“We’re not allowed in here,” the nine-year-old boy said quietly at the doorway, not bothering to hide the fear in his voice. The five-year-old girl heard that fear and hid from Linea behind the boy’s shoulder, still not letting go of the boy’s hand. “We can’t afford to be kicked out,” the boy continued, “We don’t have anywhere else to go.”
“Your sister is too scared to sleep downstairs,” Linea pointed out, “You guys have been here for three nights and she hasn’t shut her eyes once. It’s my room, and I am allowed to do say who is and isn’t allowed to be in here.” She gave a small stomp of her foot with the determination that only a well-protected nine-year-old had.
The boy still looked hesitant to come into the room, and Linea crossed her arms over her chest and rolled her eyes. “If you want to be stubborn for your own sake, that’s fine, but that girl needs to sleep. Are you really going to let your pride prevent her from sleeping?”
That was the final blow. There was nothing that he wouldn’t do for his sister, and Linea had already figured that much out. Not that it was hard to figure that much out from him. He wasn’t shy about his love for her.
“Thank you,” he said, almost meekly. He stepped in and had to give the girl a gentle tug on the arm to get her to follow him across the threshold. “Come on, Nia. She’s letting us use her room so we can be alone. Isn’t that nice?”
The little girl gave the smallest of nods.
He looked up at Linea with a genuine smile. “Nia, what do we say when people do nice things for us?”
Nia stepped out from behind her brother and let out the quickest and quietest “Thank you” Linea had ever heard before disappearing back behind her brother. He rolled his eyes good-naturedly at Linea like can you believe her?
“Nia, you can have my bed if you like,” Linea offered, “I know you’ve had a rough couple of days. I can stay with my mom in her room so you two can get some sleep, and that way my mom will know for sure that I let you two in here myself, and there won’t be any question of making you leave the house for being in here.”
She started to head out of the room, but the boy came forward and took Linea’s hand carefully. “Thank you. Truly,” He repeated earnestly.
“Of course. I’ll see you in the morning.” Linea dropped his hand and shut the door behind her. It was only as she was walking towards her mother’s room that she realized that she knew the little girl was named Nia, but she had no idea what the boy’s name was. She would have to find that out tomorrow. Because she had a feeling that tonight would not be the last time that she was interacting with those two.