My bed was mine and no one else's, so I plopped down on the floor and gestured for Jaden to do the same. "Lock it," I interjected, so he gently closed the door and leaned against it, waiting for me to say something.
"You need a haircut," I offered, when it became clear that Jaden would be voiceless until I vocalized some thought, no matter how trivial.
"Maybe dye it blue?" Jaden teased, ruffling his almost-chin-length mop and chuckling. "I can't, not 'til the church play is over. They think I look more Jesusy with long hair."
"What a perfect role for you," I droned, even though it actually sort of was.
"'No one is righteous, not even - '" Jaden began, eyes sparkling with humor.
"Aw, shut up," I exclaimed, throwing a pair of jeans at my beloved little brother. "I said perfect, not righteous." Chuckling despite my annoyance with so much as a glimmer of that Holy Scripture stuff, I wrinkled my nose at Jaden and shook my head. "You're ridiculous."
"Like your blue hair?" A sweatshirt smothered Jaden's face.
I rocked back on my heels, treasuring these innocent moments with the only person I unabashedly loved. There Jaden was, a stupid sweatshirt covering his face, which was - undoubtedly - wrapped in a smile, and he was perfect. He pulled the sweatshirt from his face and smiled at me, loving me with those outrageous sparkles in his eyes. What my kid brother found love-worthy in me, I couldn't fathom, but I was wildly grateful. He sputtered and shook his head to straighten out his poor, mussed hair.
"You okay, Rapunzel?" I teased, and suddenly, all I could see was fuzzy sweatshirt fabric smack in front of my eyes.
"That's what I'm wondering about you," came my ever-sacrificial brother's response, and I marveled - for the umpteenth time - how Jaden could be so kind-hearted. For a twelve-year-old boy to treat anyone, least of all sister, with anything less than little affection seemed unnatual. Maybe even supernatural.