Eleanor came down from her office when her receptionist paged her, saying there was someone here looking for. She was expecting an artist to drop of her portfolio for her consideration, but as soon as she saw the woman looking art Justin's art while she waited for her, Eleanor knew. The resemblance to Justin was so obvious, there's was no way this was anyone other than Jeanette.
Eleanor approaches and introduces herself.
"You know something about Justin?' Jeanette asks, wasting no time in getting to what she came for, "This is his work?"
Jeanette's small smile is just like her brother's "I've been searching for my brother since he disappeared, Ms. Thorne. I know how to investigate a person's identity and location with just a phone number. I had to come myself, as soon as possible, before he gets away from me again. Every time I got close to finding him, he'd disappear again."
"Come with me," Eleanor says, planning to continue this discussion in her office, "You understand, before Ican give you any information, I have to know what it is you want with Justin," Eleanor says as they walk together.
"He's my long lost brother; what do you think I want?" Jeanette asks, raining her brow in a very Justin-like manner.
"You weren't speaking when he left. And you end your book with the main character attending her long lost brother's execution on death row. I don't know what you want, but I do know that if you have any intention of opening old wounds or making any trouble for him, I won't let you near him.
"You're very protective of him, for an agent," Jeanette observes, looking at her knowingly.
He's never been one for surprises, but Justin decided the news he had to give Eleanor was important enough to warrant an unscheduled visit to her office. When he comes through the door, the first thing he sees is Eleanor deep in conversation with his sister.
"Oh, Justin," Eleanor exclaims when she turns to see him.
"It's really you," Jeanette murmurs, "After all this time."
Jeanette make a move toward him, to touch him, r perhaps even embrace him, but Justin grunts in displeasure and turns away, walking up the stairs in quick strides, casting one meaningful glance down at Eleanor on the way up.
"Excuse me," Eleanor breathes a quick apology to Jeanette before she rushes after him, "I have to go..."
"I told you to leave this alone!" he shouts when she joins him in her office.
"It wasn't supposed to go like this," Eleanor explains, "I read a book she wrote, about her long search for her missing brother, and I thought, since she was so important to you, it would be good to reunite yo with her. I gave her agent my number here so I could talk to her, find out how she felt about you, to gauge whether or not it would be a good idea. But she just showed up here...and then you showed up."
"This wouldn't have happened at all if you'd just done as I asked and left it alone," Justin points out.
"I know," Eleanor says, sinking into the chair behind her, "I'm sorry," she sobs.
"Hey," Justin says gently as he kneels in front of her, "Why are you crying?" She's not a crier, he knows that, so whatever made her cry must be a pretty big deal.
"I've worked so hard, and it's taken so long, to get you to open just a little for me. And now, it's all ruined. You'll never trust me again," she sobs, letting her tears fall freely.
"Elle, Princess," he says softly, lifting from the chair and into his arms, "We're a lot stronger than that. One little disagreement isn't going to break us."
"I shouldn't have interfered. I just wanted..."
"You wanted to do something for me, you thought I needed," Justin finishes for her, "It's all right, Elle."
"I was afraid I would lose you forever," she says as her tears dry away.
"Not a chance," Justin says, kissing her, "I came here to tell you I've made arrangements for our wedding."
"Justin?" Jeanette says as she taps lightly on the office door, "Please talk to me."
Jeanette had written thousands of reunion scenes with her brother. The one that made it into print, the one that gave the most satisfying ending to her fictionalized life story, was the ending she most feared for him, left out on his own to deal with his sometimes violent and often volatile nature without help. But even as differently as his life played out from her worst imaginings, this reunion is also most similar in tone to the one she published. All her discarded scenes were emotional, with arguments, tears and tight embraces. The death row scene was cold, with no emotion, no contact between the characters, herself and her brother.
He looks at her warily, his posture guarded, like he's ready to flee. And after all the dialogue she's written for this scene, Jeanette finds herself with nothing to say, after all. He survived without her, as she had survived without him. They were close once, but years of distance have worn that away.
"I'm getting married," Justin says, breaking the silence, "You've met Eleanor, my fiancee."
I know, my updates to this story have become sporadic. I am in the process of winding down this story; there will be a few more chapters to wrap up most of the loose ends, and then I'll cap it off with a '5 years later' set of epilogue chapters that looks back in on everyone. After a lot of thought, I decided that ending the story was preferable to keeping on with it, forcing new dramas onto the characters or constantly introducing new characters while letting the characters with resolved stories take secondary roles. While this story is very like a soap opera, I don't want to see it go down the road most soaps take, injecting drama onto the characters' lives just for the sake of drama.
I'll save all my thanks and goodbyes to all my readers for when this story actually ends, but I did want to alert everyone that the end is coming.