Author’s Note: I was having trouble with this one as I didn’t like Summer Weaving‘s chorus, but I found other sections of the song that I did like and fit what I’ve been developing (Mac’s subplot) so I went ahead and wrote this.
I focused mainly on these lyrics:
To walk a night into a day that has no reason
Walking past the house of someone else’s season
Gazing at the light on the rim of a tightly closed door
Weave me inside before the winter and I wouldn’t ask for more
Mackenna hesitated in the hallway, looking at the light under the door. By this time at night, Mac was almost always already asleep, so it was strange to see his light still on, strange enough that if it wasn’t this particular time of year, she’d be opening up the door to make sure he hadn’t had a heart attack or something first.
Well, no, she’d be forcing Carson to open it for her, most likely, because she still had issues with men’s bedrooms thanks to her uncle’s suicide, even if it was better now. Carson had helped her over it, to a part, but she still regressed at times, and the idea of finding her grandfather dead—she couldn’t do it. She knew Carson didn’t deserve that image, either, and it would possibly trigger him as much as it did her, but she wasn’t sure she was strong enough to face that twice. Mac wouldn’t be the same, but her uncle’s death wrecked her and her life, and Mac was too important to her now. She could lose it all again. She didn’t know that she could live through that again, for all she could drink the boys under the table and had people wondering about her because she knew her way around cars and other less feminine things.
Someone touched her arm, and she almost jumped out of her skin.
Carson winced. “Sorry. I was just wondering what kept you.”
She gestured to the light under the door. He frowned when he saw it, looking back at her.
“We’re not really keeping him up, are we? I didn’t think we were that noisy, and since I haven’t gone to bed yet, no nightmares. Not from me—or you, for that matter.”
She nodded, taking his hand and leading him away from Mac’s door, back out to the living room. She kept his hand all the way to the couch, where he sat down beside her, letting her use him as a pillow as usual.
“Sorry. I didn’t want him hearing us again.”
“Well, he might have already, but you seem pretty upset, so I’m not so sure I’m worried about what Mac thinks right now.”
She shook her head. “I was fighting my own issues. That’s it. I just… I was concerned by the light, and if it is something else, I’ll hate myself in the morning, but between that horrible day with my uncle and my near certainty that he’s just in there looking at the old photo albums and mourning, I don’t want to disturb him right now.”
Carson nodded. “Right. You said he goes through their entire life together leading up to when she died. That’s… a lot. I—I could go take the heat for you and ask him if he needs anything. Better he’s mad at me for intruding than you.”
“Don’t do that. You don’t have to go making yourself an enemy, not that you are. Mac likes you fine. He just doesn’t show his feelings to many people. That’s why Grandma was special, why it’s so hard for him right now. I feel… guilty, actually. It’s so much easier for me. I loved her, she was my grandma, but I barely knew her in comparison, since my aunt forgot to mention they were still alive and screwed me over like she did. I had a few years with both of them, not nearly as many as I’ve had without her. So I don’t… it’s not as hard for me. And worse… I’m with you. And we’re happy. We’re both giant messes and damaged, but we are good for each other. We have support and love and… he’s so alone. He’s trapped in winter and freezing, but you and me… we’re melting in summer warmth and happiness.”
Carson nodded. “It has been very muggy lately.”
“I didn’t mean it literally.”
He smiled, reaching over to cup her cheek. “I’m teasing. You know I can at least try that sometimes even if I’m not very good at it. I just… You have nothing to feel guilty about. Your grief is not the same as his and never could be. And it’s not wrong to be happy in our marriage even if he’s been widowed. We’ve had enough bad already, we can use some good, and if he were more of the type that talked about stuff like this… he might just tell you that he had plenty of good with her and it’s your turn. I don’t know. I don’t know Mac well enough and he’d hate me putting words in his mouth.”
She curled up closer to Carson. “I think you might be right about it. Though he’d have a different way of saying it.”
“I don’t doubt it,” Carson said. “Still, you might listen to him. He’s a smart man. A good one.”
“So are you.”
He kissed her forehead, and she closed her eyes, knowing they’d probably fall asleep right here like this again and she didn’t mind it one bit. She just wished she knew some way of helping her grandfather, even if he didn’t want it.