You have fallen asleep with the book open not much time has passed you see Alisa stirring as she realizes that Freddy has his arms wrapped around her.

She speaks up, “Freddy, why are you so good to me?”

He sighs again as if exasperated. “Ali, do you really need to ask that?”

“No, no I don’t… But Freddy I can’t just… I’m not ready for that”

“I know” Is he smiling?

“I’m sorry, I…” he interrupts her.

“I know you’ve been through something big, and I want to trust that at some point when you’re ready, you’ll tell me.”

“I’ve never felt so lost in all my life. I used to be so sure of myself. I had everything I wanted and needed, then the whole world just collapsed right in front of me.”

“I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.”

“You don’t know that for sure. No one does.” Alisa bits back

“That’s true, but as long as I am able to, I’ll be here.”

“Please.” He pulls me in closer if that’s at all possible.

“Don’t worry” He kisses the soft spot between my mind and my eyes, smelling my hair, his breath steady and deep.

Michael is looking down from his tree watching the interactions in Freddy’s house. They have yet to name the baby, one might think that Alisa can’t because it would make all that happened before okay, which we all know wasn’t. They all just call her sunshine because she truly is full of light. The season shifts as it tends to through the climate changes of rolling flux. That has been since the beginning of time and all that hope. The mother is gone, and the lover, in small doses, has won. A slight measure of acceptance and careful love.


Phoenix is talking to sunshine, “In the middle of winter, we have this holiday that forces us to go outside and pretend like we love the freezing cold. We buy each other expensive gifts that make up for our obsessively selfish the rest of the year. Then we eat so much food we can barely function for days afterward.”

Freddy pipes up as he’s packing luggage into his SUV. “Phoenix, could you try not to poison her with your anti-Christmas negativity? Ali… how long is this trip going to take?”

Phoenix laughs. “What was that about my anti-Christmas negativity?”

I don’t always trust his assurances. Alisa bites her lip, knowing better than to get in the middle of the squabbling siblings.

“Just about a day. My mom will have a ton of food for us I’m sure. She seemed kind of… I don’t know… She said she has some surprising news. I don’t know what that means.”

Freddy shrugs. “Well, we’ll find out soon enough.”

Alisa looks sideways at Freddy. “Do you know?”

He shakes his head. “No, no clue.”

“You sure?”

He looks Alisa in the eye. “Yes, I’m sure, I promise”

“Okay” After a ferry ride and nearly 20 hours on the road, we arrive weary and stomach grumbling hungry. They all get out of the SUV, walk up to the house, open the door and walk in. Freddy guesses a good guess and flicks the switch by the front door. They all make their way up to the kitchen. Freddy runs up the stairs and puts the bags away at his insistence and my instruction. My mom enters the house just as I have finished preparing a meal.

Freddy watches Eleanor eyeing Alisa. He walks over to Phoenix.

“Hey, come on, let’s make ourselves scarce.”

“What, why?” She quires

“Watch Eleanor how she eyeing Alisa.”

Phoenix shakes her head and smiles knowingly. While mother and daughter are bantering, they duck out and walk up a path that clearly follows the line of the farm. When they return, Alisa has gone to bed, and Eleanor is sitting in the living room with her granddaughter.

“Oh good, you’re back. Freddy, you might want to talk to Alisa. I gave her some news that might be hard for her to take,” She says

Phoenix sits with her, and Freddy runs up the stairs walking up to Alisa’s room. She is curled up in bed, tears running down her cheeks. He, as ever, crawls into bed next to her, pulling her body into his chest.

“Freddy?” She sighs.

“Ali, what is it?” He listens for her response

“I’m ready to tell you.”

Post 10: I’ll Stay


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