Yaal directed his guests toward the kitchen once they appeared settled, repositioning the sleepy child upon his hip who seemed unwilling to shut his eyes among all the strangers. "I should put him to bed..." He decided. "Please don't let anyone break anything." He stated, offering the responsibility to the person closest to him in the room as he made his way up the main steps which were large and a bit daunting for someone in Yaal's current condition, but he didn't seem to mind enough to ask for any assistance. He passed the second floor and made his way up the ladder-steps that led to the roof's guest room which seemed primarily the child's, despite Emmet's finicky tendencies. The door flap that resided in the floor lifted after some effort on Yaal's behalf, stuffed toys and blankets that had constructed forts and such tumbling away from the entrance way. Yaal climbed the last few notches of the ladder, entering the child's messy room. He noticed the neatly made bed in the corner and nearly laughed. "You can't clean, but you can make your bed?"
Emmet shrugged lightly, smiling lightly up at his father.
Yaal only smiled in return, making his way across the room while avoiding the many scattered toys and various plates and house hold objects. He carefully peeled back the covers only to find a neatly folded woman's dress which he scooted aside before setting down the child and kneeling beside the bed. "You like that?" He questioned, gesturing toward the dress with his good hand.
Emmet nodded, settling under the covers. He pulled the folded clothe toward himself in a slight embrace. "Momma's." He claimed in all explanation, turning his tired glance toward Yaal.
Yaal nodded lightly, the sadness returning slightly to his tired eyes. He suddenly looked quite older then he had before.
"That's right." He muttered. "Are you going to be able to sleep with our guests here?" He questioned, changing the subject.
Emmet shook his head but seemed to be eagerly expecting something, smiling toward his father.
"No story tonight kitten." Yaal was far too tired. "Tomorrow night, I promise."
The child seemed to hide most of his disappointment but still watched his father intently, still expectantly.
"You close your eyes, and I'll close mine." Yaal offered, carefully tucking the child under the covers. He kissed the child's forehead under his messy black curls.
The child shut his eyes gently but only after taking hold of Yaal's sleeve to disable his escape.
Yaal lowered his head to the child's side, remaining kneeled by the bed. He smiled lightly and shut his eyes.
Memories rolled back to Yaal in brief snippets, like photographs where events were forgotten and only moments were present and recollected and their feelings recalled.
Yaal was a nervous fourteen years old that day when the sun was streaming through the recently departed rain clouds. His parents had made one of the biggest decisions of his life, and chosen for him, but he didn't know her, he hadn't even heard of her. The chapel where they would meet was up a hill that over viewed the sunrise that bled in through the decorative glass. It was fall if he recalled, the smells were there.
There she was, seated at the other end of the old building in the churches pews, he hadn't noticed her for about an hour, but there she was, they were the only ones there, the only ones meeting today. Her long black curls had framed her face and rolled down her back like shadowy water falls… Her eyes were so dark and deep, like the very blackness of the sea floors.
Sunset… Yaal had spent the entire day with her, but he didn't want to leave as the sun set. They sat across town from the church, the sun set was eerie and the night was growing cold at its core. He hardly knew her but he kissed her goodbye as rain slowly began to fall in delicate droplets.
A year later… Yaal was a nervous fifteen years old, noticing his perspiring hands as he waited at the alter for his bride to turn the corner. His head chilled, his stomach tickled, his heart raced. He smiled as she approached but he felt faint. It didn't quite feel real…
Such an empty house…
… The pregnancy tests came back positive, Emma wanted to know the gender, but Yaal didn't, so they didn't ask, so when the doctor asked if they wanted to know they both said "no".
Yaal woke up at about three A.M, Emma was up and uncomfortable.
Five hours later… Yaal was forced from the room and left to wait. Something was wrong. It was too early… They'd loose the baby, he was sure. The room was so quiet, he couldn't hear her from where he sat, but something in his gut told him she was calling him.
….. "Close your eyes and I'll close mine."
Another hour past… Yaal held in his arms something so small and motionless it didn't seem quite real, hearing things that didn't sound real, that couldn't be real.
"We did everything we could… If you need to talk with someone, we have a councilor."
Yaal shook his head, she'd be waiting at the house. She'd be waiting at the house; she'd want to meet her baby boy. She'd be waiting….. This wasn't supposed to happen.
"There's nothing you could have done…"
It wasn't supposed to happen… Yaal blinked awake. The emptiness was back.
He sat up; his hand cramped griping the covers of Emmet's bed, his previously motionless arm too had it's hand clenched. Emmet was still asleep, his lashes long about his darkened eye-lids. Yaal raised his good hand to his face, feeling dampness running down his face and under his chin. Tears?
Yaal shook his head to clear it, getting carefully to his feet, his eyes catching his wedding ring which was still upon his right hand. It was such an empty house. Such a big, empty house…. There were no pictures on the walls in any of the rooms, no pictures at all, because there was no one to share them with. No one was there to grow old with and look back at pictures with. There was no more life to fill that big old house.