"Emme?" Miller quietly asked, fiddling with the soccer themed rubik's cube in her hand. Emerson looked over at her and nodded careful not to disturb a sleeping Evan in her lap. "What happens when you go to college?"
Emerson frowned and tilted her head. The moonlight shone brightly in her curly black hair. I loved trying to paint the way moonlight glistened off Emerson's hair. Not even Picasso could capture it.
"What do you mean, Mil? I go to college that's what happens." Emerson had a smirk on her face as she answered her which prompted Miller to look down again. I elbowed her. Miller was serious about this.
"I mean how are you gonna look out for us? You promised you would always protect us. How can you do that at college?" Emerson bit her lip and turned to me. Normally when our younger siblings asked deep, philosophical questions, I would answer, but only Emerson could answer this one.
"Well, I'll still look out for you. I'm only going three hours away, Mil. I'll be back every weekend." That was a lie, and we both knew it. Miller was too sweet and innocent to do anything but believe Emerson wholeheartedly. I expected Emerson to be back frequently, but I had also been to enough parties with her to know what she liked to do on the weekends.
"What about during the week? Who's gonna drive Ev and me to school?" I rolled my eyes.
Emerson didn't even drive them to school half the time. For someone who had been adamant about getting her license the day she turned sixteen, Emerson hated driving. She would drive from home to Starbucks and then make me drive from Starbucks to school. Evan went to a different school than Emerson, Miller, and I, so we dropped him off first.
"Ailey will, and Ailey will protect you. You don't need me when you've got her, kiddo. She tells you all her fancy stories and brings you snacks at soccer practice and lets you sleep with after bed dreams." I playfully tugged on one of Miller's braids, and she giggled, leaning her head on my shoulder.
"You promise?" Emerson nodded, grinning.
"I super princess promise. When I'm gone, Ailey is gonna do everything I do now and better, but I'll be back. I'm not leaving for a few months anyways. But, you better believe I'll always be there for you, for all of you. Doesn't matter if I move 300 miles away. You call me, and I'm on the next flight back here. I swear." Miller nodded happily and turned her attention back to the unsolved rubik's cube.
I nudged Emerson in the side. She rolled her eyes. Evan stirred in her lap, and she stroked back a stray black curl.
"You did good, sis," I teased.
"Whatever. Don't get excited now, Ailey . I'm not leaving yet," She whispered nonchalantly even though I could see how pleased she was with herself.
Maybe, Emerson wasn't leaving tomorrow, but she would be leaving eventually. It always made me happy to hear that she would always be there for us.
I just realized that my sister is going to have to go to college eventually, and now I'm super sad and remembering the conversation we had like three weeks ago.