He made her yank out weeds. Coleen only did as much as he made her, hating the feeling. These gloves didn’t fit her hands well. If Emil wanted her to do more of this she would have to make better ones. Or come up with another way to not be roped into this. She should not have to weed the backyard. She could care less how the place looked.
“Aren’t you going?” she asked. Emil stared at her and she continued. “Might as well enjoy the free food. They might have real chocolates.”
That caused him to react. “Are you trying to get rid of me?”
Coleen hated manual labour. Considering most labour was in a workforce, one she could not join for fear of being recognized, it was lucky enough. Yet Emil was right. She needed something to do. There were only so many time she could learn their house and fix all of their clothes and experiment with new meals that would taste like chocolate but be healthier.
Emil needed to live for as long as possible. As long as a mortal could. She realized she only extended the last days of his long torture, but they neared the end anyway. It had only been a few months, but in the scope of eternity another fifty years was definitely nearing the end for him.
She tried gardening and gave up after a week. Emil tutted, reminding her of the waste of all the supplies he had brought her. He pushed at her to continue and somehow it turned into his project. It was Emil with his short hair, wearing a sun hat that was supposed to be Coleen’s, puttering around in the dirt. Occasionally he would turn to yell at her. Tell her to come out and join him.
Coleen stayed inside and watched him. She hated his new hairstyle. It looked so much like Alton’s hair, reminded her so much of Alton and that threatened to twist her apathy into something resembling an emotion.
Then again, his last hairstyle had started to remind her of Lorene. And thinking of Lorene made her want to feel like crying. Because Lorene deserved those tears. She deserved that and so much more.
“Do you think, after all of this is done, you and I could rule the world?”
Okay, there were two things about that statement. First of all, they had no idea how tempting that offer was going to be until they had heard it. The very thought was delicious. A point of preference: power. Finally, where no one else could tell them what to do, where to be, who they were.
The second aspect of that statement was the fact he had said that. The person they had expected it from the least. And they looked him over, wondering when he had become the strong willed individual who would say that by their side right now.
They looked down at their hands. They liked that idea. Liked it very much. They tried not to smile too widely. “Let’s finish weeding your dad’s garden first.”
“What are you doing?”
The older girl gasped, looking over at her. Her gloves were covered in mud and the bed in front of her had been prepared in some sort of order that the younger girl assumed was good. “Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you there!”
“That’s okay.” She walked over, squatting down next to the other. “I didn’t know you gardened.”
The older girl laughed quietly. “I didn’t. I mean, it’s recent. Just something to distract myself.”
The younger of the two nodded. “I know what you mean. That’s why I started going to the gym. Something to distract myself.”
“Have you been having fun with it?”
“Uh huh.” She watched the older girl press her hands against the side of the flower bed. Learning what to do, she still looked to be a master to the gaze of someone who didn’t know anything. “Want some help?”
“Oh! I didn’t know you were interested!”
“Well, I don’t know anything, so I’ll be relying on your guidance!”
The gardener’s face lit up. Together the two of them distracted themselves from the dark parts of reality.
She put her hands on her hips. “What are you doing?”
They looked at the soil on their hands, the flowers in front of them, the pots at their side, then back up at her. “Gardening! Want to join me?”
She was pouting, they saw. They weren’t sure why, but she would likely tell them. “No I don’t! You’re spending time with me!”
They sat back on their heels and patted the dirt off their hands. “Okay. What are we doing?”
They saw that she hadn’t thought about it yet. She blinked at him owlishly. “We… are… going to the movies.” As she finished her sentence, she regained her confidence. “You’re taking me to the movies! Let’s go!”
“Okay.” They stood up with a smile. “Let’s go-”
“Hold it!” she interrupted. “You’re taking me like this?”
They noted where her gaze went and looked down at themselves. “I guess I could clean up first.”
She nodded. “You’d better!”
They went back inside to do so and to tell their father that they had to go to the theater.
I should have looked at him, considering how serious he sounded. He never sounded serious. He was too lighthearted to sound serious in this way. I did not, though, as I was too busy positioning the ficus’ pot. “Sorry, my friend, but yes. Go have-”
Go have fun. That was what I wanted to say. The sound that escaped me, instead of the word ‘fun’, was more of an undignified squawk than anything else. He grabbed me from behind, hands under my arms and lifted me straight off the ground. It was a good thing I’d put the ceramic down.
“What are you doing?”
“You are not staying here another day. We are going out.”
I hated when he used his height advantage against me. Or width. Mass. I didn’t mind being small, just him being large. My protests came out as a series of small pushes against his hands, which did not loosen. “I am not. I don’t want to. I’m busy gardening!”
“You are busy rearranging things you rearranged yesterday. You’re making up more work for yourself now. We are going out. I won’t let you stay holed up for an entire week again.”
The fact I liked being “holed up” did not seem to hold any weight in this argument, so I didn’t bother bringing it up. In vain, I tried to think of something else. “We can do something. Here.”
My suggestion changed nothing. “No. We’re going out.”
Eventually I had to give up, because there would be nothing more embarrassing than him bodily seating me in the passenger seat of his car. Contritely, I got in the car when he set me down and put on my seat belt.
There would be other ways of escaping my friend’s socializing tendencies.