Author's note: It's a frightening story of what happens when another person comes in between a already separated family.
I help out my brother. (Hailey)I was so board of the same old things. My life was so boring, my house was so boring, even my room! I was on my bed, listening to old, stupid music’s on my iPod. I looked around. Why did we have to be stuck in this house? It was really terrible! Let me introduce myself, my name is Hailey Conner, and I am 16-years old. I live in this home that we can barely afford with my little brother, Finland, but we call him Finn, my little sister Izabel, and my mother, Eloise. We used to have a father, Wes, but…he died 5 years ago. Everybody was depressed, but Finn was the one who suffered the most.
He was Dad’s little man, and they always spent time together. Every Fridays they had game night, which was when both of them watched football together. Izabel wasn’t even born yet, she was still in my mother’s stomach. I wasn’t really daddy’s little Princess. If he even dared buy me a shirt that said that, I’d throw it in the fireplace. But Dad didn’t care, he was very forgiving and understanding.
I sometimes wish I could hear my father’s laughter, see my father’s smile and hear his soothing voice. Now, my brother was the man of the house. He always did all the work around the house, and he’s only 12! He did the cooking, he did the cleaning, and he could even paid our bills and hired lawyers to cut out debts. I sort of felt bad for the little guy, but if Mom ordered him to do something, and no matter what the order was, he would do it without a word or an argument. Ever since Dad died, he respected Mom even more because he was afraid to lose Mom too. He worried a lot, he never thought straight or positive, always negative.
My cell phone started ringing. I flipped it open.
“Hailey, why haven’t you called me?! Only two more days till Morris’s party, yay!” Morris was a very cute guy in our school and every girl wanted to go out with him, and we were invited to his party!
“Sorry Susan, I was busy.” I lied.
“Too busy to help me decide what to wear for the party?!”
“Okay, so which color dress is better, lavender or red?” That was a hard decision. Even I couldn’t decide.
“What is Morris’s favorite color?”
“Susan, I really don’t know.” BOOM! BOOM! I heard from outside. But I ignored it.
“Okay, okay. I’ve got lavender shoes, a flower clip and lip gloss. Yup, lavender is better. Hailey, you are a genius, this is why I always talk to you for advice.” I smiled. Susan was my best friend since kindergarten, it would take an earthquake to separate us apart. BOOM! BOOM! I paused for a second. Maybe it was an intruder? Finn and Izabel were at home, but Mom wasn’t. CRASH!
“OW!” Said a voice outside my room.
“Susan, I’ve got to go!”
“But-” I quickly closed my phone and threw it in the bed as I got up quickly but quietly. I tip-toed to the door and creped it open a bit to see who it was. I saw a few huge boxes and Finn on the floor. I opened the door wide. Finn was faced down to the ground because one on the boxes was on his back. I quickly got the box off and helped him up. Finn was a pretty skinny, short guy. He had blonde hair and blue eyes like our father. I had brown hair and brown eyes like my mother and Izabel.
“Are you okay, Finn?” He nodded his head and stood without the help of me.
“I’m fine, thanks.” He said. He got the boxes in his arms again and fell again. I rolled my eyes and helped him up.
“What are in those boxes and where are you taking them?”
“Mom told me to place them away. It was on the Mom list.” The Mom list was all the things Mom asked Finn to do while she was gone for 22 hours at work. “And one of these things was to bring these boxes into the attic.”
“What’s in them?” He gave a bad cough.
“Don’t know, but was told not to look in them.” Finn was a rule follower. I went over to a box and opened it up. It was a bunch of clothes and pictures. It was Dad’s stuff. I gasped. That’s why Mom didn’t want Finn to see this, he would be crushed! See, Mom thought that they needed more room and told me we might have to move Dad’s stuff in the attic, for Finland’s sake. We didn’t tell him because that would crush him. “What? What’s in it?”
“N-nothing.” I looked over at Finn. His eyes were bloodshot red and he looked pale and weaker than usual. He got sick very often. Mostly if he started to remember about Dad. If I told him about what was inside the boxes, he’d be horrified.
Of course he’d never find out, because nobody was allowed in Dad’s room. I gave him a reassuring smile. “Why don’t I help you out?” Finn’s jaws opened wide and his eyes bugged out.
“You want to help me?” I nodded, not so sure why he was so surprised. Okay, maybe I didn’t do much help around the house and sometimes treated Finn badly. “Listen Hailey, if you’re going to play a prank on me, do it tomorrow. I feel very sick and I don’t want to clean up the mess you might leave for me.” I carried all the boxes easily and smiled at my little brother.
“I’m not playing a prank on you.” I said ruffling his hair. He just looked surprised, but I knew inside he was relieved he didn’t have to do this work when he was sick.
We both walked down the hall and Finn pulled on the string hanging from the ceiling, revealing wooden stairs. I went up first and then Finn. We both placed the boxes in the far corner of the attic. I looked around. The attic was filled with junk and useless mementoes. We both climbed down the stairs and I placed the ladder back.
“Thank’s for the help, Hailey.” I smiled at him.
“No prob. You want help with making dinner?” His expression told him I was freaking him out.
“I have an excuse for being crazy because I’m sick, what’s your excuse?” I stared at him. He was smarted than he looked. I didn’t want him to know that I just hid everything about our father in the attic, trying to move on.
“Nothing.” I said in a squeaky voice. It happened when I lied. I cleared my throat. “Nothing. You’re just very sick so I want to help you out.”
“Hailey, I’m always sick, why are you helping out today?” I sighed.
“Finland, do you want my help or not?” He stared at me when I called him his full name. I never did that. He wanted to argue but I knew he would like a break.
“Okay.” He said slowly, hoping this wasn’t a trap. I placed my arm around his shoulder and we both walked downstairs. Finn got the spaghetti and boiled it in water while I cut the vegetables.
“So, how’s school going?” He just stared at me.
“Fine.” He said slowly. He gave a few bad coughs. We were all getting worried about him. Sometimes he would be fine, but then he would get sicker and sicker. One time, he had to go to the hospital because it was so serious.
“Izabel, come on down!” I yelled. I heard a loud slamming noise and Izabel came running down in her Princess dress with a tiara on her head and a wand.
“Hello Princess Hailey. And Prince Finland, You are sick as usual.” Finn smiled.
“Princess Izabel, it’s so wonderful that you are here. Please, sit down on your throne.” He said. Izabel giggled and sat down. She was a cute little girl with a big imagination. I didn’t really like it when she bugged me to play pretend with her imaginary friends. It was so childish. I wished she could be more mature like Finn and I, but my mother told me that I was like her too when I was little. Finn poured himself a glass of orange juice and sat down. “I think my throat is going to burn up.” Fin said rubbing his throat.
“Let me fix it!” She said waving her wand around Finn, trying to make him feel better. He smiled. He never had a problem with Izabel. If she wanted to lay, he would drop everything to play with her and he wouldn’t have a problem with it.
“Thanks, sis. But I think I’ll have to see a doctor soon. But we can’t.”
“Why not?” Izabel asked sweetly. Finn’s expression turned blank.
“Um…because the doctor is on vacation for a few months.”
“Oh.” But the really reason was that we didn’t have enough money to pay for a doctor’s visit. We didn’t have medicate so we’d have to pay for our medicine and visits to the ER or the doctor’s. Mom had to save up a lot of money to buy Finn medicine so Finn pretended not to look so sick around her so she would stop spending so much money on him.
“Don’t worry Finn, we’ll find another doctor soon.” I reassured him with a smile. He sighed.
Mom opened the door as soon as we started eating. She was smiling and laughing on the phone.
“Okay Mason. I’ll talk to you soon, bye.” She hung up the phone and smiled at us. She gave us all a kiss on the head. “Hello children.”
“Hi mommy. Mommy, look!” Izabel said showing Mom her picture.
“Wow, honey that is beautiful!” She took it and hung it on the fridge. If something was stuck on the fridge, it was either very important or something very special. Not that a picture of a ice cream was something special, nor important. “Hailey, how are you?”
“I’m fine, just planning for my party.”
“That’s great. And Finn, how about you?”
“The chores are done.” Mom smiled.
“Thank you sweetheart.” My Mom touched Finn’s forehead. “You’re burning up!” Finn flushed.
“Um, no, I was just in front of the stove too long. I’m fine.”
“Absolutely.” Finn said giving Mom a fake bright smile. Mom smiled back and sat down to eat with us. We all ate in silence, well, if you call Izabel’s singing quiet.
Finn didn’t even touch his food. He placed it back in the fridge.
“You’re not hungry?” Mom asked.
“No. Can I go to my room, I’ve still got some homework to do.” My Mom nodded and we all watched Finn go upstairs.
“Finnie’s very sick.” Izabel told her. Finnie was Izabel’s nickname for Finn. I stared at her with my laser eyes to shut her up, but she ignored me.
“Yes.” My Mom faced me.
“Did you know about this?” I quickly stuffed my mouth with spaghetti and shrugged.
“I’m going to play tea party.” Izabel said running upstairs. I spat the spaghetti in a napkin and threw it in a trash can.
“So, Mom, why do you seem so happy today?”
“Hmm, no reason.” I rolled my eyes.
“Please, you were totally dreamily talking to Mason.” She smiled.
“You always know everything about me. So, Mason is this worker at my office. We’ve been hanging out for a year now. He’s so nice and sweet and-” I quickly held up a finger and looked up to see if Finn’s door was open or if he was eavesdropping on our conversation. I gestured my Mom to go on.
“So, do you like him?” I asked, as if talking to Susan about Morris. My Mom smiled while playing with her fork.
“Like is such a…strong word.”
“Well, don’t say that word in front of Finn.” Mom frowned.
“I’m getting worried about him, Hailey. He’s getting sicker each day and we don’t have enough money to take care of him.” I bit my lip. Why did people always tell me their problems? I wasn’t a fairy godmother and make things better? But Finn was my little brother, my family. And I’d do anything for family.
“I’m sure we’ll find a way to take care of him. Plus, he’s better than yesterday. He was in bed all week, now at least he’s walking.” My Mom sighed.
“I know, but it’s like a pattern, it gets worse than better.” I tried to give her a smile.
“Don’t worry. Now why don’t you go lie down, I’ll take care of the dishes.” My mother got up and kissed me.
“Thank you sweetheart. Because of you, this family is still right.” She said and climbed up the stairs. She always said that, but it stopped meaning anything after a year.