6. The Answer
The wind whistled outside the apartment, and as I lay there, I watched Ellie sleep. She looked so angelic, so peaceful...I wished she could sleep forever.
I'd put my foot down about sleeping in Ellie's room that night. Geena had been disgruntled, but she'd finally agreed.
Yes, Geena. I can be stubborn, too - just like you.
What would it be like to leave the place I'd called home for all my eighteen years? Yes, it would be beautiful to live in a place where I wouldn't have to constantly worry for my safety, but could I really start my own life? Without Geena? The thought seemed incomprehensible. I scooted a little closer to Ellie, staring up at her from where I lay on the dirty floor.
I know it's the right thing, but am I really strong enough to be a fugitive?
And how would Ellie fare with the change? Would she be frightened by the idea of living on the run? Or would she be oblivious to it all, retreating further into herself and relying on her Teddy and Blankie to make sense of the situation? Could I really subject Ellie to a life of uncertainty?
Perhaps I was overthinking the situation. Perhaps Caruso wouldn't even agree to my plan. He'd sounded pretty skeptical, after all - maybe I wouldn't even be faced with the decision of "To run, or not to run?"
The door to Ellie's bedroom opened. I sat up.
It was Geena. Angered by her intrusion, I lay back down and stared at the ceiling, refusing to meet my older sister's eyes.
"Katsie, I'm sorry. Please, forgive me?" Geena's voice trembled with tears.
I would not be shaken.
"I know you're upset, Katsie. It's just that..." Geena sat down beside me, and I turned so I wouldn't be facing her general direction. "I just want to make a living for us all. That's it. You know it, Katsie. I don't want to be mean, I just...I don't know how to provide for two younger sisters. I know I do a bad job of it, Katsie, but would you be any different?"
Ellie stirred slightly. I waited until she fell still before replying to Geena's question.
"I don't know what you think, Geena, but Ellie is a precious little girl. She doesn't deserve to be abused and yelled at. She doesn't deserve to live her life in a constant state of fear! If you were really trying your best to keep us safe, then we'd be safe! End of discussion!"
"You don't know what it's like to provide for two sisters!"
I shook my head. "You're wrong. I do know what it's like. Everytime you do something stupid, I'm forced to act like I'm the oldest, not you."
Geena stood and kicked me so hard that it knocked the wind out of my lungs. "You know what?!" she screamed. "I'm sick and tired of being burdened with two little snits who don't give me any thanks for all my hard work! I hate you both! You're ungrateful, and I hate you!"
Of course, Ellie was wakened by Geena's yelling. I darted up to her bed, where I rocked her in my arms as Geena shouted at us. There was no interfering with Geena when she was yelling; we both knew this all too well.
I slept in Ellie's single bed that night. Ellie lay squished up between the wall and myself; I lay awake for hours. I'd gotten my answer.