“So, where should I drop you off at?” Carthage asked as he exited the highway.
LM didn’t dare look at Capernaum. He knew that his answer was going to disappoint the ghost. So, he kept his gaze lowered. “Can’t I just stay with you? I don’t have anywhere to go. I have no one else to turn to.”
“LM.” Capernaum said.
“What?” The half-fey ran his finger over the wrinkle in his slacks. “It’s true.”
“Sure, I can take you in.” Carthage said. “But I am planning to leave Pinkerlee. As soon as I can get my house sold and a new one bought, I am moving to Henspence.” He stopped at a red light. “Are you okay with that?”
Leave Pinkerlee. Leave Capernaum’s grave. Leave the decimated Institute. Leave so much behind.
But I’ll be with someone who knows me. Someone I can rely on. Someone who I matter to.
LM raised his head. “I’m fine with that.”
Capernaum gave him one disappointed look and disappeared.
I’m sorry, my dear friend, but I must do what is right for me.
This is right. I know it is.
“I don’t know if I told you, but your mom loved Alison Krauss.” Jeff held onto Missy’s hand. “I don’t know if that name means anything to you. I don’t suppose it does. Alison is a singer. She’s fabulous. She can sing anything and make it sound like a million dollars. Her voice is soft and gentle and your mom thought she was the greatest. Do you remember how your mom would sing ‘Whiskey Lullaby’ as she was washing the dishes? I don’t know if you would remember that.”
He looked down at her hand in his hand. He saw the difference in their skin tones.
He saw Laura’s skin tone.
“I haven’t been able to listen to Alison since….since. I hear her voice and I listen. I listen for your mom’s voice. It’s stupid. But I can’t help it. It’s instinct. It’s something subconscious. It’s…I don’t know. I just miss her. I miss her. I miss you. I miss the relationship we used to have. I miss the relationship we could have had all these years. All these…” He sighed. “And I can’t do anything about it. I can’t make it up to you. I can’t erase those missing years. I can’t fill them in with good memories. I can’t take away all of those bad memories…everything The Institute did to you.”
Her eyes moved restlessly behind her eyelids.
“I’m sorry, Tessie. I’m sorry I left you alone. I’m sorry I didn’t come back to you sooner. I’m sorry. Sorry I wasn’t a better father to you.”
The door opened and Raven stumbled into the room.
“You okay?” Jeff asked.
“tired.” Raven staggered over to the armchair near Missy’s hospital bed. He collapsed into it and leaned his head back. “so tired.”
“Well. Night will be here soon.”
“hmmm.” Raven fell sleep.