Disclaimer: I do not own Secondhand Lions

"You're going aren't you?" she asked him.

Hub had barely walked through his bedroom door before he was bombarded by his sisters' question. She was sitting on his bed, head low and Hub could almost see the tears held back in her eyes.

"Yeah, Garth and I are going to Europe tomorrow." He told her gently, well aware that she wasn't going to take this well.

"What about me?" She asked brokenly. "Why am I being left behind?"

Hub sighed and sat on the bed beside her and gave her a one armed hug that she shrugged off.

"We don't know what it's like in Europe. It's not the sort of place for the faint hearted, like you. Here, home in Texas is where you're best suited. I need to go to Europe, I can't stay here."

"And Garth?" she questioned him, shooting him a glare of spite. "He's faint hearted too."

Hub shook his head. "Garth isn't the time of man to settle down, get married and have children. You are. You're going to stay here, and live happily. Get married to a nice, hardworking man."

Pearl gave Hub a skeptic look. "You hate Franklin."

Hub closed his eyes in slight annoyance at the mention of her boyfriend; he was not the sort of man a brother wanted his baby sister to marry. A gambler, a drinker and in his spare time a brawler, and a cheat one at that.

"I would prefer it if it wasn't him, Pearlie." He told her truthfully.

She glanced up at him and Hub could see a plan forming in her head – one to keep her brothers here. If she could convince Hub, Garth wouldn't leave either.

"If you stay; I won't marry him. If you don't; I will."

"Fine, marry him; be miserable for the rest of your life."

She glared at him. "You would still leave even if it meant your sister would marry a man you don't approve of?"

Hub stood up and growled in annoyance. "Goddamn it, Pearlie! Your old enough now to know want man is the type of man you want to spend the rest of your life with and which kind of man you should spend your life avoiding! I'm not going to be around here forever to choose for you!"

She held up her head stubbornly. "I will do it, don't think I won't."

"I have no doubt you will, which is why I've never been more disappointed in you than in this minute."

Pearl flinched as if physically struck and the tears she tried to keep at bay finally broke free. "All I want is my brothers." She said before breaking out into painful sobs.

Hub felt his anger dissipate and wrapped his arms around his sister.

"I'll always be your brother." He muttered, slightly uncomfortable by his sisters' oncoming tears.

"All I want is a nice house, a nice husband, kids and my brothers living down the road that I can see every day." She confessed.

"I know."

They stayed like that for a few moments before Pearl looked up at her brother.

"You'll never leave me?"

Hub smiled at her. "Never." He guaranteed.

Pearl beamed and snuggled deeper into his arms.

"Good."

"Now," Hub started, separating them, "let me see those pearly whites so I can remember you by."

Her head snapped up. "You're still going?"

"I'm not spending the rest of my life glum simply because you were too selfish to let your own brothers have happiness."

"Then go." She demanded her voice devoid of emotion and her body slack with fatigue. "I'll be married to him by the time you get back."

Hub looked at her with blank eyes. "I'm not coming back. If all I'll have left to come home to is a depressed sister and her lay about husband – I think I'd rather stay away and wonder if you went through with it rather than knowing you did."

Pearl looked up at her brother's face and saw his iron-clad resolve. He was going, and he wasn't coming back.

"Then this is the last time we'll ever see each other again."

She left the room without a glance back, with a promise to see Franklin that morning and drop the hint of marriage. Hub and Garth left without saying goodbye.

So she married Franklin and ended up a very bitter woman, with ungrateful children and died at a young age in which could only be described as death by disappointment.

When Hub met Mae for the first time, by dumping her kid on their porch, Hub could only shake his head and wonder how his sister could be so stubborn that her bitterness and spite towards him, made her fail as a mother, and thus failing her grandson. Although he felt regret that his sister turned out that way because of her malice towards him, Hub knew without a shadow of doubt that Pearlie made her bed and she had to lie in it.