"It's weird, Dom," Letty said, leaning across the cafeteria table to make her point. Dom tried to concentrate on her words and not look down at her breasts. "She just sits there and does her homework in the cemetery." Letty pushed her hair back. "And when I go get her for dinner, she kisses the graves before we go home." Letty scowled at Dom impatiently. "Are you listening to me?"
Dom blinked. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm listening."
"What are you going to do about it?"
Dom gave a humorless laugh and gestured at his surroundings. "What am I supposed to do in here?"
"I don't know. Talk to her or something."
"She barely even comes to visit me. How am I supposed to talk to her?"
Letty gestured at the envelope on the table between them. "Put it in one of your letters."
Dom tapped his cigarette against the edge of an ashtray. "Can you get her to come with you next week?"
Letty shrugged. "I can try."
"If you can get her here, I'll talk to her." Dom stubbed out the end of his cigarette and dropped it into the ashtray. "Tell me what else is going on."
"Vince said he'll see if he can get someone else to watch the store next week or the week after and come out and visit you. He says there's not a lot of business right now, but there's enough for Mia's clothes and allowance."
Dom lit another cigarette. "Your mom's still okay with her staying?"
"Yeah." Letty took Dom's cigarette from him and took a deep drag before handing it back. "She likes her because she always helps with dinner and chores and stuff like that."
Dom's face lit up in a smile and he stood to greet them. "Mia." Mia threw herself into his arms and started to cry. Dom, startled, held her carefully and sat down, settling her onto his lap. He looked up and met Letty's eyes. She looked back at him for a long moment, then dug into her pockets for a small packet of Kleenex. She took one out and handed it to him. He used it to gently wipe the tears from Mia's face. "Better?" he asked when she'd stopped crying.
She nodded and flushed a little. "Yeah." She sniffed self-consciously. "Sorry." She started to climb off his lap.
Dom held her in place. "It's okay." He brushed her hair back and handed the Kleenex to her so she could blow her nose. "Are you okay? Are you happy living with Letty?"
"If you're not, it's okay. We'll find somewhere else for you to go."
Mia dredged up a smile. "It's fine. I'm happy there."
Dom touched her hair again. "Is school okay?"
A quick shadow flickered across Mia's face, but she smoothed it out again. "Yeah, it's okay." She gave him a real smile. "I'm getting good grades."
Dom hugged her close. "Good for you."
Mia hugged him back. "I'm okay. You don't have to worry about me."
Dom kissed her cheek. "You're my baby sister. I'm supposed to worry."
Mia smiled at him. "I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself." She pulled herself up off of his lap and picked up the envelope with her name on it from where it sat on the table. "I'll let you and Letty talk." She leaned down and kissed Dom's cheek. "Bye." She walked off before he could respond. He watched her walk back to the door and wait, back ramrod straight, for the guard to open the door.
Dom lit a cigarette with barely shaking hands while Letty sat down across from him. "Since when do you carry around Kleenex?" he asked after he'd taken a deep drag. It was the only question he could think to ask.
"Since she started living with us."
"She do this a lot?"
"Enough." Letty relented and added, "Not as much as she used to."
Letty reached out and covered his hand with hers. "She's mostly okay. She's just grieving."
Although Dom didn't notice the flash of hurt and anger that flashed across Mia's face when he asked about school, Letty did. She made a few well-placed inquiries, and waited outside the high school one afternoon.
"Man, you creamed him."
"Shit, yeah." The boys exchanged a high-five as they came around the corner.
Letty looked at them over the top of their sunglasses. "You Ron and Josh?"
"Yeah. What's it to you?"
Letty walked them back against a wall. "You've been bothering a friend of mine." She pushed first one then the other against the wall. "Mia. Leave her alone."
Ron, or maybe it was Josh, pushed her back. "Don't tell us what to do."
Letty sneered at him. "Don't fuck with my friends." She pushed him into the wall again. "Do you know who she is?" She waited. "She's Dom Toretto's baby sister," she said when they didn't answer. "If you don't know who he is, ask your big brothers. They'll tell you." She pushed at him again for emphasis and strode back to her car.
Dom got up to greet them. "V." He clasped Vince's hand and wrapped his other arm around his back. He let go and nodded at Letty. He sat down and Letty and Vince sat across from him.
"We wanna ask you something," Vince said, glancing at Letty.
Dom gestured with his cigarette for him to go ahead.
"I want to hire Mia to work in the store a couple of afternoons a week. It'll give her a little more money, and she'll feel like it's really hers."
"And it'll be good for her," Letty added. She looked down at the table for a moment, then up to meet Dom's eyes. "She could use an afterschool activity."
Dom's lips tightened. "What does that mean?"
Letty matched him, stubbornness for stubbornness. "It means that she's had to deal with the death of her father, you being in here, and moving in with my crazy family. She could use some stability."