Author’s Note: Every year, we stop in Litchfield and look at the museum there. I had to write a bit about it. I have pictures if anyone’s interested in seeing them.
“I can’t believe your grandfather is in the backseat.”
Mackenna smiled, tempted to grab Carson’s hand, but she kept both of them on the wheel when she was driving the Maxwells. She didn’t necessarily need them there for control, but as much as Carson was afraid of wrecking the cars, she had felt the same way in her early days of driving them, and she got in the habit of holding on with both hands unless she needed to shift gears. They had a nice, flat stretch of road, not a lot of curves or turns, not until they got closer to Litchfield, and that made her job easier.
It was also part of why she got to drive this part and Mac wasn’t.
“I think he decided not to split either of the couples. Your brother and his wife arranged things with Larry so they’d ride together the whole time they were in the car, and now there’s… us.”
Carson nodded, jumping when she honked the horn for the people watching on the side of the road. He glared at her, and she grinned. Next time they did this, though, he needed a hat. She had a feeling he was going to get sunburned by the end of the day. When they stopped again, she’d make sure that he put on some sunscreen.
“We’re getting close to Litchfield,” she said, and he glanced back at Nick and Carrie. Nothing had happened since the starting gun set him off—no memories had surfaced, at least—and Carson seemed to be doing well again. Mackenna figured he was still up to finishing the run, though his overprotective siblings might disagree with her. She thought he could get the rest of his memories back today, and while it might make it a rough time on the run, it was the best thing for Carson.
He’d have his past. He’d have the answers that had been locked away for years. He’d know what happened to his father—he’d know that he wasn’t the killer—and he’d be able to move on, to overcome all that had been holding him back all this time.
Her stomach twisted, and she wondered if her sudden need to have his hand or the whole idea of grabbing a minister was about him changing his mind after he got his memories back. He’d still want her then, still need her, not in the same way, but he would.
“They’re announcing us,” Carson said, and she blinked, trying to focus again. She’d been on autopilot there for a bit, even as the policeman helped direct them into town. She should have been paying attention to that, not worrying about him leaving her.
She felt a bit pathetic when she looked back on it. She didn’t let people in so that they couldn’t do this to her. She didn’t want to worry about what they were going to do or say or do, didn’t want to fear being abandoned. Her aunt had done a lot to ruin her trust, and now that she had let someone besides Mac in—really in—she was too close, too afraid of losing him.
She slowed the car down and parked it in lane with the others, letting her foot off the gas so that it died. Carson touched her hand. “Something wrong?”
“They have coffee and stuff in the pavilion. There’s a neat little museum over there, and most of us stop to use the restrooms there.”
“Yeah, but that’s not what’s bothering you.”
She sighed, leaning her head against his shoulder. “I’m just kicking myself for being an idiot. It’s not important.”
He gave her his hand. “Show me the museum?”
She smiled at him, letting him help her down out of the car. Her skirt made it a bit harder to get in and out, even as much as she’d tried to make all of her outfits as practical as possible. She stepped down, smoothing it out, and she caught him watching her with that look he always gave her right before he kissed her.
This one was short, as brief as the way his hand brushed against her cheek. “We’re going to have to stop doing this all the time.”
She laughed. “Not necessarily. I think your brother and his wife almost prove that.”
Carson rolled his eyes, and Mackenna wrapped her arm around his, walking up to the museum with him. He stared up at the top of it, his eyes on the building, on the castle-like facade. She let him wander around—she’d seen it all before, but she liked to come in every year and she was also curious about his reaction to what he saw.
“I take it the civil war was rather big in this area. Strange to think about. I guess we always assume it was further east and south. Like… Georgia. Gone with the Wind and all that. Oh, wait, there’s Pennsylvania, the Gettysburg address and—”
“History was never your best subject in school, was it?”
He grimaced. “No, not really. I admit… It was kind of boring. Don’t give me that look. I just… It didn’t—I have a better appreciation of it now. I do. That’s because of you. Thank you.”
She smiled. “You’re welcome.”