“You knew, didn’t you?” At first it seemed like she was talking to the empty air, but then the curly-haired man seemed to materialize out of the shadows, his hands in his pockets, looking appropriately ashamed of himself. “You always knew that it would come down to this; that this was the choice that had to be made and I was going to have to make it.”
“I hoped I was wrong,” he offered in his defense. “I always hoped that it wouldn’t come to this.” He stepped towards her and put a hand gently on her shoulder. “I’m your big brother. Of course I was hoping I would protect you from all this.”
“What do you think I should do, Zeke? I don’t want to hurt anyone, but that’s not really an option here. No matter what—a lot of people are going to get hurt. What do I chose?”
“I can’t answer that, Lil. You’ve just got to take your best guess—pick your best option and hope those you do hurt can forgive you.” He gave her shoulder a little squeeze, and she wished with all her heart she was four years old again and he was about to swing her up over his shoulders for a piggy back ride—but wishing doesn’t change the world. “Just know whatever you decide, I will support you.”
‘Thanks, Zeke.” She shrugged his hand off her shoulder. “Go home, Zeke. I have a lot to think about on my own.”
“Are you sure? Because I could—“ but she cut him off with a look. “Right. Of course. I’ll see you at home, Lil.” And he disappeared just as quickly as he’d come.
Lil let herself fall apart for a second, just a second, but then she rolled her shoulders back and stood up straight. It was her choice. That was done, now she just had to decide what she was going to do.