Hi, everyone. I’m so sorry this post is a week late and I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Thank you for your patience and thank you, as always, for spending a little time in my imagination
Amber bats her lashes at Jeremy, her gaze glittering, before blowing him a kiss and strutting off.
“If that’s true, the adoption process stops, doesn’t it?” The breeze prickles the hairs on my arm and I cling to Gertrude.
Jeremy circles us with his arms and the world fades away for me, the color receding from his cheeks.
“What is it?” My words tremble in the air.
He shakes his head and lowers his voice. “You stay here with the baby. I’m going home for the car.”
“Jeremy, what’s going on?”
His grip tightens on my arms and he arranges his face into a smile, his eyes dead. He nods to our passing neighbors. “I’m just not feeling well, honey. You two stay, and I’ll be back in a bit.” His lips brush my ear. “There are plenty of people here, you’ll be safe.”
My legs shake and I lower myself to the ground as he disappears into the tree line.
Gert’s eyes widen, water gathering on her lashes. I bounce her on my leg, babbling until she glows. Spinning her around, I cover her ears and the first rocket shoots into the sky, showering red sparks. The cacophony of the fireworks mimics my heart and I can’t help wondering who the other half of this little girl is. I hold her closer, almost feeling her being pulled away.
The last of the fireworks scream into the black sky, leaving the stars clouded by smoke. Jeremy still isn’t back. All around me, people begin packing up folding chairs and checkered quilts. Where is he?
“Do you need some help?”
I jump, Jeremy’s boss, Arthur, squatting beside me in the darkness. “I didn’t realize you were there.” Coughing, I move Gertty to the other side.
“Oh, you just looked lonely over here and you know the firm is a family.”
He stands, offering me his hand and pulling me to my feet.
“Where did Jeremy run off to?”
I clear my throat. “He wasn’t feeling well.”
Bending down he sets the basket aside, pulling together the untouched dishes. He tugs at the blanket making me step off it before folding it away.
I glance around hoping his wife will materialize. “Where’s your lovely spouse tonight?”
“Left before the show started. Darn her migraines.” He straightens his back and offers me his arm. “I’ll walk you home.”
I step back, making him laugh.
“Oh, come on. You can’t be that old fashioned. I don’t bite.”
“Jeremy is on his way with the car.”
“Really? I didn’t see you call him.”
His heat surrounds me.
Reaching, Gertrude pushes him.
“I can carry the baby if you like.”
“No, thank you.” Taking the blanket, I tuck it under my arm before grabbing the basket. “I see some friends I’d like to visit” With that, I try to fade into the disappearing shelter of the crowd. Jeremy, where are you?
I see a family from down the street heading for their car and I fall into step behind them, forcing up the corners of my mouth.
A warm hand comes to rest on the back of my neck.
“Where are you goin’ now, honey?” A low voice licks at my ear. “I believe that’s my baby girl you’re holdin’.”
To be continued…