Author’s Note: I was not happy with what I did for the first part of my new album challenge. It’s an important part of the one story, but it wasn’t as fitting with the prompt as I usually do and it was not… my best effort at all. I didn’t even do something new, just found an old piece. So… I have fixed that.
This time we’re back to Carson and Mackenna and the not finished sequel.
This fits with Together Alone and the lyrics I used before even better, I think.
We’ll grow old, we’ll take care of each other
I’ll be your sister, your mother, your lover
We’re believers, we’ve been hurt by believing
Needing people, we know looking’s not seeing
There’s even more to it than this, and it fits the other lyrics of learning balance and rhythmn, too.
“Carson?” Mackenna asked, reaching over to touch him, trying to be as gentle as she could. She knew he didn’t want to admit it, but in addition to his frustration with the job hunting, the nightmares from when his father died were worse these days. Knowing what had really happened then was only part of the problem.
The way his family had lied about what happened would probably always haunt him, even if he had the truth. What they’d done hadn’t helped him, hadn’t done him any favors, and she still got mad thinking about how they could have told him, ended his torment, instead of sending him to a therapist, getting him drugged up, and letting him think he was crazy.
If things had been worse, if he’d really started to believe the worst of himself, he could have ended up like her uncle, and she still couldn’t get that image out of her head. She understood the man was in pain, but she wished he’d asked for help.
Or at least waited until she wouldn’t be the only one there to find him.
She felt Carson trembling and sighed, wrapping her arms around him and holding on, as much for her own sake as his. She wanted to stop the nightmares for him, take them all way, but life didn’t work that way. This was their attempt at happily ever after, but they both weren’t kidding themselves. They knew it wasn’t that easy.
“Admittedly, this might be easier if we’d fallen asleep in the actual bed,” Mackenna muttered, but he didn’t answer, not that she would have wanted him to, not unless he was awake. She rested her head against his chest. “Should I say something profound and meaningful now? You’re too asleep to hear me. Um… I could do the standard lines of ‘it’s over. You’re fine. You’re safe. I’m here. I’ll protect you from any of that.’ How terrible is it I feel like I’m talking to a child?”
“Arguably… my emotional growth was badly stunted as one, so…”
“That woke you?”
“I don’t know what woke me,” Carson said, pulling her closer, “but if it was you, thank you. I… I had the worst one again. No, not the worst one. I can’t decide which is worse, to be honest, the one where it turned out it was me… or the one where he didn’t just… fake that part.”
Mackenna winced. She sat up and reached to run her fingers through his hair. “I was just getting mad at your family for covering it up, and now I’m kind of pissed.”
“Do not go picking fights with him again. Please. It was… he was honoring my grandfather’s wishes, even if they were all misguided and I don’t think it did my mom any favors, either.”
“No, she still believed in your father, and it ate her up inside. It was no better than trying to convince you forgetting it was best and none of it ever happened,” Mackenna said, shaking her head. “It’s frustrating, even if there’s nothing I can do about it now.”
He shrugged. “You’re here, aren’t you? You don’t have to be, but you signed up for it as a friend and then a psuedo-sister and now… a lot more than that.”
“Oh, is that all?” Mackenna teased, very aware of the ring on her finger. He laughed and kissed her forehead. “Face it. You’re stuck with me for life, not that we didn’t agree to that almost from the beginning.”
He nodded. “I know, but back then all you wanted was my car.”
She laughed. “Well, you know me, I’m a sucker for antiques.”
“Which doesn’t explain us.”
She smiled. “I have a weakness for fixer-uppers, too. I like me a good project.”
“Nice. I feel very insulted.”
“No, you don’t. You feel loved.”
“And very unworthy of it, but yes,” he said before kissing her temple. “I think we’d better try again to sleep. You’ve got a lot to do on the new car, and I need to job hunt again.”
“Nope, you’re my slave for the day, remember? It’s Sunday, no job hunting for you. Just a lazy morning for us and the car.”
She winced. “He won’t want us to, but we should probably check on him, too.”