“So I got fired, hope you could arrange me a job here” Mom countered after she ended her call. I felt bad for her but her boss -the principal- was a jerk. So, that was not much of a loss, to be honest. I felt happy for her that she was free from his grip. His tight unbearable grip.
Dad smiled. “Sure, maybe next week you could begin,” he replied as he took a bite from his pizza. “Now, you need clothes, shoes, school stuff and other stuff. Am I right?” He asked us and Elara and I nodded.
“We lost everything in the fire, so could you buy us some clothes and I’ll repay you when I sort things out in my bank account registration. I have money that is for emergencies and that is one. So, if that’s not a problem with you...” Mom cleared with a firm tone and dad only smiled brightly at her.
He shook his head and ran his hand through his hair. “You don’t have to repay me, you’re family and I’m the man in this family so let me do my job and spoil you guys and Carina... I have an extra phone that is not used, would you like to use it?” He asked her and she thought about it for a few minutes.
Mom sighed with arched eyebrows. “But I’ll give you money when I can and don’t say no because then I’ll kill you and you know that I can’t accept money from anyone” She stated her opinion but dad scoffed with an eye-roll.
“I’m not just anyone. I’m your husband!” He replied in a higher tone then crossed his arms. I could see the hurt in his eyes and I felt bad for him. I really did.
“Were my husband, that is a big, gigantic difference” She pointed out and I rolled my eyes. She had to state the obvious and break his heart even more. I’d really be more than happy if I saw them together again.
I cleared my throat and everyone looked at me. “Fine, dad just take the money when she has it. End of the story, you know that she won’t budge so don’t fight it” I remarked then ate my pizza.
I was in my new room getting cleaned up when I heard a knock on the door. I quickly put on Andro’s top that I borrowed and wore his sweatpants. I looked good in his clothes but they were a little baggy since he was taller and more muscular than me, of course. I opened the door and saw him with his hands in his jeans’ pocket. “Ready to go?” He asked as I wore my shoes. The white ones that I spent half an hour cleaning it from the smoke and dirt.
“Yup, let’s go” I replied then closed the door after me. We were going to the mall to buy clothes, mom was going later but I didn’t know what about Elara. “Is Elara coming?” I asked him as we descended the stairs.
Andro turned and looked at me. “No, she’s staying with dad. Mom will buy her clothes and other things later” He explained and I nodded. I knew that she’d stay because she was not a fan of shopping at the age of six, neither was I unless it was book shopping. I wouldn’t complain, ever. But, I understood her. I had to go with Andro because I literally had nothing to wear besides Andros clothes.
“When will I start with school?” I asked him as we got into his car. He turned it on and drove off. I looked around us and couldn’t help but notice the differences between Virginia and Chicago. The streets were different, the colours and even people’s auras. I didn’t know how to explain it but there was a big difference and we had to adapt.
Andro looked at me for a brief second then back at the road. He rubbed the nape of his neck as a sign of exhaustion. I knew that he didn’t sleep much last night because of what happened to us but I wouldn’t ask. It was better that way. “Dad said if you were ready, tomorrow. Are you ready?” He asked then once again, glanced at me for a second then looked back at the backed up road. Unlike Virginia, Chicago was a lot busier and louder. That was another difference. Like I said before, it would take us some time to adjust but I knew that we would with the time.
I gazed at the cars from my window side and nodded. “Yes, I am. I don’t want to stay home without moving and I know it’s just been a day but I want to go to school and spend some time with you. It’s been a while we hung out together.” I admitted with a smile. He chuckled and grabbed my hand and squeezed it, gently. That was his usual brotherly gesture for me. We had a language between us that didn’t need words to be understood.
Out of the blue, he grinned at me and I raised one eyebrow in confusion. “You still love taking pictures of the sunset?” He asked me after a few minutes of comfortable silence. I was surprised that he remembered my hobby that I didn’t mention to anyone else but him and I told him about it once, a few years ago. It was my fun thing to do. I used to own a high-quality camera but it was gone with our house, sadly. I hummed a yes and sighed. He titled his head but the realization hit him when he remembered what happened last night. “It was in the house, right? I will buy you a new one when we get to the mall.” He stated without giving me any room to object. He shushed me by putting in my mouth my favourite gum flavour. Mint.
“It’s amazing how one small piece of gum can do to you. It’s delicious.” I pointed out and he hummed while popping the gum. After five more minutes, we arrived at a huge building that had a big sign on it. It said ‘Centro Comercial’ in Spanish and it looked new.
“It opened two months ago and the owner is from Spain. Now, let’s get you the camera first.” Andro said with a grin and grabbed my hand then dragged me with him to the shops. After we went to the third floor through the elevator, we entered the shop that Andro been meaning to enter. “Hi, we want a high-quality camera for professional photographers.” My twin requested from the worker there and he nodded with a polite smile.
We spent an hour and a half trying to find the perfect camera for me, and we did. It was too expensive for my taste but Andro fought me to take it when he saw that it fitted me perfectly. I just gave up and let him buy it. We also bought my new wardrobe with everything that I needed and lacked. It was too much to carry so we asked someone to help us carry the bags to the car. After that, we drove to a cafe that was near home and ordered food. “So, Andro... Tell me about your school? Your friends, all of it!” I countered in an excited tone as we waited for the food to arrive and he gave me a kind of a tight smile. Or was I just imagining it?
“Um, oh yeah, it’s cool. When you go tomorrow, you’ll be surprised by my friends and just so you know, they are all guys. No girls who are my friends, it’s not that I’m against having girl friends, it’s just...um, eh, you’ll see.” He replied in a nervous way and I got very suspicious. He was hiding something but not for long, did that make any sense at all? He said I’d find out tomorrow but I wanted to know sooner.
“Okay... How are the teachers and the principal? Is there a teacher that I should ignore or never be on their bad side?” I asked again and he avoided any eye contact with me. He was definitely hiding something.
He nodded with a smirk. “Every school has at least one of those teachers and as for the principal, he’s carefree and a great company to be around. You will love him.” He reassured me then smiled when he saw the food on our table. If you hadn’t noticed yet, we loved food.
As we entered the house, I was tackled to the floor by Elara. She hugged me tightly and I wrapped my arms around her, sensing her sadness. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?” I asked her and Andro helped us get up. He took Elara in his firm arms and we walked to the living room, only to see our parents with frowns on their faces. I suddenly felt scared of what could have happened. “What’s going on? Why the long faces?” I asked with a soothing tone. Mom and dad looked at me then at Elara and sighed. What did she do? She was the good, quiet type. She was not the type of sister to break things or yell.
Dad rubbed his temples and then stood up from the couch. “Elara acted very strangely when I mentioned school for her. She threw a fit and then she stopped talking to us. It’s not her!” He exclaimed in a worried tone. He was lost and didn’t know what to do, mom was too.
I cupped Elara’s cheeks while Andro was holding her and made her look into my eyes. “Teddy bear, why are you sad? You don’t want to go to school?” I asked in a soft tone and she shook her head with eyes filled with tears. I felt so bad for her but I had no idea why she was sad.
She sniffled and rubbed the tears away from her beautiful eyes. “N-no...” She began and we all listened carefully for her to continue. “My classmates would laugh at me.” She stated and I was puzzled by her confession. At that age, it was a huge deal for her.
Andro sat on the couch and I followed suit. My parents sat on the floor in front of us. “Why would they do that, sweetie?” Andro asked.
She looked at him with a painful expression and sighed. “Because we lost our home,” She said what was bugging her and I stood there, in silence. I thought for a second and then it clicked.
I took her from Andro’s grip and sat her on my lap. “Elara, did by any chance, your old classmates made fun of you?” I asked her and mom’s eyes widened yet she didn’t speak. She couldn’t.
“Y-yes” She replied and then looked at the floor.
“Why?” Dad asked her this time.
“Because I didn’t have my daddy at home! They made fun of me for that and now they will too when they know that we lost our home.” She cleared her thoughts and we froze. Our parents’ separation affected her too and we didn’t realize that. I was too occupied by the idea of separation than to notice my baby sister’s feelings. I was an awful sister.
I hugged her tightly and felt tears on my cheeks. “Oh honey, I’m so sorry for not seeing how you felt all this time. I’m sorry Teddy bear” I apologized along with my mom and dad. Andro went to the kitchen and came back with ice cream.
“Here you go” He handed Elara a big spoon and she looked at him. “Ice cream will make you feel better, I know, it made me feel better when our parents got separated. Elara, no one here will make fun of you just because you lost your house or that your parents are not together. I will make sure of it, Evelina and I will come with you to your school and introduce you to your new classmates. And if anyone says something bad to you, tell us. We need to know honey, we can’t read minds because if we could read minds, I’d have aced my classes with A+” Andro explained in a tender tone and then he joked at the end of his encouraging speech. He made her laugh and we laughed alongside her.
“Now, will you go to school with us?” I asked with a bright smile and she returned the smile with a bigger one. She was a true angel in the shape of a human.
“Yes, thank you all. I love you” She said and we group hugged for a while until her stomach growled. “I’m hungry” She pointed out and we all laughed.
Dear God, please make the new road easy for my baby sister...