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Changed for the Better

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"You're awfully quiet," Andrew told his sister as she loaded up the dishwasher. Sandra glanced over him and shrugged, making him sigh. "Are you mad that we didn't tell you sooner?"

"You're an idiot," Sandra scoffed. "You and Emily could choose not to tell me until the baby was born and I would've been upset, but not mad."

"I actually suggested not telling you but Emily ignored me," Andrew said, relieved when Sandra let out a small laugh. "What's bothering you then?"

"Why do you think there's something bothering me?"

"You got all quiet when Julia came down the stairs, and right now you literally shooed Martin away from the kitchen when he started to help you with the dishes, telling him that you'll let me help instead, but you're not letting me help either," he explained.

"Only because neither of you know how to do it properly," Sandra huffed. "Em does but I'm not taking Emily-time away from Julia."

"Emily-time?"

"That little girl loves your girlfriend so much, in case you missed it," Sandra pointed out.

"I didn't, I just didn't know she had a term for hanging out with Emily," Andrew said. "But that's not the point. You trying to change the topic is another tell that something's bothering you."

"A tell? You're starting to sound like Emily."

"I live with her; it's inevitable," he smiled. "But come on, Sandra. Tell me what's wrong. Please."

Sandra let out a shaky sigh and leaned against the counter. "There's really nothing wrong. I guess I'm just processing the fact that you're about to be a dad."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Andrew said cheekily. He quickly bit his tongue when Sandra gave him a look.

"I have nothing against your parenting skills, Andrew. You know that, Martin knows that, Emily knows that," she said, tears forming in your eyes. "Hell, you became my parent when mom and dad died and our good for nothing godfather took us in for the money under our names!"

Andrew winced. The death of their parents' was something they agreed never to discuss when Martin, Emily, or Julia were in the same place as they were. Granted, he knew Sandra talked to Martin about it, and Emily held him in her arms when he told her everything, but the emotions tend to be stronger when they talk about it. It's as if they were taken back to their childhood days of trying to avoid getting beaten up by their godfather. Although he tried his best to take the punches and the kicks, Sandra got her fair share of them. The night he turned eighteen, he took Sandra and together they ran away. He continued school and got a job at a grocery store, and they found an apartment close to Sandra's school; it was completely rundown, and when he got his first paycheck the first thing he bought was a set of locks to keep them both safe, but it was better than getting beat up every day. It was a struggle, but they survived.

"I'm sorry," Sandra whispered, wiping the tears on her face. "I didn't mean to bring it up."

"Don't worry about it," he said, smiling weakly at his sister.

Sandra sniffled. "Do you remember when I told you I was pregnant with Julia?"

"You told me?" Andrew scoffed.

"Ah, yes, let me rephrase that," Sandra said. "Do you remember when Martin, my intellectually smart but socially daft husband, blurted my pregnancy out to you?"

Andrew laughed. "I was pretty sure that if you didn't need him to help with Julia, you would've killed him that night."

"Very funny, Andrew," Sandra chuckled. "Anyways, I was wondering if you remember the promise we kept to each other since that night we ran away."

"Which one?" Andrew asked. They made quite a few, and although a few had been broken over the years, most of the promises were still intact.

"We never make each other the godparents of our own children, but if anything happens, we'll be there for them," Sandra said.

Andrew nodded, giving her a weak smile. "Of course. And you already kept your part."

"Martin wanted to make you the godfather, but I put my foot down on it."

"Did he get upset?"

"A little," she nodded. "I mean, you did introduce the two of us together, so he was understandably upset that we couldn't name you the godfather, but after I told him, he understood. And apologized."

"Of course he would. It's the one-fourth English blood in him," Andrew joked, sharing a laugh with Sandra.

"You know, when you told me about Emily, I was scared that somehow, I was losing you," Sandra said.

"Lose me? What do you mean?" Andrew asked.

"Well, you have an unpredictable job, and a girlfriend with an unpredictable schedule. I barely saw you when you weren't even dating yet, so how often would I not see you when you finally did?" Sandra explained. "I was scared."

"You didn't say anything," Andrew said. "And you know Emily would never do that, Sandra. She constantly reminds me to ask how you're doing."

"I didn't know that then, Andrew. And I didn't anything because you talked about her differently. I realised sooner that you talked about her in the similar way you told me Martin talked about me when I was scared to go out with him," she said, smiling up at her brother. "You were dating for what, three months, at most?"

"Three and a half."

"Yet you were already so in love with her, and I wasn't going to take that away from you. Then I met her, and dear god, it's like you've each known each other longer with how you shared glances and understood one another. Emily's perfect, and I wish you met her sooner."

"So did I," Andrew smiled. "But I wouldn't change a thing about it all, not even with how brutal our first meeting ended."

"Well maybe I would change that. Make it a more romantic story for when your little one asks how mommy and daddy met."

"Emily would understand," he said, changing the topic. He could talk about Emily all day long if he was given the chance, but that wouldn't comfort Sandra at all; she already knew he was madly in love with Emily, she wanted to know whether he would keep his promise. "She would push it at first because you're my baby sister, but she'll understand. Besides, I'm pretty sure that she already has JJ or Pen in line for the godmother role."

"Thank god for that," Sandra said, chuckling with Andrew. "I really am happy for you, Andrew. You and Emily are going to be amazing parents."

"Well, what can I say? Mom and Dad made sure of that when they gave me a baby sister," Andrew smiled, moving towards Sandra and wrapping her in his arms. He placed a kiss on top of her head, the way he always had since they were little. "Thank you." He felt her nod against his chest, followed by hot liquids staining his shirt. "I'll always be here."

Sandra sniffled, leaning away from him and wiping her eyes. She smiled up at Andrew and nodded. "I'll always be here," she repeated.

It was another promise they both intended to keep.