Author’s Note: So, I admit I don’t remember all the exhibits I’ve seen in that Litchfield museum. I am pretty sure there were some cars in one, though. There definitely are wedding dresses. 😉
Carson wandered around the second floor of the museum, trying not to think about what Mackenna might be thinking about after seeing the wedding dresses in the case downstairs. She had brought it up earlier, and while he didn’t know that he hated the idea, he was a bit worried by her talking about it.
No, he was more than a bit worried.
He might just be terrified of the idea.
The trouble was that he was more than likely a killer—he’d said he killed his father—and he couldn’t let her do it, no matter how much he needed her and wanted to keep her for the forever that marriage promised. He knew most people didn’t see it that way—most people seemed to have no idea what marriage was supposed to be like anymore—but he always figured if he got married, he’d stay married. Like Nick had, like Larry had tried to do, maybe even like his mother had. That wasn’t fair to Mackenna, not if he was a killer.
He made his way around to the other glass case, looking over the little trinkets in the exhibit. He had to wonder what had happened to all those cars that he had been given as a child. He could have sworn he had some like the ones in there, and if he did, then he might have something of value there.
Something beeped, and Carson looked up from his cars, frowning. Everyone else was out helping with the harvest, and he’d been told just to stay in the house until they were all done because otherwise he’d be in the way and possibly get hurt. He hated the way they treated him like a baby. He was eight now; he wasn’t a baby.
“What do you think?”
Carson swallowed. His father was back again. He didn’t know why he had come back. He’d thought he’d said not to because all he did was make everyone else angry or upset, and Carson didn’t think he should be here. “I think you should go.”
His father lifted him up, and Carson struggled, trying to get back down. “Stop it. I don’t want to go anywhere. Let me down.”
“You haven’t even looked yet.”
“Looked at what—Oh.”
Carson had to stare. That was all he could do. He couldn’t look away, not when he was seeing what he was. This wasn’t quite like the one that his dad had given him as a toy, but it was kind of close, with the same funny wheels. Different color—this one was more black than that shiny blue of his toy—but it had the steering wheel on the wrong side just like the little one did. Strange, though. It didn’t have a roof. The toy had a weird one, a tan one that was kind of squarish, but this one was open. Like a convertible.
His father set him down in the front seat of the car. Carson wobbled, grabbing hold of the back of it to keep from falling. The leather on the seat was all hard and old, worse than that saddle of Grandpa’s that had cracked. Yuck.
“She’s a beauty, isn’t she? Oh, she needs a bit of work, but she is a real special lady, isn’t she?”
“Dad, it’s a car, not a person.”
His father laughed. “Some people call cars ladies. I happened to find this one, and she is something, isn’t she? I can’t believe the deal I got on her.”
“You did this so I would trust you?”
His father touched his cheek. “Yes. I want my family back. I made a mistake—several of them, actually—but I’m back now. I’m going to do the right thing, not just for you, but for your brothers and your mom, too. I swear.”
He frowned, biting his lip. “I don’t know.”
“This is a new start. One for all of us. It’ll be good, son, I promise.”