Satin Ribbons

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Opheila was sitting at the James family table, sipping her coffee with decorum and class. Her brother Westley was standing at the counter, watching her with a suspicious squint to his eyes as he tried to figure out just what she was thinking. Looking at the two James siblings, it would be easy to assume one of them was adopted. Ophelia had been palest blonde, with the soft alabaster skin and delicate colouring of her mother whereas West was had always been obviously Cuban, although his bright golden eyes were the trademark of their father. Most would never assume that the volatile Westley, once gangster and still a powerful man, was close with his emotionally distant and cooly logical youngest sister, and yet he was the one she had moved in with when her health bottomed out.

"The last time you had that look on your face was when you first started to get sick and told nobody." West finally growled out, breaking the silence in the kitchen. "This time you don't have the luxury of telling me at your own pace, just spit it out." he demanded, gentling his voice.

Ophelia sighed softly, keeping her shoulders upright and her posture perfect even though she felt like sagging over. Just appearing dignified was exhausting but it was a price Opi was more than willing to pay. "I need to set up a remote teaching space. I can't physically teach the four classes anymore." she finally admitted, keeping her chin high like an Arabian horse.

West looked at her and she could see the pain and sympathy in his eyes, the hidden glisten sending a stabbing pain right through Opi's defences to strike her heart. She hated the burden she had become on those she loved and if she had the strength and ability left to take care of herself, she would in an instant. But days like yesterday, where she had so desperately needed Nathaniel to care for her, only served to remind her that she was getting weaker, not stronger. "So what are you going to do?" he asked, and Opi felt a small smile twitch her lips. He knew her well enough to not demand that she run everything by him first. This might be 'his' house (though anyone who knew his wife Maddison knew that it was hers), it was Ophelia's body and her life and she would not idly stand back and let someone else run it for her.

"I have spoken with my TA's for both classes and they are both more than willing to act as my on campus hands and eyes. I will be conducting each class electronically from my apartment." Opehlia stated and braced herself for the arguement she knew was coming next.

"Why all the way over there? Why can't you simply set it up in here?" West immediately demanded, and if he had been looking, he would have seen the amused, irritated affection on Ophelia's face.

"Because I already spend too much time cooped up in your lovely home Westley. I love you and this house and your family dearly. But I cannot sped what's left of my life inside here where you can watch over me. Not only would I quickly go insane and lose any fight to survive that I have left, but it would also be bloody hindering awkward to have you looking over my shoulder and intimidating my class." Ophelia stated calmly, knowing that her brother was all passionate, combustible fire to her cool, reflective ice.

"Opi, you moved in here because your apartment is off in the middle of nowhere and you needed to be closer to the hospital." West tried to argue, not even listening to Ophelia's arguements to maintain her limited independence.

"Westley..." Ophelia trailed off and actually sighed a little. "I am going to be hosting my classes from my apartment. It's already wired and set up." she stated, just too tired to really muster the effort for a good fight. And she loved a good arguement, especially with her only brother. Her two sisters had grown up with Opi always around (and always winning the fights), but Westley hadn't moved in with them until she was nearly eight. He was the only one still willing to try and do mental battle with her, mostly because he knew how much she enjoyed it.

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