With the dark windows and dim light it was a wonder that one could tell day from night, but somehow Lola still knew that it was twilight. The eerie time when the sun and moon traded places for the night. She was sitting on the floor in the front room, back against the wall, with a small notepad and pencil Selena had found for her. Each blank page offered a new chance to escape from the suffocating insanity of reality.
The sketch on the crisp, white paper was drawn completely from memory. She was trying to capture her parents as she remembered them being that last night. Happy and lovely in their evening finery for a night out. It had been a nice, fall night….
"Do I look all right?" my mother asked, her voice just barely betraying her anxiety.
I turned from changing Jaden and studied with her a grin. "You look gorgeous, so stop worrying."
It was the truth. Despite nearing forty my mother was still lovely. Her blonde-brown hair was swept up into a neat chignon and the only jewelry she wore was her wedding ring and an emerald necklace Donovan had given her for their anniversary. The matching, green dress was simple, yet elegant with its empire waist and soft folds of fabric that fell gracefully to her feet. It was sleeveless so she had drawn a dark velvet wrap about her shoulders.
"Thank you, darling," she said smiling softly. "Are you sure you don't want to come? We could've gotten another ticket?"
I shook my head. "You and Donovan need a night out, alone. Besides I'm happy to stay and watch Jaden." I zipped up the zipper on his soft flannel sleeper and lifted him from the changing table. "I love the little man," I said cuddling him to my shoulder.
"You're too mature for seventeen," my mother teased. "You should be out partying or on a date."
I laughed. "I'd much rather be here. It's much quieter and easier to read here than it would be at a club, and I have a painting to finish for class before next Tuesday."
"It's still hard for me to believe my baby's in college," she replied with a nostalgic sigh.
"Well if it makes it easier pretend I'm still a senior, if I hadn't doubled my course load last years, that's what I'd be now. Plus you still have Jaden to be your baby for several more years," I offered lightly.
She held out her arms for him and he willingly was handed over. She kissed his downy, soft head as she cradled him against her. "He will be too strong a little man to always want to be his mother's baby." Smilingly she gazed adoringly at her son. "He will probably be a mischievous little boy like his father."
"Yes, Donovan does strike me as the type of guy to have been a rascal as a child," I conceded.
"I'll have you know my mother always said I was an angel," Donovan's deep voice broke into our conversation.
We both turned in surprise. I offered him a guilty grin which he returned with a smile of his own. "Olivia, you'd better let Lola take Jaden back before I can't get you to leave the house."
My mother laughed and carefully disentangled Jaden from her wrap, which he was quite entranced with. I took him with a smile even though he seemed a bit miffed to have lost the silky velvet.
"I guess we'd best be on our way," she said as she straightened her dress.
Donovan nodded and held out his arm like a true gentleman.
"Have a good time," I ordered as they started out.
Perhaps they did have a good time, she would never know. Sometimes she wondered how their night had been and how horrible it must've been in those final moments. She could not imagine the terror they would've felt as they realized they were about to die. Gently she closed the small pad and stuck the pencil inside so she wouldn't lose it. During the first few weeks after their deaths she had trouble recalling the good times. All she could think about was their loss, but slowly she'd regained control over the happy memories. She was determined not to lose them in the sorrow and bitterness.
The door in the back crashed open as she got to her feet. Scaring and surprising her at the same time. She backed away from the hallway and towards the relative safety of a corner.
"Lola?" Selena's breathless voiced chased away her fear.
"Yes?" she answered as she hurried towards her.
"We've got to go, something's happening. I don't know what but we have to leave now," the urgency in her voice was immediately contagious.
"W-What's going on? Where are we going?" Lola questioned as Selena tugged her toward the backdoor. She snagged her hoody from where she'd discarded it earlier on their quick march through the kitchen.
Just then the sound of gunfire broke the stillness.
"So, what's happening now?" Lucas asked from his perch on Bruce's coffee table.
Bruce frowned at his choice of seat, but didn't say anything about it. "Detective Hardwicke was working on getting search warrants for as much of the man's property as possible."
Lucas paused from rubbing Samson's silky coat. "Did he think he could?"
Bruce shrugged and settled into the recliner. "He seemed hopeful and Andrew thought it was a good possibility."
"Wow, it's hard to believe this is all real," Lucas mused as he stood and headed for the kitchen. Samson followed him hopefully and stood close by as Lucas began to rummage through Bruce's fridge. "You are a terrible bachelor. Where's all the junk food?"
Bruce shook his head as he reached for the remote. "Military life is easier when you're healthy."
Lucas returned carrying a plastic container and a can of diet soda. "Maybe, but you're not in the military now," Lucas reminded him.
"Old habits die hard, Luc. Besides no one invited you over to eat," he said with a mock frown.
Lucas grinned and bit into a cold, drumstick of leftover, fried chicken. "I'm family. I don't need an invitation." Samson whined longingly.
"Samson behave," Bruce ordered. He flicked the tv on and turned it to the local news. "He's as bad as you are."
Ignoring him, Lucas tossed the dog a bit of chicken. "You know I was thinking, we should fly over this estate and see if there is a cabin."
"But in the letter she said it wasn't visible," Bruce pointed out.
"Oh, good point," Lucas said with a frown. "Well then would you like to just go flying tomorrow?"
"Didn't you just have a flight yesterday? Are you missing it already?" Bruce asked with a grin.
"Co-piloting isn't quite the same," Lucas argued. "Besides you're coming to the airport anyway to help with the renovations."
"Yes, but usually these flights of yours occur earlier than I was planning on getting up," Bruce replied.
Lucas grinned wickedly. "I like to see the sunrise."
Not as long as I would've liked, but having a bit of trouble typing due to an injury. Hope you enjoyed though!