March 14, 2021, 11:39 a.m.

At least I'm still someone's favorite.

Kit said she was okay, but she clearly wasn’t. Darlene supposed she didn’t know what she had expected. Of course she wasn’t okay. Kit was a very special person with a very big heart. Sometimes, like this whole situation, that big heart was what got her in trouble. But she was sensitive and kind, innocent and naive in a lot of ways. Darlene loved that about her. They were growing up now, but there was something so childlike and pure about Kit. Even when they were children, Darlene didn’t feel like she had ever been that way. Innocence was among the few luxuries that her upbringing did not afford.

“I missed you too. Hey, hey,” Darlene added in soft comfort, noticing Kit starting to tear up. “Don’t cry. It’s going to be okay.” How, the brunette really didn’t know, but it had to be, right? She didn’t see an out to this scenario, and without Drew, Darlene’s life had essentially no direction now. Mother had made her work an actual job over the summer, but that wasn’t something she was going to devote her life to. Darlene was born and raised for a man, and ever since she was eleven years old, she had focused her sights on the wrong one. She should have listened to all the reasons it wasn’t the right choice. She should have listened to Claudia’s concerns. Now she had to either find a new man, or let Uncle Charles find one for her.

But right now, and for maybe the first time, she didn’t really care about that stuff. Right now, she just cared about Kit. “We can have sleepovers in my room,” she suggested. “If you’re not in the hallway after curfew, I don’t think you would get in trouble. And you have Polly sleepover with you in Lyra if you want.” The number one way to Kit’s heart was animals. And actually, Darlene was surprised to admit, now that they no longer cohabitated, she actually rather missed Brewey.

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