Looking into my beautiful daughter’s eyes, the world around her had completely become blank and her face, although still fuzzy, gave me glimpses of her true identity every time she spoke. Fading in and our with every sentence.
I was still reeling from hearing my daughter use the swear word she had, when she spoke again.
“Hey. Wake up!” Gone was the lovely sing-song high pitch of a little girl’s voice, replaced with a much lower tone.
I was unable to speak to her in return, seemingly frozen on the spot watching her fade in and out of view.
“Sun?” she spoke to me. I wondered why she almost sounded like a man. I tried to return a comment to her, but couldn’t. My heart had begun rapidly beating in my chest, I felt weak, almost with fear and my senses stood at attention as if waiting for something frightening to happen.
With a sharp intake of air I was instantly awake, senses alert, heart pounding in my chest. At first my eyes were blurry, then I realized someone was standing there. I gasped, then pulled Jade closer to my chest and blinked my eyelids a few times desperately trying to clear my vision.
“Yes Jin,” he almost said mockingly. “Who else would it be? What on earth is going on?”
Jin continued to glare at me, and I began to slowly rise from the bed, trying not to wake Jade. Jin began to speak again, but I quickly cut him off with a whispered, “WAIT.” I held my breath while I carefully laid Jade in her crib, managing not to wake her in the process.
“Shhhh, don’t wake the baby,” I whispered, and motioned with my head for him to follow me. I walked him all the way out of the barn.
I should have been happy to see him. Hadn’t I been moaning about that off and on in my thoughts? Instead, I was furious! We exited the barn and I spun around, glaring back at him.
“What are you doing here?” I demanded
“What do you mean what am I doing here? This is my home!”
I couldn’t help it, but I scoffed. “Yeah right! Could have fooled me.”
“Where is the boat? Why are you living in the barn?”
“Oh NO. You don’t get to grace me with your presence and then start asking me questions. Not until you have answered some of mine. Where have you been for the last, oh I dunno, fifteen months?”
“I was in Monte Vista. My parents sent me there to live with an elderly woman. Don’t tell me you never knew that!”
“I had no idea where you were as your parents never told me. Why didn’t you come home when your mother died?”
“I TRIED! But my father never answered me and I needed him to make the arrangements. I called Sun, and emailed every day for a month! Why didn’t anyone answer?”
I just stood there and stared at him. I didn’t know what to say, but I didn’t want to feel sorry for him either. Not after everything I had been through.
“Where is my father?” he asked
“He’s DEAD!” We stood there staring at one another while that news resonated the air.
Finally he asked, “When?”
“About four days after your mother passed.” I saw him swallow at the news and he looked to the ground and then the night sky. Shaking his head at me he then asked, “Where is the boat?”
“It was taken by the bank.” Jin just shook his head at me, wide eyes staring as if he didn’t understand. So I proceeded to tell him about the letter I had received, moving out with the assistance of the men who came to re-possess the boat and my attempt at making the barn a home.
“This doesn’t make any sense. My mother owned that boat.” Jin had begun pacing at this point back and forth in front of me. “At least that is what I always thought anyway. Do you still have the letter from the bank?” I nodded. “Good, I will want to see that. I just don’t understand. This is all wrong.” Jin stopped pacing and turned back to me. “Why did you stay? Why didn’t you leave with the boat and come to find me?”
“Why didn’t you come after you had transitioned? There was nothing stopping you then! I’ve been here all alone all this time, taking care of the baby and Sophie with no real home, no heat over winter,which by the way is much longer than three days, and very little food! Worried sick all the time about what I would do if something happened to Jade. Or what if something happened to me! You have no idea what it has been like for us!”
“Jade,” Jin whispered back to me. “The baby is a girl then. I didn’t even know if the baby had survived.”
“Yes, well you would have known had you come home!”
On cue, I heard Jade’s cries from above and stormed past Jin. By the time I got there she had gotten herself quite worked up.
“We still have a lot more to talk about,” Jin said from behind me making me jump, which upset Jade even more. I was going to have to get used to another person being around again, that was for sure.
“I’m a little busy as you can see,” I replied curtly over Jade’s cries as I tried to bounce her up and down with my aching arms.
“What is the matter with her?” Jin asked.
“Teething I believe. She isn’t sick as far as I can tell.”
Jin left the barn, was gone for a minute or two before coming back with a cold wet baby face cloth.
“Here, try this.” Then he gently opened Jade’s mouth and slid a small corner of the cloth into her mouth. Jade cried a bit more then voraciously began chewing down on the cloth. “I’ve put a few more in the fridge out there because this one won’t last long. I just ran it under the cold tap.”
“How did you know to do that?” I asked completely dumbfounded.
Jin just gave me a little half-smile out of one side of his mouth before answering, “Long story. Cold water in a bottle also seems to help. They just chew on the nipple and get relief that way.” Three washcloths and two hours later, Jade had wore herself out and was slid easily into bed with no complaint.
Jin had gone to the broken washroom, so I took that opportunity to quickly change into my pj’s before he got back. I had just finished brushing my hair when Jin began to climb into the bed.
“Whoa, hold on! What do you think you are doing?” I firmly said to him.
“I’m exhausted. I’m going to bed.”
“Not in this bed you are not!”
“C’mon Sun, we’re not kids anymore, and we are still engaged.”
“Says who,” I fired back at him. The nerve!
“Says you apparently. Or else you wouldn’t still be wearing the engagement ring.”
Dang it! Put me on the spot he did. I almost took it off to throw back at him.
“What else was I supposed to do with it? Maybe I didn’t want to lose it. Maybe I just like the ring itself. Either way, you are not sleeping here!”
“Where do you expect me to sleep?”
“There is a perfectly good bed downstairs. Go sleep there.”
“That bed wreaks of smoke. Can’t I just sleep here? I promise to behave….” he said to me with pleading eyes. But all I did was stomp my foot and point to the stairs. He gave me a nod then proceeded to leave. Just as he started down the stairs, I said to him “Oh Jin, it’s not appropriate for you to be walking around in just your jockey shorts. So from now on, wear more clothes around me.” Then I crawled in to bed and blew out the candle.
Early the next morning, I woke with my bladder full to bursting and I laid there trying to convince my body I didn’t have to go, because I didn’t want to wake up Jin. I also didnt want to be seen squatting over a bucket with my pants down if he happened to come up the stairs. However my bladder won the war, so I got dressed, quickly peed and quietly made my way downstairs.
As it turned out, my worries were for nothing as Jin wasn’t in the bed, nor was he anywhere in the barn. I had a momentary panic that he had left the island again without telling me. I dumped the bucket over the side of the island, rinsed it out and left it by the barn.
The morning sun had just begun to rise over the horizon line giving the sky this beautiful hue of maeve. I decided to grab my camera to take some pics around the island, and it was then I saw him through the window upstairs. I carefully made my way up the hill to watch him and snap a few pics.
Jin seemed to be deep in thought and as I knew yesterday had been a lot to absorb, I decided leave him in peace. He looked so vulnerable and defeated, as if he was lost or out of place. I was sure, hearing that his father was also dead, had been a great shock to him after all this time. I couldn’t imagine what it truly felt like to lose a parent, let alone two. For even though my mother Sun had died shortly after I was born, I had no memory of it and my mothers’ in France were both very much alive. As far as I knew, at least.
Sophie was there to keep him company, and I am sure that was a great comfort to him. She had been unsure of him at first, but she was slowly warming up to him. I wondered then, if Jin had even given any thought to Aria.
Not long after, I was in the garden house to tend to the chickens and the plants, when I saw Jin visiting his parents graves. I felt it was a memory that truly needed to be remembered. I snapped a picture from behind him, then walked my way around the garden house, to grab one from the other side. He never even knew I was there. I felt so bad for him, I truly did. I couldn’t hear what he was saying and I didn’t want to. From the look on his face, he was really struggling with all the emotions he was feeling. I wanted to go to him, wrap my arms around him and tell him I was so sorry. That everything was going to be okay. But I couldn’t. For just as he was struggling with how he felt, so was I with how I felt about him.
The weeds in the garden had overgrown most of the plants in the past week so I busied myself with that task, singing away to pass the time. I became so focused on the task, that I missed Jade’s first cries of waking up. I raced upstairs, only to see Jin bending over to lift Jade from the crib. Jade took one look at her brother and screamed to high heaven! I know it was entirely wicked of me, but I could not help it when I felt incredibly pleased with her response. You go girl! Don’t let him off the hook so easy! My delight
swiftly slid to annoyance however, when Jade’s next sounds where those of cooing and giggles.
How on earth did he change her mind so quickly?
A bottle and a few fridge cold wash cloths later, we had a very happy little girl, gibber-jabbering her head off in the swing.
As happy as I was that she was feeling better, a big part of me was not amused that Jin could just so easily step in, while I had struggled all this time!
Later on, Jin asked if we could talk, and he led me to the firepit on the beach where I laid Jade in her basket, hopeful she would fall asleep for a while.
“So I’ve had a lot of time to think about things. Almost all night in fact, only sleeping for a couple hours. I think you would agree that some decisions need to be made. Not big decisions about you and I or things like that. But, ah, decisions about the island in particular. Once you show me the letter from the bank, I’m going to make a few phone calls to see what I can find out. Even if my mother didn’t own the boat entirely, there is no way, no way my parents wouldn’t have planned for my future. Or Jade’s future. It just isn’t like them at all.”
“I agree, whole heartedly. Your father was always a very detail oriented man and your mother loved you both so much, that I too find it hard to believe.”
“So once I get things worked out with the bank, some changes need to happen around here. Like for example, we can’t live in the barn the way it is. We need a proper home.”
“So, you are staying then?” I asked with trepidation.
“Oh yes. I’m not going anywhere. Keeping you and Jade safe are my priority now.”
Safe. I thought that was an odd thing to say but before I could question it, Jin continued on. “So the reason why I mention changes is because I wanted to warn you up front……..that may mean I will have to take down the garden house.”
“Whoa! Wait-NO! I need the garden house! Plus I worked really hard on building it!”
“But you need a bigger and better garden house, don’t you think?”
“No because I was going to start a summer garden and do a bunch of canning in the Fall.”
Jin sighed, “Okay, I will leave it for now and we will see. If you could get me that letter, I will make some calls to see what I can find out.”
Ha! “But Jin, no boat, no cell service. Remember?”
He pulled his phone from his pocket and held it up for me. “It’s a satellite phone. I needed it for my job.”
“Oh,” I replied feeling really foolish.
“Could you just find that letter for me.”
“Fine,” I said. Yet as I walked away I thought to myself, job? Plus what kind of job could he have had that would require a satellite phone anyway.
As the day went on, I began to wonder about who this man was. He was so different, mature and experienced. I found myself watching him for days, hoping to find any glimmer that would give me insight into the person he had become. He surprised me at every turn.
For starters, he fixed the washroom, in fifteen minutes! Crap, I was only on page twenty of the handiness book. He had completely won over Jade and I found she had started to prefer him over me.
Sophie obviously had forgiven him for being away so long, and the happy little pooch who followed me around all day, now followed him.
Lastly, I’m a little ashamed to admit, that I had been eaves dropping on some of his phone calls. The way he took charge of every situation….gone was the boy and here was the man.
Something was weighing heavily on his mind though. For while he was accomplishing all the things I mentioned, he was watchful as well. Patrolling the island at all different hours of the day and night, staring out across the water. Watching……..
Watching for what? That was the big question here.
CC Used In This Chapter
**Special big thanX to my very good friend Deb, who rushed to make a set of poses so I could use this special one above. The first confrontation poses between Jin and Sun outside the barn are also hers. Mwah! You are the best Deb! You will be seeing many more of her poses in each chapter!
Deb’s Poses Used In This Chapter-Cowboy Poses, Flower Child Poses, Pink Fashion poses
Other Poses– Inna_Lisa-Staged Pair Pose, JuBA-Face Mix Pose, IMHO-Resolute, Jam