Keeva yanked on a pair of her own jeans, and one of the twin's T-shirts. She wasn't sure which one of theirs it was, but that didn't really matter too much. The only difference was that Murphy's tended to put his on by pulling it down before pulling his arms through, resulting in his shirts being slightly more stretched than Conner's. So, she couldn't really tell whose it was, and it smelled clean.
She decided to skip breakfast and grabbed her coat. She scrawled the boys a quick note and stuck it to the coffee maker, which she turned on before leaving.
She had something to take care of.
She shifted nervously from foot to foot on the porch. She knew it was a little early, but it was a Thursday morning, and the kids should be at school, John at work, and Brigh at home.
Brigh answered the door, and looked a little startled to see her sister standing there, hopping from foot to foot in the crisp morning air. But she didn't say anything else.
Keeva decided to go first. "Brigh, I'm sorry." She said. Her sister's stance suddenly softened and she threw her arms around her.
"I'm sorry too!" She exclaimed, releasing her sister. "Come on. I was just making some hot chocolate."
Keeva followed her into the kitchen, sitting down at the table as Brigh poured an second mug of the rich warm liquid. "Brigh-"
"Keeva, listen. I didn't mean it like it sounded." She sighed heavily. "I mean, shit you've been around constantly fer six years." Keeva nodded. "And I was scared that Murphy was just going to whisk you away and we'd never see you again." She added quietly. Keeva put down her mug, and shook her head.
"Brigh, I'm not going anywhere, and neither is Murphy."
"I know Keeva. It's just. . ." She sighed, meeting her sister's waiting blue eyes. "You've barely known the guy a week, and you were ready to leave us fer him." Keeva grabbed her sister's hand across the table.
"Brigh, I'd never let any man get between me and yer kids. I love them. But I need my own life. I can't keep staying here just for them. They don't need me anymore."
"But I do." Brigh said, gripping her sister's arm tightly. "All that shit about me taking care of you was just that. Shit. You're the one whose always taking care of me." Keeva offered her sister a small smile. "I mean, you saved me and my family once, and then you risk your life again to save me." She shook her head. "And you were at every one of Braden's little league games, even the ones I missed."
"Brigh, I was tha coach."
"That's not the point. Ye were there, and I wasn't."
"Brigh-" The front door opened, then slammed shut. A second later a series of small light footsteps scurried down the hall. Keeva looked down at her empty hot chocolate and got up to hunt for some more in the cabinet.
"Mommy!" Catrina's voice sounded. "Mommy?"
"In the kitchen honey!" She said. Catrina skipped in. "How was your day?"
"The teacher gave us homework!" She announced proudly. "We've got to color a picture!"
"Wow." Brigh said. Keeva found a package of hot chocolate, but stayed behind the door. If Brigh didn't want Catrina to know she was there, then Catrina wouldn't. "Honey, we've got a visitor."
Catrina's eyes widened. "Really?"
"Aye." Brigh replied. "Go look behind the door." The closet door was flung open even farther and Catrina stared up at Keeva with wide eyes for a second before attaching herself to Keeva's leg.
"Aunt Keeva!" She shrieked. "You're back!" Keeva swung her up into her arms and into a fierce hug.
"Aye." She said, making eye contact with her sister over the girl's shoulder and smiling. Brigh returned the smile. "That I am."
Keeva shifted, and opened her eyes, smiling slightly. She was, right where she belonged. A soft knock sounded on the door again, reminding her why she'd woken up in the first place.
"Aunt Keeva?" The soft voice reached her ear, and the door opened a crack. Soft feet padded over to the bed, and Keeva could just make out the girl's face in the dark.
"What is it honey?" She whispered. Catrina held the stuffed rabbit in her arms even tighter.
"I had a bad dream." She said quietly.
"A bad dream?" A lightly accent voice asked, and Murphy raised himself up from behind Keeva, shifting his arm over her waist. Catrina nodded, her eyes wide. "What was it abou'?"
"An alligator was under my bed." She declared. Murphy dropped his head onto Keeva's shoulder, kissing it lightly.
"Why'd ye have ta tell her that?" He asked. She smirked tiredly at him.
"She asked if there were monsters under my bed when I was little. I told her no, they were alligators, not monsters." He shook his head, and climbed over Keeva, picking the little girl up.
"Let's get ye back ta bed." He said. About five minutes later he returned, climbing back over her. She was pretending to be asleep, but he knew she was faking. He draped his arm over her stomach, pulling her closer. She didn't react, so he started planting kisses down her neck. After a moment, she turned over and pulled him into a kiss. After a long moment she broke away, and he rolled over almost on his back so he was leaning against a pillow between himself and the wall. She snuggled herself up against him, tangling her legs with his. She buried her face in his chest as his arm snaked around her waist, pulling her closer as they fell back asleep.
Conner let himself in the house. He'd been doing it for months now, ever since Keeva had moved back in with her sister. Murphy had been spending more and more time with them, and honestly, he didn't really mind. He just spent more and more time with them too.
They were all a family now. That was proven by the stomping feet of two kids running down the stairs to greet him when he came in. By the night spent fooling around, the adults drinking beer and playing board games.
Conner had always thought that he and Murphy would each find a woman at the same time, and settle down together. That they'd live near each other, maybe even next door, or even together.
The weight in his lap shifted, and he glanced down at the little girl. They were sitting down to watch a movie together, and there hadn't been any seats left, so Catrina had just climbed up into his lap and fell asleep. He glanced up at met his brother's eyes across the room, an identical smile pulling at the corners of their mouths.
This, he decided, was just fine.
And that my readers, is the end of this story. Hope you liked it!