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[TLH] Dealing With It

Warden-Sigma Apr 30th, 2018 (edited) 31 Never
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  1. Luan had no idea she had fallen asleep until she heard a loud banging on the apartment door. With a loud murmur she brought herself upright, combing her hair with her hands as she approached the door and swung it open.
  2.  
  3. It took her half a second to recognise her sister Luna, resplendent in a hoodie with her own band’s logo on it, a somewhat tattered purple skirt, and heavy black boots, standing in front of the door with a somewhat annoyed look. “Took you a bleedin’ minute.”
  4.  
  5. “Luna?” Luan blinked away her sleep.
  6.  
  7. Luna quickly went back to her chipper self. “Yo, sis. Been a while, hasn’t it?”
  8.  
  9. “Yeah, it has.” She stepped aside. “Come in.”
  10.  
  11. Luna took her offer, letting Luan head in first. Luan kicked a random box printed with some kind of metal-looking warriors with very long guns on it with a hollow rattle.
  12.  
  13. “Sorry about the mess. If I knew you were coming I’d have cleaned up.”
  14.  
  15. “All cool, dude.” Luna spent a second studying the tiny apartment. Despite the clutter and the occasional bit of rubbish, the place was… presentable, at the least. “Nice digs.”
  16.  
  17. “So what brings you to my corner of the world?” Luan asked, grabbing some plates and dumping them in the sink.
  18.  
  19. “I was just in the neighbourhood and I figured I’d stop by.”
  20.  
  21. Luan continued cleaning, but after a moment of silence she turned around to see Luna watching her with a concerned look. “What?”
  22.  
  23. “You didn’t ask how I was doing.”
  24.  
  25. “Ah, shit-!” Luan almost literally dropped what she was doing. “Sorry, I’m still waking up so I’m a bit out of it. How are you?”
  26.  
  27. “I’m doing well. Jeez, you seem on edge, everything all right?”
  28.  
  29. “Yeah, I’m fine, I’ve just had a bad week, got a big deadline coming up for this new show I’m working on. They need the first draft by Monday.”
  30.  
  31. “Sounds harsh, dude.” Luna snapped her finger. “Hey, why don’t we talk about it over some drinks?”
  32.  
  33. “Luna, you know I don’t drink.”
  34.  
  35. “Sure, but we hardly see each other, so even if you have soda or something we can still hang out tonight.”
  36.  
  37. Luan went to protest, but stopped. She hardly saw her sister these days, living on opposite sides of town and Luna frequently on tours. In fact, she hardly saw any of her other siblings except Lincoln, and that was more for Liby’s sake, as she and Lincoln were the only ones who regularly played tabletop wargames together. “You know, I think that’d be fine.”
  38.  
  39. “Sweet.” Luna gave a little fist pump. “I know this great little pub down the road from here. We can walk there.”
  40.  
  41. “Alright. Just lemme let Liby know I might be out by the time she gets home from school.”
  42.  
  43. “All good, dude.”
  44.  
  45. ---
  46.  
  47. The pub Luna had chosen was only a ten minute walk from Luan’s place, and was one she had been to before. Luna entered first, taking a deep breath as she did. It didn’t take them long to get squared away, choosing a small booth off to the side, somewhere somewhat distant from what little people were around to begin with. Once Luan was seated she went off to grab some drinks, returning with a couple of beers, a bottle of soda and another bottle of cider. She passed the bottles to Luan before sitting down herself.
  48.  
  49. “Luna, I told you, I don’t drink.”
  50.  
  51. “Come on, dude, it’s just a cider. You used to love this stuff.”
  52.  
  53. “You loved it, I just tolerated it.” Luan looked at the cider in her hands with a somewhat indignant look. “Besides, I was seventeen when I last had a drink.”
  54.  
  55. “Still owe Lori for that one.” Luna smiled. “But you at least had fun that night, right?”
  56.  
  57. Luna sighed, putting the bottle down. “Yeah, I did… It wasn’t often we could just sit down and talk without our siblings getting in the way. Kinda miss that.”
  58.  
  59. “Well, that’s what we’re doing now.”
  60.  
  61. “Yeah, but we’re older now. We have kids, we have jobs…” Luan sighed.
  62.  
  63. Luna was silent for a moment. “Luan…”
  64.  
  65. “Hm?”
  66.  
  67. “You haven’t made a dumb joke or bad pun since this afternoon.”
  68.  
  69. “I… I guess I haven’t been feeling very punny lately. As I said, it’s been a rough week.”
  70.  
  71. Luan looked up briefly from her soda to see Luna looking at her again with that concerned look. She knew Luna wasn’t going to leave her alone until she gave her a satisfactory answer.
  72.  
  73. She let out a deep sigh. “How do you do it?”
  74.  
  75. Luna tilted her head. “Huh?”
  76.  
  77. “How do you live with it? The regret, the self-loathing, the isolation…”
  78.  
  79. “I… I don’t really think I-” She halted herself before she said something she’d regret. “What I mean is, I just focus on what good things I have in my life. I have a couple of wonderful children, I have a rewarding career, I have a roof over my head and I never go hungry. Sure, I do have regrets, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” She smiled, holding up her drink. “Plus alcohol helps.”
  80.  
  81. “Easier said than done.” Luan took another sip of her soda. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for what I have and I love Liby to bits, but… I don’t know, every time I look at her, I see her father, and when I see her father I see my mistakes, and the more I regret them and the more I hate myself.”
  82.  
  83. “Dude, don’t beat yourself up about it.”
  84.  
  85. “You think I want to?” Luan nearly shouted back. “I’d love it if I could just stop feeling guilty about everything, but unlike you I can’t.”
  86.  
  87. “What makes you think I-” Luna once again stopped herself. “No, go on.”
  88.  
  89. Luan faltered. “I-I mean… It’s just… I dunno, I don’t like what I’ve done with my life. My career is shit, my daughter’s… something she should never have been, I live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment that I barely keep clean, and none of my family except Lincoln ever really talks to me so I’m pretty sure he and you are the only ones who don’t hate my guts. Hell, until tonight I was pretty sure it was only Linc who could actually tolerate me, and that was about the highest he regards me.”
  90.  
  91. “Dude, none of us hate you. What are you talking about?”
  92.  
  93. “Nobody visits, calls or even sends me dumb stuff online. I hadn’t gotten any word from you for two months until tonight.”
  94.  
  95. “Jeez, sorry about that. If I had known it was causing you this much stress I’d at least tagged you in something. I just thought you were too busy to chat.”
  96.  
  97. “I was, but once that was done I saw that nobody really messaged me back except Linc. Guess I should’ve let people know I was back to normal rather than waiting for someone to ask.” Luan sighed. “Even then, I don’t get many messages that isn’t for organising events or something.”
  98.  
  99. “Look, I can’t blame you for thinking that, but everyone else might be busy with their own lives. I’m not saying ‘oh you shouldn’t feel like crap cuz your sisters are going through the same or worse’, no, that would be fuckin’ stupid. You’re allowed to vent about your issues. I’m just suggesting that might be the reason why nobody’s talking to you.” Luna downed what was left of one of her beers.
  100.  
  101. “I mean… you’re probably right. Still, that’s only one thing out of too many. I’ll probably never get back to my old self”
  102.  
  103. “Well, if it helps any, I’ll always make time for you, even when I’m on tour. You need anything, sis, you gimme a call and I’ll drop everything to help.” She placed her hand on Luan’s shoulder. “Now, how about we finish these drinks and get you home. You look like you need some sleep.”
  104.  
  105. “Yeah, I’ve not been sleeping well recently.”
  106.  
  107. “I can tell. Posting dumb jokes at 1am on Facebook and all that.”
  108.  
  109. Luan had a small chuckle, cracking open the cider. “So someone has noticed.”
  110.  
  111. ----
  112.  
  113. Luan had found that she rather liked the cider and had gotten a few more. She also found out she was a lightweight, and was soon quite drunk. Luna opted to stick with the drinks she had gotten before, and helped Luan stumble back home.
  114.  
  115. Luan opened the door to find someone sitting on a desk in the corner not occupied by anything. The person, almost immediately recognised as Liby, stood upright and moved up to help them. “Jeez, is Mom alright?”
  116.  
  117. “Yeah, she just had a few drinks.”
  118.  
  119. “I’m fine.” Luan replied, her voice somewhat slurred.
  120.  
  121. “You went out drinking?” Liby sounded surprised. “Mom never does that.”
  122.  
  123. “I know, but she kinda needed to relax for the night.” She helped Luan into her room and laid her on one of the beds, on her left side. “Just rest for now. I’ll be back in a bit.” She left and closed the door quietly, letting out a sigh.
  124.  
  125. “She’s not doing to well, is she?”
  126.  
  127. Luna turned to Liby. “No, she isn’t.”
  128.  
  129. “I could tell. Staying up late, making less jokes. I thought she was just trying to tone it down and got caught up in her work.until I caught her crying herself to sleep.”
  130.  
  131. “Jesus.”
  132.  
  133. “And I know it has something to do with me.”
  134.  
  135. “What are you-?”
  136.  
  137. “I know everything. I know Uncle Lincoln’s my dad, and so do all my cousins. I heard them talking one night and I got Uncle Linc to confess.”
  138.  
  139. “I see…”
  140.  
  141. “Don’t worry, I don’t think any less of any of you guys, and aside from my cousins I haven’t told anyone else. I’m just worried about Mom.”
  142.  
  143. “Yeah, I get ya. And hey, you would’ve found out eventually, probably because your Aunt Leni would’ve let it slip.” The two of them shared a chuckle.
  144.  
  145. “Undoubtedly.” Liby thought for a moment. “I just had an idea.”
  146.  
  147. “Good or bad?”
  148.  
  149. “I dunno. My idea is this: Obviously all of you need to relax. Why don’t you all pool your money together and go on a long trip or cruise or something? That might help.”
  150.  
  151. “That’s…” Luna paused. “That’s not a dumb idea, but who’d look after you?”
  152.  
  153. “Linc has the biggest house, so maybe he could?”
  154.  
  155. “I don’t know if he would-” Luna stopped herself, seeing Liby pull out her phone. “What are you…?”
  156.  
  157. “Texting him to ask if he’d like to watch us if you girls decide to go off relaxing.” After a moment, her phone buzzed. “He says yes.”
  158.  
  159. “Wow. Colour me surprised, I didn’t expect him to be so eager.”
  160.  
  161. “He is my actual Dad, so I’m not too surprised.”
  162.  
  163. “Looks like we’re gonna have to get a start on planning, then.”
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