“That’s why I’m here. We need to talk.” Everlie scoffed, tossing the unfinished cigarette to the ground, Karson watching it carefully before clearing her throat. “I’m sure you know what I want to talk about.”
“I have a pretty good idea. And the answer is still no.” Underneath the streetlight, Karson’s jaw tensed, her hands coming down to rest on her swollen stomach, Everlie adverted her eyes quickly down towards the ground, which was filling quickly with snow.
“You have to come. Do you realize how much it would break their heart if you didn’t show up?” Her tone had taken on an edge, which mustered up a sick satisfaction inside the younger sibling. She chewed on her lip for a second to stop the smile that had spread across her face.
“And what makes you think I care if I break their hearts?” She innocently batted her eyes up at Karson, earning the exact reaction she had wanted.
“Everlie, stop. This charade has gone on long enough.” Everlie cupped her hands in front of her, swaying back and forth as her smile only grew more malicious.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, sis.” She spat the last word, her smile gone from her face. The black cloud of exhaustion had now risen past her knees towards her abdomen. She leaned further back against the building, the cool touch of the bricks soaking through her thin leather jacket, all the way towards her bones.
“Damn it. When are you going to grow up? W-we’ve all given you space. To grieve, to learn to move on. We’ve tried to help you, Everlie, but you can’t keep going around, treating everyone like shit. Stop acting like a child—“ Karson shut her mouth quickly, fidgeting with her fingers. It was clear she had instantly regretted what she had said, but Everlie didn’t react. The black cloud grew faster, and suddenly it was almost too much to keep her eyes open. “I’m sorry.” She shook her head, collecting her thoughts. “Look, I can’t imagine what you—I just—“
“Karson, I’m warning you, stop.” She growled, stuffing her hands deep into the warmth of her coat pocket, meeting eye to eye with her sister. She blinked a few times before dropping her gaze down to her stomach.
“Look, come to the dinner. I know it would mean a lot to everyone. Mom’s health isn’t what it used to be. I just don’t want you to regret not mending whatever this is between you two. We want you to be a part of the family again….or don’t. It’s up to you. We’ve all tried, for years. We’re done.” Karson didn’t look at her sister again, instead turned around, her arms hugging warmth back into her body, as she headed back towards a slim silver Honda parked across the road.
The darkness had taken over her body, her head falling back fully against the wall, her eyes shutting, blocking out her surroundings. She focused on the droning sound in her ears and the jackhammering of her heart, willing the cloud to suck her in whole, to take her away. But she was still there outside of the club when she opened her eyes, blinking slowly back into reality.