“I love her, Marie,” Serge announced to me as I was putting the finishing touches on Mr and Mrs Lafleur’s anniversary cake. “I love her and we’re getting married.”

He had marched into my home without knocking (not like Serge at all) and ran (also not like Serge) through the house calling my name. I waited ten full seconds before calling to him from my cake studio. I waited because I already knew what he would tell me. The imminence of this thing I could not change was felt as soon as he barged through the door.

I looked up from a blue rosette and smiled with effort. “That’s great, Serge. When’s the big day?”

He was carrying a black scarf and kneaded it nervously with his fingers, while huffing and puffing from excitement. “We’re going to Montreal on Tuesday. It’s the first of December, Deanna’s birthday. We’re going to do it at city hall.”

I blinked at him. “Oh, uh…I’m working on Tuesday. I can ask for it off though…” I paused, searched his face. “But then, you didn’t invite me…”

Serge shuffled his feet and looked down. “Deanna wants it to be just the two of us.”

I suppressed the urge to roll my eyes. I felt my blood beginning to boil and I wanted a drink. I wanted vodka- straight. “Of course,” I said quietly, almost to myself.

He stepped closer to me and cocked his head to the side, willing me to look at him. “You understand, don’t you? It’s all happened so fast, but I have never wanted anything more in my entire life. I would give it all up for her, Marie. All of it.”

I nodded emphatically and kept my eyes on his forehead.

He looked panicked. “She’s amazing. I really…I can’t wait for you to really get to know her, you know?”

“I…uh, yeah. Me too.”

“Marie?” His voice cracked. “If you don’t support this, I don’t know what I’ll do.”

Oh shit. I knew that he knew I didn’t like her, but I did not ever think of him calling me on it. “Serge, I…”

He eyes grew intense. “No, I mean it. I need you to be ok with this. I’ve seen you through everything…the drugs, the blackouts, the disappearances,” he shouted. The noise of it shook me. He wasn’t angry; he was desperate. This was a gift I could give him or a love I could withhold. I felt it in the tension of the room. I heard it in his voice.

I put down my piping bag and stood up. He watched me carefully, looking for a sign. He was making a mistake, this much I knew. Deanna would tear his heart out at the arteries, but I had a decision to make.

Moving to him, I tugged his thick wool sweater at the sides. “I love you,” I declared softly. “And if Deanna does too then she is pretty goddamn smart. I support you.”

Serge pulled me to him and kissed my hair. “Oh, thank God!” he whispered. “You’ll see, Marie. It’ll be perfect. You’ll see.” I buried my forehead in his chest and bit back words of empty encouragement.

“She’s wearing red,” he said. “For the wedding I mean. She looks so good in red.”

I swallowed hard, hugged my big brother tight and smiled up at him. “Serge, she looks good in everything.”

<3

Read Part I HERE.

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