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"Who cares? They're My family and I'll tell them, 'she's my baby cousin' as far as they know, I have no sibling but lots of cousins. Who cares what they think?" He says as his throat goes dry.
"Ash, you can't compromise on your own life," Lucy said gently. "I think it's very admirable that you're looking out for your family but you have to think about yourself sometimes."
"I'll be fine. I always have been. I've been taking care of myself ever since my mother died ... semi taking care of myself." He calmly fired back.
"You are so exasperating!" Lucy retorted. "Fine. Ruin your life and your chances. But at least let me help out with everything. Please?"
"I could say the same about you not following your dreams so that you could fulfill your parents." He turned away from her. "Yes, I'll always let you help me."
"Ash, we've already discussed this. I'm going to law school - end off," Lucy muttered. "Look, I'll respect what you're doing and support you as much as I can, but that doesn't mean I have to like it."
"I'm not asking you to like it. O never was. You asked me to tell you the truth, everything and I did. Go to law school and I'll take care of Jes and my niece while becoming a great photographer." His attention was captured by Jes as she tossed in her sleep.
"No, Ash, I want to help you," Lucy argued. "I juest want you to understand that you don't have to do everything for people. Sometimes you're just too nice - like with me for example. Never getting cross with me. It's ok to lose your temper sometimes."
He could see Jes was waking up. "I thinks it's time for you to go. I'll call you later, right now I want to talk to my sister." He turned to Jes and brushed her hair out her face. "Hey sweetheart, we have a lot to talk about." He placed a kiss on Jes' forehead. "I'm sorry for everything Ash." She whispered as tears streamed down her face. He struggled to keep his focus on Jes with Lucy in the room. He refused to continue talking with Lucy in the room. He's just waiting for her to leave and the sound of his door closing.
Lucy sighed and got up, walking soundlessly towards the door and shutting it behind her. She went back to her room and lay on her bed, singing sadly to herself.
Jes and Ash heard the door shut but only Jes cringed. "I'm sorry I'm the reason you two are fighting." She said. "That doesn't matter, what does is you're okay." He sighed. "When I graduate I'm taking you and Asia, okay?" Jes shook her head. "What about your future?" He smiled. "You sound just like Lucy. Family first. You and my niece need a father figure. You're only 15 and she's 1. I promised dad." She nodded. "I know. So are you going to call Ima? And are you going to fix things with Lucy?" She questioned. He shook his head. "Later." He climbed over her to lay in the bed. "Get some rest Jes." He yawned before falling asleep.
Lucy lay in the dark for a long time, unable to sleep. She was worried about Ash, and angry at herself for losing her temper with him. Perhaps she should go over and apologise - but no, he was with his sister. He wouldn't want to be disturbed.
Ash was sleep but Jes couldn't help but feel bad for causing a problem between Ash and Lucy. She quietly snuck out the bed and out his room. She made sure not to wake him as she closed the door behind her. She made her way to Lucy's room. She ran away and followed him to Lucy's room. She knocked on the door and waited for a response.
Lucy jolted upright, instantly alert. Who on earth could be knocking at her door at this hour? She picked up her baseball bat from behind her keyboard in the corner of her room and held it in her hands. Then she opened the door, holding it in front of her.
Jes didn't see Lucy but she refused to step through the door. She seen it happen with her father and her Ima Tia. She cleared her throat. "Lucy? You there?"
Lucy breathed a sigh of relief and lowered the bat. "Jes, it's you..." she sighed. "I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else. What do you want? Shouldn't you be with Ash?"
"I should but I felt bad for causing a rift between you two. So I came to ... well ... I don't really know. Talk I guess. May I came in?" Jes shifted on her feet feeling a little lightheaded.
"Yeah, sure," Lucy said, standing back to let Jes through the door. She flicked on her light and blinked for a minute, her eyes getting used to the brightness.
Jes tentatively walked into Lucy's room. "I just want to apologize for causing a rift between you and Ash. If it was about him not telling you the truth about me, he couldn't. I was a toddler when my ... our father died but I knew who Ash was. We were sworn not to say anything so we went by as cousins. He means the world to me and I don't know where I'd be without him." She paused. "That said, I don't want him to ruin his life by taking care of me and my daughter. And I know you agree."
Lucy's eyes softened and she sat on the end of the bed. "Look, I'm really sorry if me and Ash arguing upset you," she said gently. "I just wish he'd put himself before other people sometimes. I think it's brilliant that he's helping you out. But I need him to know that he matters too."