The words she expected to hear were somehow replaced with, "your brother's been in a bad accident. I'm going to the hospital. You and Luke just stay here."
"Mom," Joan protested. She would never be able to get back to sleep now.
"Joan, please, you have school tomorrow."
"As if I'm going to want to go to school knowing Kevin's in the hospital."
"Joan, if I knew what I was going to see, what happened I'd let you come, but I don't. It's bad enough I have to see him hurt, I'm his mother, but you're still children."
Joan pouted, angry and hurt that her mother was going to exclude her from this. "Fine," she murmured.
"I'll call you as soon as I know anything," she said, closing Joan's bedroom door behind her.
Joan left her bedroom for Luke's once she heard the car pull out of the driveway and the familiar hum of the garage door automatically closing. She really left without them, leaving her to wonder what was wrong with Kevin. She could not imagine Kevin hurt, he was so agile and coordinated. How could something have happened to him?
"Joan?" Luke called out from his bed.
"I'm here, Luke. Do you want to watch TV or something?"
"Sure," he said, sliding his glasses on. He offered Joan a smile and she knew that he was as nervous as she was. If Luke felt it then she knew there was something wrong. Something big had gone on tonight.
She turned on a movie on a cable channel and propped up a pillow before joining Luke on his bed. "What do you think happened?" she asked as Sarah Connor was leaving her roommate a message on their answering machine.
"I don't know," Luke replied.
Both immersed themselves in the terminator's pursuit of Sarah and Kyle's efforts to get her to safety. It was an escape, both knew something bad was going on. Joan was still having a hard time figuring out what. "Is he dead?" she asked, not realizing she had spoken aloud until it was too late. She turned to look at her younger brother then since the question was out there.
"They would have called us for that."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," she said, turning her attentions back to the movie.
"Maybe we should call," she said a while later. Kyle and Sarah had just gotten done loving a lifetime's worth and Joan was beginning to really worry. "I mean, if he was dead Mom or Dad would have called. If it was nothing serious, they should have been home by now. Don't you think?"
"They'll let us know, Joan."
"How can you be so calm about this? Our brother could be dead for all we know and you're acting like it's no big deal."
"There's nothing else for us to do."
"There is. We can go to the hospital too. I mean, what if Mom's there all by herself."
Luke placed a hand at her arm, preventing her from getting off the bed. "Just stay here. There's no reason to go out this late and possibly get yourself hurt, too."
"Do you always have to be so logical?"
"It's a burden."
Tears formed in her eyes and she lay down next to Luke. There were times she wished she was an only child. Tonight was not one of them. She was glad for the comfort of her brother, her family. "I hope he's all right."
"He'll be fine, Joan. It's Kevin, come on, nothing can go wrong for him."
"Yeah," she said with a nod of her head. She swiped at her tears, wiping them away. He was right. Kevin was Mr. All American. He was the stereotypical jock who was popular with the cute girl friend. His teachers liked him, their father favored him even though he tried not to. "You're right. It's Kevin."
With that, they both seemed to settle down enshrouded in a blanket of hope that they had created to comfort themselves when they felt helpless to do anything. The last thing Joan remembered before drifting off to sleep was Sarah going into her final battle with the terminator. Just like Sarah, Joan knew Kevin would come out all right. He always did.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com