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            After collecting herself and completing her chores, Robin stormed out of Free Morple without paying anyone else any mind. She liked to believe the days of this state causing so much heartbreak were over, but countless others battled hardships every single day. Nothing could excuse what Jimmy’s father had done, but Robin couldn’t help but wonder if they had been in a different environment how that little family would’ve ended up. But there was nothing she could do about it, so there was no point in harping on the hypotheticals. A tragedy is why Ariana left. How could I blame her, Robin thought?

            “Hi there.”

            Robin gasped and dropped her purse. She was so hyper focused she was oblivious of her surroundings. When she gathered herself, she found Ariana leaned against her car with her arms crossed. She wore skin-tight, all black clothes. The brim of her retro Los Angeles Dodgers hat hung low over her masked face, adding to the dramatic flair. But Robin knew those brown eyes when she saw them.

            “Jesus. You scared the shit out of me,” Robin said.

            “Sorry. Just saying hello.”

            Robin stared at her sister in disbelief that they were in each other’s presence again. Before the other night, they hadn’t seen each other for so long, yet the days they spent nearly every waking moment together seemed like just yesterday. As much as Robin would have liked to forget a good chunk of them, they were forever ingrained in her.

            Tongue-tied, Robin couldn’t think of anything with substance to say. “So, what’s up? You get better looking as the years go, and I fall off.”

            Grinning, Ariana exhaled a chagrin sound from her throat and rolled her eyes; partly because Robin was still beautiful, and partly because she expected a more authentic response. “Oh, shut the hell up. For having two kids, you don’t look so bad.”

            “Thanks for the consolation.” Robin scrambled to answer. Even if she didn’t just learn of Jimmy’s heart-rending demise, she probably still would have been at a loss for words, but at least now she had an excuse.

            “So, are you disappointed to see me? It’s been years, and I’m feeling some hostility. Or is that just me being sensitive?”

            Robin shamefully gazed down and awkwardly scratched the back of her head. Without muttering another word, Robin gave herself up and embraced her younger sister. Her cries shook her whole body, causing her to convulse in Ariana’s arms.

            “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Robin said.

            “Oh, hon. I’m the one who is sorry. I’ve missed you like you can’t even imagine. I can’t believe you’re finally back in my arms.”

            Ariana stroked the back of Robin’s head and kissed her on the cheek, seizing the moment of her being there for when her older sister needed her the most. Despite her lavish life, the empty void Robin once occupied in Ariana’s life was deeply missed, but even she didn’t know how much she had missed her until this very moment. She clutched Robin as hard as she could, afraid that if she let go, she might not see her ever again.

            After their official reuniting moment was over, both sisters dried their eyes and chuckled at themselves for letting their emotions get the best of them.

            “Let’s get dinner tonight, please. My treat,” Ariana said.

            Still wiping her eyes and sniffling, Robin said, “Oh, as lovely as that sounds I have to get back to the boys.”

            “Oh, come on. They’ll be fine.”

            Robin knew this, but after what she just learned about inside, she felt like she had to keep them near. But then again, she didn’t know how long her sister would be in town for.

            “Okay. Can I at least go check on them, drop some things off, and change?”

            Elated, Ariana was practically jumping up and down. “Yes, yes. Of course. I’ll follow you home and we can take my car.”

            The compromise almost sufficed. “Can you please wait down the street? I don’t want to have to explain this to the boys just yet.”

            Ariana’s joy slightly diminished. “They don’t know about me, do they?”

            Robin shook her head.

            Ariana understood, but it still hurt. “Okay. Yeah, that’s fine. I’ll follow you.”

            “Okay, thanks.”

            Robin kissed her on the cheek and got in her car. Ariana pretended she needed to follow her to know where they were going.