When Tristan leaves the city in the summer, for his annual family visit, he doesn't come back empty handed. This time, Rosaline comes too.
At first Rosaline is skeptical, "this isn't like that one time you said I could stay? And then you had work, but you didn't say and you didn't call me back."
"Nope. This is real. I'm taking you with me, and you're staying, so you'd better pack right now."
Rosaline doesn't know what to say to that, so she just jumps into Tristan with an undignified squeal, and ignores the fact that his arms remain stiffly at his sides.
"Jesus Tris, eat much?" She says as she feels his hip-bones poke into her soft stomach.
"Eating is for losers who have time," Tristan grunts. "Go pack, now. Before mom and dad change their minds."
It only takes Rosaline seven minutes and exactly forty-four seconds to get her shit together- all her worldly possessions in one beat-up yellow duffel. There are some camis, and shirts, two pairs of jeans and a lone cardigan, a pack of cloves (Tristan wouldkill her if he ever found out) a book of matches, some notebooks form high school, a broken down copy of Lunch Poems by Frank O'Hara, and a canvas case containing fifty-five albums of the best music Rosaline has ever heard. She's wearing her only pair of shoes.
She kisses their mom good-bye, and ruffles baby Betsy's hair (Betsy scowls, because, jeez, she's thirteen! already). Tristan shakes Dad's hand, and that takes only about a few minutes, which is a few minutes too long for Rosaline. And then they are off. Into the fields and the interstate, the brown brown California hills with the trees and the sun and the clouds and the smoke. Rosaline grins the whole way.
After a few hours in the car, when they are passing over the Causeway, Tristan puts on his serious face, and says sternly,"just because you're going to be living with me, doesn't make this a holiday."
"I know," chirps Rosaline, despite his tone of voice.
"You're not in school, so you need a job."
"I knoooow," Rosaline draws out the syllables. "Mom's been sayin' that ever since the first day I said 'm not goin' to University."
"Finish the ends of your words. You sound like a hick," Tristan snaps. Rosaline sticks out her tongue and Tristan looks away, because it's a rather ridiculous shade of green from the last popsicle Rosaline consumed.
"Oh, real mature, Rosie."
"Bleh," Rosaline spits. "Don't you start callin' me that! Juliet calls me that when she wants somethin'."
Tristan just grunts again, and they both are silent as the windows fill with the vast expanses of standing water, flocks of white birds scattered among the stalks of rice. There's a calming effect in the long long view, a stretching of the mind until it's like water. Tristan feels more like birds, like the ripples they scatter and the sharp flitting of their wings.
" 'M sorry!" Rosaline bursts out, just as Tristan tries to say "But you know, we are right." He swallows the words, recognizing for once, that it's better to let it go and just be happy to spend time with his baby sister.
"Me too," he says.
"Let's not fight, OK? The whole time."
"I think that's do-able," Tristan agrees, and smiles reassuringly when Rosaline stares at him (she doesn't quite buy into his tome of voice).
"Thanks for lettin' me stay."
"No really, I was goin' craaaazy there. I need to live somewhere else. Mom didn't even want me to move out because she was scared. But she still scolded me all day for not goin' to school."
Tristan fights the urge again to talk about how Rosaline really should be in school.
"Pad Thai okay for dinner?" he asks instead, changing the subject all together.
"Mmmm, I miss your cookin'."
And that's the extent of their conversation.
Rosaline doesn't even mind. She happily closes her eyes to dream about Pad Thai and a city that everyone says is so amazing, and her life in association. Her life will be so great in a place that's bigger than anywhere she's ever been before. And Tristan will be there, tall and older, and braver, if she gets scared. An they'll probably only have to see Juliet every once in a while, and not if they really don't want to. Everything will get better.
Tristan keeps driving.