Jumping Ahead

Eleven years had passed since the Hyde children had went to live with Jared.  After a few years, the house had been completely re-done and James, Henri, and Austin were living in the updated barn.  Against Jared's many protests, the children payed him a monthly rent as a thank you.

Henri and Austin had stopped asking questions and had finally accepted that their mother was dead and that their father would stay out of the picture.  The two had grown up to become quite beautiful, and as Jared said:  "The spitting image of their mother." 

James, unfortunately, had not changed very much from the time of his mother's passing.  Since that day, he'd made a personal vow to become the rock for the family.  He felt responsible for Henri and Austin's upkeep and their protection.  If you'd ask Henri and Austin, they would tell you that there is not a kinder or more loving brother in the whole world.

Now, the three sat up in the loft of the barn, talking.

"Are you excited, James?" Henri asked, eyeing her brother.

"About what, Henri?" he replied.

"It's your senior year!  Aren't you excited to finish school, go to college?  You'll leave us and finally have some time of your own!"

"I don't want to leave you girls," he replied.  "I love spending time with you two.  I don't know what I'd to without you two to keep me busy."

"You'd have more of a life," Austin said.

"I have a life," James protested.

At the raise of his sister's eyebrows, James reconsidered.  "Okay, I don't.  But I feel like it's fine."

"You need to live a little, bro," Austin said.  

"I'm breathing right now.  Does that not constitute as 'living' in your book?"

Henri and Austin laughed.  James smiled.  Hearing his sister's laughter was the best sound in the world.  Nothing could make him feel more important or more loved.

"It's almost ten, girls.  We have school in the morning --"

"Ugh, don't remind me," Austin sighed.

"--and you both need a good night's sleep."

With defeated sighs, the girls climbed into their bunk beds.  James went around to check that everything was off before he headed to the light switch.  

"You know, I think you spoil us, sometimes James," Henri said as she observed her brother.

"Oh, I probably do," replied he with a smile.  

"Wait!" Austin called.  James turned around, one eyebrow raised.  "Aren't we going to say it?  We always do.  Every night."

James smiled and walked over to the beds.  He croutched down and began:

"Only through weakness, we find our strength."

Henri continued:  "Only through falling, we rise up higher."

"Only through suffering, we find our faith," said Austin.  

The last line, as usual, was spoken by all three:

"Only through love, we conquer all." 

The End

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