“Let me take him,” Heather took Wyn from Blane. “You, get back in bed. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“How was Nelson?” Heather asked as Blane went into the bathroom.
“I’m not sure,” Blane said. The toilet flushed. “He’s been weird since his dad called from Poland.”
“Weird?” Heather asked.
“I’m not sure,” Blane said. He yawned. “It’s like there’s something he wants to tell as much as he doesn’t want me to know. You know?”
“He’s been like that with me too,” Heather said.
“It’s probably just some dumb Templar stuff,” Blane said at the same time Heather said, “Templar crap.”
Blane pulled off his pants and fell into bed of the fold out couch.
“Mack’s …?” Blane asked.
“He’s in bed already,” Heather said. “Wyn will follow him shortly.”
They used the bedroom area of the studio apartment for the childrens’ sleeping area. They slept on the couch next to the door.
“Sleep,” Heather said. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
Even though the kitchen was only feet away from the bed, Blane was asleep the moment his head hit the pillow. Heather fed Wyn a little bit of yogurt before putting him back in his crib. Like his father, Wyn fell over and went to sleep.
After such a dramatic night, Heather was sure she could not sleep. She slipped in next to Blane and opened her eBook reader. She fell into a sound asleep.
Blane stifled a yawn as he walked with Nelson through the Castle.
“Do you want to stay?” Blane asked.
He nodded to Tres while Nelson said, “See you, man.”
Tres nodded. He and Heather walked out to the front holding hands.
“I have an early morning,” Nelson said. He looked at his watch. “Whoa. I didn’t realize the time.”
Blane nodded. Edie came by with Wyn and Blane took the toddler from him. Mack appeared at Blane’s side. Nelson looked at one child and then the other.
“Family takes a lot of time,” Blane said.
“I wanted to ask you …” Nelson said. He looked at the sleepy children again.
“Mommy! Mommy!” Mack said and ran off to greet Heather.
Heather picked him up.
“I’ll take him downstairs,” Heather said.
Blane nodded. Wyn rested his head against Blane’s shoulder.
“We’re close to Wyn’s feeding time,” Blane said. “I need to get him fed and back into bed.”
“He’s still eating at night?” Nelson asked.
“Just a little bit,” Blane said. “It’s pretty normal for kids this age.”
They stood there looking at each other for a long moment
“You were saying something?” Blane asked.
“I just wondered …” Nelson started again.
“Okay,” Blane said.
“Would they be there for you if you had a strong feeling or were in an overwhelming situation?” Nelson asked. “All of these people got up in the middle of the night. Is that normal for here?”
“I haven’t done it before,” Blane said. “But overall, I’d say ‘yes.’ The core of this group is the girlfriends. They are in each other’s business all the time. Jake and Delphie have lived there the longest and they are like that.”
Blane stifled another yawn.
“But would they get up at night?” Nelson asked. “Just because you felt badly?”
“If I needed that,” Blane said. “Yeah. I think they would. I haven’t needed something like this.”
“What have you needed?” Nelson asked.
“I needed a stem cell transplant and they made it happen,” Blane said. “Jake came every day. So did Aden. Heather. The others came when they could. I wasn’t alone a lot even though I was in isolation. It was a huge commitment but no one complained. They just made it happen.”
“When Chet died …” Blane’s breath caught. It was the first time he’d said those words out loud. “ …and then Tink’s mom, they …”
Overwhelmed with emotion, Blane nodded.
“They were there for us,” Blane said. “Gave us a place to stay. Helped with the cleanup and all of the police and … Tink …”
“I’ve been through a lot. Heather too,” Blane said. “They’ve been here for me. I’ve been there for them. It’s how this family works.”
“They’ve been there for you too,” Blane said. “You’re a part of this family.”
Mack got up and toddled over to Ivy. He gave her an apple.
“Thank you,” Ivy said.
“That’s a gift for a King,” Fin said.
“Go ahead,” Blane said. “You’ll feel better.”
Blane nodded to Edie. Ivy took a bite of the apple and fell into a sound sleep.
“Thank you,” Abi said. “It’s so important to share each other’s struggles and joys. We are good at sharing joy but hide from sharing our struggles. We need to learn how to do that.”
“Thank you for doing this, Abi,” Sam said. “Setting this up, officiating and everything.”
“It is my pleasure,” Abi said with a nod.
The group began to break up. The adults carried sleeping children back into the house. Aden drove the teens and Sandy back to the O’Malley house. After agreeing to meet Jacob by the grass, Edie took Jill’s twins and Wyn into the Castle. Tanesha and Jeraine helped pick up the area. True to his word, Fin replaced the grass.
“I’ll get her,” Blane said.
He lifted Ivy into his arms. Sam and Delphie followed Blane back into the house. After a few minutes, Jacob and Jill were alone on a blanket on the grass.
“How was today?” Jill asked.
“I missed you,” Jacob said. “I felt … I don’t know, spoiled, stupid. I wished I was here in the middle of my life.”
“But …” Jill started. She’d been arguing with him about this for so long that her frustration came right to the surface.
“I know what you’re going to say,” Jacob cut her off. “And, you’re right.”
Her frustration drained out of her and Jill smiled.
“I need to figure out what I’m doing before I can really participate in our life,” Jacob said. “I just want you to know …”
Jill turned to look him in the face.
“The one thing in my life that I am certain about is you and our children,” Jacob said.
“Oh Jake,” Jill said.
He leaned over and kissed her.
“You’re sure that you’re okay here?” Jacob asked.
“I’m sure,” Jill said. “I’ll call you on Friday. See if you want us to spend the weekend with you.”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought of that,” Jacob said with a smile. “That’s a great idea.”
“Have your cake and eat it too?” Jill asked.
Jacob simply smiled. He helped Jill up off the grass and folded the blanket. She turned to him and he held her tight in his arms. Over her shoulder, he saw Edie standing at the edge of the deck.
“My ride,” he said.
Jill turned to look. Nodding, she let go of him. He walked over to Edie. The fairy touched his arm and they disappeared.
Sighing to herself, Jill picked up the blanket and started into the house. She had been the one who’d come up with the idea of Jacob staying at the cabin for a while. It was her plan.
And she missed him the moment he disappeared.
She carried the blanket to the storage box on the deck and went back to bed.
“It’s my opinion, and it is just an opinion, is that you, Ivy, are seeing your grandmother’s life as a way of saying, ‘You are stronger than you know,’” Abi said. “Your grandmother got through this time, somehow. She came to the United States to marry and have children. While we know that she didn’t have the happiest of lives, she did give birth to our beloved Delphie, an Oracle no less, as well as your mother, Ivy.”
“She lived her life the best she knew how to live,” Delphie said with a nod.
“Sounds like she’s reaching out to Ivy to tell her that she’s going to be okay,” Tanesha said. “That this time will pass. Do what you can — small acts of resistance or whatever.”
“It is certainly possible,” Abi said.
“Seth O’Malley, in the tunnel? You know?” Nash looked around and people were nodding. “He said something about small acts of resistance.”
“Imagine how much courage that would take to go against all of those Nazis,” Aden said. “The scientist stole the detonator to a nuclear bomb. They chased him into the mine, but he never lost track of the detonator. Never dropped it or lost it, even after all of this time, he was still holding onto it.”
“I think Fin’s right,” Aden said. “Burying your beloveds in a time of oppression is an act of war. And, small acts of resistance make all the difference.”
Outside of a few nodding heads, no one responded.
“Ivy?” M.J. spoke up. Everyone turned to look at him. “I will carry some of your burden. I’ve been aware that you’ve been afraid. I want you to know that you are not alone. You might be the only one having these vision-dreams, but there are thousands, tens of thousands, of adults who are keeping an eye on things in the world. Good people everywhere are doing what they can to be kind and loving.”
“I will carry your burden too,” Jill said. “I know what it’s like to be afraid every day. Terrified. Not able to sleep. Not able to change anything. You are not alone in this. Time will pass. We will get through this as a family, together.”
“I’ll help too!” Katy said.
“I will!” Noelle chimed in.
Jill looked at the girls and smiled.
“Me too,” Tink said quickly. “You know that I know what it means to be afraid.”
“I’m on your side, Ivy,” Charlie said.
Jeraine got up from where he was sitting and went to Ivy. He knelt down and took her hand. Ivy began to cry.
“I will help in any way possible,” Jeraine said. “You would not believe the shit I’ve been through. I am happy to share this with you.”
“Me too,” Tanesha and Heather said in unison.
“We know just how you’re feeling,” Heather finished. “I also want to add that none of this — people’s anger, the strife, the struggle right now — is yours to fix. Not even if you were a full Oracle. It’s not yours to fix. All you can do is love well, be kind, and focus on doing good in your own life. That makes a huge difference in the world.”
“We’re here for you,” Teddy said and Nash nodded.
Mack got up and toddled over to Ivy. He gave her an apple.
“It won’t matter,” Jacob said. “When you are tapped into the energy of a time, you know, or maybe a better word is sense, everything that’s going on at all times.”
“I think everyone’s able to do that,” Honey said. “I don’t need to see the news to know that things are crazy right now. Just go out of the house and see how people treat each other now. Work is sheer madness. I have to regularly remind people that they will be fired for being an asshole. They joke that it’s my regular ‘don’t be an asshole’ announcement. But joking aside, I have to do it because people are acting like fools. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Not in my life.”
Everyone in the circle nodded in agreement. They hadn’t seen anything like this either.
“So we have to think — how are these current events connected to the vision she saw of her grandmother’s life?” Delphie nodded. She gestured to the group. “Any ideas?”
Shaking their heads, the adults looked at each other. Too intimidated to speak, the teenagers looked a little dazed.
“I have an idea,” Katy said. “Is it okay to talk?”
“Of course,” Jill said.
Katy looked at the fire for courage.
“Katy?” Delphie asked. “What’s your idea?”
“I noticed that your mom was about Ivy’s age,” Katy said. “I wondered if maybe your mom was going through her vision-dream time. You know, she was hiding under the cart. Maybe she knew those guys would come and kill everybody, you know, from her own vision-dream. So she hid.”
When no one responded, Katy dove into her mother’s belly from embarrassment. Jill held Katy close.
“She’s right,” Ivy said. “The girl under the cart did look like me and was my age. What does that mean?”
“Well,” Abi said. She looked around the circle to see if anyone else wanted to say something before she continued. “One thing that I noticed was how brave and resilient these people were. Yes, the women were shot, but their families stole their bodies and buried them with their own ceremony in their own cemetery.”
“Tremendously courageous act,” Fin said. “An act of war, really.”
“An act of war?” Delphie asked. “What do you mean?”
“From what I saw, and I only saw what Ivy showed us, it seemed like one party was attempting to control another group of people,” Fin said.
“That’s right,” Jacob said.
“When the goal is control over people, those in control work to destroy the very identity of the other group of people,” Fin said. “Wipe out their identity, you gut people. They become powerless, barely able to function. These people rose up against their oppressors. By stealing the bodies and giving them a proper burial, they were saying very clearly to those in power, ‘We will not be destroyed.’ That’s nothing less than an act of war. And certainly, I will tell you that the people who arrived while the bodies were being ritualistically buried, felt the stealing of the bodies, the funeral, and burying the bodies as an act of war.”
“Those who wish for power over people usually fail because of this kind of small acts of uprising,” Fin said. “It’s death by a thousand cuts. Each small act causes a little amount of blood to leak out. More cuts, more lost blood. Each loss of blood weakens them until they are overthrown. It’s just how things work.”
Abi waited to see if Fin would say more, but he just nodded.