Sunday, November 30, 2014

Episode 50 | Half

previous episode

"Armand is...?" Tears filled my eyes when I finally caught a glimpse of the terrible truth. I lost balance, and even if in a few seconds I regained it and was again standing on my two feet, though not as firm as Armand and Catherine, who looked like boxers on a ring, just expecting for the bell to start fighting -- emotionally it wouldn't be that simple. For none of, for the rest of our lives. 

"Half-brother!" Armand replied, stressing the 'half' with a disdainful tone. And as I stared at him in absolute shock, he confirmed it. "This is my father's daughter with that... actress." With scorn, he had made it sound like 'whore'. "My half-sister." He turned towards Catherine. "It seems that you lost your trip, darling!" I had never before heard Armand talk with that acid tone, full of irony. "This island does not belong to me, and you are not entitled to a half of it! But how did you learn about this island, for God's sake?" He snorted "Your mother, of course! It was that... woman... who sent you here, wasn't it? To spy on my life--"

"Your life?" Catherine reacted with greater disdain. "We don't care the least about your life! Although... it seems to be far more interesting than I had imagined, and full of dirty little secrets..." Catherine glanced in my direction, and then at my groin, adding "...or big, thick secrets, haha! I think Gaston doesn't know about your... preferences, does he?" Catherine laughed with malice, trying to pat Armand on the shoulder, who jumped back before she could even touch him.

"Gaston?! You call him simply that, Gaston?!?" I knew Monsieur de Montbelle's name, but I hadn't yet heard Armand call his father that intimately, nor so affectionately. "You have no right to intrude in my family's life like that!" Armand yelled. I had never dreamed of seeing my friend lose control like that. He sounded alarmed when he realized that Catherine had unveiled his secret within just a few minutes. "I forbid you to--"

"Stop bossing me!" Catherine interrupted him with a cry. "You think of yourself as superior, but let me tell you... in fact, you are not! What about your family life? It's over! Over, don't you realize it, along with your superiority! Haven't you noticed it yet?" Catherine was screaming, and her cries of rage echoed on the walls just like before her moans of pleasure had been amplified by the immense silence of the Île du Blanchomme. "With the death of that old owl--"

 "You have no right to call my mother..." Armand seemed to calm down, saddened upon recollecting his mother, and he lowered his voice. "Please respect the memory of my mother." He gently requested from Catherine. "If you were not able to respect her during her life..."

"I'm sorry." I couldn't determine whether Catherine was being guileless, but at least it was polite. "You know..." Her aggressiveness had not subsided. "Your attitude will have to change! A new era begins! Now, we are the official family! Just like you were able to see for yourself, my mother was the woman next to your father at the funeral of..." Catherine paused. "Oh, we have always called her... I don't even know the name of the deceased... she was simply the old owl!" Catherine laughed like a teenager. "Yes, your attitude will have to change..."

"Why?" Armand looked alarmed. He seemed to relent, his anger abated, yet he gave no indication on cooling that exchange of resentments. "I don't know of any intention from my father's side in marrying your mother... nor taking on you, either." Armand completed, with disdain.

That was Catherine's deepest wound, as I would later understand. The rejected child. The illegitimate daughter. That 'father unknown' on her birth certificate. Daughter to a missing father all throughout her life -- though Monsieur de Montbelle did attend her home, and had already turned ​​it into his primary address in Paris, he had never been present on official dates like Christmas or New Year's Eve, that he officially spent at the Chateau de Montbelle. Although she had Monsieur de Montbelle's affection, Catherine had never had his public recognition. Neither his surname.

"Oh, you still think you are superior to me... But you are no longer on top, darling!" Catherine made a gracious ballerina spin over her own body, and was suddenly standing in front of me. "Tell him who is on top, now..." I blushed as I heard her allusion to our sexual positions, while Catherine embraced me and kissed me lightly on the mouth. The laugh she gave was as hoarse as it was monstrous. 

I looked away, because I didn't want to see Armand's reaction to that kiss -- he was devastated at the ease with which Catherine took possession of me, demonstrating our intimacy. And she had realized how affected he was.

"Oh, it's so easy to destroy you now..." She declared triumphantly, watching Armand's suffering. "Easier than I had pictured before..." She laughed and kissed me again, this time a wet, passionate kiss like she didn't enjoy them to be, while caressing my body too intimately. Despite the oddity of the moment, I felt that tingle in my groin that indicate my organ would surely inflate. "Oh, you're getting excited, babe?" She teased me on, rubbing her thigh against my irreversible erection. "Getting ready for our night of love?" I hadn't known Catherine could be so vulgar, nor so cruel. Maybe one blow delivered after the other had left me paralyzed,  and despite being ashamed to have stayed by her side in that discussion, I could not move away from her expert fingers, which were causing me to leak already. "...But right now I'm too tired for this..." She squeezed me hard, and I finally backed, realizing she was trying to actually hurt me. "I just want to go back to sleep..." She faked a yawn.

With another ridiculous spin, Catherine turned away, freeing me from her embarrassing embrace. But to my understanding, she had walked in the wrong direction -- back into Armand's room, toward his bed. In dismay, I ran after her, trying to disguise the hard-on that bobbed in my shorts, staining its front. Embarrassed, I realized Armand eyeing my swollen crotch. 

"Catherine!" She avoided my grip on her arm. "For Heaven's sake! This is Armand's room... Please!" As she continued to challenge me, pretending not to hear me, I clarified. "We need to return the room to him, please!" And then I realized I had used the pronoun "we". On that instant,  I dared not look towards Armand, but I could see he was shaken by a tremor at the "we". He had begun to understand.

"Do you want us to leave this comfortable bed just because he came back?" Catherine replied. "Why would we do that?" And she stressed the pronoun in the plural in each sentence, every time she pronounced it, echoing my own 'we'. "We are two, and he is alone..." She dropped the words like bombs. "He may well sleep in the room you have left vacant." She pronounced the pronouns carefully and clearly, and she spoke turning towards Armand, making sure that she was heard. "He just said it himself, that he doesn't own anything here!"

At that moment, I realized Armand was crying, and I ran up to him. He had remained motionless since his discussion with Catherine had ended, and once she had brought me to the center of stage.

"Armand..." I did not know what else to say. I think I still hadn't quite well understood the situation in which I had gotten myself into. That complex family situation, aggravated by our gentle loving relationship... Siblings!! "Armand..." I repeated his name over and over again just like previously on the beach, invoking it as a powerful mantra that would rescue all our wonderful past and help alleviate the terrible, present darkness.

He remained silently crying.


"Why?" He asked, not staring at me. And the question seemed not addressed at me, neither at Catherine nor at himself, nor anyone else.

"I think you have private things to talk to your... little buddy..." I heard Catherine talking at my back. "But don't you think that because of his return, you shall have a choice on which bed to sleep, babe, haha!" Catherine laughed again. She seemed to rejoice in humiliating Armand.

"Catherine!" I ran up to her. But she raised a hand just like Armand would, and I dared not approach her. "Be quiet, for God's sake!" I begged.

"Quiet? I was quiet for a whole lifetime! Now it is his turn to be quiet! And listen as speak! And it will thus be, from now on, are you listening to me?" Catherine cried towards her brother, as if Armand was on the other side of the house, on the other side of the island, across the world, and not there, just outside his own room. "Now we will talk and you will just listen... Silently. And obey, too! Your family has ended, my darling... but mine, it restarts and continues here, renovated, stronger!" with a gesture that dismissed me, Catherine moved away towards the bathroom.

"Armand..." Like the fool I actually was, I ran back to Armand's side, when I thought I heard him sobbing, and I could finally see why Catherine had spoken to him in screams. I had her same impression, that Armand was so faraway.


His eyes were hollow, and his body seemed to have less substance than a few minutes ago. His presence was very faint, though he was inhaling my very out breath, for we were that close. 

Yet, I could not hug him on that moment, so distant and untouchable he seemed to me. Pure by nature, more beautiful than ever, gracious as always -- and in contrast, I felt filthy, dark and nasty.

"Armand..." I could just moan and whimper while my friend backed away from me.

He walked slowly down the porch, towards that which had been my first room in the house. He walked quietly, still glancing at me, astonished, as if not recognizing me more anymore.

Armand cried softly, silently. Just like his sexual desire had been discreet and without any eagerness, his grief too was subtle and calm. His countenance was placid, and if it had not been for his tears, I wouldn't have guessed his sorrow. Apparently, I was more desperate than he was.

If he had been incapable of grabbing me to make love to him, he showed himself incapable of accusing me of his immense unhappiness also, and simply took distance from me, silently crying, so diaphanous and delicate in his grieving.

"Armand..." I whispered one last time.

But instead of listening to my call, he seemed to hear the sea, towards which he turned his head, staring at it for a moment, with a gentle smile, wet with tears, and then he entered the room with the single bed that I had previously occupied.

I did not find the courage to go after him.

Author's note: having been imported from a former version of the story, some of the comments below are dated previous to this post. Once the plot has not been altered, just the pagination, I am keeping them since they are very dear and precious to me.


  1. Wow, this was one intense chapter! I wasn't expecting Catherine to be Armand's half-sister :O. I feel bad for her to some extent -being a natural child must be hard- but my, she can be really devious and cruel!

    And Laurent seems very sure that his father's tale is all a lie, that keeps me wondering...

    PS: I didn't know the song before, but I loved it :-).

    1. I feel like 'the last canvas' starts now!

      Laurent is again being defensive. His heart has been softened by his father's rough start in Paris, but now that Catherine has entered the story, and the portrait Carlo makes of her is not exactly a lovable one, Laurent is back to the resentment he has cultivated during two decades of his father's absence.

      After all, no matter how cold and uncaring Catherine may seem, she did stay with her son, and raised him to be a confidently handsome man and a succesfull artist... while Carlo simply left. I hope he has good reasons for it, by the end of this conversation.

      Of course Laurent will have to confront Catherine with all this new information to check whether they are lies or secrets -- and then why they are either lies or have been kept as secrets...

      I truly have this feeling that 'the last canvas' has just started :)

      And I'm glad you've enjoyed Perry Blake's song! He is a great musician, and I'm addicted to his songs... This one is less known, and I had to upload it myself to have it here on 'the last canvas'...

      thank you for reading and commenting, Marsar!!

  2. you always have me so intrigued with what is going to happen next. I am sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. I have laughed and cried with each new chapter. You have a very special way of writing, I love it <3

    1. I'm intrigued as well with what is going to happen next :)

      Since I'm only one chapter ahead from readers, it usually is a surprise to me as well as the story gets told...

      Dear Inamac, such a supporting comment helps me get through the creative blockages... like right now, when I'm working on the next sequence, that should advance us into 2012 and introduce a new character to the plot...

      I thank you very much for reading and commenting -- cheers!

  3. elegant decay, how poetic and how terribly sad... for both of the beauties that seek relief, or maybe it's to forget everything...

    The exchange between Laurent and Gabriel was sweet, Maybe they will be good friends if nothing else.

    Oh Catherine is a horrible person :(

    1. poor Catherine, I think she has her reasons to be so hurt and full of resentment... Armand has known about her existence for a few years now, and never tried to contact her... I understand his reasons, but I also understand hers... And she couldn't have known that Carlo was her half-brother's love, so that her revenge is even better than she had planned it!

      Gabriel's character is growing as the novel is being written, and he might get some space and a few scenes out of the Nirvana Lounge, too... Let's see how involved Laurent and Gabriel are when this memorable night ends...

      thank you for reading and commenting, Zhippidy!

  4. Wow. I was not expecting Catherine to be Armand's half-sister! I fully expected them to be strangers, but this is making what was going to be a very difficult situation simply unbearable. My heart breaks for Armand and even for Carlo. I have no sympathy for Catherine at this point. No matter what your upbringing, you can choose to be a good person. She has chosen to cause pain to others to compensate for her own. That's not OK.

    1. hi Lily, it's Laurent again...

      I was writing about this the other day... "No matter what your upbringing, you can choose to be a good person"... I think there is this terrible transmission of a hurting, a wound so great in my family that makes us behave that way, I mean, inflicting suffering on others because we have suffered... This seems to come from my grandmother Celeste, and it seems to have so deeply affected Catherine... and now me!

      But if my mother and grandmother haven't been been aware of that, well, I am, now. I was writing about that in Interlude I've made many guys suffer just because one of them made me suffer so much... I've heard it said that I'm a heartbreaker, but I've finally understood it's just because I'm so helplessly heartbroken. I still am, well after the end of my relationship with Angelo -- he was my first love, we were together for eight years... we will meet him at 'the last canvas'.

      But I've now chosen to mend my heart.

      As you say, this is not OK. I fully agree, and now that I'm aware of it, I am determined to change my behavior. I can't change my past, and this will unfortunately show in the plot, but I "can choose to be a good person", as you say.

      Thank you for your comment!

  5. I understand what you're saying and that many people aren't aware of the hurt they carry around inside. It affects our relationship with others. In my mind, there are three ways to deal with pain from the past if you recognize it's there -- choose to not let it sabotage your future, allow yourself to be hurt, or hurt others. Choosing the right path is easier said than done. I've been there.

    1. Again, I apologize for not having seen and replied to this comment of yours earlier, Lily!

      Thank you for sharing your experience and insights! It's very precious to me.

      There is suffering founding Laurent's family story -- on one side, orphaned Carlo, who so late in life experiences his first love, and he is tormented because he is not sure who his true love is... and on the other side, Catherine, the rejected child. To the lack of love in their lives, Laurent's parents have reacted differently, and now we follow Laurent on his journey to deal with that legacy and his effort to transform it, and to find true love himself.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  6. Oh no. T_T
    Catherine's his half-sister? That's even worse than when I thought she was his ex-girlfriend, or ex-wife. I feel bad for both of the men, but not for Catherine, LOL. Yes, it's sad that she was never publicly acknowledged by her and Armand's father, but to find out that your best friend has been intimate with your half-sister whom you greatly dislike is of greater pain I feel. I feel for Carlo because he did not know anything about who Catherine was, and now he's caught in the middle because it is understandable that Armand would feel betrayed somewhat for what has happened. I'm sad for their friendship as I hope that it can somehow be mended, but this is a great blow it has taken. Catherine's personality is truly a cruel one, as she seemed to take pleasure in making Carlo and Armand's friendship seem like it was nothing.

    1. It would have been bad enough for Armand to find out that Carlo had a lover -- but if it can be worse, why not? That lover must be Armand's dreaded half-sister!

      I won't take sides. At 27 years old, Armand has suffered the loss of his mother, and before that, the blow that actually led to her death -- the discovery that Gaston de Montbelle had a second family. But until then, it was the boring perfect and privileged life a very protected wealthy boy that he led.

      On the other hand, Catherine has always felt rejected, for the whole 24 years of her existence. It has been hurting for her since the early age she was able to understand that her father treated her and her family as the second option. Can you imagine how it must have been for her? And why didn't Armand look for her, when he found out that she existed? That was another terrible blow delivered on Catherine, and I understand her desire for revenge.

      But she had never foreseen that she would snatch her half-brother's boyfriend to be... She couldn't have known Armand was gay, not to mention Carlo, who proved to be a very competent and very straight lover in bed. She envises her luck the moment they are confronted, the three of them, with their own guilt in this affair. No wonder she feels triumphant! She couldn't have been empathetic and patted Armand on the shoulder saying, "I'm sorry, brother, half-brother, but your boyfriend is now mine to enjoy", could she?

      Thank you for reading and commenting, LKSimmer!


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