The outside consisted of a pool, hot tub and a patio area. To the rear of both houses, nature had reclaimed the unused space. Inspired by his recent trip to Granite Falls, Patrick made way for his vision. Patrick ripped the weeds from their stronghold, clearing rubble and broken tombstones. A metal frame supported a fibreglass roof, providing shelter from the heavy rains. Beneath he lay large planter boxes in uniform rows. He screwed his nose as the compost, tempted to offer his sister a few worms for dinner. With an aching back he added the final touches; Patrick knew it would be worth it when the first seeds sprouted. Standing back, Patrick squared his shoulders imagining the flourishing fruit and vegetables. This achievement breathed life into the future, and Eliza may hold the key. He tapped excited, hoping her former boss was hiring or if they knew of some jobs in the area.
Charlotte huffed, crossing her arms, as Patrick started work on another area. He laughed at her pouty lips, advising she pulled in her bottom lip before she fell. The area he believed would be something special, and Charlotte would appreciate it. She shook her head, the idea he would turn their serene home into a farm irritated her. It was not the only issue; Charlotte missed a few school days due to a stomach bug. Patrick dismissed it, knowing his sister had a flair for the dramatic. Unfazed by her threats, he refused to make chicken soup or fetch some from Aunt Vicky’s. Sympathy it seemed was in short supply, as Eliza teased she was pregnant. Charlotte growled, tossing her phone to Patrick. She narrowed her eyes, grossed by Patrick begging Eliza to arrange him with Juliana. He had pursued her since they met at the cinema. When he discovered she was Eliza’s friend, it’s all he spoke of. Charlotte knew her brother would never understand true love. It is what she believed Caleb had given her, and no one could tell her different.
Her stomach churned; she tried to blame the Zombie movie Patrick insisted they watch. Caleb’s brow furrowed, uncertain if it was the gore or genuine illness. Patrick leaned back, smirking; he suggested Charlotte was faking. Recent exams had worried her, but her grades were excellent. Teachers were ecstatic, encouraging Charlotte to apply for university. She had waivered, three years, it would mean waiting to start her dream life. The alternative was to take an apprenticeship in law, science or technology. Patrick nudged Caleb, still staring in the direction Charlotte fled. He disapproved of his baby sister dating an older man feeling this was the reason she refused to make plans. The distraction from her school work concerned him. Caleb ignored Patrick; Charlotte had been vomiting for several days. He could not believe it was a simple stomach upset or stress-related.
Charlotte crawled into bed; Caleb pulled the covers over, sweeping a stray hair from her face. He pressed the issue, the need for decisions as school concluded. She glared, his youthful appearance grated, life eternal. Her beauty would fade, her skin creased, breasts droop, and death would call. The words came bitter; she lay suffering. She knew his youthful appearance would remain; while her beauty faded. He could walk away as her skin creased and breasts drooped. Why would he stay when he could avoid the moment when death called for her. A desire for eternal life was her wish long before Caleb; his presence had made it tangible. She rolled away sobbing. Emotions pounded her hard these past few days; she yelled, cried and felt energised on a whim. He climbed onto the bed, curling around her, kissing her head. Caleb whispered, the soft voice made her shiver. All Charlotte needed to remember was that he loved her.