“Um,” Elaine cleared her throat while supper dishes were being cleared away one evening. “There’s something I’d like to discuss with you, Thomas.”
“Oh?” her older brother cocked an eyebrow, inviting her to continue.
“Well. You know I’ve been working closely with Secret Tale over at the Friendship Gardens animal shelter for some time now.”
“Yes, your volunteer work has been admirable,” Thomas agreed while Tabby excused herself from the room for a short while.
“And you mentioned a little while ago how many patients we have from Friendship Gardens, because there’s no animal hospital there?”
“So Secret Tale and I have been thinking about it, and we’d like to see about starting one there, maybe in connection with the shelter,” Elaine finished in a rush.
“I see,” Thomas said slowly. “It’s a good idea, but where would you find a qualified doctor?”
“Well-- that would be me, you see.” Elaine stared at him in anticipation.
“Apparently you’ve been thinking this through to quite an extent,” Thomas said calmly, but he was actually quite taken by surprise by Elaine’s suggestion. His shy little sister, volunteering to leave her familiar surroundings to start work in another town? Half a year ago the idea would have been absurd, but since Christmastime he had been noticing some subtle changes in her character. She was becoming more confident, more assured of herself. For so long she had looked up to him for guidance, almost childishly trustful of her elder brother. But-- he had begun to realize that someday he would have to let her go, let her make her own life when she was ready. She was approaching that point, he sensed. Still... “But then I’d have to find a worker to replace you here,” he argued rationally.
“I know, that’s the one problem I’ve found,” Elaine looked downwards. “I thought maybe you’d have some ideas... it probably isn’t a very practical plan to begin with, huh?”
“Oh, no, not at all!” Thomas said quickly. It was his duty to see her eventually set up in a life of her own, and he couldn’t let his own protectiveness block her path. “It’s not really a problem, you see, because...” He groped for an idea.
“Because there’s already one replacement worker right here,” Tabby said cheerfully, prancing back in and surprising the other two.
“You?” said Thomas, dumbfounded. “But your job...”
“Oh, no, it all works out in the end,” Tabby said breezily. “Since Blue Belle has always been scheming behind my back to get my position at the Pokemon Center-- yes, she is! Don’t look at me like that!-- she can have it. It’s pretty boring there now anyway, because the Pokemon craze has died down so much. So anyway, then I can go back to the clinic, and Elaine can go to Friendship Gardens, and everybody’s happy!”
“Give up your job to Blue Belle?” Elaine gasped. “But Tabby, that’s so... so... unlike you!”
“But I’m very unpredictable, too,” Tabby said brightly. “And I think it all sounds very reasonable. Don’t you think so?”
“I-I-I don’t know what to say,” Elaine stammered. “I never expected-- but if you’re serious-- well, it does all work out! That is-- well, I still don’t know if I ought to do it.”
“Is this what you want to do, Elaine?” Thomas asked seriously, looking her in the eye.
“Y-yes, I think I really do,” she stuttered.
“Then we’ll back you every step of the way.”
“Oh, thank you! You’re being so understanding! I thought it might just be a silly idea on my part, but-- you think we can really pull it off?”
“There’s a lot to be done, so why don’t you share your other ideas, and we can offer any other advice you might need?”
Elaine beamed back at him. It was going to work out just perfectly after all.