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I pull the final thread through

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I pull the final thread through. Against the pale pink of the sweatshirt, the red letters stand out like a beacon. I smile. It's bold, but it'll send a message. I wasn't going down without a fight.

Oscar sidles up to the island, pushes the crimson scraps of material off the stool and sits down.

He stares at the word stitched onto the jumper and searches my face for an explanation. 'Please tell me that isn't an advert.'

I push forward my mobile. Sweeping his blonde fringe off his forehead, Oscar's eyes flick over the picture. As he reached the end, his face drains of colour.

'That bastard,' he growls, his hands shaking. 'I'm going to kill him.' He slams my mobile onto the marble countertop.

'Don't be ridiculous, Oscar.'

'How are you cool with this?'

'Who said I'm cool with it?'

'He's still breathing, isn't he?'

'For now.' I smile, but Oscar doesn't return it. His brown eyes harden.

'Seriously, Mats. Why are you putting up with that shit?'

'I'm not putting up with it,' I say. 'I'm just not rising to it.' I look down at the sweater. 'Ok, maybe I am a little, but I'm just dealing with it the British way. Passive aggression.'

Pulling the sweater on, I turn to him.

'What do you think?'

His cheeks are flushed with anger, but his eyes soften as he takes in my outfit.

'How do you think that creation will go down?' His voice is serious and his hands fidget in his lap.

'I'm owning his label, Oscar. Making it a badge of honour rather than a criticism. People who have seen the note will be laughing at him this way, not me. It's all about changing the focus.'

'You sound like a self-help book.'

'You're just jealous that I'm so emotionally mature and well-balanced. Yet another thing I excel at.' My hands shake despite the confidence in my voice.

'You can be hurt by it, Mats. If you want.'

My heart flutters at the sincerity in his voice. 'Why choose to be hurt when I can rise above it.'

He pulls me into a hug and kisses the top of my head. 'You don't always have to save face. It must be exhausting. With me, you can drop the psycho-babble bullshit. He was a dick. You can be sad. Or pissed off.'

I let my smile slip. 'This is my way of coping, Oscar.'

'Ok,' he says, his voice steady and calm. Understanding. 'So be passive aggressive and sassy as hell.' He twirls me around to admire my creation. 'I could not be prouder that my sis is a total badass.'

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