Chapter 68: Papa

“The most important thing about being in a relationship is making your partner happy,” Valois said. “Even if that means not being the strong one. Even if it means doing things that society perceives as weak and unmanly. There is nothing wrong with being ‘the weak one’. The more you know your partner, the more you know what makes them happy. And sometimes what makes them happy is when you let them be the strong one, no matter how insignificant the situation.”

Mort leaned back against the counter, watching him. “You mean like letting them buy you flowers and stuff, rather than the other way around?”

“That is one thing, if you love flowers, yes.” The kettle had boiled, and Valois poured a little hot water into the teapot, swilling it around before he tipped it out. He added four teaspoons of loose-leaf tea, then poured in more water, settled the lid on the pot, and snugged a knitted cosy around it.

“But there are other, smaller things that you can do to make your partner happy,” he said with a little smile as he watched Gunther hanging out the washing outside the kitchen window. “Even the simplest thing, if it brings joy for your partner, is something you can—indeed should—do, or let them do.”

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6 responses

  1. Wow. I would not have expected Cornelia to not only be mentally abusing Gunther, but physically as well. That’s terrible. Would she have actually hit Mort as well? I know he said he was afraid she might, but would she? Also, how old was Mort when he was allowed to first drink wine?

    • I’m honestly not sure if she would have hit Mort. She definitely didn’t hit him when he lived at home with her and Gunther, but possibly if he’d not gone off to prep school, the marriage hadn’t failed, and he’d carried on living at home, she might have done. Mort was already on the tipping point before he moved in with Gunther and Valois, and only their love has saved him from throwing all of his angst and confusion and hurt into growing up in a much more unruly and unbalanced manner. If Valois hadn’t come along and Mort had carried on living at Goth Manor, it’s quite likely that – as he grew into a teenager – Cornelia’s frustration and anger would have seen her lashing out now and then.

      As to how old Mort was when he first was allowed to drink, it would probaby have been around 15 or so, so not long before this chapter. Since Valois is French he has a relaxed attitude toward the drinking of wine at the dinner table, and Gunther knows that being able to drink a little alcohol while at home stops it from being a ‘forbidden thing’ (which is what often starts so many teens off drinking in secret outside the home: it’s forbidden and naughty, etc).

  2. Mort does seem to have grown up quite a bit while Gunther and Valois were away. Love the conversation between Mort and Valois. I find myself thinking Valois is a great role model for Mort. (That scares me a bit, considering everything I know about Valois.) Valois was smart to suggest that Mort observe his father for a while, which helped Mort see both sides of their relationship and what makes each of them happy. Seeing is believing. Implementing some of Valois’s suggestions will continue to earn him brownie points with Esther.

    I’d always thought Cornelia was a bitch to Gunther, but I had no idea she physically abused him as well. I’m glad Mort felt safe enough with Valois to get that off his chest. I’m anxious to see how the “talk” goes. I hope Gunther gets his massage first because he’ll probably be a wreck afterwards.

    • Gunther is indeed going to be a wreck after that talk. The chapter is all written and ready, but I haven’t had time to fire up my game to get the screenshots yet. It’s another long chapter (for me, anyway) and it’ll cover quite a lot of things, not the least of which will be that talk. Poor Gunther is in for a rough ride.

      I’m a bit surprised by how easily Valois has taken to being a father figure, and it makes me think that he would be a great dad. (Well, we know that he will in the future, but at the moment Mort is providing him with a person to love like a son). In a way, he’s going to be a great role model, mainly because he’ll impart the best of himself to Mort, while (obviously!) not mentioning his own more… negative aspects.

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