Oscar retreated to the basement after letting all that out. She knew i was letting it sink in and was waiting for everything to take its course. i didn't move from my spot in the living room until Dusty came home later on that evening. She seemed to know something was up the moment i looked up at her.
"What's wrong?" she asked softly.
"i'm only going to ask one thing and answer it truthfully. Did you love my sister?"
She made this look of confusion. "I never met your sister."
"That's a lie Dusty, tell me the truth. Did you love my sister Rue or no?"
Dusty's gaze left mine as she painfully bit back tears. She dropped the food she was carrying and collapsed onto her knees in tears. "Yes, yes I loved Rue, but I'm not ashamed to say so!"
"Was she the one you lost?" i asked calmly.
Dusty nodded between tears. "She took me in as a tag-tem effort for us both to survive the streets. No one cared for either of us but ourselves. That's how I came to love her, but because I never thought she'd love me back I pushed her away and retreated to myself. I let her go off and get into drugs, into street fights, into crime. I didn't stop her Ix!"
"Where is she now?"
That last question seemed to hurt her the most. "She's dead Ix, she died last fall from a street fight gone too far. I tried all I could but she was too far gone to be saved. And it could've all been avoided if I wasn't so stupid!" she screamed and threw a box of nanaimo bars at the wall in pent up anguish.
i waited for her to calm down quite considerably before asking the final question. "Am i just replacing Rue? Do you love me for me or just because Rue was my sister?"
Dusty never did answer me. With asking her that, she just burst out crying and ran upstairs. i decided to leave her alone after that. We both needed our priorities straightened.
i slept in the hallway that night, despite Dusty's pleading. i didn't want to make this anymore complicated than it already was. i'll admit it hurt me to be this way but how could i indulge this newfound pain anymore? At least by keeping away i was making the pain hurt less than what it could be if i slept beside her only to potentially leave tomorrow. Either way, it was like being stabbed. It's just which method i'd prefer.
The next day Oscar emerged from her underground cave with a very happy smile on her face. She trotted out the door right after a real estate agent came over and placed a 'SOLD' sticker over the house's for sale sign. Everyone groaned at the prospect of relocating after being here for so long but i didn't care much. i doubted i'd be staying long anyways.
Dusty came down later and sat with everyone to talk about relocating. Her eyes were red from crying and lack of sleep as she sat there tiredly. Usually she was the one conducting the meetings but today she barely said anything, only giving the appropriate nods and head shakes when needed. Everyone must have figured something went on between us and decided to leave us be to work out our differences.
We sat in silence for a while not looking at each other until eventually i opened my mouth to say it. "Is it me or my sister?"
Dusty just looked away from me and stifled a sigh as if she was trying not to cry. "At first it was your sister, then it was to keep you safe from Oscar. To not let what happened to Red happen to you as well, I couldn't afford to lose you too."
"But it's not like you'd be losing Asterix. It would be like losing Rue all over again! i'm sorry but i can't take this anymore," i said and stood up to go.
As i did so, a look of terror crossed Dusty's face. "Ix wait! you can't go, you don't know everything yet-"
"i get the picture," i said coldly and walked towards the door, "have a nice life Dusty."