No Tomorrow, Part 48

3:00 pm – continued

“Jenna, honey, are you okay?” her mother called from the kitchen.

“Yeah,” Jenna called back. “I’m coming, Mom.”

Though she knew her mother was expecting her, she had one more thing to do. Earlier, she had been talking to her aunt and they had made alternate plans for the night just in case she changed her mind about going to the party. Quickly, she texted Sylvie that she wanted to put their “Plan B” into action and then threw the phone down onto her bed.

Barefoot, and enjoying stretching her toes without any interference from the panty hose she had worn, Jenna made her way downstairs and into the kitchen. Her brother and sister, now also out of their wedding clothes, were already gathered at the breakfast bar, enjoying cookies and milk.

Abigail lifted a chocolate chip cookie and saluted her sister with a smile. “Great idea, sis. We haven’t had cookies and milk since we were kids.”

Jenna gave her older sister a small smile and went around the counter to first give her mother a tight hug.

“Thanks, Mom,” she whispered.

“No problem, honey. Now, go get your snack from the fridge and enjoy it with your brother and sister. It’s been a while since the three of you have spent any quality time with each other. And you should have the chance to do that today. I’m going to go see if your father wants anything.”

Jenna obediently took her plate of cookies and glass of milk from the refrigerator and joined her siblings at the breakfast bar, taking the stool on the end so Cooper was sandwiched between his sisters. Callie smiled at her children and, after kissing each of them on the top of their head, walked out of the kitchen to find their father.

“It has been a while,” Abigail said pensively, a cookie paused in the process of heading for her mouth, milk dripping onto the counter from it.

“And whose fault was that?” Jenna asked, raising an eyebrow and glancing down the bar and across her brother to find Abigail’s profile, her gaze also capturing Cooper, who quickly stuffed a cookie into his mouth, without milk. “For the past two years, it was just me unless Abigail came to visit for an hour or two.” Jenna sighed and fiddled with the cookies on her plate. “Look, I’m sorry, but I’ve missed you guys. It’s been kind of lonely.”

Abigail hopped off of her stool and went around to wrap an arm around her baby sister. Jenna leaned her head against Abigail’s. Cooper reached out and awkwardly patted Jenna’s hand, but Jenna wasn’t letting him off easy; she grabbed his hand and held onto it tightly.

“I’m sorry, sis,” Abigail said. “We should have been here more for you. We shouldn’t have been so busy with our own lives that we couldn’t have taken a little bit more time for you. You’re our baby sister. We should have been around to take care of you. I’m sorry.”

“I know,” Jenna said, fighting the urge to cry all over again. “It’s okay, Abby. I’m just glad you guys are home now.”

“Why don’t we all, and Stacie and her friends, go to the party tonight together?” Abigail asked, trying to infuse her voice with some brightness.

Jenna shook her head against her sister’s. “No. I’ve already decided I want to stay home. This is where I want to die. I want to be home, in the only home I’ve ever known. I want to be somewhere familiar.”

Abigail hugged her sister tightly and Cooper’s hand tightened around Jenna’s as their sister began to cry once more.

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