XXXI. Siblings

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Lena hurried out of the dugout and saw Melany heading down to the pier. She made her way there, and upon arrival, saw Melany sit at the end of the pier, legs dangling over the sea water. Lena paused, looking at her pensively for a moment, before taking a deep breath, going over, and sitting down next to her. Neither spoke immediately.

After a few seconds of silence, Melany finally spoke.
"What are you doing over here, Lena?" she asked simply.
Lena looked at her, a little surprised.
"Don't you have friends that are still competing?" Melany pressed further, Feu Fray's voice announcing that Max and Jace were the next battle in the arena.

Lena paused, considering her words.
"You..." she hesitated, then, "You didn't seem like yourself during your fight with Raina."
Melany said nothing, she just shifted in her spot.
"Is... something wrong?" Lena asked.
Melany still said nothing, she just looked up at the bright sky, as a couple of seagulls flew overhead.

"I have to admit," Melany started, "I was surprised by the amount of people you befriended. They seem like they're great."
Lena was taken aback by this, but Melany continued.
"They succeeded for you where I..." she trailed off, realizing just what she was about to say. After a brief moment, she continued.
"...where I failed you," she said, looking at Lena with a sad smile.
Lena shifted herself, not expecting this.

"My apology to you was... really genuine, you know," she said, "I was there with you for years, and then Hunter came and I..."
She paused, choked up at her own words.
"And I just... left you behind for him," she continued, "He made me feel special... and I didn't realize he was such a jerk until recently... and then he apparently had feelings for you over me the whole time, I..."

She stopped, hiding her face in her hands, sobbing silently.
Lena was stunned, totally unsure of what to say.
Melany sighed and wiped her eyes.

"What I really mean is," she continued, "Is... Dad's company isn't doing so good... he's going bankrupt. He's trying to fix it, but I don't think he's heading down the right path..."
Lena's eyes widened, "I didn't hear of this."
"That's because... I didn't tell you. I asked Dad not to tell you either. I... I didn't want to add more worry for you. I thought I could carry this by myself but... I can't! You're like a sister to me, Lena, ever since Dad took you in, and I have been so horrible to you. To make you carry that information on top of everything else... I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
Lena paused, stunned.

"It's... not entirely your fault, Mel..." she started, "Don't blame yourself for everything... and... I'm glad you said all those things."
Melany just looked at her, emotion overwhelming her.
"You haven't called me that in so long," she sniffled.
Lena just smiled at her, "Yeah..."
Melany practically flung herself into a hug with Lena, who returned it with more grace.

"I'll never forget about you like that again," Melany half whispered.
Lena, tears in her own eyes, was feeling that much better.

Neither noticed that Jace emerged the victor in his battle.

🌊

The two girls returned to the arena to see Jace coming back to the dugout happily.
"Did you just fight?" Lena asked as she and Melany took seats in the dugout.
"Yeah!! I fought that Max kid! He was a little tough, but I prevailed!" Jace said excitedly.
"Oh... Max is out, then?" Lena asked, a twinge of pity and guilt forming in her stomach, "How did he take it?"
"He was a good loser," Dai interjected, "Shook his hand and everything."
"Yeah," Jace said, "He was real sweet. I gotta admit, I feel a little bad."

He then noticed Melany, "Oh, hey Mel."
"Hey," Melany said, "I hope I'm not intruding by being here."
"As long as no one sees you, you should be fine," Kai said.
"Would she really get in trouble just for sitting in here?" Raina asked skeptically.
"Since she's not a competitor anymore, yes," Kai confirmed, "As long as she's not seen, though, she should be fine."
"Anyway, who's left to fight?" Lena asked.
"I think Kai and... me," Dai said slowly, realization dawning.
The twins looked at each other with unexpected glances.

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