She kept Cathy safe and she kept Cathy's secret. She stayed on Cathy's ass because she kept also the memory of their father dying, long after they'd left. A man Sean and Cathy had both learned to love, long after he'd gone, because of the fierceness of her love, and the strength of her memory.
Sean was rocking, back and forth, on the couch in the informal, when Cathy came back home. "I'm pregnant! Rebecca's a crazy son of a bitch, but she says it's mine, and...It probably is. I can buy that." Cathy stared, confused. Looking for the next part. He cocked his head.
"What does it mean? It 'means' she's gonna push an infant out of her vagina and keep it and raise it. And she wants me to stay out of it."
Cathy threw herself on her only brother, screaming. What it meant was that he was going to be a father. And nobody knows anything about being a parent until they are one, so it's hopeless to look into your crystal ball on that one.
"You're going to be a dad! And I'm going to be an aunt!"
Cathy mauled him, on the couch, and he laughed at her. "Yes, you would make this about you." She begged him for just a moment of enthusiasm, and snuggled her brother tight, and calmed down again.
"I don't even know if I'll ever see this kid. Or if Rebecca will stay here, or go to Chicago, or what."
Cathy cocked her head at him, and decided on the longshot. It didn't always work -- her brother was a little too smart, in every way -- but this time...
"Okay, then I think you should stay out of it."
He could tell she was playing an angle but he wasn't sure yet how. He stared while she smiled. She hammed it up. She composed herself; like the banks of the Mississippi, begging him not to see through her.
"Yeah! Rebecca'll be great on her own. She'll buy it little designer outfits and just spoil it with toys. And the profits from those toys will keep a lot of corporations in business..."
Sean stared into a polluted, angry future, and he shook his head.
"I'm gonna have to kidnap this kid and raise it in the woods."
It was the next best thing.
In the last minutes of Where The Red Fern Grows Adam sat between his parents, sobbing separately on either side, the world on their shoulders, pillows in their laps. Paul felt betrayed -- "You said, Let's watch a family movie, I thought, you know, I was thinking Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, or something fuckin' animated. But you made us sit through Where The Red Fern Grows?"