A New Heart – Chapter 3

After dinner, Liz and Mrs Stark cleared the table and then Adrien and Mrs Stark washed and dried the dishes while watching Liz and her father set up the checker game.

“Who’ll win?” Adrien whispered to Mrs Stark. She smiled.

“And…one, two, and three, all your pieces are gone, Liz!  Thanks for the game.”

Liz simply watched as her father packed the game away on a nearby shelf.  “Can’t wait for tomorrow night’s game between Adrien and I,” Mr Stark commented as he sat down again, “Speaking of him, how was your last day, Adrien?”

Adrien shrugged and scratched his head. “It was alright. The principal says that I should think about applying for college instead of finishing high school,” Adrien commented as he and his mother finished the last of the dishes. “She says that I would be more challenged at university, that high school work is too easy for me. Her words, not mine.”

“Wow!” Mr Stark gave his son a hug. “You should do that, son. It will open up many opportunities for you in life.”

“Woohoo!” They all chuckled as Mrs Stark came running out of the kitchen and ambushed her son with a bear hug.

“That’s…wonderful, bro. Happy for you,” Liz said, and then felt a sudden flare of anger, pushed her chair back and ran upstairs to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.

She lay down on her bed. Why did I react that way? What’s wrong with me? Why did I suddenly feel very…jealous. Angry? Why can’t I

Her thoughts were interrupted by a timid knock on her door. Liz felt an urge to yell at whoever it was to go away, but she suppressed it. Hard. Taking a deep, but puzzled, breath, she called out, “Who is it?”

“It’s Adrien.”

Liz closed her eyes, feeling ashamed of her actions. How am I going to explain that? She suddenly felt two arms wrap around her and pull her towards her brother. She wouldn’t look at him.

He didn’t say anything, just sat there with her as she tried to figure out how to put it into words.

“How come everyone does things exceptionally, but I’m left trying to work out how to do it, or trying to work out the answer?”

Adrien was silent, but she could sense something going on inside his head.

“I’m not moving forwards, only backwards.”

“Everyone has weaknesses, Elizabeth.”

Liz sighed. “I have a plethora.”

“You’re really good at working things out.”

“No, I’m not. I’m slow.”

“That doesn’t mean your stupid. And that’s not true. You’re instinctive. No, don’t argue. I’ve seen it happen a few times. Don’t shake your darn head. You instinctively know the answer to stuff. Answers to stuff others can’t work out.”

Liz scoffed. “Two or three times doesn’t mean that it happens all the time. Most of the time, I’m scratching my head while everyone else figures out quickly.”

“Don’t underestimate yourself, sis. You’re very smart.”

“Yeah, right.”

“It’s true. Look at your stories.”

She laughed, but it sounded more like an angry ‘ha!’. “Everyone says that I’m really smart because I can write ‘amazing’ stories. Well, that’s not happening anymore!” She pulled away from her brother, who reached out to touch her, but she pulled away. “I need to know the schoolwork and I’m drilling it in me. You know that, you’ve seen me do it!! But it’s not sticking in my head! How am I going to get on in life if I can’t remember any of this? Writing stories might’ve helped out, but now I can’t even do that! What am I going to do?!”

Adrien just studied her for a minute and then stood up and headed for Liz’s door. He opened it, but just before he stepped through it, Liz saw Adrien turn around and he looked back at her. “Try something else,” he suggested.

Liz rolled her eyes. “You really been listening, have you?” she asked. “If I can’t do the stuff I mentioned before, and I can’t write,” and she gestured to everything around her, “then I’m done.”


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