“Eve!” A girl, thirteen with light skin and unusual multicolored eyes lifted her head and turned in the direction of the voice. A girl, late teens with the same light skin complexion, long curly hair and brown eyes ran over to her and wrapped her arms tightly around her. “Oh, Pretty Girl.”
Thirteen-year-old Eve stood motionless in her sisters’ arms. She couldn’t bring herself to move. Not even to wrap her arms back around her sister.
They both turned to see a tall girl running towards them. She was a darker complexion and wore her hair straight. Jasmine released Eve and caught the other girl in a tight embrace as she flew towards them.
“Please tell me it’s not true. She’s not gone. She can’t be gone,” she sobbed.
Jasmine held her as she cried. She reached over and grabbed Eve and pulled her into their embrace. They held tightly unto each other until the door behind them opened. Jasmine raised her head and turned to the door. The tall dark skinned boy standing in the doorway stepped out and walked over to them. He hugged them each and wrapped his arm around Eve’s shoulder.
A nurse walked by, quickly excusing herself.
“Come on,” he said. He led Eve into the room, the girls following behind.
“Marcus,” Jasmine said. She walked over and gave him a quick hug. He was tall, the same complexion and the younger boy and very handsome.
Nikki barely spared the man standing in the corner a glance. Her eyes were focused on the woman lying in the hospital bed. No monitors beeped. Her chest didn’t rise and fall with her steady breathing. She was still. Too still. Nikki walked over and sat down on the bed beside her. Nikki picked up the woman’s hand and held it.
“How did this happen?” Nikki asked.
“Doctor said it was a heart attack,” Marcus said.
“I don’t get it.”
“her heart failed,” he said. “Anthony and Eve were home when it happened and they got her here but there was nothing the doctors could do.”
“No,” Nikki said. “I don’t understand how a woman who can heal herself dies of a heart attack. Why didn’t she heal herself?”
“Nikki-” Marcus started.
Jasmine shook her head and walked over to Nikki. She placed her hands on her shoulders and rubbed them gently.
“It was just her time,” Jasmine said.
“I just want her here,” Nikki sobbed.
“Me too.” Jasmine wiped a tear away.
No one spoke for a while. Anthony held onto Eve. No tears fell from her eyes. She didn’t utter a sound. Nikki glanced over her shoulder at Eve before turning back to their mother.
“Is she okay?” she asked.
“She hasn’t said a word since we got here,” Anthony said.
Nikki wiped her tears and cleared her throat. She got up from the bed, Jasmine taking her place, and walked over to Anthony and Eve. She ran her hand down the side of her face and looked at her lovingly.
“Hey, Pretty Girl. Do you want to go for a walk with me?” Eve didn’t say anything. She didn’t move. Nikki looked over to Marcus. He shook his head.
“I gotta get out of here,” Jasmine said getting up from the bed. Her face was stained with tears. She quickly rushed from the hospital room not waiting for her siblings to follow her.
“We should all go,” Marcus said. “We have a funeral to plan and other arrangements to make.”
Eve looked up and caught the look that Marcus and Nikki shared. Anthony took her hand and led her from the room. Marcus draped his arm around Nikki’s shoulder and they followed them out of the room and down the corridor. Jasmine was nowhere in sight.
Marcus handled everything for their mother’s funeral all while packing his things and moving them back into the family home. Eve got up from her bed when she heard the front door open. She walked downstairs and through the house. She stopped at the back door and looked out. Nikki and Marcus were in a heated discussion. Eve couldn’t make out what they were saying.
“She should come with me. I understand you keeping Anything, but Eve should come with me.”
“We’ve been over this. They both stay here. With me,” Marcus said.
“What could you possibly know about raising a young girl?” Nikki asked.
“I helped mama and papa raise both you and Jasmine. I think I can handle our thirteen-year-old sister,” Marcus said. “Besides, I think it will be better all around if she stays with me.”
“And why is that?” Nikki asked. “Is it because you don’t think I’ll be able to do what needs to be done? You don’t think I’ll be able to let her go.” Marcus didn’t say anything. Nikki chuckled and shook her head. “I can do it, you know.”
“No!” she yelled cutting him off. Nikki ran her hands through her hair. “I can let her go. When it’s time.”
“It’s time now,” Marcus said.”As the oldest I will raise both Anthony and Eve and all of the hard decisions will fall on my shoulders.”
“Fine. Whatever,” Nikki spun on her heels and stalked around the side of the house. Marcus turned to walk into the house and spotted Eve standing in the doorway. He walked up the steps and entered the house.
“You should get some sleep. We have a long day tomorrow.”
Without uttering a word Eve turned and walked back through the house and up to her bedroom.
Eve woke the next morning and dressed in the black dress that Jasmine had laid out for her. She sat down at the kitchen table and had breakfast. Marcus, Nikki, Jasmine, and Anthony joined her. When they were done they left the house, Nikki and Jasmine taking their own cars.
They sat in the front pew of the church while the minister presided over the funeral. Jasmine wiped the tears from her face. Her other hand held Anthony’s. She glanced over at Eve who was staring straight ahead. Jasmine held her hand out for Nikki to take. Nikki glanced down confused before taking her hand.
Jasmine’s voice flooded her head. She’s not even crying.
Nikki glanced over at Eve. She might be in shock.
Did you talk to Marcus? Is he going to let you take her?
No. He’s not budging on that.