“I’m an adult now, and I’m still living with my mom and brother.” Elaina said to herself, pensively, as she ran on the treadmill. “I mean,” she starts, allowing a pause for a deep gasping breath of air, “It’s not a big deal that I still live here. But,” and she pauses again, this time not taking nearly as deep of a breath, but definitely weighing something. “I just think it might be time for me to get a place of my own.”
“But how will Lee and the kids take it?” She questions, allowing her fist to thud against the punching bag and retract back to protecting her face. She threw a few more leads, then a couple of cross punches, but she still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. “Lee and I are so close. And Dexter, Lou, and Landen have never known what it is like to live without me. Actually, neither has Leland! I’m older than he is… there is so much that I could teach all of them if I stay here.”
Her fist slams into the punching bag again, and she allows her hip to turn and her knees to bend as she keeps her balance and really uses her entire body in alignment to strengthen the blow. “I just need to trust my instincts.”
After a quick shower and changing into her lounge clothes she went to go find her brother in the living room. It was now or never, so she may as well just talk to him. They had always talked about everything. In fact, Elaina remembered when Lee was talking about Meya with him and she smiled. She could count on Leland to understand.
“How are you, Sissy?” He asked when she sat down beside him. “You look a little funny. Do you have something to say? Or is it just your face from now on, weird like that?”
Elaina took a deep breath, preparing to share her thoughts with Leland. She also noted that he called her Sissy, which has been her nickname since before he was born when Jolie called her that. “Leland, I’ve got something I want to talk to you about.”
“Hey, Elaina, it’s fine! You can talk to me about anything. Even your strange looking face!”
Elaina choked back more tears, smiled at her brother’s unconscious meanness, and started from the top. “I think it might be time for me to move out soon.”
Leland stood up from the couch. “Woah, woah, woah! What?” He asked, shock and melancholy filling up every inch of his expression. He took a wary step backward, leaning away as if he might blow away if the breeze of the air conditioning picked up.
“I just need to find my own space. There are SO many people here!” Elaina said, trying to give Leland a reassuring smile. “And besides, I can always come back to visit. I won’t go too far away. I promise. I will also be sure to leave a parting gift for you to remember me by.”
He may have three siblings, but Elaina was the one who had really always been there for him, while August was getting into hot-headed fights and refusing to clean up, and Jolie was flirting with herself in the bathroom mirror, Elaina was the most stable out of all four of the kids. To this day Leland doesn’t fully understand why he was chosen over Elaina as the heir.
Some things he may never understand.