I was so happy for her. She went on to say that she had recently stopped taking her ulcer medication so that she could try to conceive. Iain had wanted to start a family for a while. No one was better with kids than my brother-in-law; they just flocked to him. He would allow friends' children to chase him around the pool over and over again to the point of dizziness. We'd all get tired just watching them, but Iain had endless energy. Though he loved playing with friends' kids, he wanted children of his own. But being ten years younger than him, Laura just hadn't been ready.

When I had first heard how much older Iain was than Laura, I immediately opposed their relationship.

"Are you crazy? Thirty-one?" I exclaimed. "That's way too old. You're only twenty-one."

"He looks so young, Li, you wouldn't believe it," Laura said, trying to convince me, "and plus, I really like him."

"Baby," I urged, "you have to be careful of guys like that. They just want to mess around."

I couldn't have been more wrong.

That was the fall of 1997, and Laura was a student at UCLA. While she dated here and there, she had never had a serious boyfriend before. I used to worry that she might not ever find someone, because she had never really expressed an interest in anyone. Or maybe it was just because she had never told me about it. Laura and I never kept secrets from each other, but I was always very protective of her—perhaps overly so. In hindsight, I probably wasn't ready for my little sister to start dating. As a girl, I had more crushes than I can recall. Much to my embarrassment, I was named "biggest flirt" in my middle school yearbook. I had already had a lot of experiences, and I didn't want Laura to get distracted by the boy craziness that had struck me long ago. She never would.

Excerpted from Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home by Laura Ling & Lisa Ling. Copyright © 2010 by HarperCollins. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the publisher.


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