Evangeline stared at the wall. When she was little, she used to stare at this very same wall, searching it for pictures and stories that she would later tell to herself at night. No one had been there to do it for her, so she had done it for herself. As she stared at it now, she saw nothing but odd shapes that made no sense. Nothing but confusion. She turned away and stared at the empty duffle bag her brother had unpacked and remembered he was downstairs, waiting for her. She hadn't slept, she had barely moved in fact and finally, she pushed herself up weakly and swung her legs over the side of the bed. As she stumbled down the hall, catching herself every time her legs decided they weren't going to try anymore, she couldn't help but notice the pictures on the wall. The one at the end of the hall, just before the kitchen, was her, Michael and her brother; Michael held up a fish and grinned. She remembered that day. They had all gone down to the river to take Evy's mind off her dad--her real dad--and she remembered it to be the best day she'd ever had in a while. She sighed and wiped at the fresh tears angrily and waited until she felt sure she didn't look too bad and stumbled into the kitchen. Her brother sat at the counter, head in his arms and she cleared her throat shyly.
"I'm sorry." She whispered, frozen to her spot. He jumped and whipped around to her, immediately smiling.
"Evy, you needed space and time. I was worried, but I knew you'd come back." He said truthfully. She managed to force a small smile and sat down next to him.
"What's for...dinner?" She questioned, looking at his watch for the time. Five in the afternoon, brilliant.
"Chicken and rice." He replied and got up to fill her plate. They ate in silence and finally, he sighed and pushed his plate away, reaching for the picture frame, face-down, on the counter. He kept the frame towards him and stared at it thoughtfully for a while. Evangeline watched him cautiously, wondering what could be so interesting about a picture frame.
"Evy, what's so interesting about a blank picture frame?" He asked, speaking her question out loud. Blank? That couldn't be. She reached out tentatively and pulled it backwards to look at it. The painted frame jogged her memory and she flew out of her seat.
"But it wasn't blank before!" She exclaimed, snatching it out of his grip. She turned it over and over in her hands as if the photograph might appear again. She threw it to the floor so suddenly that he jumped and winced at the shattering glass.
"NO!" She screamed, clutching her head. "NO NO NO NO NO!!!!" She continued screaming as she staggeringly raced to her room, opening every drawer, every cupboard; looting through her things and making a big mess of the place. He watched her, terrified, and she finally stopped and fell to her knees, her shoulders rocking violently with sobs.
"That was the picture!" She yelled through sobs. "Me and M-Michael! We were c-covered in mud!!!" She screamed and threw herself at her dresser, shoving the clothes out in a desperate attempt to find it. She never knew Michael had this affect on her. She didn't even really know why. He ran for her and tried to pick her up and carry her out. He instead ended up pulling her kicking and screaming from the room. Half way down the hall, she went limp and he thought she'd finally come to her senses and given up.
"You're going to hit me now, aren't you? Just like dad. You're going to swing your fists at me until I can't beg anymore. You're going to take my life, aren't you?" She whispered meekly and he froze mid-step, the words colliding fiercly into him and he spun around and crouched next to her, holding her up by her shoulders. Before he could speak, she did.
"If you're going to, just do it." She hissed and closed her eyes. The expression on her face hurt him more than her words. Her closed eyes looked terrified, like a deer caught in headlights. Her lips curved in a fierce grimace like she was bracing herself and her eyebrows furrowed in determination, like she was trying not to beg and scream. He pulled her close and took a deep breath. Again, she surprised him by jerking away and screaming.
"No! No, you won't do that!" She screamed, bumping into the wall as she turned to run. She yelped and staggered back, falling into his arms. He held her tightly and managed to get her into the living room, where she kicked him and fell to the floor. John ignored the pain in his leg and lifted her up again, pinning her arms to her sides.
"I'm not going to hurt you, Evy! I'm your brother, John! I'll love you and protect you and wouldn't live with myself for hurting you in any way!" He yelled, just as a loud knocking began on the door. Seconds later, the phone began to ring and John moaned. Evangeline looked up at him and began to sob.
"I'm so sorry, John! I didn't-"
"Sh, sh. Baby, it's ok." He cooed and hugged her gently, laying her on the couch. He took a deep breath and ran to answer the door. Mia stood timidly behind it with her brother, arms folded over his chest.
"Man, what the hell are you doing to her?!" He demanded. John sighed impatiently and shook his head. The phone stopped ringing.
"You know I wouldn't do anything to hurt her. Ask her for yourself." He retorted and stepped aside for them.
"Mia, you go ask her and I'll stay here. No funny business man." He said angrily, grabbing John by the arm. He sighed, defeated and stayed behind reluctantly. How could he accuse him of hurting his own little sister!? Mia returned in a few minutes, looking relieved.
"Bro, it's nothing. Evy just, kind of...well, she mistook Johnny for her dad's..."She stopped and looked away. Evangeline had confided in her and begged her not to tell about her dad's 'friend', who occasionally had stopped by with her father before.
"For?" They both demanded. She shook her head stubbornly and turned her back on them, racing back to Evangeline. She returned again moments later, holding Evangeline's hand tightly. They leaned against eachother and Mia pushed through their brother's barrier. John quickly pulled Evangeline back and tucked a loose lock of her hair behind her ear.
"I love you Evy." He murmured quietly and kissed her forehead. She smiled up weakly at him and took Mia's hand again.
"She's staying at our place, Jacob. And you're staying here." She said quickly, walking out the door and closing it before either older brother could object. Evangeline sighed heavily.
"Hey, don't get so upset over Michael, k?" Mia said quietly as they both wandered down the street. Evangeline nodded.
"How could he leave without saying goodbye?" She demanded. Mia shrugged and opened the door to her own house, pushing Evangeline through. She locked it and disappeared into the kitchen quickly. Evangeline lay down on the couch and stared at the TV until Mia came back with snacks. She set them on the table and made Evangeline sit up so she could sit beside her.
"Evy, I swear, if you're going to become all zombie-like over Michael tonight, I'm going tickle you until it hurts." She threatened. They both laughed, Evangeline's voice a little weaker than Mia's.
"What movie?" She asked quietly.
"Friday the 13th." She replied, grinning and moved to put the DVD in. They watched in silence with the occasional screams and giggles. The night went fast and eventually, Evangeline fell into a fitful sleep with Mia, who somehow managed to roll onto the floor at one point in the night.
Evangeline sat up slowly, yawning and rubbing her eyes. The memories of last night flashed before her and she hugged her knees, groaning quietly.
"Evy, what's wrong?" Mia asked groggily. Evangeline turned her gaze to her friend sitting up on the floor, looking around herself in confusion.
"You fell off." Evyangeline laughed and got to her feet, stretching.
"I'm gonna go home, k?" She continued and made her way for the door.
"K. If you need to talk, call, don't run off." Mia said, walking with her to the door. Evangeline nodded sleepily and began the short walk down the street to her own house. No matter what promises she'd made to anyone, she couldn't bring herself to go inside and spend another lonely day by herself. She knew who she wanted to be with, but she didn't want to admit that to herself. She leaned against her door and argued with herself until the door opened and she fell inside on top of someone. She screamed as they fell and jumped up, backing out the door away from Andrew.
"Wait, Evangeline. Let me talk!" He pleaded.