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This is my longest effort so far and I hope it didn’t turn out to be too long or slow. Fair warning, it is not a quick read, but all the same I hope you enjoy it.


I turn the keys in the ignition, causing the car to come to a standstill. I’m still sweating, after having run the entire distance between the airport gate and the parking lot outside. The drive here took me about 25 minutes, and my hands are shaking as I remove the keys and step out of the car, turning to look at the small house up the driveway. The two-floored building is painted in a warm yellow colour and a cute little sandbox has been placed in the front yard. I rapidly walk up towards the white door, ringing the doorbell. I can feel tears already forming in the side of my eyes as I wait, dreading what will meet me once the door opens.

He answers the door and I can tell he’s been crying. His blonde hair is a mess, and those green eyes that I knew to be full of life seemed more dead than alive. He’s wearing a simple t-shirt along with a pair of jeans, and in his arms is a small bundle. A sleeping little baby girl, with the same blonde hair as him, her little button nose moving slightly as she breathes calmly. He looks at me and before he says anything I hug him tightly.

“I’m so sorry, I came as soon as I could.”

My voice is hoarse, my tears starting to flow down my cheeks as I cling to him. He pushes his head against my shoulder despite me being more than 4 inches shorter than him. No words come out, only sobs, as we stay there, locked in a familiar embrace. I eventually break the hug and look at him, grasping his shoulder.

“Let’s go sit down. Please?”

He nods, walking ahead of me into the house as I shut the door. The living room is beautifully decorated, with a sofa and two armchairs. Along the walls are two bookshelves and above a bureau hangs a mirror. I look at my reflection as I pass it, those hazel eyes gazing back at me. My brown hair is a mess, and my eyes are slightly red from all the crying. It gets worse when I see the framed photo below the mirror. Him in a stylish white suit, a big smile on his face and the blonde hair combed to the side. Next to him is a woman about my height, with beautiful blue eyes and black hair done up in a cute arrangement. Her dress is impeccable, and she looks absolutely stunning. I look at the date marked in the lower right corner and turn away. It had only been a little more than two years ago, but things had already gone so wrong. I go to sit in the sofa next to him, his arms gently cradling the baby girl.

“How you holding up?”

He looks at me and sniffles, bringing up his sleeve to wipe his tears.

“N-not good, sis. I-I keep thinking I’ll wake up from this nightmare and she’ll be right here with me, holding Daisy.”

I bring my hand to his shoulder and meet his gaze.

“I don’t know what to say, Chase. I can’t imagine how you feel right now.”

He sobs quietly and is still for a few moments.

“W-we had such plans. We wanted to do so many things with Daisy. A-a-and now…”

He trails off, tears starting to stream down his face again. I lean forward and hug him tightly, trying to be the big sister I’ve always been.

“I know, Chase, I know. Listen to me, little brother. You need to be strong, you know why?”

He shook his head, crying into my shoulder.

“Because Daisy needs you. Maria is counting on you to raise your child, alright? She wouldn’t want you to break down, and your daughter needs her father.”

He sobs loudly, any words coming out of his mouth far too incoherent for me to even try to understand.

“I’ll stay here until you get back on your feet, alright? Big sis is here for, just like before. You focus on Daisy and I’ll take care of the rest.”

He breaks the hug and looks at me, wiping away tears. The little girl in his arms is starting to slowly move and she opens her eyes, the deep blue of her mother reflecting in the light of the sun shining in. As she starts to wail and cry, I pat him on the shoulder.

“Go make sure she’s fed. I’ll be bringing in my bags and then make you something to eat. Alright?”

He nods, standing up as he looks at his daughter.

“Alright, sis. Thank you.”

He walks off, and it’s hard for me to not recognize him as the young boy I raised on my own. Despite it being eleven years since our parents died I still have a hard time seeing him as an adult sometimes. I stand up, looking at the wedding photograph.

“I’ll take care of him, Maria. I won’t let him break down.”

With steady steps I open the door and walk back to my car to get my bag. I’ll have to go back to my apartment soon, maybe tomorrow, to get more of what I need. For now the bag filled with my vacation necessities will have to do. As I walk back in I immediately head to the kitchen, putting on the apron as I look in the fridge. It is still relatively well-stocked, which gives me options. I bring out a pack of meat and some eggs before closing it and starting to cook.

When he walks back into the kitchen his arms are empty, but the casino siteleri crying stopped a short while ago. He sits down at the table, head hanging low.

“I’m sorry that I interrupted your vacation, sis.”

I turn my head around, glaring at him.

“No apologies, Chase. My trip was nothing compared to my need to be here for you. I only wish I could have arrived sooner.”

He shook his head.

“It would not have made much difference. You couldn’t have changed anything.”

I bit my lip and turned back to the stove. I understood his pain, and the fact that it was still an open wound. Maria had died less than a week ago, and he had been left alone. There were no relatives around, and I was in Spain for some time off. When he called me that night and told me that she had died in childbirth… I broke down crying in my hotel room. After changing my tickets I hurried back as soon as I could, despite knowing that I couldn’t change much. He had lost the love of his life, the one he was going to start a family with. Now, he was the single father of an infant little girl, with no direct income of his own. He had been planning to commit to being a stay-at-home father, while his wife continued her work as an interior decorator. All those plans were now sunk, and if things didn’t change he would risk losing the house they had so loved.

“Chase… Can I ask you a question? I understand if it hurts, but I need to know.”

I couldn’t see his expression but I could imagine it vividly in my mind as he spoke.

“Sure, sis. Shoot.”

I took a deep breath, turning over the pork in the pan.

“Did she leave you any savings? Anything to help you keep the house and provide for you and Daisy?”

I could imagine him shaking his head, his head still lowered.

“No. It was all so sudden, we didn’t even consider anything like that.” He sighed. “I-I’ll have to look for a smaller place. And get a job, otherwise I can’t feed Daisy.”

I looked down into the pan, images of my little brother begging for a job while his daughter cried at his side. It was not something I was about to tolerate.

“I’m moving in.”


“You heard me, I’m moving in. I’m cancelling my apartment and getting my things here within the week.”

I could hear the confusion in his voice when he replied.

“B-but sis, you can’t. You have your career, I can’t lock you down like that.”

I shook my head fiercely.

“No objections. You’re barely an adult, Chase, and Daisy needs you. I’m not letting you lose this house you both loved, but I may need to stretch my savings a bit in the beginning.”

The sound of a chair being moved echoed in the kitchen.

“B-but sis, I—“

I turned around, a determined expression painted on my face.

“You’re my little brother, and you have a baby daughter. You have no work experience, and no savings. I’m not suggesting this, Chase. I’m stating it. This is not a negotiation. I’m moving in, and that’s final.”

I saw him with a bewildered look on his face as he walked closer, and I noticed the tears starting to run again. I pulled him into a big hug, starting to rub his back gently.

“It’s okay, little brother. Big sis has you, and will take care of you. Just like in our younger days.”

He clung to me, crying quietly. I could almost see the weight lifting off his shoulders as he understood that he was not alone, and never had been. As I comforted him I spoke softly.

“Dinner will be your favourite, fried cutlet with rice. Now, go clean yourself up and take a quick shower. I can tell you’ve not been taking care of yourself.”

He slowly nodded and broke the hug. When he looked back at me there was the faintest hint of a smile on his lips.

“Thank you, sis.”

He turned to walk away towards the bathroom while I returned to the stove. It was not going to be an easy journey, but I had seen hope in his eyes. I was not leaving my little brother out in the cold. Not ever.


I step out of the car and take a deep breath. My hair is still a bit of a mess as I can clearly see in the side mirror. The wind is blowing quite strongly as I walk to the trunk of my car and pull out the first of three bags I’ve prepared. I close the trunk again before I walk up to the door and ring the bell. He opens it within less than a minute and gives me a soft smile.

“Hey. Didn’t notice you leaving this morning.”

He looks more relaxed, even if the bags under his eyes still tell me that he had slept very uneasy. He moves to the side as I drag my bag into the house, closing the door behind me.

“I wanted to get going as soon as possible. In case you needed me in the afternoon I didn’t want to be too far away.”

He smiles and nods, grabbing my big bag.

“Geez, sis, this is heavy. What’s in this thing?”

I pull off my coat and hang it on the rack.

“Mostly my work things. Laptop, folders, camera and microphone…” I sigh. “I just hope I managed to get everything.”

He nods and begins to drag the bag with him.

“You canlı casino can go grab the rest. The wind is picking up and I heard there will be heavy rain later in the evening. Better be done before that.”

He gives me a gentle smile, his warm green eyes still visibly tired. I nod and open the door again.

“Alright, I’ll get them. You can just leave the bag wherever, I’ll take care of it later.”

I step out into the wind again, thinking back to how things would be from now on. I had spoken to my landlord early this morning and informed him of the situation. He was sad to see me go, but he understood the circumstances. He even put me in touch with some friends of his that would help move my things at a low charge. I really appreciated it, especially since I would have to pinch every penny from now on. My job was not exactly a goldmine after all, but when I found scoops they paid off. It would be a real challenge to keep the household afloat on my own. Even so, I was determined to make it work, for the sake of my brother and niece. The deal was that he would care for anything regarding the house, except maybe cooking, while I took care of the monetary issues. Somehow it still felt more like the days in the past when I had been essentially his replacement mother, and not like an older sister helping out. I’m worried about Daisy though. What will happen to her, when she grows up and starts asking about her mother? Being raised by her father and aunt could have some consequences, but it was still far better in my mind than the alternative. I force the thoughts out of my head as I return back in with the two remaining bags, dropping down in the couch once they’re inside and the door is locked.

I don’t have to wait long before he joins me in the living room, the little baby girl asleep in his arms. He sits down in one of the armchairs, cradling her gently.

“S-sis, I have to ask…are you entirely sure about this?”

I sigh and lean back, running a hand through my messy hair.

“I told you last night, didn’t I? I’m here to stay, at least for as long as I need to. I’m not letting my little brother and niece go through economic woes when I can help. I’ll be her aunt and help raise her, and keep a watchful eye on you in the meantime.”

He looks at me and nods ever so slowly.

“Alright. I felt I needed to give you that one last out. I don’t know if I could ever raise her on my own, so when you said that last night…” He began to tear up again. “It was such a relief. I know it may not seem like it, but I doubt that I ever truly grew into an adult. Considering how panicked I became when it was clear I had lost her…”

He became quiet and looked at his sleeping daughter, tears slowly running down his cheeks. I look over at him, seeing the young boy I raised. The little brother I cared for more than anything in the world.

“Chase, you’re a grown man, there is no doubt about that. You fell in love with a lovely woman, got married, and had a child together. That’s far more than I can say about most men I’ve interacted with.”

I get up from the couch and walk across the room to him, kneeling down in front of the armchair.

“You just focus on raising your daughter and I’ll be here to support you, alright? Let big sis take care of it.” I very gently stroke the head of the sleeping girl, looking into her rosy face.

He nods and gives me another small smile through his tears.

“A-alright.” He takes a deep breath and joins me in watching the little baby. “Daisy could not have dreamed of a better aunt.”

I chuckle slightly, lifting my head to look into his eyes.

“You only say that because you don’t know how much of a mess I’ve become since we moved out of that house. But enough talk about the past. Let us focus on the bright days ahead. Maria would want you to smile, not grieve.”

He nods and runs his finger along the belly of the infant.

“Daisy’s future. I can agree to that.”

I smile and stand up, rolling my shoulders.

“Well, I’m starving after all that work packing things. I’m feeling lazy, so today will be pancakes. You just focus on your daughter while I make sure we don’t starve.”

I step out of the living room into the kitchen and begin preparing for today’s meal. As I start working I begin to hum, the melody a familiar one. The one I always used to sing when he would join me in the kitchen while I was cooking. It felt nice to be by his side again, and I was going to be the best aunt I could be.


I open my eyes slowly, yawning as I stretch my arms. As I look to my side I see the bright smile of a young girl, her blue eyes looking intently at me. She’s wearing a cute little white dress with a strawberry pattern and is holding out a small wrapped present.

“Happy birthday, Aunty Emmy!”

I can’t help but smile as I watch my lovely little niece. Behind her I see my brother, his blonde hair almost an exact reflection of his daughter’s. He gives me a warm smile and puts down a tray on the bed over my lap.

“Happy 31st birthday, sis.”

I sit up slowly kaçak casino as the young girl crawls up into the bed next to me and gives me a big hug. I pat her back and give her a peck on her forehead.

“Good morning, darling. Thank you very much.” I look towards the tray and see all my favourites lined up, if a bit basic. “Oh my, did you help daddy with the food?”

She nods proudly and grins as she breaks the hug.

“Yes! I helped lots!”

I chuckle and place the small present to the side as I drag the tray closer.

“I don’t care much for growing older, but I like this treatment.”

I reach for a piece of toast when I notice a faint smell in the room.

“Chase, did you forget the stove?”

A shocked expression washes over his face and he immediately runs out of the room, accidentally losing one of his slippers in his hurry. Daisy giggles and moves to sit beside me in the bed.

“Daddy is silly.”

I nod and take a bite of the toast covered with marmalade and fried egg. It’s a bit over salted but I can let it slide. As I chew slowly Daisy looks at me and fidgets a bit with her fingers.

“Is something wrong, darling?”

I give her a gentle smile and stroke her cheek with my free hand, looking into her blue eyes. She shakes her head slowly but doesn’t stop fidgeting.

“Aunty Emmy… can I ask a question?”

I nod and take another bite of the toast, now a bit curious what’s gotten her so shy.

“Of course you can, darling. Your aunt will answer any question you may have.”

She nods and moves to take my hand, running her small fingers along it.

“Why are you not my mommy? In all the cartoons the girls and boys have a mommy and a daddy.”

Utterly shocked by the question I start to choke on the bite in my mouth as I hurriedly begin to lightly tap my throat to not lose air. In my panic I accidentally overturn the tray, coffee and the plate with fried egg and toast starting to cover the sheets. I struggle desperately to force down the piece of toast but it just seems to get stuck harder. Next to me Daisy begins to cry as she sees me struggling and the food going all over the bed.


The steps that had been approaching slowly now intensify and my brother appears in the doorway, running up to the bed and lifting Daisy off onto the floor before he pushes my body forwards. He gets up behind me and wraps his arms around my stomach, starting to push with all his strength.

I can’t see it but I know my face is turning blue from lack of oxygen, and my arms start to go limp. Just before I feel my vision dimming a strong thrust into my belly forces my muscles to work and with a forceful hurl I spit out the piece of toast that had nearly killed me. I start to cough and heave, forcing as much air into my lungs as possible.

Daisy is crying hysterically, her arms limp at her sides as tears flow down her face, her cute white dress slowly getting stained. While I try to recover he goes over to her and hugs her tightly.

“It’s okay, darling, aunt Emmy is fine, she’s not hurt, alright?”

Daisy doesn’t answer, she just clings to his shirt and cries desperately into his chest. She is after all only a two-year old little girl who nearly saw her aunt choke to death. What made it worse was that it had been in reaction to her question.

I slowly get control of my breathing back and when I don’t feel any immediate danger I look over at them. With a hoarse voice I try to comfort my niece.

“It’s okay, darling. I’m not in danger, no need to cry.”

Daisy didn’t listen, she only tightened her grip on the shirt of her father. He stood up slowly, picking her up in the same motion.

“Let’s go take a nap, okay? Aunty Emmy is fine.”

Daisy nodded and sobbed into his shoulder as they walked out of the bedroom. When they’ve left I slowly move to get out of the bed. I will need to change the sheets, and explain to Daisy that I was not hurt, that I wasn’t going anywhere. As I get up from the bed I move my hand to the wall for support, my legs still shaking slightly from the incident. In a bit of a daze, I go into the hallway and to the bathroom, closing the door behind me before I sit down on the toilet, my head in my hands.

Two years. Two years have passed since I moved in here to help my brother. To help him with raising my niece. Two years with many struggles, but they made the small triumphs feel that much greater. Daisy’s first steps, first words, firsts of many kinds. I truly cared for the little girl, and I found myself enjoying being part of the small family. For two years I’d been Aunty Emmy, the kind lady that lived in the same house, but who was not her mother. So why had that question rattled me so? Why had I been so shocked and surprised by her asking about it that I nearly choked to death? Was it because I sometimes wished for it? That I could be the mother to the little angel? The thought had passed through my mind a few times during the past years, but just as quickly as it came I shot it down. I was an aunt, not a mother. Her father was my little brother, and that was that. I could never fulfil that title, no matter how much I loved her and treated her like my own daughter. In all ways but one. I was aunt Emmy, not mommy. And that was the one thing that could never be.

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