Charlotte let the wind blow through her blue hair. It was…nice. A sensation she hadn’t the luxury to feel anymore. She had been so busy with her children, the war and now her marriage, that it took everything in her just to have enough energy to venture out into the world. The war wasn’t as much of an immediate threat anymore, and she could breathe, if only for a moment. Her eyes shut tightly as the cool breeze danced across her neck. “Charlotte.” But she didn’t open her eyes. She didn’t want to. “I came here to explain what happened, and I’m not leaving until you listen.”
“No,” Charlotte answered finally. “I don’t want to hear it.”
“I said, I’m not taking no for an answer. We can sit out here all night if you’d like,” He replied.
“The kids.” She was always quick to change the subject. “Are they in bed?”
He let out a small grunt to ascertain that he had done his duty as a father. “I read Pax and Camilla a comic book and then Gracie and Nerissa an adventure novel. Caleb put Waverly to bed. But that’s not the problem right now. We are. Let’s talk.”
“About what?” She mumbled. “About how you lied to me? How you kept your past a secret from me?”
“I did what I did out of fear of losing you,” Jeff said. “If I told you straight out that Mason brought me here, you would have shut me out of your life. You would have blamed me for everything that has happened to your family. When, in reality, the ONLY contact I’ve had from that man was being brought to life. We aren’t friends, I don’t talk to him often. He simply gave me life and told me what I had to do. It’s been over a decade and I haven’t done anything even remotely treacherous…Charlotte, I’m not Declan. I will never be Declan.”
She could feel the air escaping her lungs. What was she so afraid of? Abandonment? Lies? Betrayal? All of the above. “You were there when Declan left us…the man I considered a father more precious to me than my own biological dad at one point. You saw, just a few days earlier what my mother did to me. You were there, Jeff. You saw it all! Please don’t make me relive that.”
“I will never let that happen,” He mumbled, reaching out to grab her hand. But, she curled her fingers up and pulled her pale hand out of reach.