The funeral was beautiful. It was a loss truly felt within the whole of the city. Many, more than Michael or the rest knew, had come to pay their respects to a young woman whose time was cut too short. Michael knew Evangeline’s family, at least her immediate family and many of her uncles. They had shared meals with him and Arlene on special occasions. He did not know some of those who were not of her family. He knew she had worked, just not what at.
But it was none of his business. Nor had he ever felt he had to ask. When he saw the Mayor, he began to get an idea. Whatever she did had something to do with city government. But how high had she been?
He had not taken time to read the obit. He had hurried to get ready, then neglected to take time to kiss each of the children. It had been hard enough to get Justin’s children ready that he had not paid much attention to his own. But they had been real troopers, getting ready in a timely fashion.
Funerals were always the worst. A solemn time, it was usually not the best place to go when you had no idea what to say to ease pain and soothe sorrows. Michael had never been good at that. It made him uncomfortable. That was why he always sent Reilly or Danforth to give the bad news to parents who had just lost a child. Or a husband, or wife, who had just lost their spouse to a crime on the streets of the city.
But there he stood, feeling so out of place. HIs tie seemed to tighten around his throat as if to choke the life out of him. He was sweating profusely. For a man who rarely sweat, this was a new development. Well, relatively new.
A week had passed since Evangeline had died and now they were all bringing closure to her family. Nothing had happened in that week to cause Michael to have to go to work even though he had been given enough leave to get Justin’s kids settled in for their stay. It had been a silent week. A bit too silent. Had the killer stopped?
Misty sat beside Morgan as they flew to Bali for their honeymoon. Finally. She was going to get to see the world. She smiled.
It was nice that Morgan had his own jet. It meant that she did not have to check in her luggage or submit to that horrible scene at the airport. He simply had to go to the small airstrip where his plane was kept and fly out. No hassles.
She knew, though, that she would likely be searched in Bali. No matter. She had nothing to hide. She leaned back in her seat and began to doze. It was going to be a long flight. Might as well sleep along the way.
Morgan watched her doze off and smiled. He wondered how long it had been since she had been away from everything. She hid secrets. He had been told this. Yet, she might not know herself. Whatever that meant.
Had she lost her memory? Had she been the victim of some horrible crime? Had it done something to her that she was not aware of? How could one not know the secrets they held?
He wondered if Misty was really her name. Who was she, really? And what had she been looking for when he asked her what her name was so long ago? And why had he not followed her gaze?
He shrugged. What did it really matter? She made him happy. And he, apparently, did the same for her. Nothing else should matter.
He, too, leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. A calm crept over him as he sat there. It was a seven to twelve hour flight. Might as well rest and relax.
Michael sat, after returning home from the funeral, holding his youngest daughters. He had sat down on the couch to take his shoes off when they simply climbed up in his lap and draped their arms around his neck in a hug. Instead of rushing them off, he allowed them to remain, and soon, they had fallen asleep. So there he sat.
Unable to rise, he simply sat there. How long had it been since they had done such a thing? A month? A year?
He quietly sobbed at the thought of how he had brushed them off so many times in the past and yet, they had forgiven him. He felt blessed to have two children with such pure hearts. He vowed never to break their hearts. Never. He closed his eyes.
Arlene found him asleep, both girls still curled up in his arms. She smiled. It was a picture she wished she could get to show the world just how much he cared for his children. But she didn’t want to take the time to find their camera.
She moved closer and gently nudged one of the girls. she got a bleary-eyed stare. “Come. Let’s go to bed.” The other girl looked up at the sound of her mother’s voice.
Both girls followed their mother to their beds. A few minutes later, Arlene returned to where Michael sat. She stood there for a couple seconds, then sat down next to him. Leaning up against his shoulder, she snuggled in.
He woke up and looked over at her. “How long had I been asleep?” He asked.
She smiled at him. “I don’t know. I hated to break up the snuggle-fest you had going on with Latoya and Cindy, but it was past their bedtimes and the other children had already went to bed. Which reminds me. It’s past our bedtime too.”
He sat up. “What time is it?”
She pulled him back. “A little after ten.”
“I sat down here at seven,” he began, “And closed my eyes to enjoy holding our daughters. That was the last I remember. That was a good three hours of sleep.”
She rose and took his arm, pulling for him to get to his feet. “Come. Let’s head to bed.”
He rose and followed her up the stairs. God, but it would feel nice to get into bed. It would be nice to feel her next to him tonight and know that she wasn’t going anywhere. At least not unless he broke his promise. And he wasn’t about to break that.