Home Can Be You

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Chapter 18

“Alaska! Evan!” I hugged them tightly, my feelings were all over the place. “You came!” I was astounded to see them here when I needed them the most. They didn’t call, nor text me this past couple of days, I thought that it was my fault and I said something wrong to them without me noticing. I really missed my best friends and to see them now, was the biggest gift you could ever give me. My tears wouldn’t stop because I was bawling tears of happiness and sadness combined. On the one hand, there was Nolan, on the other hand, there was this.

I didn’t know what to say so I just ushered for them to come inside the house. Evan entered while rolling their suitcases and Alaska grabbed my arm and we closed the door. “Eve, who is it?” Mom asked from the dining room and I wiped my face with my sleeve and cleared my throat.

“Guess!” I replied. Now I understood Mary Poppins’s special word. I was feeling supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

As soon as we stepped inside, where everyone could see us, their faces lit up and all of them stood up, well... except for Nolan. “The Evaska twins!” Dad exclaimed with excitement filled in his eyes. “Hey guys,” They replied and greeted my family. The twins were my best friends since Andro and I were in elementary school and my family got used to them after a while of them entering my house through any window -not the door- and making themselves at home. Furthermore, since they were also twins, my parents felt like they had two sets of twins and it was wondrous.

After they finished greeting, Evan gazed at Zeno and then gave me a puzzled look. “Oh yes, this is Zeno, my friend and this is his little sister, Oriana, who is a good friend to Elara,” I introduced but before I could continue the introduction, I was interrupted. “Excuse me? We are best friends!” Oriana ejaculated and Elara nodded with a boastful smile. I smiled back and apologized for my rudeness.

“Zeno, Oriana, these are my best friends from Virginia. Alaska,” I spoke and she shook hands with them. “And Evan, they are twins like Andro and me,” he as well shook Zeno’s hand and ruffled Oriana’s hair.

“Nice to meet you bud, I hope you’ve been treating my second sister like a queen because she deserves it!” And I was wondering when will ‘protective’ Evan make an appearance. It didn’t take long. He used to be like this since we were little kids, he was the older one between us -older than Alaska by five minutes and older than me by a month- and he’d beat any guy who dared to make us feel sad, of course, Andro and Nolan used to back him up as well. They were precious to me and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. “Don’t worry,” Zeno replied with a smile that I didn’t know if it had a hidden meaning behind it, however, it didn’t bother me.

“Evan, just shut up!” Alaska slapped his neck which I was so grateful for, otherwise, he wouldn’t have shut up and embarrassed me. He gave her the stink eye and I chuckled. “Now, now, let’s all eat before it gets cold, I cooked.” I changed the subject to what really mattered. “Then we will talk,”

“So, guys, how come you are here?” Mom asked the twins the moment we all sat in the garden because the weather was nice and warm. I looked at the next house and saw that it was ruined. The fire did its share of destroying it. As I remembered the little girl who was left all alone in the house by herself, Evan asked. “Before we answer you, what happened to your leg, Nolan?”

We all gazed at my brother and saw him smiling like a geek. “I acted heroically, that’s what happened,” he replied with a smug look and I facepalmed myself. That was Nolan for you. Andro huffed and hit the back of Nolan’s neck. “No, he acted stupidly, yet... he did save a soul!” He stated with a proud simper and I nodded. “What? Please, elaborate, I’m anxious to know!” Alaska cleared with curiosity filled in her eyes.

Dad pointed with his finger at the house next door and the twins followed it. “See that house,” he said and they nodded. “Yesterday, it caught fire and there was a child inside it, alone, and crying. Evelina wanted to enter and rescue her but Nolan beat her to it. He broke his leg when he jumped with the girl from the second floor’s window. She okay, just to be clear,” he explained and the twins gasped.

“You did what? You wanted to do what?” They yelled at the same time to both Nolan and I and we were startled by that. “Are you an idiot?” Alaska related to Nolan and he rubbed the nape of his neck with an awkward laugh. Evan looked at me and glared. “And you, you wanted to dive into your doom?” He exaggerated and I brushed him off.

“Knock it off, you guys. No one died... Yet!” Nolan countered and we all stopped talking, realizing what he stated. Mom looked at him with concern in her eyes and Elara sat next to him while hugging his arm. “What do you mean ‘yet’ huh?” Evan asked and Alaska listened. “Are you hiding something, Nolan?” I looked at my brother’s face and saw that he was ready to tell them since we all knew. And so I wished we knew earlier.

“I do have something to tell you but promise me not to make a bustle about it, okay?” He requested and Alaska shook her head.

“Can’t promise you anything, sorry,” she cleared and we all understood where she was coming from. No one liked to promise before they learn about the whole situation and that was a claim anyone should have.

“Fine,” he gave up and began telling them his story. I was sitting next to Zeno, listening to the same story that killed me from the inside when his phone buzzed, I accidentally caught the name that was displayed on it and it was written: DAD. It was hard to miss it, to be honest. Zeno grabbed it, opened the text message and started reading it. As he was doing that, I glanced at his face. He seemed calm for a moment there, but after a minute of reading, his face darkened and scowled. I wondered what could have been possibly written in that text. It was not my business to know, however, I cared about his feelings and he looked troubled.

“Everything’s okay?” I asked him when he put his phone in his pocket. “Yeah, yeah, everything’s fine. I just... something urgent came up and I have to go now,” he replied with a tight smile. “Oriana, let’s go,” he called for her and she didn’t object because she saw how restless her big brother was and apparently, we were not the only ones who noticed. My family and the twins also did yet they didn’t question him and let them go. He didn’t give me the chance to say goodbye and I felt bad. Something must have happened.

“So, guys, where did you stand in Nolan’s story?” I asked to make them focus back on Nolan. Alaska’s eyes widened and I got a feeling that they heard. “That he only has a year to live, or less!” She stated and started weeping. I hugged her tightly and then looked at Evan. He had a hard expression displayed on his face and I grasped that he was shocked. All of this, made me cry once more and my crying resulted in everyone else to cry with me. Life was filled with good and bad surprises. The bad ones outnumbered the good ones in my life, though, we got to keep our shit together because the bad days will eventually pass after the storm.

“You still didn’t tell us as to why you are here?” Nolan asked the twins and we all laughed. The laughter was filled with heavy tears. He managed to cheer us up and I loved him from the bottom of my heart.

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