Without You

{For the Appleshine Mum, Loony, may she rest in peace.} The House Appleshine is rocked when they find out that their mother, Luna, has fallen ill. With their lives changing left and right, they've begun to have strains on the family ties as they struggle to cope with their mother's illness.

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14. Chapter Fourteen

     The sound of a phone pulled Girlie out bed. She wasn't asleep, just curled up in blankets. She had felt so warm, imagining that instead of five different blankets embracing her, it was her mum.

     But now she was crouching out of sight in the kitchen. She could see Prez holding on to the counter tight enough to put a dent in it. She said, "Thank you," in a shaky voice. Then she placed the phone on the receiver. She slowly released the counter. She turned around, poured batter in the waffle maker, and closed it. She was breathing oddly, in... out... in... out... nothing... quick in.

     Girlie stood up. "Who was on the phone?"

     Prez spun around. There was a look in her eyes that Girlie had never seen before. Fear? Sorrow? No. Worse than fear. Worse than sorrow.

     Grief.

     "The-" Prez began, before breaking down. Falling to her knees. And scariest of all, crying.

     Oh, crap!

     Prez never cried. Ever. Not like this. She cried during Netflix marathons of Doctor Who, like when Rose Tyler goes away. But anything real, anything that affected her or the family, was just a, "It'll be okay," and a, "Everything will be alright."

     Not a tear.

     But at this moment, she was bawling enough to turn the kitchen into an indoor swimming pool.

     Girlie rushed to Prez's side, lowering herself to her level and hugging her. Prez was shaking. Her body was racking with sobs. Girlie squeezed tight. "You don't have to say it. I - I know."

     Outside, Girlie was strong for Prez and trying her best to be comforting. Inside, she was crying like the seven-year-old she was. Weeping for her mother. Her forever lost mother.

     ***

     Girlie was in her room two days later. The cats had all gone, except for one kitten, who had refused to go. To cheer Girlie up, Prez had decided she could keep the kitten. She named her Brian, after her mum's middle name.

     Laying on her cat fur infested bed, Girlie was flipping her Sonic Screwdriver on and off, on and off, on and off, enjoying the pulsing noise it made. The blue light it emitted. It made her remember her mum, flashing it in her face before giving it to her.

     Mum.

     For the billionth time that day, Girlie repeated the questions she had asked over and over again: Why, God? Did Mum's time have to come so soon? Is there some greater, more philosophical reason as to why this happened that I am too thick to get?

     The phone rang. Girlie heard Prez answer.

     "Hello?" she asked, before pausing. "No, this is Prez, her sister." Another pause. "Yeah. Just a second."

     There was the loud sound as Prez bound up the stairs. She came in the room, holding the phone. "I thought you said you didn't have friends."

     "I don't," Girlie answered. It was true. She was always the loner with the two mothers and no friends. With her love of mystery and lack of friends, there was a reason she was called the Female Sherlock Holmes (or just Sherlock) by... her mum.

     "Well then, looks like you have a stalker." Prez handed the phone over, and Girlie pressed it to her ear.

     "Hello?"

     "Girlie?" the voice asked. Girlie's jaw dropped.

     "Allison?" she questioned, whilst using her free hand to shoo her sister out the room.

     "Yeah. Well, technically. Allison is just a name Ashley likes to call me. I'm actually named Mari Anne. That is beside the point. Look. I heard about your mom."

     "Mum," Girlie corrected. She felt it important to distinguish between Luna, her mum, and Hello, her mom. "Did you call to rub it in my face?"

     "What? No. I called to say I'm sorry."

     "Don't say you're sorry. I don't want your pity."

     "I'm not apologizing for your mom - Mum. I am sorry for being so mean to you."

     "Took you long enough. We've been in a class together since Kindergarten."

     "I was in love."

     "Huh?"

     "With the friends Ashley gave me. Ariel and the rest of the group. You know, Abbey, Adela."

     "So what is different now?" Girlie was a little mad, which was understandable. All her school life, she was picked on by the Populars for everything. Her clothes. Her parents. Her many Fandoms.

     "Mommy and Daddy are leaving each other. Mommy's taking Ashley with her to New Jersey. I'm staying with Daddy. But without Ash, I can do what I want."

     "So, how many people have you asked to be your friend before me?"

     "None. I like you. Everyone else is lame. You're... unique."

     "I'm going to hope that was a compliment."

     "It was. I can understand if you don't want to be friends with me," Allison, uh, Mari Anne, said. Her voice was mingled with misery, pain, and regret.

     "Why not stay with the Populars?"

     "You mean the girls? They only like Ashley. When they find out Ash is leaving, Ariel, Abbey, and Adela will leave."

     "Alli- Mari Anne. I forgive you. Wanna be friends?"

     After all, Girlie thought, Sherlock Holmes did have John Watson as a friend. His one and only best friend.

     "Yes!" There was a bunch of noise that told Girlie how happy Mari Anne was.

     "Can we talk later? We have some business to take care of." By business, Girlie meant a funeral that she still had to get ready for. She still had to curl her hair like Mum did. She had to wear the heels she hated, but Mum gave her. She had to clip on her Mum's cross necklace that she had borrowed three months earlier. She had to get the cat fur off the black shirt and dark jeans that were on her dresser.

     But before any of that, she had to go to the bathroom. She stood up and opened the door, and Prez fell in.

     "Prez! Were you listening in?"

     "No! Brian tripped me," Prez quickly said, trying to cover up the embarrassment.

     The white and gray fluffball on Girlie's bed meowed in protest. The sisters laughed, and the youngest began to think.

     Maybe, just maybe, we'll be all right.

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