[size=9]((Directly follows Complications.))
Distance was good, Liv had decided. It wasn't great, but it was better to be out of the apartment when Lucy and Johnny were there than sitting in her bedroom feeling ever more unwanted and useless. She'd lied about her excuse for getting out of the apartment - no errands to run - but the excuse did give her a few hours to play with. Hours she was going to put to good use by taking a look at a couple of better sound-proofed apartments elsewhere in the city. If her sister was going to be bouncing around with her - Liv winced, but managed to think the word without flaring up with resentment - her boyfriend
, then Liv wanted a place where she could hide away without hearing every last creak and moan.
She settled back comfortably outside one of the local cafes, flipping through a catalogue, almost oblivious to the world around her. Until a hand closed around her upper arm and dragged her up onto her feet.
"Tell me right now why I shouldn't slap you silly," Lucy snapped, her face inches away from her younger twin's as she glared, no less angry with Liv than she had been with Johnny. "You've been lying to me again,
Olivia - why the hell can't you just own up to it when you like someone, you stupid woman?"
Liv blinked, stumbling around until she was pinned by the fury in her sister's gaze. She was utterly bemused; surely when she'd left, everything had been sorted out? She and Johnny had agreed to be friends and not mention her unfortunate attacks of doe-eyed gooey-ness whenever he was too close ever
again. "What?" she heard herself ask in confusion. "What do you mean?"
Lucy scowled, pulling Liv away from the cafe and the curious eyes of the other customers, settling into a fast-paced walk that helped to siphon off some of her anger. "Seriously, you do not
want to be lying to me now," she warned her sister in that dangerous tone that Liv knew only too well. "You told me you were over him, that you didn't mind if I made a play to get him back. And now he tells me that you're not
over him, and he's too bloody awkward to admit that he seems to like you, too. But all this means that you've been lying to me, Liv, and you promised ... you promised
you would never do that again." Lucy came to an abrupt halt, spinning Liv around to face her. "Do you have any
idea how much it hurts to know that I've been hurting you
like this? That you will tell Johnny but not me?"
"But it doesn't matter!" Liv protested, feeling the full weight of her sister's disappointment like a stone crushing her chest. "I didn't mean to tell him, I never said it out loud, he guessed! And he was going to leave, but we talked about it and we agreed to just be friends. I don't understand why he would tell you when there was no need!"
"You're avoiding the pertinent point here, Olivia." Lucy's voice had lowered to a more reasonable tone in the face of Liv's obvious distress, though she was still simmering. "2003. James Atherton. You swore to me that you had no interest in him, that he meant absolutely nothing to you, and six months later, I find out from our mother
of all people that you're developing depression-related anorexia because I'm
dating the first guy you've ever really fallen for. I had to watch my sister turn into a skeleton before she came to her senses, knowing it was entirely my
fault. You promised, you swore
to me you would never hide something like that from me again. How the hell can I trust you, Liv? You're doing it now!"
Liv's expression shut down completely as her sister cited that horrific year, a period in her life she had almost completely managed to blank out. Her depression, her bad reaction to being rejected had not been Lucy's fault at all, but neither of them had ever sat down and properly talked it through. They didn't want to go back to those dark days, and it wasn't something Liv wanted to discuss now, either.
"I will get over it," she said quietly, sounding far more confident of this than she actually was. "It takes more than a few days to forget someone who's made such a big impression, Lucy, you know that. Especially when that someone is regularly around your home. You like him, Luce, you know you do, and once you've done the hormonal constant sex thing, you'll connect with him more deeply, too. I don't want to get in the way of that, I don't want to hurt you. Or him. I didn't want you to know because I know you have this stupid paranoid thing about thinking guys are going to prefer me, which is completely ridiculous."
Lucy stared at her, astonished all over again at how very blind her younger twin was. "But it isn't, Liv," she said, calmer now that they were at least talking about this, even if it was in the middle of the street. "It isn't
ridiculous at all. Alright, so I'm more outgoing and I'm not afraid to speak up and take what I want, but you've got this sweet, beautiful softness. A man looks at us and knows I'm
good for a fling, but you're
good for life. When we were teenagers, it wasn't a big deal; it isn't really a big deal now. But I don't want you to end up with someone who was with me - I don't want you to make yourself sick worrying over whether or not he's going to leave you and go back to me. I know what you're like."