A short three hours after their departure, Roni and Brad returned to the residence of the White House. They seemed as if they had a good enough time, but that was about to change.
"Hey, Zoey. What's up?" Why are you here, instead of at your dorm?" Roni asked, strolling into the living room.
"Roni..." Zoey's voice was filled with sorrow.
"Where is he? What happened?" Roni immediately assumed the worst.
"Shortly after you left, Dorian began to cough and sneeze. Mom took his temperat-"
"Where are they, Zoey?"
"Oh God!" Roni cried out, as she lowered her face into her hands.
"Dad called a little bit ago... they admitted him to the pediatric ICU."
By this point, Roni was completely frozen. She couldn't talk. She couldn't move. She just sat there, in her chair, freely crying into her hands.
Zoey took a brave step towards her sister and rested a hand on her back. "Charlie and I are going there now. We can take you and Brad."
"No." Roni lifted her head. "There's somewhere else I need to go first. You go ahead."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'm sure."
"Okay." Zoey muttered, as she looked Brad in the eye.
"Don't worry, Zoey. I'll stay with her." Brad said, and Zoey nodded before her and Charlie left. "I'm sorry Roni."
"It's not your fault... You have nothing to be sorry for. It's mine. I should have been here for him. I should have been paying closer attention to him."
"Roni, there's nothing you could have done about it. He would have gotten sick no matter what. Don't blame yourself."
"Then who do I blame?" Roni's voice began to rise. "Who do I blame? It's not your fault, or Mom's or Dad's, or Zoey's. So it has to be mine."
"Roni, listen to me. You are a great mother to Dorian. A great mother. You didn't have to be. You could have let your parents parent him. But you stood in there. You gave up your own life, and you became the best mother that that kid is ever going to have, Roni. It isn't your fault that he is sick. It isn't your fault that his real mother died. None of it is your fault. It's life."
"Well then, life sucks." Roni muttered as she lunged herself forward. "Come on, let's go."