Stripes, Checks, and Polka-Dots

David Brown is a tall, lanky redhead who has never really had the occasion to find out what infatuation truly felt like. Grégoire and Marie-Ange Valmont are a pair of french twins who know exactly how to make his heart flutter. After living in the US for five years, David followed his family back to England where they eventually signed him up at the town's secondary school where he met Grégoire and Marie-Ange. After being convinced by the twins to take French classes with them, David was soon dragged into their little world and, slowly but surely, a sweet bond knit itself between the three adolescents. Stripes, Checks, and Polka-dots is a slice-of-life novel that'll take you on a stroll through these teenagers' lives, their ups and downs, happy moments and heartbreaks. Read with bliss! ♥

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13. Chapter 13

Chapter 13

 

November passed by uneventfully. Greg had another successful game and Marie-Ange and I... Well, we got closer, and it was really, really nice.

During November, I decided I’d show Marie-Ange how much she meant to me. I would randomly take her hand under the desk during class, and I’d smile at her whenever she looked back at me. I wanted to be nice to her. I wanted her to know that someone was out there for her. Her brother soon picked up on what was happening, however. He didn’t react badly and he wasn’t surprised either... But something was off. When we’d walk home, he’d wrap his arm around his sister’s shoulders, or he’d basically walk between us, hands in his pockets and chatting up a conversation with me as casually as possible.

I was confused. Angie was significantly happier since I started being sweet to her in public... At least she seemed happier. I certainly hoped she was. I was afraid that she was just putting up a facade so I wouldn’t worry, but still.

Marie-Ange’s happiness... Wasn’t that what Grégoire wanted? Wasn’t that what I wanted? Wasn’t that what she wanted for herself?

She obviously had a rough time. Going to school and facing the people who’ve hurt her before and even now must have been terribly stressful. I thought that she was strong to do so.

Greg had become closer to me as well. Not only in a friendly manner, however.  I felt like there was something stronger, though I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it. He’d look at me during class with a grin; he’d hold my arm from time to time, sometimes even my hand when no one was looking. I was flustered by this at first.

If it was flirting, not only was he good at it, but I was starting to fall for it.

I knew I shouldn’t. I was with Marie-Ange, technically speaking. But... She didn’t seem to mind? It was strange, really strange.

Now, I never truly considered myself to be a hundred percent anything when it came to my sexuality. I could be straight, I could be gay, I could be anything in between, didn’t honestly care. The only thing that bothered me was that Marie-Ange was right there. Did her brother have no consideration for her? For what was happening between her and me? As I said before, Angie didn’t seem to care that her brother was macking up on me. It sometimes even made her laugh. I was confused. Really, really confused.

*

Soon enough, it was starting to become chillier out. We started wearing our coats and scarves. Christmas ads started coming up on telly and the streets of our town were being decorated with beautiful lights. December was here.

One afternoon I walked home from school with Greg, just him and I as Marie-Ange needed to do some homework with Nathalie. Greg smoked his post-school cigarette, cozied up in the short blue trench coat he wore over his uniform and the striped scarf wrapped around his neck.

I needed to confront him about the way he acted around me. I just... Needed to know.

We walked down our street surrounded with a cloud of smoke. I had French homework tonight and I needed Greg’s help with it.  When we got to the Valmont’s door, Greg crushed his cigarette under his foot and kicked the butt onto the street before he pulled out his keys and opened the door. 

When we entered, there was a scent of roast pork coming from the kitchen. I looked at Grégoire quizzically. He just rolled his eyes “Mother dear’s home.” He said exasperatedly.

Why was he exasperated, I wondered. I mean...  His mother was barely ever at home. If I were him I’d be happy, because even if I didn’t have the best of relationships with my mother, I’d still miss her, should he be absent like that.

“Grégoire? Marie-Ange? Vous êtes rentrés?” called a soft female voice in melodious French.

Greg led me towards the kitchen, hands in his pockets. I just followed after him and stayed in the doorway as I held onto the strap of my schoolbag.

Non. C’est juste moi et un ami.” Replied Greg as he undid his scarf with a slight frown “This is David, by the way.” He presented me in English, motioning to me.

The woman turned around and smiled softly at me. I noticed that her smile was warm, genuine. She looked a lot like her daughter, now that I thought of it...

The twins’ mother was a very pretty woman. Tall and blonde with blue eyes. The same stunning blue eyes as her children.  She looked like she was in her thirties... Or at least she looked younger than my mother. Much younger than my mother.

I guessed that they inherited of their father’s black hair, in that case.

Her long wavy blonde hair was tied up in a bun, two bangs framing her youthful face, her lips and nails were painted red. All in all, I wondered how a woman who worked so much could take care of herself like that. Maybe her job required that she looked good all the time.  Greg often told me that she was a whore, which really left me uneasy, because a) He shouldn’t be talking about his mother in such a manner and b) Now that I looked at her, looking so kind, calm and welcoming, I really, really doubted that the twins’ mother was a sex worker.  She was probably a secretary, or a personal assistant, since the twins’ told me that she spent so much time with her boss.

Mrs (or should I say ‘Miss’? She wasn’t married after all.) Valmont was still smiling at me as she walked towards up and greeted me with a kiss on both cheeks “Hello David, Marie-Ange has told me a lot about you.” She told me warmly, her voice tainted with the same soft French accent as her children.

So Angie had told her mother about me? I thought that was cute. I smiled at the woman as I pushed up my glasses.

“Of course she told you about him, he’s her boyfriend.”

“Her boyfriend?”

“She didn’t tell you?” asked Greg, quirking a brow “She obviously did. You just don’t care.”

Mrs Valmont went pale at that and glared at her son who simply frowned back. I felt slightly awkward in that moment so I just stepped back and cleared my throat.

I knew Greg and his mother had a bad relationship for whatever reason. I didn’t want to meddle with it, however.

“Speaking of Marie-Ange, where is she?”

“At Nathalie’s.”

“Will she be here for dinner?”

“I don’t know, will you be here for dinner?” asked Greg, still frowning at his mother.

She snapped at him in French after that. I didn’t quite get what she said, but I felt like apologising to her for her son’s shitty behaviour towards her.

Grégoire frowned at his mother and took my wrist, announcing to her that we’d be up in his room.

She sighed and nodded “Fine, just tell me when your sister will be home. Are you staying for dinner, David?”

I blinked at that and opened my mouth to reply. I wasn’t sure what to say. Mrs Valmont was barely ever home, maybe the twins would like some time alone with her. Angie would, at least.  She was very kind to invite me over like that on a whim.

“No, he isn’t.” Snapped Grégoire before I could say a word “Anyway, we’re off.”

And before I could excuse myself to the twins’ mother, Greg had dragged me up the stairs.

*

When we were in his room, Greg pulled out his pack of cigarettes and flipped his lighter open, lighting one of them  before he opened the window to smoke. His hands were shaking and his eyebrow was twitching. I wondered what was wrong.

“Is... everything okay, Greg?” I asked after a minute of observation.

“No. You just had to meet my mother. I never wanted you to meet her.”

“She looks nice.”

“She’s not.” He said plainly as he puffed on his cancer stick once more “Make yourself comfortable.” He added, motioning to his bed.

I bit my lip and settled my bag on the floor before I sat down on the bed, crossing my ankles.

“Why do you hate her so much?”

“Because she’s a whore. She’s never been there for my sister and I, and suddenly, out of the blue, she thinks she can waltz in and make us dinner as if we were the happiest of families. We’re not a happy family, David. We aren’t like you.”

“No family is perfect, Greg, not even mine. I have a shitty relationship with my Mum, yet—“

“Yet what? She’s there for you, she cares for you. She doesn’t just give you her ‘hard earned’ money so you can do fuck all with it!”

“Greg... Just smoke, you’ll feel better.”

He did so, finishing his cigarette.

“I need to hit something.” He announced once he crushed the cigarette butt on the window sill.

I looked around and picked up one of his pillows holding it up for him to him.

“Go ahead.” I said warily before he hit the pillow out of my hands and just glared ahead. He then straightened himself up and walked over to the window to close it. He then came over to sit on the bed, looking at me.

“Sorry you had to see that. She just... frustrates me.”

“I get you. Don’t worry.” I told him with a soft smile.

“No, really. I didn’t want you to see that side of me.”

“I said it was fine.”

“It’s not. Now you think I’m a psychotic cuntbag who treats his seemingly innocent mother like shit.”

“Greg—“

“I get it. Nevermind.” He said with a sigh, kicking off his shoes before he crawled on the bed and groaned.

I just looked at him and grinned weakly. He looked cute, all frustrated like that.

“What are you grinning at?” he asked, looking up to me “I’ve seen that grin before.”

“Really? When?”

He chuckled weakly and got back up so his eyes would meet mine.

“When you’re macking on my sister. I see you two, you know?”

I blushed a bit at that and pulled away “I know you see us—I just thought you didn’t care.”

“Oh but I do care, David, I do. She’s my sister after all.” He said, growing closer once again “And you’re looking at me the same way. That’s peculiar, isn’t it?”

“What do you mean?”

He thought for a minute, chewing on the inside of his cheek, looking down before he looked back up into my eyes.

“You like me.”

“What?!”

“You like me.”

“Of course I do, you’re my friend.”

“No—No. You like me.” He told me with a shark-like grin.

My cheeks flushed at that and I turned away from him. I didn’t like him in that sense. He was handsome and all, and he did flirt with me whenever people other than his sister weren’t watching... But this was his fault. He was the one who started it.

“Well... No, because I’m with your sister. You shouldn’t be flirting with me when I’m with your sister.” I said in defense.

“You can like us both.” He said, though I wasn’t entirely sure that that was a joke.

“Greg, what’s with this... This...”

“I like you too, David.” He said as he leaned back, one of his strong, calloused hands reaching for one of mine.

“I hope you don’t think this is disgusting.”

“No! It’s just—Aren’t you with Connor?” I asked in a whisper, just in case Mrs Valmont was near.

He shook his head “I like Connor, but he doesn’t like me back. He’s too much of a good kid to wander off with me.”

“Oh.”

“’Oh’? “ he repeated with a grin.

“Okay.”

He nodded.

“What about your sister?”

“I’ll tell her. I’ll decide what’ll happen next depending on her reaction to all this.”

“Isn’t that a tad cruel?”

“Cruel?” he asked “This isn’t the first time we fancy the same guy, David.”

“Who was—.”

He interrupted me, placing a finger on my lips. “That’s between her and I.”

I nodded and bit my lip. He cupped my face with his hands and looked up to me “You’re not like the last guy Angie liked. You’re amazing, and you’re deserving of her love, so don’t fuck this up. Please.”

“Aren’t you trying to fuck this up yourself? You’re coming between us and—“

He had pulled me in to kiss me. My eyes shot open and I pushed him away, cheeks flushed.

“Greg—“

“Let me kiss you.”

“I gotta go.”

“But—Your homework.”

“I’ll manage alone.” I told him, lips quivering.

I was feeling uneasy right there. My girlfriend’s brother was kissing me, flirting with me, and I couldn’t refuse it. Okay, yes, I had just pushed him away and got up, taking my bag with me, but... There was something that dragged me into Grégoire. I couldn’t put my finger on it, however. It was annoying me, confusing me and making me flustered.

With a gulp, I said goodbye and rushed out of his room, then down the stairs and out the door. I huddled in my jacket and looked on both sides of the street before I crossed it, getting over to my house.

I rushed up the stairs, ignoring my mother who had called for me. I pulled out my phone and typed a text to Marie-Ange.

‘I love you, Angie, please remember that.’

She took a while to reply, but she did eventually.

‘Awwh! ♥ So do I! I can’t talk right now, see you later when I get home from Nathalie’s, okidoki? :3 ‘

I smiled meekly at my phone and took off my jacket. I got changed into my tracksuit bottoms, t-shirt and hoodie before I settled myself down to do my French homework. It was hard, but at least I didn’t have Greg breathing down my neck, which would have been awkward. I grabbed my phone again and saw that he had sent me a text.

‘I’m sorry I kissed you like that. I really like you, though. This isn’t a game I’m playing. I’ll talk to Angie tonight and we’ll see what’ll happen! See you tomorrow, okay?’

I grinned. Greg liked me too? This was confusing, but I wasn’t against it. I’ve never felt this popular after all. It was weird.

‘Sure thing man, see you tomorrow’

 

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