11; I Won't Fall
The sun was setting as Joseph drove into his apartment parking lot. His jeep being the most expensive thing on the entire property. The apartment was nothing fancy or expensive. It had one bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It was all he needed. That's why he had no trouble turning down his mothers offer to get him his own place entirely.
Apart from wanting to do things on his own like an adult, he knew she'd never let him forget how she had helped him. Thankfully he inherited his fathers brains and didn't need their money to make a living. His jeep however had been his 18th birthday present. Not even his pride would refuse this beauty.
El was still faintly crying as he led her to his apartment, with his arm around her shoulders. He only let go to unlock the front door and urge her to go in.
It was modest. There was little to no decorations on the walls other than the small TV placed in the corner. She sat on the long couch pushed against the wall. Joey walked away into the kitchen searching for something to subdue his hunger.
Her eyes wondered around until they landed on a small frame. It was propped on a desk along with a computer and thick textbooks. She knew the people in the picture, but those people hadn't been around for a long time.
Paul, Joey, and El smiled up at the camera. El was clinging to Joey's back and Paul hugged them from the side. Her mother and father lingered in the background seeming to admire their children. Another boy stood off in the distance with his arms folded across his chest. El leaned in trying to put a name to the familiar black hair and clear green eyes.
"Do you want something to drink?" Joey asked, peeking his head out from the kitchen. "I've got water, milk, orange juice, vitamin water, coconut water."
El tried laughing but they came out as hiccups. "I'm not very good with normal, but who drinks coconut water?"
"That's what Paul said." he grumbled. "It's healthy and it tastes good. What more could you ask for?"
"You never told me what happened between you two." she conceded. "Was it so bad that you have to dodge the question every time I ask?"
He looked down to his hands seeming to think of an answer. What had happened was something he didn't like to talk about. It was in the past and that was where he liked to keep it.
"It's a long story." he replied softly.
"Well," El sniffled looking down at her imaginary wrist watch. "It seems we have time."
"Why do you want to know so bad?" Joseph remembered his sister being curious as a little girl, but what kid wasn't? Now he wasn't so sure why she wanted to know the gruesome details of his past. He assumed it was a girl thing. Gossip is something they always seemed to enjoy.
"I'll strike you a deal."
El nodded her head for him to go on. "You tell me what's wrong with you and I'll tell you what happened between the brat and I."
The last thing she wanted to do was talk about her problems. Especially after this med-check where all she'd done was answer questions. He raised an eyebrow at her and she huffed.
Absent-mindedly, tears continued to fall one by one down her face. She hadn't noticed until Joseph was holding out a single tissue to her.
She appreciatively took the tissue from her brother wiped her red cheeks. El scorned herself at how ridiculous she must look. She wasn't the type of girl to cry. She couldn't remember the last time she cried. It was a pathetic emotion and it made her feel weaker than she was.
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