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Lily on a Lincoln

Velveteeen Aug 7th, 2016 (edited) 3,062 Never
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  1. Lily rests.
  2.  
  3. Her bed moves up and down. Then again. It looks down at her with a pleading expression. "Lily," it whispers. "Wake up. Please?"
  4.  
  5. She shifts position slightly and grabs at the orange cotton bedsheet. She leaves a line of drool along it as she moves her head.
  6.  
  7. "It's getting hard to breathe, Lily." Lincoln sighs and looks aside. "Having a baby sister can be super fun. But it's also a lot of responsibility. You see, in a house as loud as this one, Lily doesn't always get enough sleep. So, when she does settle down, we're not supposed to wake her up."
  8.  
  9. With nothing else to do, he pets her back. She murmurs softly.
  10.  
  11. "I just wish she hadn't fallen asleep on top of my ribs. Oof."
  12.  
  13. He tries, without much success, to make himself comfortable on the couch without disturbing Lily. His head does manage to find its way onto an armrest.
  14.  
  15. He looks around the living room. A basket of laundry, yet to be folded, is taking up a precious seat on an armchair. What a selfish bastard. Luan's sock puppets snuggle together beneath the coffee table. A few miscellaneous toys populate the rest of the room. Outside the window, the last light of the day is disappearing to the west.
  16.  
  17. Most importantly of all, the TV remote rests on the table, and Lincoln tries to reach it. His arms are six inches too short.
  18.  
  19. "I guess this is my life now," he says. "Trapped under the baby. No food. No water." He coughs under Lily's weight. "No atmosphere..."
  20.  
  21. ----
  22.  
  23. In the distance, the basement door closes, and footsteps approach around the corner. They herald his oldest sister, who enters the living room with another basket of laundry.
  24.  
  25. He whispers, "Lori! Pass me the remote, would ya?"
  26.  
  27. She sets that basket down and evicts the other from its seat, which she takes for herself. "I'd love to, kid. But not only did you forget a certain magic word, I also wouldn't want to wake up Lily."
  28.  
  29. He sighs as well as he can. "I'll keep the volume down! Just... please pass the remote. I can't move, and it's getting boring, just laying here."
  30.  
  31. She smirks at him and stands up. "How about," she says, taking the remote from the table, "I keep the volume down, and I pass myself the remote?"
  32.  
  33. Her brother purses his lips. "Really? I was here first!"
  34.  
  35. "I was born first." She retakes her seat. "And I'm not stuck with a baby."
  36.  
  37. He rolls his eyes. "I guess it's still better than watching the ceiling."
  38.  
  39. She turns on the TV and navigates to her show. As promised, she lowers the volume.
  40.  
  41. Lincoln idly watches while Lori folds the laundry. For a moment, he feels that he might start falling asleep, but he notices her watching him obliquely. "Something wrong?" he asks.
  42.  
  43. She shakes her head. "I was just remembering when you were her age."
  44.  
  45. He looks down at his youngest sister, who's latched on tightly to his shirt, with an impossibly broad smile across her face. She makes faint babbling noises into his chest.
  46.  
  47. "You've grown a little since then."
  48.  
  49. He laughs. "I sure hope so."
  50.  
  51. ----
  52.  
  53. At the top of the stairs, Luan dons her nose glasses while holding a book open. She jumps and slides her rear onto the railing, then stabilizes herself with her free hand. The railing creaks under her weight, but shows no inclination of sliding out of place.
  54.  
  55. Luan positions her book in front of her and crosses her legs. Once comfortable, she loosens her grip on the railing and begins to slide.
  56.  
  57. Lincoln sits up to what minimal extent that he can. He sees Luan slide down the railing, reading her book through her nose glasses, looking natural as can be. While her wool skirt makes no sound against the wood, Lincoln feels that a drawn-out creaking should be sounding.
  58.  
  59. "Good evening," she says, without looking up.
  60.  
  61. "Uh. Hey." He rests his head down again.
  62.  
  63. Footsteps trace from her position into the living room, and Luan appears in his field of view, leaning over him. "Hey, Linc, looks like you've got a LIL problem! Haha!"
  64.  
  65. He stares at her with no expression.
  66.  
  67. "Don't mind me. I'll leave you to it. I know it's a pressing matter! Ahaha!"
  68.  
  69. "Hey, Groucho," says Lori. "Your sock puppets are over here. Come get them."
  70.  
  71. "Oh! Awesome!" Luan disappears from Lincoln's view.
  72.  
  73. He closes his eyes.
  74.  
  75. ----
  76.  
  77. Some time later, Lori gives up on trying to pair socks together and tosses the remaining singles into the basket. She looks up and sees her brother, who's fallen asleep with Lily still laying on his chest. Luan, from the other armchair, watches him over the top of her book. The girls' eyes meet, and the younger speaks.
  78.  
  79. "Is it true that Lincoln did that to us when he was little?"
  80.  
  81. "What, laying on top of us?"
  82.  
  83. "I mean cuddling and never letting go."
  84.  
  85. "Oh. Yeah. Don't you remember?"
  86.  
  87. Luan shakes her head.
  88.  
  89. Lori sighs and rests her chin on her hand. "Sometimes, when Lincoln wouldn't stop crying, Mom and Dad would just give him to one of us - usually me."
  90.  
  91. "Hm. Did it work?"
  92.  
  93. "Yep. Most of the time, anyway. Seemed like there was nowhere he wanted to be that wasn't in my arms."
  94.  
  95. Luan smiles.
  96.  
  97. "Ba," says Lily, as she begins to move her limbs.
  98.  
  99. "Hey. Look who's awake."
  100.  
  101. She crawls forward until her face is buried in Lincoln's neck. His eyes flutter open and turn to her. "Nnn... hello, Lily."
  102.  
  103. "Nee... neen..."
  104.  
  105. "Neen?"
  106.  
  107. "Neenkon."
  108.  
  109. "Uh, right."
  110.  
  111. "Neenkon."
  112.  
  113. "Yeah. Neenkon."
  114.  
  115. Lori laughs and clasps her hands together. "Omigosh! She's totally saying your name, Lincoln!"
  116.  
  117. Lily smiles and spreads her arms across his chest. "Neenkon!"
  118.  
  119. "Oh." He smiles. "Yep, that's me. Big brother Lincoln."
  120.  
  121. "Bee boo Neenkon!"
  122.  
  123. "Mm. Close enough." He holds her against him as he sits up, flexing his legs.
  124.  
  125. "Bee bah..."
  126.  
  127. "Sorry, Lily. I need to get up now."
  128.  
  129. "Boo boo!"
  130.  
  131. "I said I'm sorry."
  132.  
  133. "Neenkon!"
  134.  
  135. Luan sets her book down and walks over to them. "Pass her here," she says.
  136.  
  137. Together, they manage to detach Lily from Lincoln's shirt, and Luan lifts the baby to her own eye level.
  138.  
  139. "Now, Lily. Can you say 'Luan?'"
  140.  
  141. Lily sticks out her tongue and makes a rude noise.
  142.  
  143. Luan knits her eyebrows. "Um, that was more of a 'Pbbbp.' Try again: 'Lu-an.'"
  144.  
  145. "Poo-poo."
  146.  
  147. Lori smiles at them from the foot of the stairs. "You can work on that tomorrow. Lily needs to go to bed."
  148.  
  149. Luan sighs. "Yeah. Say goodnight to Lincoln, Lily."
  150.  
  151. "Neenkon."
  152.  
  153. "Say goodnight to Lily, Lincoln."
  154.  
  155. "Ah... goodnight, Lily."
  156.  
  157. Lori and Luan head upstairs, and the latter enters Lily's room to lay the baby in her crib. "Get a good night's sleep, Lil-Lil. Tomorrow, I'm gonna teach you my name."
  158.  
  159. Lily sucks her thumb, rather than responding.
  160.  
  161. Luan turns out the light and closes the door. "Sleep tight, Lily," she says.
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