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Ephram takes Delia's hand and pulls her out onto their porch, even though it feels like it's freezing outside and raining. "Delia, sweetie," he starts.
He has to tell her. He has to get his courage and himself together, he has to open his mouth and just tell her, because he's the only one she has left and now he has to be what she needs, and she has to know, she has to kno--
"Ephram?" Delia says. "Ephram?"
He blinks back whatever panic attack was coming. "Sorry," and she looks at him, looks like she wants to laugh at his incompetance. That's unfair though. She just doesn't know because he has to tell her, Ephram has to tell his little, sweet little sister that-- "It's just been a bad day."
"Is your heart heavy?" she asks him, sweetness personified. Ephram never really figured out how he managed to get such a nice little sister. Most sisters were brats all the time, wanting things bought for them, or dresses, or just never being satisfied. He can't ever figure out why Delia is almost always satisfied. "You look like your heart is heavy," she tells him.
"Delia, honey," he starts. Dr. Abbott would know what to say. Ephram almost wishes that he'd asked the doctor to stay, to help him do this. But it's not his responsibility, he's not fami-- His mother would know what to say. His mother would gather Delia on her lap, tuck her under her chin.
Ephram gathers Delia on his lap, akwardly holding her against him on the swing.
His mother would be gentle. Ephram tries to hold her delicately, but he can't stop himself from squeezing tight. "Delia, there."
Nina would even know what to say. He could maybe call Nina to come over, but Nina's grieving herself. Ephram has to do this. He has to tell her, and he has to do it himself, even though the only person who'd have less of an idea what to say right now would be his da--
Ephram wraps his arms around Delia. Delia wriggles a little, but he won't let go. She's confused because he doesn't do this sort of thing, he bites people's heads off, he joked, he doesn't *cry*. She asks, somewhat puzzled and a little alarmed, "Ephram, what's going on?"
"Delia, something." He swallows. Ephram has to tell her because he's the only one left. It doesn't matter who'd know what to say and who wouldn't, he has to be who she needs because no one else *can*. "Something happened."
She sits, quiet for a moment. Then she says very softly, "was it dad."
It isn't voiced as a query, he doesn't hear any question in her voice. Instead, there's recognition. "yeah," he says to her.
Delia lets him squish her. She doesn't even squirm.