two

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when she was two years old.

It was about a year since my wife passed away. I could honestly say that her death still has this effect on me. The mere mention of her name could would even trigger me into an emotional state. I couldn't even say her name without a sudden shift to a hollow feeling within me.

My sister, Gemma, offered to stay with me for a while I got back on my feet. She started living with Lucy and I once she heard the news about my wife passing away. She felt bad for me, and even if I told her she could go back to Holmes Chapel, she insisted on staying with me.

She understood what I was going through, after she lost her boyfriend to illness. She couldn't eat for days after she heard the news, it almost made her fail university, but my mum, step-father and I all pitched in to cheer her up.

To Gemma, this is giving back to what I've done for her so many years ago. It wasn't all bad, Lucy loved Gemma being around and surely I loved the extra help, even if I felt bad for Gemma myself for moving to London and leaving behind her job, which she said was just a very long unpaid leave.

Today was Sunday, and the usual Sunday agenda for everyone in the household was to teach Lucy how to talk properly. Her first words were cat, I'm not sure how it became her first word but one day I came home from work and I could hear her say cat over and over.

Maybe there was a cat and someone kept pointing it out until Lucy processed it and said it herself. Not even Gemma would remember that day, it was a mystery to the both of us.

"Lucy, could you say, Aunt Gemma!" Gemma cheered like a little child, causing Lucy to erupt in laughter. Gemma continued to slowly repeat the words 'Aunt Gemma' in front her fact, holding that she would repeat it back to her.

As Gemma's technique didn't quite work, she huffed and crossed her arms like a child. She turned to me as she scooted to the right making room for me to be in front of Lucy.

"Lucy, say 'aunt'?" I coo at Lucy, crouching lower to be slightly at her eye level. She stayed silent, not entirely comprehending what I just said just yet. "Oh c'mon Lucy, say...aunt." I repeated the syllables ever so slowly until...

"Aunt!" Lucy immediately says, clapping her hands in happiness. I sat up in joy, raising my hands in air and rejoicing as if I just won a gold medal in something.

"Nice one Harry, now make her say 'Gemma', then 'Aunt Gemma', then finally 'Aunt Gemma is the best aunt in the world'." Gemma says in joy as I gave her a serious look, indicating that I wouldn't do that for her.

"I was only kidding, geez." She chuckles, slightly pushing my arm. Then she continued in a more serious tone, "Why don't you let Lucy take a break from pronouncing new and bigger words, I have something to tell you."

I slowly nodded my head as I carried Lucy and placed her into her playpen, handing her an orange cat plush that I got her for her second birthday. It was meant to keep her company whenever I didn't have time to play with her.

"Stay with Mr. Cat while your aunt and I have a talk, okay?" I laid a kiss on her head before heading towards the kitchen, where Gemma was waiting for me. From the look on Gemma's face, it seemed like this wasn't great news.

"Okay Harry, when I say this, please don't be mad at me? Alright?" Gemma asks me as she placed a hand on my shoulder. The tone of her voice seemed to start shaking, as if she was afraid to tell me what she was about to say.

"Gemma, whatever it is. I'll support you no matter what." I clarify with her she let out of a long sigh and sat on the kitchen island counter. She pat the space beside her, signalling me to sit beside her–which I eventually did.

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