I drive across town to the apartment, and when I walk in, I’m surprised to see she’s not on the couch. The water is on in the shower, and when I set the food down on the table, it stops. Moments later, she’s stepping into the room towel drying her hair, and when she sees me, a terrifying scream escapes her.
I hold out my hand. “I’m sorry. I thought I’d bring you lunch. I got your favorite burrito from Taco Ranchero.”
“Hunter.” She tilts her head at me as she tries to catch her breath. “You don’t have to take care of me, okay?”
My eyes meet hers. “I know that, but Brandon would want me to.”
“That doesn’t make me your responsibility,” she blurts out. She stops in her tracks and swallows hard. “I’m sorry. I—” She shakes her head, bringing her fingers up to her temples, and I wish I wouldn’t have said that because I notice how much it upsets her even though it’s partly the truth. I want to take care of her for selfish reasons too. I hate seeing her this distraught, and considering there’s nothing I can do about his death, I can be here for her in every way possible.
“No, I’m sorry. I just know he’d want me to make sure you’re eating and taking care of yourself, and that’s all I can do right now. If I’m overstepping my boundaries, tell me, and I’ll stop.”
“Hunter…” Her bottom lip trembles. “You don’t have to apologize. I truly appreciate everything you’ve done for me even if I haven’t shown it.” She shakes her head. “I just don’t feel like myself. I’m so fucking sad that I don’t know what to do or how to act. Time stands still, but it goes by so fast, and I feel as if I’m living the same day in hell over and over again.” Tears stream down her face, and I want to hold her, tell her it’s okay, and comfort her even if I don’t know how. But instead, I stand there feeling like the biggest piece of shit in the world.
“Lennon…” I tell her. “Come sit. It’s okay. I shouldn’t have said anything. I know what you’re going through. It’s not easy, and I don’t know how I’m going to get over this either. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced, and the only person who understands that right now is you.”
She sits, and I take the food from the bag and hand her some napkins. I ordered the same thing because it’s my favorite burrito too.
We unwrap our food, and neither of us immediately eats. Before it gets cold, I take a bite, and she follows. I haven’t had an appetite for the past week and haven’t felt like going to the gym, though I know it’d probably be good for me to release some of my anger and frustrations. Every waking moment has been spent worrying about Lennon and making sure she’s moving forward, as difficult as it is. She’s the only reason I’ve been able to get out of bed in the morning.
“This is actually really good,” she says, taking another bite and sending me a sweet smile. “Sophie’s coming to pick me up in thirty minutes. We’re getting pedis and manis. I didn’t want to go, but she’s relentless, so I agreed just to shut her up,” Lennon tells me with a defeated laugh.
My heart almost bursts with joy at the sound of it, and I’m so damn happy I called Sophie on the way to work.
After we eat, a knock taps on the door, and I go answer it. Sophie smiles really big when she sees me, and I whisper a thank you to her. She gives me a small nod and enters.
“There’s my favorite sister!” she says, walking over to Lennon and wrapping her arms around her.
“I’m telling Maddie you said that,” Lennon jokes.
“It’s okay. I tell her she’s my favorite too, so she won’t believe you.” Sophie shoots Lennon a wink, then leans over and steals a bite of the burrito that’s barely been touched. “Oh mah gah.” She moans around a mouthful, taking another bite.
“Hey!” Lennon says, genuinely smiling.
“If you don’t finish eating this, I’m gonna,” Sophie threatens with a snort as she goes in for another bite.
Lennon shakes her head and stands. “I’m going to change real quick and brush my teeth. Gimme five minutes?”
Sophie nods, and Lennon walks away.
“Thank you,” I tell her again, knowing I can go to work without worrying about Lennon wasting away alone.
“Anytime. It took some begging, but she eventually caved when I told her I was coming to pick her stubborn ass up regardless if she wanted me to or not.” Sophie laughs and looks around the apartment. The last time she was over after the accident, everything was hectic, and her attention was on Lennon.