For The Love of Books

A Story Based On Jodi Picoult's 'The Pact'

A Short One Shot Story by Seriously Sirius Marauder

The sharp breeze of Bainbridge, New Hampshire came down hard on the remaining occupants that had not yet left for home. Gus Harte was not sure why was she was at the Library—she dreaded it now more than ever—but her decision was to do so. She told herself that maybe if she saw her it would ease the pain a little. She knew she may even have to talk to her—that she probably couldn't do. She remembered why she and Mel had hit it off so well in the beginning. They both loved books and could talk about it for hours and hours on end. Yet, here she was, scared to enter the bookstore. She didn't quite know exactly what was going to happen—would she acknowledge her at all? Would she scream? Would she call him a 'murderer' again? She knew she could stand outside Bainbridge Library no more. It was now or never.

She pushed open the creaky door and the woman sitting at the desk snapped her head up to look at her. In an instant, memories came flooding towards Gus, overwhelming her. Melanie stared at her for a good moment before burying her head in a book. Gus tapped her shoe subconsciously and Melanie gritted her teeth. The other afternoon-readers and stay at home mothers off on break while kids were at school were reading on couches had stopped arguments and discussion with there respective partners to watch.

"I'd--" she started, but hesitated. She was almost ready to speak again, willing herself to remember that she couldn't stutter—she couldn't show weakness. She couldn't show weakness in front of the one woman she had never been scared of showing anything too. This is what a tragedy does. "I need--"

"So do I," Melanie replied calmly, never glancing up from her book. "I need a lot of things," she pressed on, not noticing the shocked look on Gus' face. She continued to ignore her face, but she kept talking as if she was talking to herself. "I need my daughter back," she replied, her eyes wet hot with newly produced tears, "and to tell me she's wasn't suicidal." There was an awkward pause. The mothers were still listening with intent and Gus hadn't even bothered them with a glance. Her eyes were fixed on Melanie, tears blurring her vision. "I wish you would leave me alone."

"I can't," Gus replied with a strained voice. Her head ached and her shoulders hurt but she wouldn't give in to the pain—she wouldn't succumb to the feeling that she'd lost a family member. "Melanie--" she started but paused. The words on her lips seemed so foreign—she hadn't uttered them in months. She grabbed out to touch her wrist but she jerked away with a fierce look in her eye. "Mel--"

"I think," she returned hatefully, turning her attention back to the book, "You should leave, Mrs. Harte."

She gaped open mouthed. She couldn't tell Melanie how much that stung. The look on her face—the way she had uttered her name as though it were a curse word. She would not show weakness—this was what she was afraid of. She had come to terms that she had lost the closest thing she had ever and would ever have to a daughter—but she couldn't grasp that she had lost her sister as well. "We had a tragedy, Mel, but you aren't the only one suffering. You know what I lost? I lost the girl I considered my daughter; I lost the image I maintained for my son. Most importantly Melanie, I lost my sister. I don't know how it happened. It wasn't a tragic accident—a mental one. She was lost and confused and she didn't know where to turn. When I asked for help—she immediately refused. She let her pride take over her feelings."

"My feelings are none of your concern," she replied hotly, failing to restrain a small flicker of tear down her cheek. "I said you should leave, Mrs. Harte."

"I lost my sister. I lost my daughter. I lost my son. What didn't I lose?"

"Your dignity," she answered, and then leaned back, another tear driving down her face, "I lost enough of that for the both of us."

That's it. Tell me what you think. First fic that I ever wrote not about Harry Potter. What do you think?