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I enter the living room and scream “Dixie Rose!”

She opens her arms

I run to her, tackling her in a hug that sends us both crashing down onto the couch “Ohhere so early? The party isn’t until this weekend!”

“Pops called me and filled e brown eyes take in everything I want to hide It’s always been that way between us “You are so not okay, babe”

“I am” I s A lump forms in my throat

“You know you’ve never been able to get things past me,” Dixie says Her husky alto is full of truth and wisdom

I usually appreciate it, but right now, it’s the last thing I need I pull away “You’re reading too s”

“No, I’, please”

“Aunt Blue, if you’re good I’ to head off to school”

“Yeah, baby, go ahead I’ll see you when you get home, okay?”

Bolt nods

I’d taken personal ti I needed to let run its course I couldn’t handle the kids right now I one They take everything you got, and right now, rab her small suitcase, and pull it down the hall

She follows me, silent

I know she’s waiting for Bolt to leave

The door slams and his motorcycle starts up