I sighed, stuffing things in my bag. Max came in and flopped on my bed, staring at me. Smiling, I zipped up my bag and fixed my jacket.
“Are you ready to go?” She stared up at me for a few moments and then got up, skipping to her things. “Good, Mr. Leland will be here soon. Want me make sure you have everything?”
“Yeah, here,” she said, bringing me the suitcase. Pulling it open, I blinked at the items: stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons.
“Uh, Max, you need clothes in here.”
“Oh, okay,” she said, heading back to her room. I trailed carrying the suitcase. Sitting on the bed, I watched as my sister started to find clothes to fit in the suitcase. It seemed hard for her to decide which toys had to be taken out of the bag.
“Here, where’s your backpack? We can put the things that won’t fit in the suitcase,” I said, piling them up next to me. A grin appeared on her face as she brought the rucksack to me. Using my packing skills, I managed to get what Max deemed worthy into her bag. Just as we finished and put our bags together, I heard the front door open. The clinking of glass tipped me off that one of our parents was home, and with more alcohol. “Great, just what we needed. More problems,” I sighed, shouldering my bag and taking Max’s suitcase and moving towards the stairs.
“Mark! Max! Where are you?” I cringed, just hearing my mom’s voice. A part of me didn’t want to answer, but I knew she’d come searching if I didn’t.
“We’ll be down in a second!” Descending the stairs, I pulled open the front door just as my mom walked towards us from the kitchen.
“Where d’ya think you’re going?” Her eyes met mine, trying to read my face for more information.
“I’ll have Max write,” I said, urging her out the door. Our mom moved over towards us, a furious look on her face.
“What do you mean, ‘have her write’?” Her hand fisted in my shirt sleeve to keep me from taking the last step out the door.
“Max will write to you once we’re settled. I’m not staying here and neither is she. You’d think a drunk woman wouldn’t have children and willingly bring them into this life,” I spat at her, pulling away as I heard a car pull up. A door slammed closed somewhere behind us as I made my way down the steps.
“She’s not yours, Mark! Max is my daughter!”
“We’re not coming back. Ever,” I said, looking at her from the bottom of the porch. I could hear Mr. Leland helping Max into the seat and securing her in. Turning on my heel I stormed off to Mr. Leland. Neither of us looked back as the car drove away.