“You’re such an annoying brat! You’re always in the way!” Ava yelled.
Hadley, now a pretty little six year old, looked like he was about to cry. Being sixteen, Ava had long since forgotten what it was like to be a little kid and as such found pretty much everything Hadley did annoying. He’d gotten used to her getting annoyed with him but today was the worst. We’d been playing chase in the back yard and I’d gone inside for a piss. I’d forgotten to tell Hadley, though, and he’d gone rushing inside to find me. He’d tripped over his own feet and had knocked into Ava, making her spill her drink over the only copy of an essay that’d taken her the better part of three weeks to write.
“I’m sorry, Ava” Hadley said, his wide eyes looking up at her.
“Sorry doesn’t mean shit, Hadley” she grumbled, trying to salvage as much of her essay as possible.
“I’ll help you write it again” he said brightly but she glared at him.
“Just... Just get lost, Hadley. You’re always in my way” she snapped harshly.
The brightness in Hadley’s eyes faded and his face fell. He trudged past me out of the room, sadness written on his young face.
“Little shit” Ava spat, throwing the sopping sheets of paper down on the table.
“You’re so mean” I said in disbelief, shaking my head.
I turned and left the room, going after Hadley. I found him sat in the tree that was a mile or so away from our house. It always amazed me how he managed to make the walk on his own in the heat. I guess he was just an amazing kid. What am I talking about? Of course he was an amazing kid, he was my baby brother. I clambered up the tree, perching next to Hadley on his usual branch. Whenever something upset him, nine times out of ten you’d find him sat in that tree. He barely glanced at me as I put an arm around his shoulders.
“She didn’t mean it, kiddo” I said, trying to cheer him up.
“She was right, though” he sniffled. “I’m always getting in everybody’s way”
“You don’t get in my way” I smiled.
He chuckled a little and leant against me, resting his head on my shoulder. “I love you, Cayden”
“I love you too, Hadley”