I sat there at the table, my sister to my right, Aurélie and Raphaël to my left, Maman and Brandon facing us along with the other adults, and Grandma sitting at the end of the table.
Maman’s cousin, Jean-Christophe, had taken care of the food this year. It looked promising. The food was amazing and all, it's just that… This didn't feel right.
Brandon enjoyed his food and talked around with various members of our family. Grandma praised him, talking about what a gentleman he was, how rich and successful he was.
"You know, Grégoire, if you studied more, you might be on the same level as Brandon, here." She told me with a laugh. I just frowned and went back to eating my smoked salmon.
"You should be thinking about a career."
"I am thinking about a career. I want to be a professional rugby player."
Grandma let out a laugh at that. Brandon smiled at her and then looked back to me, a grin plastered across his smug face.
God did I hate him.
"Your grandmother's right, you know, Grégoire. I could find you a job in my company, should you do the right studies. Being a professional player in any sports is a risky choice. I'm concerned about you, I really am, and—"
"Fuck off." I replied in english as I brought the fork back to my mouth, glaring up at my mother's fiancé. "You're not my father." I continued in french so everybody at the table would understand me.
He seemed shocked at first, blinking at me as Maman gasped. My sister looked down at her plate, visibly bothered, sighing as she knew what was to come.
"No. Listen to me. You're not my father. I don't have a father, I'll never have one. We—we'll never have one." I said, motioning to my twin who clearly didn't want to have anything to do with this. "You don't have to be concerned for us, you don't have to give a shit about us. We're not your kids. Speaking of kids, don't you have ones of your own? That you had with the wife you had before you cheated on her with our mum? Huh? What about them?"
"Greg, stop it…" mumbled my sister as she took my wrist.
"No! Listen to me, 'Brandon'," I continued, pulling my arm away from Marie-Ange's grasp "my sister and I don't owe you shit!"
Brandon frowned slightly at that, visibly not used to being badmouthed.
"Yes you do owe him things, Grégoire, he gave you the life you now have in England." My mother cut in, holding her glass of wine in her right hand.
"We never wanted this life! Did we even want to be born to an 18 year-old tart who couldn't keep it to herself? Fuck no! I never asked for any of this! And you—" I snapped, glaring at my grandmother "—You should have let her get a fucking abortion. I know you hate us, so why even bother? The only people who don't hate us in this family are Raph' and Aurélie, and even then I doubt of it!"
At that moment Marie-Ange stood up and left the table, her heavy steps making the wooden floor creak as she rushed outside, letting out a whine as she walked through the door.
I stayed there in silence, staring at the door before I looked around the table at my grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncle, avoiding eye contact with my mother before I glared at her fiancé.
My outburst had caused everyone to go silent. Damn. This was awkward.
I then decided to rush after my sister. She hated conflict, it made her uneasy, I should have known she'd react that way.
She was outside in the cold, crying her eyes out because I dared to tell the whole family what we both had on our minds.
"You ruined everything!" she almost shrieked, staring back at me with her tear-filled eyes. "You ruined everything, and you made us both look like ungrateful brats in front of the entire family!"
"Stop it, will you?! I'm being serious. You ruined the only time in the year when we could see the family. You ruined it! You ruined it!" she repeated between sobs, hitting my chest weakly with her small fists before she crashed against me, sobbing like a child.
I just hugged her there and then, closing my eyes as I did so, biting my lip and running a hand through her hair.
"I'm sorry, Angie, I'm sorry…"
"… Let's go back to our room. Let's just ignore them for now and spend Christmas eve together. How does that sound? I don't want you to stay out in the cold."
My sister looked up to me, sniffling a bit, her cheeks and nose reddened by the cold.
"Okay…" she mumbled as she took my hand. I wiped her tears away and smiled at her.
I had ruined everything, that was true, but for now...
All I wanted was to see my sister smile again.