“Late? What does that mean? Late for—”
Matt elbowed Thordin hard in the side. Christ, will you shut up? “Mar, why is the prospect so terrifying?”
She blew out a breath and looked away. “We’re not ready. We’re not ready for Tala’s baby, we’re not ready for Neve’s, and we’re sure as hell not ready for mine and Thom’s.”
Did he actually tell her about those dreams? Those visions of his? Matt frowned. “Would it be that terrible?”
Marin looked at him, tears glittering at the corners of her eyes. “I’m not sure, Matty. I don’t know. I mean…I just don’t know.” She dropped her basket and was suddenly hugging him, her face buried against his shoulder. After the barest hesitation, Matt slowly wrapped his arms around his sister, holding her tight, fingers lacing through her dark hair.
“It’s okay, Mar,” he murmured quietly. “It’ll be okay. Whether you are or you aren’t doesn’t matter. Everything’s going to be fine.”
“No it won’t,” she said, her voice muffled by his jacket. “Having our son starts a timer. We won’t be here when he grows up to be a man.”
A shiver shot through Matt and his jaw tightened. What the hell has she seen, too? Where does it intersect with what Thom’s seen—and where does all of that intersect with reality?
At some point, he was going to find out, and he was still dreading the day he did.
Just pray you don’t find out the hard way or the painful way.
“Nothing is written in stone,” Phelan said, expression a mix of pain and concern. “You have to remember that, Marin. Nothing is written in stone.”
There was something like despair in his eyes, though, and Matt suppressed a shudder. He held his sister a little tighter. Nothing is written in stone, but apparently some things are more likely than others. This must be one of them. He frowned and rested his chin against Marin’s head.
“Whatever happens, you’re stuck with me,” he murmured into her hair. “Me and your husband and the rest of this crazy band of yahoos. Whatever happens.”
Marin sucked in a shaky breath and hugged him harder. “I know,” she whispered. “Believe me, Matty, I know it. I wish knowing that helped, but it doesn’t.” She let go of him and straightened slightly, turning toward Phelan. Her eyes were rimed with red from her short-lived tears, her brow furrowed. “She’s gone?”
“For now,” Phelan said. “I doubt she’s gone far, but for now, you don’t have to see or listen to her.” He frowned. “I’ve never seen you react like that to something.”
“I’ve never had occasion to,” Marin said quietly. She bent down to pick up her dropped basket, crouching to gather up the scattered holly boughs that had bounced free when she’d dropped their container.
“Oh, you’ve had occasion,” Phelan said, frowning. “Unless there’s something you’re not saying.”
“I’m not talking about it.” She straightened, basket in hand. “So you can stop asking about it and forget about it, or you can just stop asking. It’s up to you.”
Phelan stared at her for a moment, then glanced toward J.T. and then Matt. He sighed and shook his head. “All right. I’ll leave well enough alone. Every power that is or was know by now that I should know when to do that.”
“It’s not going to be easy.” Thordin said, grinning ruefully.
“No. No, it’s not.” Phelan stared at Marin. “But I’ll figure it out. Everyone keeps telling me I need to. Maybe it’s time.”
Marin gave him a grateful smile. “Thank you, Phelan.”
He shrugged. “If I can’t do it for family, who can I do it for?”
Matt put his arm around Marin’s shoulders. “Truer words were never spoken. Come on. Let’s go see of Thom’s done negotiating.”
“Something tells me it’s not going well,” J.T. said.
“Then we’ll just sit back and wish we had popcorn.” Matt smiled, trying to ignore the churning of his stomach. “Come on.” Anything to distract me at this point—anything.
Watching my brother-in-law get yelled at? I suppose that’s as good as anything else.