Forty-five – 03

[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]

I snapped out of the vision to find tears on my face, my voice shaking as I kept on singing to Lin. The sun was only a fraction higher in the sky. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, maybe minutes. I sucked in one shaky breath, then another, clutching him a little tighter.

We won’t lose your father, Lin. I promise. I won’t let it happen.

Another breath. Just keep breathing. Just keep breathing. I swallowed hard and looked down at Lin. He was staring up at me with wide eyes, almost as if he was studying me. I forced myself to smile, reaching with one hand to brush his downy hair back from his face.

“It’s all right,” I whispered. “Everything’s going to be fine.”

Behind me, I heard the soft sound of footsteps below the wall. I twisted and smiled when I saw J.T. below, his hands tucked into the pockets of his jeans. I lifted a hand to wave and he smiled back at me.

“Couldn’t sleep?” he called quietly as he approached the wall. I turned to start climbing down, Lin cradled in one arm.

“Yeah,” I said. “Neither could this little guy so I came out to watch the sun.”

“Smells like rain.”

“Looks like it, too,” I said, then sighed. “But I don’t think that’s Thordin’s doing, do you?”

He shook his head. “Don’t think so. He’s been messing around a lot with the storms lately, but it seems like things are starting to even out again—at least for now.”

“Took less time this time,” I said quietly, my feet hitting the ground beneath the wall. I turned toward him and found him smiling crookedly at me.

“I don’t know how you do it carrying him.”

That made me laugh. “I could lie and say practice.”

“Then what is it?”

“Instinct, I guess. Maybe it’s something else. Damned if I know.”

Lin was looking at J.T. now, studying the man with those huge eyes of his. One corner of my mouth quirked up into a smile.

“Sometimes I think he’s memorizing everything,” I said softly, just watching my son. “Silly, isn’t it?”

“Not that silly,” J.T. said, reaching to let Lin grab a hold of one of his fingers with one tiny hand. “He’s learning every second of every day. That’s how it works.”

“Guess so,” I said, my stomach twisting uncomfortably. There had been a lot that had happened already that I didn’t want him to learn, didn’t want him to remember.

What impact was this going to have on his life going forward? Was he going to be damaged by all of this?

You can’t do more than you’ve already done—or more than you’re able to do. He’ll be okay. They’ll all be okay.

You know that. You’ve seen it.

Believe it.

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