Continuation of last weeks post (Just the two (part one))

“Hey, get off me!” the boy cried, trying to push her away. “I said, Get off me!”

She smiled, rubbing her cheek against his like a mother would. A few seconds in, and several curious stares later, she let him go, still smiling.

The boy frowned, but it held much less hostility than before. “What’s that for?”

She wanted to say it was because he looked like he needed one, but she knew his pride would force him to react negatively. Instead, she simply said, “Because.”

“Because? What kind of answer is that?”

“Mine.”

He huffed, and she laughed at the clear frustration in his expression.

“Just leave me alone, old lady.” He said the words with a biting sting, and the girl felt the need to defend herself.

“I’m not old! I’m only fifteen!”

“Still old, obviously.”

“Says you, little boy.” She grinned cheekily, and he pouted, crossing his arms over his chest.

“I’m not a little boy. Ma says I’m the man of the house, you know.” He pointed his thumb at himself, pale cheeks flushing with pride.

“You are?” she said in awe, humoring him.

He nodded.

“What about your father, then?” And when the words left her mouth, and she saw the change in his eyes, she wished she could take them back.

The boy walked a bit away, searching for more rocks to through at the gazebo. He said nothing, and the girl felt like she had ruined their bonding, so she decided to share a part of herself.

“I don’t really have a father either,” she told him. “Or brothers, or sisters. It’s just me and my mom.”

The boy tossed one rock, then paused before tossing the next one, which landed on the lower steps of the gazebo. Turning around, he stepped up to the girl slowly, then held out the last rock for her. “I’m the man of my house,” he said again. “I can be your Dad too, if you want.”

She smiled, then laughed. “You can’t be my dad. You’re too young!” She told him, even as she grabbed the rock from his hand. She tried to toss it like he did, but it didn’t go nearly as far.

“Then I’ll be your brother.” The boy shifted on his feet, glancing up at her. “I mean, if you want.”

She opened her arms, hoping he’d come to her and return her hug. And he did.

“I’d like that,” she said, “little brother.”

The boys trigger world left her lips, and he shouted the many ways he wasn’t little, even as the girl laughed. But he laughed too, this time, and grudging added that he wouldn’t mind being her little brother, since he’d grow to be much bigger than her soon. And she agreed.

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