Maggie was lying across her bed, baby Homer sleeping next to her. Lisa was sitting in her old desk-chair, which Maggie now used. Lisa was holding Erica in her arms, where the baby girl had fallen asleep after a loud crying fit.
Maggie adored the twins more than anything. Lisa liked to occasionally point out that little Homer had Maggie's eyes, which made the thirteen-year-old's face light up.
"Wow, do you really think so?" she'd squeal, leaning over to stare into the baby's eyes. She'd then remember that Homer was asleep, so she'd move away again.
Erica stirred and whined. Lisa looked down to see that her dodie had fallen out. She gently pushe dit back into the infant's mouth, and Erica settled again.
"Lisa, will I ever fall in love and have babies like you?"
Lisa felt the blood drain straight out of her head. "WHAT?!" she demanded, making her little sister jump, and Erica stir in her arms.
Maggie's eyes were wide as she said; "I was just wondering if I'll fall in love and have lots of babies too. Do you think I will?"
"Geez, Maggie, how should I know?" Lisa cried, unable to control her voice even though she knew she'd end up waking Erica.
Maggie lowered her eyes to the floor, her cheeks flushed to the colour of raspberries. She drew little circles on her bedspread with her finger.
Lisa's horror and anger had seeped away faster than it had appeared. "Maggie," she said with a sigh. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. It's just a little early for you to be thinking about babies. Okay?"
Maggie nodded shyly, but seemed a lot less ashamed now.
Downstairs, the doorbell rang. "Mom will get it," said Maggie. She paused. "Lisa, you said it's a little early for me to the thinking about babies, but... isn't it a little early for you to have babies?"
The words cut deeply into Lisa's chest. It wasn't that Maggie's words were hurtful; it was the raw truth in them.
"Too late for me, Mags," Lisa said, looking down and stroking Erica's plump cheeks. "Not for you," she whispered, not even sure if she was now speaking to her sister or her daughter.
"Lisa!" came Marge's voice from downstairs. "It's Nelson!"