“Oh, you’re here already,” Bianca said.
Melody glanced over her shoulder at Harmony who trailed her. Even though they were in the safety of her parents’ home, keeping an eye on her baby had become a habit. “Hey, mom.”
“Harmony! Hey there, precious! Are you feeling all right?”
The child nodded and spoke sheepishly. “I’m fine, grandma.”
Giancarlo came from outside and embraced Melody. “Hey, kiddo. I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too, dad.” More than you know.
She savored the warm feeling of her father’s arms around her and lingered there for a moment while she watched her mother and daughter talk over his shoulder. Bianca was trying to figure out why she wasn’t in school.
Giancarlo immediately struck up a conversation, and honestly, she had no idea what he was going on about. She plastered on a smile and nodded at whatever he said. Her stomach was in knots over the news she needed to share with them, and her eyes darted between her father’s and the scene across his shoulder. She and Harmony discussed it before they left home, and the child agreed not to say anything about the family drama. But, Bianca peppered her with questions. She hoped Harmony remained strong.
“Come, sit,” he said, finally. “What’s wrong? You look…bothered. Is Riv still not home?”
Everything had changed so quickly, she didn’t remember her parents didn’t know she took her husband back. Melody had many things to share with them, but they would have to wait until she knew they were absolutely safe. She didn’t want to risk the wrong people overhearing their conversation. River said the bad people no longer had a presence in that area, but Melody had to be extra cautious. No one would ever lay a hand on her baby ever again on her watch.
“I’m, ummm, I’m good, dad. I just…I just have something important to say.”
“You and lover boy are getting back together, and,”–he gasped–“you’re expecting again! We should break out a bottle of good juice! Well, none for you, kiddo.”
Harmony snickered at her grandfather’s antics. Melody almost lost it at the sight of her daughter’s smile. It was so rare in those days.
Giancarlo’s humorous optimism caused a smile to creep on Melody’s face too. Usually, his jokes about her and River or her getting pregnant were annoying, but with the happenings of late, she welcomed the familiar. She knew how he worried about her and their marriage. It felt good to be able to confirm one piece of his prediction.
“Well, come on,” Bianca said. “Spit it out! We haven’t seen you in weeks, and now you show up with the baby when she should be in school. It must be serious.”
The knots in her stomach gave way to butterflies. She smiled nervously and felt the pressure of tears behind her eyes like a breaking dam. “Ummm…”
They sat there waiting expectantly for this news while she studied their faces as if she would never see them again. No one knew where or when they were leaving, but this could very well be the last time she saw them.
Bianca sat next to her and placed a hand on her knee. “What’s wrong, baby?”
The pressure behind her eyes made the crack grow longer. Holding it in was more difficult than ever. All that week, she had been caring for her child all the while needing her own mother. More than anything, she wanted to fall apart in her mother’s arms and tell of her troubles. She wanted to feel her hands stroke her hair and hear her voice saying, “everything is gonna be all right, baby.” But, she had to hold it together. It wasn’t time.
She cleared her throat and looked away from her mother. “Well…the good news is that Riv is home.”
Her father looked so proud as his smile stretched between his ears. He was probably waiting for her to confirm the rest of his crocked up story.
Bianca’s face glowed too. “That’s wonderful, Mel. I’m happy for you. Why do I get the feeling that the bad news is gonna be really horrible?”
“Well…something horrible did happen, and…w-we have to leave.”
Bianca’s expression grew cold. “What in the world happened?”
She opened her mouth to reply several times, but nothing came out. “I don’t think we should talk about it until…until after we get to where we’re going.”
“Good Watcher, Melody! Why are you being so cryptic? We’re your parents, not double agents!”
Her last sentence was like the last pound of pressure that broke the dam. There was no way Bianca could have known her word choice could have been smarter. “I’m sorry, mom.”
Bianca stretched out her arms and welcomed Melody. “Babe…go grab some tissue, please.”
It was nice to receive a comforting hug from her mother after all. Giancarlo returned with a box of tissue and handed it to her. She could feel her mother’s eyes piercing through her similarly to the way she did during her tumultuous teens.
Bianca sighed. “Can you at least tell me everyone is all right?”
“Yes. Riv got hurt, but he’s on the mend.”
Her mother’s eyes grew as big as flying saucers. Frustration was written all over her face. She didn’t even want to know what her father’s face looked like.
“I’m very sorry to be like this, but we can’t risk–it might not be safe. We’re going someplace we know we’ll be safe. Once we get there, I’ll tell you everything.”
Giancarlo snorted. “And then we’re moving there too!”