Entering my quarters, I paused to note that Lizzy's stuff had gone. It was peeving that its absence served to remind me yet again of the Buffalo saga, but I pushed it quickly from my mind before heading into the bathroom.
The shower proved as refreshing as I had hoped and I emerged feeling somewhat less pained. I donned a pair of loose slacks and a baggy t-shirt before settling myself cross-legged on the bed with a hairdryer. As my mousey-brown hair was tousled by the hot hair, I debated chopping it all off. It was such a pain primping and preening it every morning, and it was usually fighting its way out of the bun or ponytail I fought it into by lunchtime. I didn't fancy a bob, I knew that much, but what then? Bairn had sported a delightful pixie cut and wondered if that would suit me too.
I began messing around, winding my hair around the hairbrush to see what I might look like with a different style until, being the prat that I am, I got the brush tangled in my hair. I pulled frantically on it, but it was stuck fast.
"Oh bum!" I said aloud and got up to look for a comb to help me tease it out, but was interrupted by the door chime.
"And double bum!" I mumbled under my breath. "Who is it?" I shouted.
I sighed heavily and opened the door. Standing in the doorway, with the hairbrush still entangled and dangling down the side of my face, I scowled at him.
"Be warned, I'm not having a good day."
Peter sucked in his lips to hide the smirk that was spreading across his face.
"So I see. Need a hand?"
"Harrumph. Was hairdressing an ancillary course that you took at the Academy then?" I teased with good humour.
"No, but having seven sisters makes me eminently qualified."
He tipped his head in acknowledgement.
"Yes. Personally speaking, I feel my childhood would have been much simpler if my mother had been content with just one or two siblings for me, but I ended up with seven."
"Younger or older?"
"All younger, so I spent far too much time cleaning mucky faces and untangling matted hair."
Peter pushed past me and swept a chair out from under the workstation and signalled to me to sit on it, which I did, and he began to tease my hair out of the brush. I have to say, he was very gentle.
"So, I take it Lizzy sent you."
"Send? Not exactly, but just as untangling hair is a skill one learns with seven sisters so is mediation."
"You know you're both as bad as each other," he said.
"We are not!" I exclaimed in retaliation.
"Yes you are. You both have regrets over what happened—not the way it turned out, but the way events unfolded. Things were said that perhaps would have been better unsaid, but said they were and no one can change that."
"I told her that I was happy to talk if she wanted to, but at my convenience, not hers, so where is she?"
"Working. You know that."
"And now you're being as childish as she is."
I opened my mouth to argue, but Peter gripped my shoulder firmly, halting me.
"Oh, the pair of you! You're both so like my sisters. You bitch and you bicker. You dig your heels in so hard until neither of you can remember exactly what it is that you were arguing about, and still you won't budge. The reason you were arguing, as valid as it was at the time, is lost amidst the anger."
"You sound like a Vulcan."
"I'll take that as a compliment. But the thing is Lizzy is struggling with her new life. She now has a future and is free to make her own choices. These are things she never thought she'd have, and she's trying to get to grips with all of that. She questions herself every day; whether the decisions she has made are the right ones. Should she have married me? Am I her one true love?"
I could tell he was quoting Lizzy there.
"I know she's asking herself if she should stay married to me, and I can't blame her. She didn't really have an option if she wanted to attend the hearing. And then she has to decide if she should continue her singing career, or should she try her hand at something else? She's even talked about finishing her Academy training ..."
I wasn't sure if I believed that.
"... and amongst it all, there's you."
"Yes. She's finding it hard to forgive you—NOT—" he interrupted me, "—that you did anything to be forgiven for, but this is all new territory for Lizzy. She's on an emotional rollercoaster."
"So what do you want me to do?"
"That's right. I want you to just sweep the past behind you and move on."
"That's what I'm trying to do."
"But it's eating away at you. I can tell."
"Seven sisters, remember."
I harrumphed again.
"Anyway, what I'm saying is Lizzy can't sort out her own head at the moment. She needs time. She does feel bad about what she said, but she feels she can't forgive you, not yet anyway. She knows that there isn't really anything to forgive, but she feels what she feels. In time, though, I think she'll come round and then, I think she'll want to make amends, but don't ask me how long that will take. There you go," and he passed me my hairbrush.
I sighed deeply as Peter came and sat before me, perching on the edge of the bed. I felt bad, not about me and Lizzy, but that Lizzy seemed to have doubts about Peter. That wasn't fair. He was besotted with her, but was she besotted with him?
"You look miserable," he observed.
I threw him a pained smile.
"At the hearing, I thought she had found her happy ever after with you."
Peter pulled a face.
"But I should know better," I continued. "There are no happy ever afters. There is always something that follows."
"Maybe," he agreed glumly, but then smiled. "But maybe not. Only time will tell."
We both sat, pensive, for a few moments longer, but nothing more was said in those minutes, until Peter eventually got up and prepared to leave. I thanked him for coming because it had helped, even if it was only a little.
"Oh, I nearly forgot," he suddenly added. "Lizzy wanted me to give you a message. She said to tell you she doesn't like olives."
I turned at him somewhat confused.
"Olives?" I repeated, unsure as to the significance.
"Yes. She was in mid rant at the time. Something about pizza?"
"Pizza? Oh, yes. The mouldy pizza, but that still doesn't make sense. She's an android."
"One that eats. She needs fuel just like the rest of us, and she can ingest food to extract nutrients and minerals from it just like you or I."
I chuckled weakly. It was another little mystery solved.