Quinn checked her phone early that morning. She had dozens of calls from women glad to hear that she’d be opening her shop again. She really needed something to distract her from the phone call she’d received three nights ago. It really made no sense. It was probably a prank of some kind. Their phone numbers are all over the place on those flyers, and some people are just sick like that. She wasn’t going to allow herself to be taken, not when she promised her other child that she’d be better. That they’d go to therapy and get through Yakusoku’s disappearance so that every day wouldn’t be a dread. They’ll never give up their hope, the search, or the want for Yakusoku’s return. But they will give up feeling defeated by it.
She still averts her gaze whenever passing by her son’s bedroom, she can’t look inside. She knows it all by heart anyway. The pajamas are thrown about in wild abandon from where he’d been wearing them the entire day, and had to change when his friend called and asked him to come over to study and do homework. His sneakers, plucked off at the door, from when she told him that it was too cold out and he should wear his boots instead. He even had a picture on his bed, half drawn but could easily be made out.
Yakusoku had drawn himself tossing paper into the waste basket. It made her laugh because he was wearing a basketball jersey and sweat bands. She’d forgotten just how talented an artist Yakusoku is, she hasn’t seen anything drawn by him in years, her answer to that unasked question was when she’d picked up his sketchbook and found a few... let’s just say she won’t be looking at anything unoffered to her for some time. There were a lot of pictures of food, though! That’s good.
He had dirty clothes piled in the corner of his room beneath the window, she guessed he’d of gotten around to bringing them down to be washed- or Ai would- but it never happened. The room no longer smelled like him, though. It smells silent. If you can count that as a smell. No foul scent from the boy he’d been from before, the Yakusoku who was a mystery to his own family, and a goth like his new best friend. No, it smelled like fourteen-year-old Yakusoku: earth, trees, and a little sweat- sometimes the scent of a cat that he stopped to pet and it sprayed on him without him knowing it.
Yeah, it was certainly strange the way they all came together, and he even left them in a strange manner. Was he a runaway? Was his birth family looking for him all this time and they’ve just run off with him, when they finally found an open opportunity? Do things like that happen? She’s seen dozens of programs about tracking missing people- The Locater, Unsolved Mysteries, even a few Lifetime movies on the subject. Parents do desperate things... she would do desperate things if it meant getting her son back. But on those programs the family is confronted, they talk. There’s no snatching going on. She wondered if the police could take a DNA sample... no, because where would they get a sample from the birth-family.
“Rats. Well, I’m over it.”
Ai jarred her from her thoughts. She didn’t even realize that she was standing in her son’s doorway looking at the empty room and hasn’t gone downstairs, as she’d thought she had.
“Getting your butt kicked, my love?”
“Yes, and I’m not lovin’ it.” He pouted in mock anger.
Quinn laughed and walked downstairs. “Just show me where you’re having trouble, and I’ll get you out of it.” She grunts as she lowers herself to the floor. Grabbing the abandoned controller she then pressed the start button. “Tisk tisk, having trouble with Mario games is a sign of getting old, you’d better keep up little man.”
He chuckles. “Is that right?”
“Yup. But you know, you let me know if you want a walker or a cane, maybe something to cure your arthritis.”
Ai gave his mother a raspberry but watched as she whizzed through a chapter of Mario Galaxy with the ease of a Rain Man player.
“There we are, piece of cake.” She saved the game.
“Mom, you own the zone,” He cheered. “but I’m gonna go out for a while.” Standing, he faked an elderly moment by arching and bowing his back while groaning. “Gonna have to soak this old body later.” Leaning over he gives his mother a kiss on the cheek. “I’ll be back around three o’clock. Will you make me some hot cocoa?”
“Of course. Bye baby.”
She continued playing the game while Ai moved about the living room getting his jacket and sneakers. He said ‘goodbye’ one last time before closing the door after himself. With a sigh, she sets down the controller.
“Hey Reeve,” She spots her husband coming from the store where he’s been fixing the broken stair. Getting up from the floor with a few groans of her own, she moves over to sit on the couch instead. “You know I’ve come to realize something just now.”
“Oh, and what’s that?” He removes his glasses setting them down on the coffee table.
“We are not horrible parents.” She set her hand down over his, resting her head on his shoulder.
Reeve rubbed her hand letting his wife’s words sink in. Honestly, he felt like he had failed them somehow. He failed Yakusoku for allowing him to be taken. He failed Ai by being angry and drowning himself in work whenever he was not at the police station. And he failed his wife by allowing her to believe it was her fault.
Lifting her face to him, he leaned over kissing her deeply on the mouth. Quinn responded almost immediately to the kiss, to the touch on the face. Their lives as parents weren’t the only thing interrupted, their lives as a couple was as well. Quinn moaned softly when her husband’s lips pressed to her throat when he leaned her back on the coach.
The two roamed each other like they had in their youthful twenties when they would rut on the couch of their first home as if bragging to the home that they could.
It was just a good thing that Ai didn’t come home early.