I now understand you.
I miss you. I love you.
"Dinner is ready."
A soft knock brings me back to present. I blink back the tears that wanted to escape and fall on the piece of paper in my hand. Who would have thought that bad luck would strike twice?
I clear my throat. "I am coming."
The person, the other side, however didn't hear my reply as he bangs loudly against the door and shouts loudly, "Nevie!!!! Dinner is ready."
Clearing my throat once again, I shout back, "I am coming, Liam."
"Come fast. I am sta-r-v-ing." He responds before I hear his footsteps running away from my room. I frown when I hear the footsteps coming back. "Don't forget to bring-"
"I will, Liam." I interrupt, "I will just give it to you. Come inside."
The door makes a soft sound as Liam pads inside the room as throws himself on my bed. He eyes the papers in my hand, yet to be stuffed in the drawer. "What are those?"
"Nothing," I shake my head and make my way to my closet. Pulling open the last of the drawers of the bottom, I take out the blue box which was once used to store cookies when Dad brought it home.
With a sigh, I place the sheet lightly inside against the other similar sheets. I shovel the box back in the drawer and let out a breath, I didn't know I was holding.
One more letter.
I was about to close the closet door when I remember Liam and the reason he was so restless since yesterday. Humming a soft tune to myself, I stand on my toes and manage to get hold of the priced possession.
"Here," I call out once I return back to my room, "Take this."
Liam abruptly throws my phone he was using on the phone and squeals. He squeals, "Hot Wheels."
I glare at him for throwing my phone but soon drop it and smile when I see the grin on his face. He snatches the car from my hands and gives it a once-over.
"Yeah, Hot Wheels. But keep it nicely, okay? Don't break it like you did with the last one," I warn, "This is the second toy of hers you are having. I don't think she will be too happy when she will get to know about this."
Liam grin falters and a solemn look takes over his adorable face. "I am sorry for that. It's just..."
"It's fine, Ly-Ly." I ruffle his hair, "I know."
The cute smile comes back to his face as he takes my palm in his and kisses the back of it. He places a kiss on the roof of the car making me almost coo at the sight. "Let's go now. Shall we?"
Liam nods and starts pulling me to the door. Once we reach the stairs, he suddenly leaves my hand and scowls at me.
"What happened?" I ask, confused.
"Ly-Ly?" He raises his brows, exaggeratingly, "Really?"
"Yeah." I shrug, "Ly-Ly."
"No Ly-Ly." He scowls.
"Yes, Ly-Ly." I let out a chuckle and start walking again.
Liam holds my wrist to stop walking and turns me to him, "No Ly-Ly." He puffs out his cheeks as if to make a point. Angry, my foot, he looked so damn cute.
Swallowing the chuckle that was meaning to come out at his expression, I ruffle his hair, "Yes Ly-Ly."
Ever since, Liam got to know he would be starting school, he decided that it was time for him to grow up. That means, everyone had to censor calling him 'Ly-Ly', 'Li-Li' or any other nickname of the sort.
Starting school apparently means a big thing for him.
He demanded not to be treated like a child a few days ago when Dad told him not to go near the stove in the kitchen. When we agreed and cut his evening snack of ice-cream because big guys don't eat ice-cream the same evening , he protested and threw a tantrum.
According to him, big guys can have ice creams whenever they want, not just in evening. Along with ice cream, they can have pastries, pizzas, chocolates and everything he loves, at any time. Also, the big guys get to watch cartoons without any time limit.
We reach the dining room, all the while continuing the heated debate whether Liam should be called Ly-Ly or not. The rich aroma of chicken reaches my olfactory indicator, instantly making my mouth water.
"No-" I give Liam a look before ignoring him and almost running to the table and take my seat. "What are you waiting for?" I look at him, "Come."
His eyes brighten when he looks at the dining table. The debate long forgotten, he quickly plants his butt on the chair besides mine. He reaches his hand out to take his serving of the stuffed chicken parm when I slap his hand away, lightly.
"Wait for Mum Dad."
With a pout, Liam brings his hand back. As if on cue, Mom arrives in the room with a bright smile on her face and a bowl in her hands. With a shake of head at Liam, signalling that she had seen him almost ruining the dressing of the chicken, she puts the bowl on the table.
Satisfied with the dishes, she gives a proud grin and settles in her seat, just in front of me. Before anyone of us can say anything, Mum lets out a huff.
"This mane!" She curses lightly under her breath not letting Liam hear them. I chuckle when she leaves the room with her hair gathered in a pony tail by her hand.
I untie my hair and then tie it again in a tight high pony tail. It is always annoying when they come out on the face when I am eating.
"Eww, Nev." Liam makes a face, "Don't ruin the dishes with your hair."
"Shut up," I narrow my eyes at him and give a tight tug to the scrunchie. "My hair does not fall."
"Really?" He looks at me, unsure.
"Really." I state.
My chocolate brown hair is something that I really appreciate even though it is not ultra silky, shiny and long like those of models and celebrities. And so, I cannot hear anything against it.
"Kiddos!" Dad's deep voice reaches my ears as he makes his way to the table. He gives the dishes a once over before nodding his head satisfied. "We have done well."
"Dad," I start slowly, "Don't you think this is a bit too much."
"Nothing is too much," Mum's voice comes from the entrance. She enters the room and takes her seat besides Dad's head chair. "My baby is starting senior year from tomorrow. We have got to celebrate."
Mum and Dad smile warmly at me which I mirror. Or at least try to mirror. The empty seat besides Mum's was everything that was needed to bring back the reality.
"She would want you to be happy, Nev." Dad says reassuringly, putting his hand on mine and giving it a light squeeze.
"No buts, Nev," Mum interrupts. "We know you are upset, we all are. But you should not close yourself from everything."
"It is not that easy." I breathe out feeling tears swelling up in my eyes.
"We know, honey," She looks at me warmly, "We know."
We fell into silence as we get lost in our thoughts. The empty chair besides Mum reminds me yet again of my other half who is fighting for her life three miles away from here. This time, I couldn't hold back the tears anymore.
"Can we start?" Liam's small voice brings us back from the trance. His chubby little face was morphed into an expression of worry-as he looked at us and mischief as he eyed the table.
I swallow back the sob. "Of course."
Mum wipes her eyes before she gives. happy smile. "This all I prepared myself for you, Nev." She glances at Liam, "And of course, Liam for you too."
We smile at her. Mum scoops out the rice from the big bowl and helps the serving. She serves some other dishes in our plates before doing the same with hers and Dad's. "Dig in."
As soon as she said these two words, we start digging in. "It's tasty, Mum." I complemented as I took a bite. She was indeed a great cook.
"Look," Liam exclaims, "It has moz-er-ella." He cuts a piece of chicken parm showing the cheese in between. We laugh at his attempt of saying a big word.
After dinner, Liam and I agree to do the dishes as Mum and Dad had prepared the hearty meal. It is just fair, so I didn't take any argument from them.
"Liam, go bring that bowl from the table." I order Liam when I saw him playing with the buttons on the dishwasher. Anytime soon, he would have managed to pop them out.
Liam, as ordered, rushes out if the kitchen. I take this time to arrange the dishes in the washer. When he arrives, I take the bowl from him and put that too. Switching it on, I wash my hands first before picking him up and making him wash his hands in the sink.
Though he wants to believe he is such a big guy, he still needs help to reach the sink. I scoff at the thought. Liam looks at me when he hears the sound and frowns.
Shaking my head, I sat him on the kitchen counter and then settle myself against him. We watch the dishwasher operating in silence.
"When will she wake up?" Liam breaks the silence and asks.
I turn my head to look at him but find him looking ahead. "Soon. She will wake up, Ly-Ly." I answer.
"She will wake up." He states, "You woke up, didn't you? There is no way she is going to stay there forever. I want to know when."
I sigh, "I don't know."
"Why do you two keep doing this?" Liam finally looks at me and raises his brows accusingly.
"What?" I question.
"When one of you wakes up and comes back home, the other goes to the hospital." He says, angrily, "Are you both playing?"
"Umm," I falter, not knowing what to answer him. I look back at the washer, unable to meet the innocent eyes of my brother who had asked me a question.
"Tell me, Nev." Liam takes my elbow in his hold and shakes my hand. "Tell me."
What should I tell him? Why do we keep doing this? Why do we want to worry everyone?
"It's fate, I guess." I mumble out.
"Then, I don't like fate." Liam yells.
I don't either. At this point.
I look at him from the corner of my eyes to find tears in his eyes. Taking a deep breath, I put my arms around his shoulders and bring his small frame close to me. Liam soon breaks into tears and cries holding me close.
"Will you go when Heaven will come?" He croaks, "Tell me, Neveah. Will you go to hospital when Heaven will come back?"
I swallow the sob that was meaning to escape and shake my head, "No. I won't."
"Promise me." Liam raises his pinky.
I hook my pinky in his, "Promise. Pinky promise."
Liam doesn't raise his head from my side. After sometime when I look down, I found him fast asleep. I manage to position and lift him in my arms. Quietly padding, I reach his room and put him on the bed.
He starts drooling when his head touches the pillow.
I quietly go back to kitchen and arrange the plates. When I was done, I switch off the lights and go to my room. I change into my PJs and get under the duvet when a short knock comes from the door.
The door opens and Dad comes into my view. He gives me a small smile and sits on the side. "Good night, Nev. I love you."
"I love you too, Dad. Good night."
He presses a small kiss on my forehead, a habit of his since forever then goes out, shutting the door back. Leaving me in darkness and thoughts.
The thoughts which never fail from appearing in my mind.