It made no sense to Ishaana that she was already halfway through her Easter break, the days flying by when she had thought that they would drag. For two weeks it had been since Casey and Bishop had left for America, she had spent each and every night at home and not a single message had been exchanged between them. Her phone had never buzzed with a message from cdsety, and she had never had Bishop's number in her phone in the first place: for fourteen days, her only focus had been Priya. Despite the proximity, she had only seen Melody twice and Pearl once, catching a glimpse of Oscar at one point.
She was determined to make good on her promise, and she had surprised herself by how easy it was to be with her family. They weren't there to judge her, or to hold it over her that she had not been so reliable in the past: Sunita had welcomed her back into the house with open arms in every sense, and even Saffiya had made the house feel like a home. Ishaana now had three new recipes stored in her memory, each of which she vowed to cook before she headed back to university in a couple of weeks. She only had two exams but she wouldn't be able to concentrate enough at home, relying on the campus library when it came to actually working, though that wasn't something she was used to yet.
When Sunday came, a day that Sunita was around the house without the beckon of work calling her away from home, Ishaana felt the need to get away. Not to go far; not to leave. But the urge to step outside of the house without worrying about her sister, without the constant need to keep an eye on someone other than herself when sometimes that alone was hard enough. As morning turned to afternoon, once she had whiled away the hours with a long bath followed by a lazy breakfast, she slunk into the conservatory where she knew her aunt was sewing while her sister was trawling her way through the unfair mound of holiday homework.
"Hey," she said when she stepped through the door, though she had spent much of the morning with her family. Sunita looked up with a soft smile before her gaze flickering back down to the impossibly fine needle and thread in her hand, the thin metal swiftly piercing the fabric over and over as she pieced together a patchwork quilt she had been working on for several more weekends than Ishaana had witnessed.
"Hey," Priya said. She was sitting at the table with her feet tapping along to the song on the radio, a pencil jittering in her left hand as her body unconsciously jived to the music. Her midnight hair was tied in a fat plait that snaked down her back, tapering to a waved point just above her waist, and she played with a few loose strands that she constantly wound around her finger before letting them spring free and repeating the practice over again.
Ishaana slipped onto a chair beside her sister, reading her geography textbook upside down. She hated the subject, one that she had dropped as soon as she had been allowed, and even the year eight work went over her head now, beyond what she could recall from those long and stuffy classroom days.
"What're you up to?" Priya asked, eyeing her sister as though she thought she was up to something, but Ishaana just shrugged.
"Nothing, really," she said, idly digging her nails into one of her sister's erasers until it was snatched away from her with a scowl.