Ceci n’est pas un Valentine’s Day Extra

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Hello, my friend,

The Lesbian Romantic is about romance all year long and I wanted to do something different on this Valentine’s Day. Today, I want to celebrate a different kind of love: friendship.

We’re joining Lucile and Christine for coffee today. Grab something to drink and enjoy the read!

Big hug,

Sigrid

 

Lucile raised her hand, spreading her fingers. She watched as they started to shake. She wondered if the trembling would ever go away. The doctors kept telling her to have patience. Lucile wasn’t a very patient woman.

“It’ll get better,” Christine said softly.

Smiling, Lucile turned her head towards her longtime friend. “You know me too well.”

“I think I know you better than you know yourself,” Christine teased and picked up her coffee. She took a sip. “Hmmm, good coffee.”

Lucile nodded. She hadn’t touched her own drink yet. She knew it would be good, though. Hannah wouldn’t have it any other way. The Leroy stores might have changed, but the quality of its products would always stay impeccable.

“This place is pretty nice,” Christine commented, looking around the café. “We should come here more often.”

Lucile raised her eyebrows. “I don’t want to make it seem like I’m checking up on them,” she muttered.

“Don’t be silly,” her friend replied, “I bet the people behind the counter don’t even know who you are.”

Lucile pointed at a large frame that hung next to the Leroy logo on the wall. “My picture is up there.”

Christine followed Lucile’s gaze. Giggling, she said, “I guess it is.”

“I don’t know why Hannah insists on having it there,” Lucile sighed, shaking her head. “Who wants an old lady looking down on them?”

“You’re more than an old lady,” Christine soothed, taking another sip from her coffee. “Hannah is proud of you and proud of what you built here.”

“I didn’t build this,” Lucile said and gestured at the café. “This is all Hannah’s idea.”

“A great idea,” Christine gushed.

Lucile smiled. She picked up her mug with hot chocolate and sipped it carefully.

The sweetness of the chocolate came as a shock. She closed her eyes as she swirled it around her mouth. It had been way too long since she had taken a moment to enjoy good chocolate.

“See?” Christine asked, her tone warm. “I told you this would cheer you up.”

Lucile swallowed, frowning stubbornly. “Okay, maybe a bit.”

Christine snorted. “The day you don’t enjoy chocolate is the day I lose my old friend.”

Lucile slowly put down the mug, annoyed by how tired the muscles in her fingers were. “We already lost each other once,” she commented dryly.

Christine took a moment to respond. “That is true. We did.”

Lucile sat back in her chair and studied her picture again. She hated being confronted with this image of her younger, healthier self. She drew in a deep, frustrated breath.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “It was sweet of you to bring me here. I’m an old grump.”

“It’s alright,” Christine assured her. “At least we’re old enough to be honest with each other.”

Lucile smiled sadly and rubbed her cheek. Her skin had gotten thin and frail.

“You know why I don’t like that photo?” she blurted, suddenly tired of keeping everything in.

“Tell me.”

“It reminds me of who I used to be,” Lucile admitted quietly. “Before the stroke.”

“Oh, honey,” Christine replied, grabbing and squeezing Lucile’s hand. “You might be a bit shaky now and then, but you’re still Lucile Leroy. To me, haven’t changed a bit.”

Lucile pressed her lips together. She met Christine’s gaze, tearing up. Christine smiled back, her eyes filled with love. Lucile looked away. She shifted in her seat so that their shoulders touched, though.

They sat in silence for several minutes until Lucile said, “You’re right. This is a great place.”

She had been taking everything in. The air smelled of chocolate and spices. The French background music gave the place a cozy feel. It all reminded her of home, of Belgium.

“Hannah is doing a great job,” Christine sighed happily.

Lucile’s eyes shot up to Hannah’s picture on the wall. It hung next to her own. Hannah looked confident and happy in it. Her copper hair made the image much more colorful than Lucile’s.

“Yes, I’m very proud of her,” Lucile said with a broad smile.

She brought the mug to her lips, confidently. Christine had been right to drag her outside. There were plenty of things in life she could still enjoy. Hot chocolate and her best friend were a great place to start.

 

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