Once in the car, Cali falls asleep. I remember that cycle, eat, sleep, eat…“We will need to get some real food in her soon,” I say.
“Let’s go home,” Dean says.
Home… the thought rattles in my head as we are driving. No longer the place I remember where Mom’s inside making dinner and Tommy’s in the driveway working on a car. But for the first time since this all began it was nice to hear the word. With Dean, and now Cali, it is starting to feel like home. And already, somehow, the three of us feel like a family of our own.
Dean pulls the car into the empty driveway. Cali’s in the back seat asleep looking like an ordinary kid with a hint of a smile on her lips. I look over at Dean who is wearing that amazing smile I knew he had. My heart melts as I watch him swoop her into his strong arms so gently that she doesn’t wake up. I shut the door and follow him as he carries her into the house.
“Brendan’s room,” I say and run ahead of them. The room is dark and cold. I pull down a few blankets from the closet and find a candle so she will have some light. My mom has a million of those glass jar scented candles around. They seem pretty safe. I put it on the bedside table, then I hear my mom’s voice in my head. “Don’t fall asleep with that lit Lera,” she would say. With a sigh, I move the candle over to the high dresser across the room and go in search of matches. When I get back, I see Dean lowering Cali into the bed, the sun shining through her honey colored hair as it falls past his waist. He covers her with the blankets I had set out.