CITY LIGHTS

"For many years we've shared our lives,
One roof we once lived under,
Sometimes we laughed, sometimes we cried,
Through winter storms and thunder,
The younger years have faded fast,
But through all times our friendship lasts,
Our bond in life remains,
As summer brings the happy times,
The autumn winds will whisper,
A closer friend I'd never find,
Than the one I call my sister"

_Vernon, 1985

"Home sweet home!", Josie's excited voice piped up from behind, as we made our way through the door of our new apartment.

"Finally..." I muttered, falling limply onto the nearest couch. I was all worn out, had jet lag and was absolutely starving.

"Come on, Winnie!", Josie whined, tugging on my shirt, "We've got so much to do! We have to set everything up, cook dinner and there's tonnes of cleaning to do, too!" She counted everything on her little fingers and then put her index finger to her chin, thoughtful. "Maybe we should make a list... Come on, Winter! Get up!" She shook my arm, vigorously.

I put my arms up in surrender. "Give me a few moments to recharge my battery." I sighed, "Then we can start." Taking a few deep breaths, I tried to ignore the impatient taps of Josie's shoe on the floor. I got up and stretched my arms and legs. "Why are you so excited?" I asked her.

"I just love playing house!", She grinned.

I raised an eyebrow. "Well, that explains all the commotion..." I yawned loudly, "We can save some work for tommorow; the doctor said you need rest" That was a good excuse for not wanting to work, though I should be getting used to the idea of having to go to college and work, tommorow.

She sighed in disappointment, "Fine. Tommorow then. I feel a tiny bit tired too." She pouted, putting her hand on her stomach, "And very hungry..."

I looked at the clock. It was eleven, already; she should have eaten three hours ago. I frowned, realizing I wasn't taking care of her the way I should be. I should stay more active, should be more like Josie.

I checked the refrigerator and cupboards for anything edible, but there was nothing but emptiness and dust bunnies. Looking at Josie with an apologetic smile, I asked,"You mind if we eat out, tonight? We can get groceries on the way back." I promised.

She was dangling her legs her legs on the dining room chair, "That's fine with me." She shrugged, a huge smile covering her lips.

..oOo..

"Winter?" Josie murmured.

"Hmm?" I turned my face to her. She was staring out to the waters, over to The Statue Of Liberty which seemed to be only a few miles away. The city lights reflected onto the water, covered by tourist ferries. The Brooklyn bridge gave out it's own illumination of brightly lit, moving lights. All of which created an abstract beneath.

"Isn't it amazing?" She said in wonder, her blue eyes dancing in the bright lights.

I studied her expression for a moment, then put my head on my knees, looking ahead, trying to see this new place from her eyes. I recalled the cold, boring town of Minnesota, where the sun shone only once in a blue moon, where there was nothing to do but look out a window and wait for the snow to fade, where the icy cold wind was almost always trying to penetrate through you. Shudder and shiver, shudder and shiver all day long.

And this...this was a brand new world

I had read about New York, seen pictures. I knew how different it was from our old home. The lights, the city, the view. I knew it all. But Josie didn't. All she knew of the world was packed up back there, in that small single story house.

My voice was caught in that same tone of admiration Josie had in hers, "It's beautiful." And so very different.

The warm, welcoming wind blew off our faces.

..oOo..

We made it home at twelve thirty, which was very, very late.

We both were tired and Josie looked as if she was about to pass out, her lids drooping to an extensive degree. I got ready for bed and helped Josie into her pajamas. I thanked The Lord for being given a furnished apartment; the beds were soft and springy, too.

Josie slept peacefully, snuggled up under the quilt, in my arms; she had insisted that she didn't want to sleep alone tonight.

I was too stressed to sleep, thinking about tommorow, the day after and then after that. I played with a strand of Josie's hair, remembering that she was appointed to a doctor this Thursday. I sighed and counted back the days. Two weeks. It had been two weeks since I found out that she had second-stage Leukemia. Two weeks since I had suddenly changed my mind, accepting the scholarship to NY University. Two weeks since a childhood friend, Kim had offered me her NY apartment, which I had taken gratefully. Two weeks since my whole life took a tragic turn.

Two weeks since I started worrying about money.

It was hard, calculating the price of everything you buy in your brain, hesitating, even to turn the price tag to see how much it cost. It was hard, when you knew you didn't have much to spend.

And so much to save.

I took deep breaths, remembering that I would get monthly salary from the scholarship and would somehow get a part-time job. But no matter what the cost was, I would, I would...

Find a way to fix her.

..oOo..


A/N: Whew! *wipes forehead* Done!
You'll get a glimpse of Mr. Gorgeous in the next chapter. ;)
REVIEW PLEASE! It'll make the next chapter come faster! :P