I do need to go in to the lab this evening.” He took my hand, oblivious to Nervous’ dismay. “Aerin, can I call you sometime?”
“Oui, of course,” I breathed, letting him pull me to a standing position and walking with him to the front door. I was a little shocked when he kissed me goodbye, mon Dieu!
I sighed dreamily and turned from the door to find Nervous glaring at me.
“I didn’t bring him over here for you,” he said peevishly, crossing his arms.
“Hmm... Well. C’est la vie.” I said, walking past him toward the conservatory. It was late autumn, and the cool breeze felt refreshing on my skin. I looked around at the shaggy, overgrown plants, rather surprised they had matured so much in as short of a time as I’d lived here, and I wished I had something to trim them with. I made a mental note to call a gardener, but suddenly I remembered the large shears that had been somehow left here right after I moved in.
They’d be perfect for pruning...
Nervous had followed me, and he watched me critically as I found the shears and began clipping the bushes. I began to wonder if he was ever going to say anything, and the tension was building so as to be almost palpatable. Finally, he spoke.
“Aerin, please don’t go out with Pascal.” he begged. “Please. I want a chance to let him know how I feel about him. We’ve been friends for so long, he’s not involved with anyone else right now... and I think once he knows I’m interested in him… in that way, then he might...”
“Nervous, I think he’s made his interests perfectly clear,” I interrupted, tossing my hair over my shoulder as I worked, feverishly trimming the thorny runners of a rose bush. “...and I do intend to see him again. Whether you like it or not.” I gave up on the pruning and threw the shears down on the ground as I walked away.
I did walk away.
I do not know how Nervous came to be killed by those shears.
It was an accident of some sort. Oui. It must have been.
The next morning, I found his body close beside where I had tossed them.
“Gardening mishap,” the coroner proclaimed, and that was that. Nervous was buried in the family graveyard of my new home after a small funeral service.
Pascal was at the funeral, along with his alien born son Gideon and his brothers, Vidcund and Lazlo.
The Beakers were there, too... although I received the distinct impression they were not so much saddened by Nervous’death as disappointed by it.
Pascal held me throughout the service as we both cried. “I’m sorry,” I sniffed, trying to smile. “This isn’t how I imagined our first date.”
He smiled crookedly back at me. “Nor I,” he agreed, then he gently wiped the tears from my eyes and kissed me. “...but I promise I’ll make the next one better.”
To Be Continued...