Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The house was huge.
It wasn’t even a house by the brother’s normal standards. The long drive gently curved up to the front of the house once past the fancy wrought iron gates. Rose bushes lined the front steps as they pulled up to the double doors, stained glass and filigree iron- there was a lot of iron.
Dean parked the Impala behind a fancy beamer, there were other cars parked single file along the drive and they could see people inside. They got out, faced the cold afternoon wind and followed Rhomy up the front steps. She didn’t knock on the door, just turned the fancy knob and walked in. There were a few people in the foyer, they stopped to stare at her and look over the brothers but Rhomy only murmured a greeting and continued walking. Sam and Dean followed her, feeling the stares on their backs and the murmurs start again.
Everywhere Sam looked there was someone clad in black, men in suits or slacks and ties; it made them very aware of their jeans and jackets.
Out of place.
Sore thumbs-so to speak and Sam… he unconsciously hunched his shoulders, trying in vain to make himself smaller than he was. Beside him Dean straightened his shoulders, he wasn’t about to let them see his discomfort. No way.
Sam and Dean turned to the women weaving through a small cluster of people until they reached Rhomy. Two more dressed in black and both hugged her, Rhomy whispering her apology yet again.
Dean’s expression darkened, it didn’t matter what he’d said to her, Rhomy was still blaming herself for this. Because she hadn’t called with a warning to her family…
“Don’t do that.” The taller, auburn haired woman scolded pulling out of the group hug. Her eyes- a light brown shade like honey- held no reproach, nothing but a sad acceptance.
“You didn’t do this.” The second agreed. They stood in silence a moment, the Winchesters studying them. The auburn hair and honey-gold eyes, there was a resemblance between them. The other woman, soft brown hair neatly pulled away from her face, dark brown eyes…
“You look-.” The shorter one eyed Rhomy, the little pale line running up her cheek was the only visible reminder of the attack. She traced a finger over the mark while Dean clenched his jaw.
“Not so bad.” The taller woman cut in with a little frown of reproof. Sha glanced past Rhomilly, to the Hunters and stared.
“This is Dean.” Rhomy glanced over her shoulder noticing them stare at the brothers. “And Sam Winchester.”
“Hello.” Sam replied with a slight nod of his dark head.
“Zúlema Dahlos.” The auburn haired woman with the honey gold eyes extended her hand in greeting.
“Xexilia Janecek.” The smaller woman added following Zúlema’s example and extending her hand towards Dean.
“Where’s Grandmother Syd?” Rhomy asked softly easily interpreting the curious stares of her cousins as they looked Dean over. They hadn’t quite believed Sloane but the proof was standing right in front of them and flicking a glance over to Sam, they noted he wasn’t bad looking either though there was something different about the younger brother, something not quite right and they could feel it.
“With Drake.” Zúlema answered. “In the formal living room along with the others.” They gave her a slight push in the direction, staring after the brother’s who followed after her. Both women offered soft smiles at them but stayed put.
They walked through two more rooms, their footsteps echoing on the dark wood stained floors. A few curious people turned but most paid no attention, busy murmuring amongst each other. Sam took note of the piano set in a cozy corner of the large room; the décor was almost like the apartment except there weren’t a lot of modern pieces. He found a couple of pictures, in fancy frames lined up on a mantle but couldn’t quite make out the people in them as they walked past.
They easily recognized Laz and Tahan. Both men stood not too far from an older woman seated on a couch with another man, obviously grieving. Dean nodded slightly in greeting as the cousins finally noticed them though his eyes wandered back to the older woman. She sat quietly, a small hand laid gently on the man’s shoulder. Her dark eyes were old, as in having lived through many trials but what really made Dean take notice was the quiet peace and calm she exuded.
There was nothing else to do and she accepted that.
Rhomy stopped in front of them, her Grandmother’s face turning up slightly, a very brief smile lighting her features. Relief.
“I…” Rhomy trailed off, her eyes unable to look at the anger on Drake’s face as he saw her. There was nothing she could say that would make it go away. She knew that and all the platitudes people said in such circumstances didn’t feel right, she couldn’t say those things to Drake, not for this.
“Don’t.” Drake’s voice was a harsh whisper, not at all the happy cheerful tone She’d heard so often. He shrugged off Sydony’s hand and stood, his full height towering over Rhomy. “My wife. My daughter…” his voice broke and the sting of tears burned his eyes. “Don’t Rhomilly. I don’t want to hear anything from you.”
Rhomy said nothing as he brushed past her but her Grandmother saw the single tear roll down her cheek. She stood and reached out to her.
“Forgive him, darling.” Sydony murmured pulling Rhomy into her arms. “He’s hurting…”
“I should’ve called, Grandma.” Rhomy sobbed. She held onto the old woman, inhaling the familiar scent of rosemary and cinnamon.
“Shh, mi nińa. You did as you were meant. That’s all any of us can do.” Sydony assured, turning slightly and catching sight of the brothers. Her old eyes didn’t miss the tightly clenched jaw of the blond or the curious hazel eyes of the taller one.
The small high pitched voice grabbed their attention and then Rhomy was shoved as a dark little figure clamped onto her legs. Both women stumbled but Tahan steadied them.
“Quit that.” Laz scolded reaching out to grab the little boy but Rhomy- sure her Grandmother wasn’t going to fall over- picked the little boy up. Her smile was bright but it wavered and more tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Don’t be sad.” The little boy said patting her cheeks awkwardly. “Momma’s in heaven now. She’s an angel and she’s gonna watch over us from up there.” He raised his hand, pointing a little finger towards the ceiling. His chubby face framed by dark curls was too somber for a child and then his dark blue eyes were staring at her again…
“Yes, she is.” Rhomy agreed, her voice breaking and the little boy looked like he wanted to cry seeing her sad. “Hey,” she turned with him towards the brothers. “There’s someone I want you to meet.” She sniffled, wiping at her eyes one handed. She saw the change of expression on Dean’s face, his jaw softening but the glint of anger was just behind the green eyes. “Dean Winchester. My nephew, Sawyer Hawken.”
Sawyer stared and then just as suddenly put his little hand out.
“Hi.” Dean smiled and took the small hand in his, shaking it.
“Hi.” Sawyer replied staring at Dean. He leaned into Rhomy never looking away from him and whispered loud enough they all heard him ask; “Is he my new uncle?”
Silence met the innocent question. Sydony was amused, her smile reflected in the dark eyes as she took in Dean’s surprise and her granddaughter’s nervous shift.
“Uhh. No…” Rhomy stammered looking away from Dean, her cheeks suddenly felt hot.
“Don’t you like him?” Sawyer asked her. His face was pinched with confusion, dark blue eyes searching her face.
“Yes, I – It’s…” Rhomy blushed. She’d just admitted in front of her family to liking Dean and he was standing there listening. She felt out of balance, with everything that was going on and guilty because it wasn’t the place to have that conversation.
“Me too.” Sawyer replied in complete agreement. He turned back to Dean. “Do you wanna be my uncle?”
“Uh- I -.” Dean couldn’t find anything to say to the kid and he looked to Rhomy but she was equally surprised.
“Sawyer,” Sydony stepped in, taking the little boy from Rhomy and setting him on the ground. “Why don’t you go help Sloane with Aislyn.”
“Ok.” Sawyer agreed with the ease of a four year old. He dashed off with a wave, between the adults in search of his aunt and baby sister.
“He’s a smart boy.” Sydony stated watching him disappear with an affectionate smile on her face. She turned her attention to Dean, her expression warm and it felt like he was coming home.
He shifted uncomfortably.
“I’m Sydony Dahlos. Rhomilly’s Grandmother.” She extended her hand. “You boys have been keeping an eye on my granddaughter… thank you, for making the trip.” Sydony explained turning an equally warm smile on Sam. “I know you have more important things to do.”
Dean and Sam glanced at each other but the old woman chuckled softly.
“We are all aware.” Sydony said placing a warm hand on Dean’s arm. “We recognize the signs.”
They were quiet, just digesting the idea that there were people who knew what was happening… and they were very calm about the approaching apocalypse.
“Rhomilly.” She was swept up by Riel. A little squeak of protest escaped her lips but she suffered the bear hug in silence.
“You're going to break her.” Tahan observed dryly.
Riel set her down, his arm still draped over her shoulders while he grabbed her chin in a big hand and turned her face, inspecting.
“I’m still in one piece.” Rhomy grumbled trying to break out of her brother’s hold but he wasn’t letting go.
“What happened to your face, Rhom?” Riel demanded finding the scar. It wasn’t obvious-nothing disfiguring or grotesque. It was simply a ‘scratch’, a little reminder of the demon demanding she give over the key. It was nothing compared to Drake’s loss. At least Rhomy was still breathing, still alive…
“Nothing.” Rhomy snapped pushing his hand off her face. “Don’t make this about me.” Because it was Pru and Cea they’d be burying. Mother and daughter were the price paid for keeping the key safe, out of demonic hands, for another generation.
“Leave her alone, Gabriel.” Sydony intervened seeing her grandson open his mouth to lecture. She’d heard his complaints from the moment he’d come home. He was not happy to see his little sister go off with two Hunters. Sydony couldn’t really blame him, they’d lost their Mother because of one- a fanatic but Romela was never one to let people suffer if she could help. And the Hunter had latched on to that. “The burial is tomorrow. Now, let’s get some beds for our guests.” She ordered eyeing her grandsons.
“No,” Sam quickly protested. “That’s ok-.”
“We ca-.” the rest of Dean’s words were ignored.
“I’ll stay with Dad.” Riel glanced at Dean, a little angry but he didn’t dare say anything in front of his Grandmother. “The girls are in your room.” He told Rhomy. She’d half expected they would be and wasn’t looking forward to the questions they’d have for her.
“Fausto can join us in Riel's room.” Tahan shrugged. He flicked a glance at his cousins, Joel and Laz.
“Don’t let them take the pull out.” Rhomy warned seeing the looks pass between her cousins. “They can sleep together on guest bed.” She told Dean.
“Rhomy…” Joel frowned.
“Shut up.” Laz warned nudging his brother.
“Boys,” Sydony eyed each one. “Behave.”
“Yes, Grams.” They all replied. Dean and Sam eyed each other again, both thinking the old woman had them all in check.
“Rhomilly.” Sydony eyed her granddaughter from head to toe. “Please, change into something more appropriate.”
“Yes, grandma.” Rhomy had known her jeans wouldn’t make the cut but she had clothes in her room and changing into them wouldn’t take her long. “Come on,” she tugged on Dean’s hand leading them away from the living room. “I’ll find you guys some slacks and shirts-.”
“We have our own.” Sam cut in, reminding his brother of the suits they carted around for when they pretended to be FBI. He didn’t see what purpose they’d serve by staying, they didn’t know anyone well enough to participate and Sam felt uncomfortable.
“Right.” Rhomy waited in the foyer as they grabbed their bags. Both came back quickly and she led them up a flight of stairs; the banister was the same dark wood they’d seen in the house so far. Smoothed by age and countless hands- Dean wondered if any of them had slid down it, had they been caught and scolded?
Upstairs, the sound of people was dulled. They walked towards the end of the hall and Rhomy stopped in front of a closed door, pushing it open for them. She held Dean back seeing Sam’s slight frown but he didn’t say anything and went in.
“You don’t have to go down…” Rhomy began. “If you're uncomfortable… they won’t mind. Really.” She assured. Her sight blurred again but she held the tears in check. She just needed to get to her room, just a little longer and she’d cry in private. She’d get herself together and put on her mask for those down stairs, just as she’d done before.
Dean gently wiped at her cheek, green eyes full of sympathy.
“Twenty minutes.” He said. “Then I’ll knock on your door.” He waited a moment and then she nodded pointing out her room to him. He watched her walk away, the guilt still visible in the hunch of her shoulders. He had no doubts she’d be crying as soon as her door closed and his jaw clenched thinking of the jerk. Dean walked in, grabbed his suit and started to dress.
Rhomy sat in front of her vanity. She was dressed simply in a black dress, a light cardigan covering her bare arms as she slipped her hair into a side ponytail. In the mirror her eyes looked too bright and she focused on getting her face to look calm, peaceful… She was supposed to be strong, provide comfort and in the privacy of her own room, once she was alone it wouldn’t matter anymore.
Rhomy forced herself up and out of her room. In the hall she could make out the murmur of voices from the guest room. She assumed the brother’s were finally having it out and instead of interrupting them, Rhomy headed towards the nursery at the end of the hallway. It was the one room that stayed the same over the years. A child’s room and it was where all the kids stayed during holidays and visits. She’d slept there on many occasions with her cousins, trying to whisper so they wouldn’t be caught still up and scolded for it. It had never worked out because they would get too excited and make so much noise one of their parents or all of them would show up and threaten them into beds and sleeping bags.
A heavy sigh escaped her, thinking it had been so simple to be a child, nothing to worry about and nothing to do but enjoy being a kid. But it wasn’t going to be so innocent for Sawyer and Aislyn. Prudence was gone and Ceana…
Rhomy stopped in the middle of the room, her eyes on Drake where he sat half hidden in the shadows. His back was to her and she hesitated going in.
“Drake…” Rhomy approached, praying the right words would come out of her mouth.
“It should’ve been you.”
Rhomy stopped cold. His words had effectively rooted her in place. She had to remember he was in pain-suffering…
Drake sucked in a breath, got up and looked at her. His eyes were bloodshot and there was a bottle in his hand.
“I-…I don’t know how to make this better.” Rhomy whispered. She felt awful, thinking of Sawyer and Aislyn growing up without Pru. She’d been so doting with them, so patient and kind and she never had a harsh word for anyone. It just how she was…gentle.
“You should’ve died. You're the one they want.” Drake’s voice rose in pitch, vibrating with anger and he lurched towards her but Rhomy didn’t let him see her fear. She couldn’t back off, couldn’t run off and hide. He had a right to blame her…
“Pru had nothing to do with this!” he yelled. The bottle fell from his hand as he grabbed onto her arms and shook her. “This stupid war of yours.”He presed his head to hers, sobbing, his grip tight.
“She’s not the only one we’ve lost.” Rhomy knew it was the wrong thing to say the moment she did. It wasn’t fair to him- to make it sound as though Pru was just another casualty of the burden they took on. And Ceana…collateral damage, that’s what they’d been for her stubbornness, for doing as she’d been asked. Rhomy hadn’t thought of anyone else, she never thought of the others even when she’d told Dean and Sam her family could take care of themselves. This wasn’t going to be the last time one of their own was taken but it was the first time Rhomy had been the cause and now it was real.
“Don’t you dare!” Drake snarled leaning into her face. She could smell the alcohol on his breath and his grip was painful but Rhomy bit her lip and stayed silent. “You don’t have to bury your daughter tomorrow. You don’t have to live without her!” he sobbed, his head dropping onto her shoulder.
Rhomy raised a hand to his back, trying to find the words to express how sorry she was for this but there was nothing anyone could say.
“She’s gone, Rhomilly. Dead… and nothing you say is bringing them back!” his voice shook again, anger boiling up inside him and he pushed away from her. She smacked into the table with her hip, wincing at the sharp sting of pain. “Not your dammed faith, the horseshit you all believe-!” Drake lurched past, ignoring Rhomy and the crash of glass as it shattered on the floor. Drake barely noticed the blond man in the hallway as he stumbled towards the stairs.
Dean took a step after him, away from Rhomy’s door but the crash of glass drew him to the room he’d walked out of. He looked in, almost missing Rhomy as she knelt on the floor.
He could hear her, the soft words as she asked for strength and forgiveness-. It pissed him off, why did she need to be forgiven? What had she done except what she’d been asked to do?
“Rhomy?” he strode in quickly, noting the glass she was picking up with trembling fingers and the tears streaking her cheeks. “Rhomy… you ok?” it was a stupid question. He could see she wasn’t but he still asked. He didn’t believe her nod and knelt beside her.
Rhomy wiped at her face trying to stop but it wasn’t working. Instead, she turned to Dean, finding comfort with him.
“I hate this.” She said in a husky voice against his chest. She hated that it was Pru instead of her, that her family was suffering and that Drake was hurting so bad he turned to drink. He wasn’t thinking of Sawyer or Aislyn, his grief was still fresh.
“So do I, sweetheart.” Dean murmured into the top of her head. Hated that she was taking Drake’s krap when he’d been trying to get her to see she wasn’t at fault. Rhomy just took it quietly, let Drake say whatever came out of his mouth and filled herself with guilt. She was punishing herself for something she couldn’t control or change- and it didn’t escape Dean’s notice how ridiculous he sounded repeating everything she’d said to him about the first seal and his own guilt.
‘What a pair we are…’ he thought rubbing a warm hand over her back.
The morning was overcast, the clouds shutting out the sun and any warmth from the day. It reflected the moods of the family gathered in the cemetery.
Sam and Dean watched from the side, along with a few family friends, while the Priest performed the ceremony and then the caskets were lowered into the ground. Mother and daughter were laid to rest…
Sydony sat beside Drake, her hand comfortingly laid on his shoulder but it didn’t seem to matter. Drake stared off into the distance, unconcerned and unaware of what was going on. Gareth held onto his wife’s hand, offering Sydony a smile when she couldn’t hold back a tear. He wiped it tenderly from her cheek as Dean watched them. He felt an odd sense of peace being there considering the circumstances. For the first time he wasn’t worried about what to Hunt, where to go, how best to protect Sam… hell, the seals hadn’t popped into his head since arriving at the family home and there were so many of them. Or rather, so little of them left to protect…
Rhomy’s Uncle Seely and his wife, Asmara sat on Drake’s left. The second row was filled with Rhomy’s Father, Judson and then her cousins Lazaro, Sloane and Joel. She held the baby in her arms… Gabriel sat on his Father’s right with Rhomy between them and little Sawyer in her lap. The rest of the family stood behind them, all the kids with their parents and Dean found it easy to see the resemblance in all of them. It varied but it was still there, that…peace. It was easier to pick out in the older ones, the parents and grandparents- just like he’d noticed the difference in Rhomy when they met. There was a calm acceptance in their eyes, not like they were giving up but more of a certainty that it was only a passing moment of pain they’d suffer through and when it was over something better would be there, a lesson learned…
The ceremony ended and while the younger one’s walked away, heading back to the main house, those seated remained still.
Judson found his daughter looking out at the night from the formal living room’s terrace. Moonlight bathed the flowers and trees, their perfume wafting into the house on a cool breeze. It also carried the soft sound of Rhomy’s voice to him, the sorrow and guilt threaded into each word as she prayed.
He stood in the threshold, his little girl was oblivious to anyone and he took the opportunity to look her over. She was a small thing, always had been and happy… her laughter had been contagious. He could remember her giggles as she’d threaded ribbons into his hair, he could remember all the times he carried her on his shoulders… With a heavy sigh Judson stepped out onto the terrace. He felt old all of a sudden. The day Romela had gifted him with a small little girl- a daughter- he’d known that one day she’d be the next to carry on the burden but it had seemed like such a far off event back then.
Rhomy turned at the sound of her Father’s voice. She offered him a smile but even he knew it wasn’t real.
“I know.” Judson wrapped his arm around her shoulders and gave her a moment to cry. He knew all too well what she was feeling because her Mother had felt it the day Ezra and Gisela were killed. And just like Sawyer and Aislyn, their Mother had been left without parents at a young age. “Dry those tears Rhomilly.” He ordered in a gentle tone. “That’s the last thing your cousin would want.”
“I know.” She nodded, it was true and Prudence had never said a word against Romela or Judson. Not once had she blamed them for the death of her parents. “I know.”
“Saves,” he faced the garden thinking of her as a baby, the dark curls and chubby cheeks, the way she’d held onto him-such strength in the little body… he hoped it would be enough. “I like him.”
“Who?” Rhomy asked leaning against her Father’s arm as she stared at the garden. She had a pretty good idea of who he was referring to but didn’t want to admit it.
“Dean.” Judson responded casting an amused glance at the top of her head. “I like him. Seems…" rough aournd the edges, tortured and tired but still fighting. That’s what he saw in the young Hunter. "Like a good man, Rhomy.”
“He doesn’t think he’s worthy, Daddy.” Rhomy whispered and her fears were threaded into each word. “He fights but there’s no real…purpose. It’s more as though he’s doing it to piss them off. To thumb his nose at them…”
“Does he deny them?” Judson turned and studied his daughters face. She seemed uncertain but when she looked at him there wasn’t any doubt.
“He doesn’t like being used.” But that wasn’t an answer and Rhomy couldn’t give it because she didn’t know for a fact.
Sam made his way over the perfectly manicured lawn to the hedge at the far end of the property. It was a long walk and he’d glanced around nervously, checking to see if he was being followed or seen by anyone in the house. This far from the window he could barely make out the glow of lights and Dean, well, Dean had other things on his mind than worrying about where Sam was heading to.
“Ruby?” Sam called in a hoarse whisper. He couldn’t make out anything past the hedge and then he was at a gate, the wrought iron an identical match to the gates at the drive. “Ruby.”
“You couldn’t find somewhere more guarded?” Ruby hissed sarcastically as she came out of the shadows. She flicked her eyes over the metal, her lips drawing back as she felt herself being repelled.
“Where the hell have you been?” Sam demanded. He yanked the gate open but even that didn’t diminish the force of the barrier keeping her out of the property. “I’ve been calling you-.”
“Down sparky.” Ruby snapped. “I’ve been rather busy and all because of your little Martyr.” She sneered, her eyes flicking past him to the house she could see in the distance. “You should just leave her here.”
“Why?” Sam asked though he knew Dean would probably ignore that suggestion.
“Because her cousin was only the beginning.” Ruby snapped. “Don’t you get it? They want the key. They won’t stop until they get it and if they can’t touch her they certainly have no problem taking out each member of her family. Anyone she ever cared about, a friend- hell, even an acquaintance is fair game… until she gives up the key.” Ruby watched the play of emotions flit over Sam’s face. She knew he was thinking of all the people who’d died because of him, people who’d known his Mother and the demons had killed, maybe he was thinking of his part in the latest attacks on Rhomully… “Unless we destroy it.”
“What?” Sam focused on Ruby. “We don’t even know what it looks like, how the hell do we destroy it?”
“I didn’t say it was going to be easy.” Ruby pouted but she had his attention now. “Look, I’ll dig around; see what I can find out. You just get that key.”
“I don’t know…I have no idea what it looks like and I’ve searched her bags-.” Sam wavered, he glanced back at the house, completely missed her exasperated look.
“Hey.” Ruby snapped her fingers unable to grab at him like she wanted to because of the barrier. So long as Sam-or any of them for that matter- stayed on the property no demon could touch them.
Not even Lucifer.
“There’s no other option, Sam. She’s not giving it up and we can’t afford to let them take it. Destroying the key is the only way to protect the seal.” Ruby insisted. “And her life.” She added never mentioning the fact the demons were already in town and just waiting for an opportunity.
Ruby could tell the exact moment in which he caved and it warmed her. Without another word she held out her hand, the silver flask resting in her palm. Sam took it from her without hesitation and quickly down its contents.
“There you are.” Dean let out a relieved breath. He’d just escaped another round of twenty million questions from her cousins. The girls. The guys hadn’t been as bad, even her brother who’d actually interrogated Dean- in a way. “Oh.”
“Go on.” Judson nudged Rhomy into the house. He could tell by Dean’s expression he hadn’t expected to bump into him but it was just as well. There was something Judson wanted to tell the young man.
Rhomy eyed them both but in the end she did as her Father said and went inside. Passing by Dean she touched his arm, her lips turning up into a warm smile. It still wasn’t a full, happy but Dean noted it was much better than before and then it was just her Father and him.
“My wife,” Judson expelled a breath and turned back towards the garden. “Romela. She wasn’t exactly jumping with joy to marry me.” He chuckled and Dean wondered if he shouldn’t follow after Rhomy. “She didn’t like not having the choice.”
Dean hesitated but the old man waved him forward. Judson spared him a glance, the hesitation before he coplied.
“Said I was too responsible, made all sorts of excuses.” He snorted and turned to Dean with an amused grin. "Woman thought I was too pretty.”
That got a snort from Dean.
“She was right, I was too uptight.” Judson sighed. “She loved me, though…” they were quiet for a few moments as Judson got his thoughts in order. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, to accept, it hadn't been for Romela and she had known from a young age.“When it came time for her to…Romela didn’t hesitate.” He looked at Dean. "Not even when it seemed there was no end in sight.”
“I don’t get it.” Dean said after a moment. Because they never should’ve let Rhomy take on that key. So it was keeping a seal closed. So what? Who gave a damn about that one seal? This was Rhomilly, the man’s daughter and she was out on the road with Dean, a Hunter… Hadn’t loosing Romela taught them anything? Was the old man willing to loose his daughter as well?
“I know.” Judson agreed. He really did know because he’d been in the same position many years ago. “I do. And…" he sighed heavily, a wan smile graced his mouth. "I’m grateful she isn’t alone.”
They stood in silence for a moment, Dean wondering what they were all smoking. "That’s it?” Dean stared askance at the old man.
“Romela, she was the better part of me. I miss her…” Judson murmured looking back at the garden. He felt as though the better part of himself was gone-just a void-an empty hole… “I don’t regret any of it.” Not one part of their life did Judson wish had been different. He’d been happy and grateful to have lived at least one moment of happiness with Romela, even with their duty hanging over them. Maybe more so because of it and even when he’d had to bury her, Judson wouldn’t have wished their life to have been different. It was just part of who Romela had been, and Judson had loved all of her just as she was.
“I’m not sure what to…” Dean trailed off. What was he supposed to say? Or do? What the hell was wrong with the old man? Lost in memories of the past when he should be worried about the present and those in it.
“Just do your best to keep my little girl safe.” Judson replied patting a heavy hand on Dean’s shoulder. “The rest, well…you're a smart young man, Dean.” He turned and walked into the house leaving Dean to stare after him slightly scowling.
“What the hell does that mean?” Dean muttered.
She turned at the sound of her name and waited as Sloane reached her.
“Have you seen Drake?”
“No, what’s wrong?” Rhomy questioned, she immediately felt ill at ease. “The kids-.”
“Are safe and sleeping in the nursery.” Sloane cut in. “Its Drake we can’t find. No one’s seen him since we came back from the cemetery. He locked himself in the library…we just left him alone.” She shrugged and looked as though it had been the biggest mistake any of them had made.
“It’s a big house, Sloane but there are more of us. We’ll find Drake.” Rhomy assured as they headed towards the kitchen where everyone seemed to gather.
“I hope it’s without the damn bottle.” Sloane muttered.