"Don't be mad." Frankie finally said it to Lottie. Of course, he'd brought her an eggnog shake from her favorite place, trying to keep her in good spirits. "I really can't come home with you for Christmas."
She swelled a frown as she took off her name tag and tossed it in her locker. For a moment, he thought she might have broke it, or maybe it was part of his heart. He looked to see if the name tag was in pieces, but it wasn't.
Frankie sighed. She took the shake and sipped it so fast. He was sure she'd have a headache.
"You don't know..how long..I've looked for my sister. I always dreamed..of having this time with her. You know, we'd wear matching sweaters. And..and I dunno, open presents together. You know, just..be together..family, you know." He nursed his bottom lip. "You..you just don't know..how it was ..for Vada. I mean, she had to spend a good portion of her childhood with..with our father..who..I dunno..he's kind of..a monster."
He stared at her, hoping for some kind of response.
"And you know this?" She winced as if it were a fabrication of some sort, a lie... Vada told him.
"My grandparents never liked him. They said something bad would happen, but no one ever did anything about it. He robbed a gas station when he was sixteen and was on the run ever since...well, I think he's in jail now, even if Vada swears he's dead." He leaned against the locker, watching Lottie's face, so intense and yet endearing.
"All right." But she wasn't pleased. She'd have to take the train, alone.
"Its gonna be OK." He told her. "I'll come and visit, after Christmas." He reminded her about the break from school. It was a long one. No work, either.
She smiled then as if she was pleased that she'd be with him during the holidays. When she hugged him hard, he knew he better keep his word.