Lunkwill fell back on Kathy's bed and threw his head into his hands. He peered through his fingers at the white sheet of paper on the floor. His entire body was shaking.
Oh my God, what do I do? Where is Kathy now? What if she's already dead? Lunkwill felt so helpless. All he could do was sit on Kathy's bed and cry, shaking all over.
Then, he smelled car exhaust.
Lunkwill lifted his head and said out loud, "The car!"
Lunkwill ran through the kitchen to the garage and flung open the door. He was instantly hit in the face with thick, gray car exhaust, but he pushed through it.
Lunkwill could see the outline of his father's car. He ran to it and pulled the door open. Kathy fell out of the driver's seat and Lunkwill caught her. Though she was thin for her age, Kathy, being four years older than Lunkwill and a few inches taller, was dead weight to Lunkwill.
With a bit of effort, Lunkwill picked up his sister and carried her like a princess (A very sad and possibly dead princess) to the living room.
Lunkwill laid Kathy's limp body on the living room floor and he said, "Kathy!"
Kathy didn't respond. She didn't blink, she didn't cough, she didn't move.
"Kathy!" Lunkwill screamed, heavy tears running down his face.
Kathy's body remained motionless and her face remained pale.
Lunkwill touched her hand; it was cold. He sat on the floor, sobbing hard.
No one else was home. How could Lunkwill possibly explain what happened to his sister?
Minutes that felt like hours passed and Kathy suddenly started coughing.
Lunkwill's eyes popped open and he screamed, "Kathy!"
Kathy coughed harder and Lunkwill helped her sit up.
Kathy looked around the room silently and realized that she was still alive. The car exhaust hadn't killed her.
Kathy started crying hard and she flung her arms around her brother.
Lunkwill hugged her tightly and sobbed, "Oh my God! You're alive! Oh, thank God, you're alive..."
"I'm so sorry, Lunkwill..." Kathy sobbed. She was crying so hard Lunkwill could barely understand her, "I-I c-co-ouldn't take it a-anymore."
"It's okay, it's okay..." Lunkwill said, hugging Kathy tighter.
The brother and sister sat on the floor for a long time, sobbing and clinging to each other.
When they finally recovered, Lunkwill leaned away from Kathy and said shakily, "But... Why would you do that? Why would you try to kill yourself?"
Kathy shook her head and her tear-streaked cheeks glistened in the light from the kitchen.
"Were you depressed?" Lunkwill said, "Because we can help you."
Kathy shook her head again and said, "No, you don't get it. I wasn't just depressed."
She leaned toward Lunkwill and said firmly, "I am miserable, Lunkwill. Even before I got suspended, I couldn't walk the halls without people verbally abusing me."
Kathy's voice started to crack, "You... Have no idea... What that's like."
"Are you kidding?" Lunkwill said gently, "People tease me all the time. They make fun of my hair and they call me a reject and they accuse me of being gay."
Kathy knit her eyebrows and said, "Aren't you?"
Lunkwill clenched his jaw, "No, Kathy, but that's not the point. The point is that everyone gets teased and you shouldn't commit suicide because of it."
"No, Lunkwill, really..." Kathy said, holding up her hand and choking up, "It's more than just teasing. This girl, Stephanie, just pops up at random times and sucks all of my hope away. She makes my life a living Hell."
Lunkwill's expression softened timidly and his sister stared at him with her grim, cold, blue eyes.
"I thought I was getting better, Lunkwill." Kathy said, her words firm and dripping with icicles, "But then Stephanie came and hurt me again. You don't push someone down when they're just starting to get up. It's cruel. Sick and cruel."
Lunkwill stared at his sister pitifully.
"Kath..." He said softly, "Why didn't you tell me before?"
Kathy didn't say anything.
Lunkwill cautiously scooted closer to her and said gently, "Kathy, did you keep this all to yourself?"
Kathy slowly nodded and sighed.
"Lunkwill..." She said, her voice catching, "No one cares about me. I... I don't want to live anymore when there's no one here for me."
Lunkwill blinked back tears and said, "I care about you."
There was a still pause.
Kathy looked at her brother and her eyes stayed on him for a long, long time. Her eyelids fluttered as tears collected.
"You..." She said, choking back tears again, "You do?"
"Of course." Lunkwill said, nodding, "I'm sure a lot of other people do too. Mom cares about you. You have to have friends at school..."
Kathy's face fell. She thought about that word. Friends.
Did she have any friends?
"Jenny." Kathy found herself saying.
Lunkwill nodded and said, "Jenny."
Kathy nodded slowly and Lunkwill said, "...Who's Jenny?"
"She's this girl from school..." Kathy said, "She's the sweetest thing, but... I've been really terrible to her."
"Yeah? How?" Lunkwill said, putting his chin in his hands.
Kathy shook her head, "I've just..."
She sighed and wrapped her arms around her knees.
"Lunkwill," Kathy said slowly, kind of sheepishly, "Do you remember when I went to Leo's house for that party?"
Lunkwill nodded, "Yeah, I remember. You wouldn't talk to me for the whole day when you came home, like something was bothering you..."
Lunkwill studied his sister and said, "Kath... what happened at that party?"
"Nothing, I was just..." Kathy rubbed her face with her hands, "A terrible person. I made everyone mad at me-"
"Wait, what does this have to do with Jenny?" Lunkwill asked.
"Right..." Kathy said quietly, "Um... Do you know what Seven Minutes in Heaven is?"
"Of... Course..." Lunkwill said cautiously, "Why?"
Kathy bit her lip and said, not looking at her brother, "Well.... Jenny... And I... Had to go into the closet together."
Lunkwill looked uncomfortable and said reluctantly, "Go on..."
"And... She... T-told me that she had f-feelings for me." Kathy said, blinking back tears, "She said she was in love with m-me."
Lunkwill looked really uncomfortable now. He shifted his sitting position and said, "Um, okay."
"And I turned her away. I feel awful." Kathy went on, her eyes moistening, "Not only did I not love her back, but I yelled at her over something that wasn't her fault."
Lunkwill studied his sister and said, "This is really bringing you down, isn't it?"
Kathy put her hands over her face and said, "God, I feel terrible, Lunkwill. Jenny is the sweetest girl I know and I was horrible to her. What do I do?"
"Apologize." Lunkwill said.
Kathy looked at him and said, "What if she won't forgive me?"
Lunkwill shrugged, "Well, if she won't forgive you, then she probably isn't worth it."
Lunkwill grinned at how insightful his advice had sounded.
Kathy smiled and hugged him.
"Thank you, Lunkwill." Kathy said quietly, "If it wasn't for you... I wouldn't be here."
"I know." Lunkwill said, "But now you have to make your life worth living. Try doing something for you instead of, uh, worrying about others."
Good God, did I really say that? He thought.
Kathy smiled and kissed her brother's cheek. She let a few tears run down her cheeks and she stood up, turning toward the hall.
Before leaving, Kathy turned around and said, her voice shaky with emotion, "H-hey, Lunkwill?"
Lunkwill looked up, "Yeah?"
Kathy bit her lip and said, "Can you... Not tell Mom or Dad about this? O-or anyone else? Just... Between you and me? You know, about the..."
Lunkwill nodded and he felt a lump in his throat. He nodded and said softly, "Yeah. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone."
"Thank you." Kathy said. She gave her brother a quick smile and went down the hall into the bathroom.
Kathy sighed and looked in the mirror. Her face looked aged and more tired than ever.
"Hey..." Kathy said aloud, "Take care of yourself. This is new Kathy, new Kathy who'll be nicer to everyone and to herself."
She smiled slightly and said quietly to herself, "You know, Honey, even without your hair or your uniform, you're still pretty when you smile."
Kathy put on the happiest face she could and thought, I can do this.
I can do this.