Sandra showed me to the guest room and I let my only bag fall to the floor with a thump. “Nice digs,” I said, looking at the hideous floral wallpaper and the double bed that had a busy homemade quilt stretched out on it.
“Thank you,” Sandra said stiffly before telling me that there was a spare towel in the closet and to feel free to shower. I just stood there mutely, my back to her. “Please ask if you need anything,” she said. It should’ve been polite but there was a stern note in her voice that gave the words a double meaning. She didn’t want me taking anything from her house.
“Great, thanks,” I mumbled and she closed the door. I half expected to hear a key turn in the lock but there was nothing.
I sighed and plopped down on the bed, stretching my long legs out and moaning as all the aches and pains of the past few days, or months, eased out of me. “Beds are good,” I mumbled, already feeling sleep tug at me.
“Corinna?” a voice said from the hallway before there was a soft knock on the door.
I sat up instantly, recognizing the voice. “Come in,” I said, pissed when my voice came out hoarse.
My anger faded as I saw my older brother’s open expression and wide smile. “It’s been too long, sis,” he said approaching me with his arms open.
I sat still, shocked that he was approaching me with anything besides distaste. “Jesse,” was the only thing I said as he wrapped his strong arms around me. I noticed that he’d grown quite a lot in the past four years.
For a second, everything faded and I closed my eyes, leaning my head against his strong shoulder and breathing in his familiar scent as memories flooded my mind, Jesse and I at the park, the two of us at the lake with our parents, just the two of us, playing catch. My throat clogged and I stopped breathing until he moved back. I put a blank look in my eyes and a smirk on my mouth. “You never call, you never write…” I shook my head giving him a mock stern look.
His blue eyes, so much like my mother’s clouded over and his lips turned down. “Cor, I wanted to─”
I waved a dismissive hand, shrugging. “Don’t worry about it, Jess. I understand,” I said softly, looking into his blue eyes and for a second, all pretence was gone. A soft smile pulled my lips and I just looked at my older brother.
There was a curious moisture in his eyes as he looked down at me and I let out a small laugh. “Don’t cry now, big bro, you’ll ruin your image.”
He chuckled and let out a little sniff as he puffed out his chest. “I’m not crying. Real men don’t cry.”
“No they don’t,” I whispered, smirking at him again.
He shifted on his feet for a second, unsure before saying, “I was just going to meet up with some friends if you wanted to come?”
I shook my head, stretching my legs out on the bed again. “No thanks, Jess. I’m beat.”
He nodded, turning away and putting his hand on the door knob. “What happened to Mom?” he asked.
My heart stopped for a second as I thought of her with her long blonde hair that had recently been chopped short and her heart shaped face that looked so much like mine. Her blue eyes were always so vibrant and full of life. People used to say that we looked like twins but my face was a little bit wider, my eyes slightly further apart and my lips a touch fuller.
Mentally shaking myself, I came back to the present. “Nothing. Everything,” I said vaguely.
He looked back at me over his shoulder, questions in his familiar blue eyes. “Okay,” he said softly before facing forward and leaving the room.