It didn't take long for me to carry our belongings to the front door of the house. I gave Leila the key that I still had from my pocket and she clumsily unlocked the door and pushed it open, stepping inside. I felt a wave of cool comfort and eagerly reached for the light switch only to find that our power had been turned off.
"Damn it!" I was exasperated. Of course the power would no longer be on. We had been gone for so long and didn't pay the bill in time. At least we were all fed for the night and would go to sleep soon. I would take care of the power in the morning. Sam had grabbed Leila's hand and ran her other hand across the top of our couch. She had never seen our house before and I hated how the first time she was looking around was in this condition. Leila had insisted while we lived here that the entire house be spotless and now it was covered in thin layers of dust from top to bottom.
"Leila, I'm so tired." Sam's small voice filled the room. She had made her way over to the stairs holding her head in her hands while Leila became familiar again with the kitchen. In seconds she was at her sister's side grabbing her hand and pulling her towards the front door where I had left the bags and boxes. She found the one with Samantha's belongings in it and then turned her attention towards myself.
"Sean, I'll take her upstairs to the guest room. She's exhausted." I wanted to smile and tell her that we all were, but I knew the dark wouldn't allow her to see my face. Instead, I stood up off of the couch I had been sitting on and grabbed the bags by the door before following them both up the stairs. I refused to say this to anyone at this point in time, but I was still terrified of having Leila out of my sight for more than a few minutes. Even though I knew exactly where she was going, it would take nearly half an hour before she would come back down to me on the couch and I wouldn't wait that long. She took her sister into the main bathroom and I threw myself on top of my bed, breathing in the familiar smell of it and all of a sudden wanting Leila lying next to me with my arms around her.
Sam was tucked into the guest bedroom down the hall with her blanket and Leila came back into our room stopping in the bathroom for another minute. I closed my eyes and heard her quietly creep out of the bathroom and found her way to the bed, literally throwing herself into my chest with enough force to make me lose my breath for a moment. Her arms wrapped tightly around my frame as mine were around her too making me feel as close as possible to her. Her head turned to her left and I could feel her breath on my neck, slightly forced and uneven. The flow of feelings between the two of us at that point in time was so great, but neither of us wanted to break the rare moment of serenity that was happening now. We lied in that position for a long time. I only broke it because I knew she was falling asleep quickly and that she also wanted to talk before she did.
"Leila?" I heard her murmur below my chin. "I love you." I spoke into her hair.
"And I love you." The answer always lifted me up no matter how low I was feeling. She wiggled her way out of my grip and lifted her eyes to face mine. Her golden hair was tousled now, her eyes looking sleepy but interested.
'We're finally getting to start over." I started. "Our lives are going to be wonderful now. Sam will have a great childhood. No more stress, no more torture."
"Sean, I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it." Her response startled me at best.
"What do you mean?" Her eyes stayed glued to mine and I could make out that they were beginning to water slightly.
"I'm all that Sam has now. I'm so grateful that she's alive and we're together, but how am I going to be her parent? I can't take care of a little girl! I don't have a job, I have no way to pay for her at all. And when you get a job it isn't fair for you to have to pay for her to live with us. And I don't know how to be a mom! She's used to my own mom and dad and I…" She was full on crying now and as much as I never wanted to watch her cry, I knew this was the best thing for her.
"Leila, as much as you take charge of situations, you also worry about situations too much. First of all, yes neither of us have jobs right now, but that's not what is most important in our lives at the moment. I still have enough money in my account for a couple more months of living without working. And if for some reason I don't have a job by then, I can ask my friends, or my dad, or someone to help us. And they will.
Secondly, no one wants you to be Sam's mother. All she needs is an older guardian to keep her safe and keep her on the right track. It's okay if there are mistakes made along the way. The only people that matter are the three of us in this situation and we all will forgive you if you mess up. But if you do mess up, don't think that I'm not going to be right next to you screwing up also. We have to be a team in more ways than one to make this work for us right now. I will never be the person to sit and watch you take care of your sister, or your own kids, or anyone, and not do anything myself. I love you too much to do that.
And lastly Leila, you need to take your own time to mourn the loss of your family and heal before jumping into other things. Sam doesn't even know that her father is dead. And I don't know if she knows her mother is dead too. Both of you need to take a time out and literally just cry. I don't think you realize how weak you are going to be now that you aren't in any danger or under stress. Did you even get to think about your father's death? I know you didn't have enough time to think about your mom's." She shook her head. She was now laying her head on her pillow with her tears still streaming. I lied my head down next to hers and held her hand while she cried into my shoulder. I couldn't imagine how much she was holding in for this amount of time. All she needed to do was cry and she did for a long while. She closed her eyes after her tears had stopped for the night and I gently brushed my fingertips across her eyelids. Only when I was positive she was sleeping did I lean back and try to fall asleep myself.
It was early in the morning when I heard soft talking bringing me out of my slumber. Sam was standing on Leila's side of the bed speaking to her sister and looking very upset.
"What's wrong?" I asked. Leila found my arm with her hand and squeezed it gently before sitting up fully in the bed.
"I want Mommy." Sam shocked us both with that request. Leila seemed to have froze and I wasn't quite sure what to say. I knew this late at night wasn't the best time to tell the little girl about her parents.
"They aren't here Sam." I told her gently. She had started crying and I assumed she had a nightmare in her bedroom down the hall.
"Can I sleep with you?" The question was aimed towards Leila who had become unfrozen with that question.
"Uh…um…" I knew she was thinking of how it would be uncomfortable in more ways than one if all three of us were sleeping in the same bed together.
"Sure Sam. You stay here with Leila and I'll switch beds with you, okay?" Leila found my arm again and I found her eyes assuring her it was okay with me. The little girl was already climbing in next to her sister and I walked around the side of the bed and kissed Leila three times before walking to the other bed in the other room.
Even though none of us knew what was coming next in our lives together, it didn't matter. I was confident in my love for both of them and I knew at the very least Leila loved me and Sam liked me too. I would take that. I already felt like the luckiest man on the planet who fell into the most unlucky situations imaginable.