Home > Soaring (Magdalene #2)(5)

Soaring (Magdalene #2)(5)
Author: Kristen Ashley

I watched them approach me.

Auden looked like his dad, tall with a straight nose, light brown eyes and rich brown hair that had a subtle reddish cast to it. My son was bulkier than his father, maybe an inch or two shorter, but he was still growing.

As if our lives were golden and the fates shined their smiles on us and gave us the perfect family, Auden got his looks from his father, but Olympia was just like me, petite but slightly curvy (or in Pippa’s case, her curves were filling out). Brunette hair that was several shades darker than her brother’s and father’s, with no reddish cast, but it had a natural shine that said someone up there liked my baby girl and me. She also had my hazel eyes that popped due to the darkness of our hair.

My boy was already handsome, like Conrad.

My girl was far, far prettier than me.

When they got close, my throat feeling clogged, I forced out, “Hey, honeys.”

Auden looked up. My beautiful boy who got all I loved from his dad (and then some), his eyes on me emotionless, my throat completely closed.

My fourteen-year-old daughter, Pippa, flinched at the sound of my voice.

That slashed through me.

I took that cut and it sliced deep as I moved out of their way and they walked by me, Auden averting his eyes, Pippa never even looking at me.

I followed them in and closed the door, seeing they’d stopped and were taking in the view.

Hoping they liked what they were seeing, I moved to their sides, wanting to hug them, touch them, kiss their cheeks, draw in their scents. I hadn’t seen them in weeks.

But I’d learned affection from me was not wanted.

Not anymore.

So I didn’t do this.

I stood not far, not close, and said, “This is it, kiddos. Our new place.”

Auden had a curl in his lip.

Olympia looked bored.

That cut deep as well but I forged ahead.

The new me.

The new us.

No matter the wounds they inflicted, I had to keep going. Never fall back. Never retreat. I couldn’t allow any of my weaknesses to delay me in restarting my family.

“Your rooms are that way.” I pointed to the opposite end of the living area from where the kitchen was. “I had the movers put your furniture in the two rooms that had sea views. If you want different—”

“Whatever,” Auden muttered, talking over me and starting the way I indicated. “It’ll work.”

Olympia followed him silently.

I did the same, not silently, instead calling, “I haven’t unpacked your stuff. I had an idea. I thought…new house, fresh start. You two might want to have a look at your things. Decide what you want to keep. What you don’t. We can get rid of what you don’t, go out and get you new. You can decora—”

“Only got two years with this crap, not worth the bother,” Auden cut me off to say.

Pippa said nothing. She just followed Auden around the lip of the sunken living room and into the hall that, opposite to the one on the other side of the house, had stretches of straight and steps that led down the cliff rather than up.

I chose the front sea view room for Pippa and thinking Auden, as a boy, would want more privacy, the back room for him.

I considered putting him in the room that ran the length of the far end, which was large and could be anything, a den, a family room, an office. I decided against it because the two front rooms had their own baths and the back room only had a half-bath.

The two bedrooms opposite shared a Jack and Jill. I wanted my kids to see the ocean, to have access to the deck right from their rooms. But I also thought they were too old to share a Jack and Jill.

I stood at the mouth of the hall as they moved down it and said, “You can drop your bags in your room. Then I’ll give you a full tour.”

“We can look around,” Auden replied as he stopped and looked into the first room then kept going and disappeared in the second.

Pippa looked in the first room and walked in, out of sight.

I stood there, waiting, thinking this wasn’t going well but knowing it wouldn’t.



This was going to take time and I had to put in the time. Take my licks. Endure the cuts. Bleed inside. Give them what they needed to take it out on me because I deserved it.

Then I’d show them this was different. This time it was a promise I wouldn’t break. This time we really were going to rebuild our family.

And they’d come to me. They were my babies. We’d once been close. We’d once been affectionate.

We’d once been happy.

They’d come to me.

At that moment, they didn’t come to me.

Auden came out of his room mere seconds after he entered it and he called, “Pippa!”

Immediately she came out of hers.

They both moved along the hall, toward me then past me and right to the front door.

“Pip’s curfew is eleven o’clock on weekends,” Auden stated as they walked. “I’m dropping her off at her friend’s. Leave a key under the mat or something. She’ll be home then.”

I stared, my insides frozen, my throat burning from the chill.

“You’re leaving?” I asked.

Auden opened the door and Pippa walked right through, never looking at me.

But my son looked at me.

Or through me.

Though, his words were directed at me.

“Goin’ out with the guys. My curfew is midnight. Pip’ll leave the key somewhere for me. Later.”

With that, he went through the door and closed it behind him.

I stood immobile, allowing the vicious feel of the fact my children had walked into their new home they would be sharing with me (not often, but they’d be doing it), dropped their bags and walked out. They didn’t greet me. They didn’t look around. They barely looked at me. My daughter didn’t even speak to me.

And then they were gone.

I stared at the door and whispered, “I deserved that. I deserved it. Take it. Bury it. Move on. Move on, Amelia.”

I didn’t know how I did it but I forced my body to move. I went to the kitchen counter and grabbed the keys I’d had made for them. I found some notepaper. I wrote their names on two sheets. Under that, on each sheet, I wrote, “Welcome home. These are yours to keep.”

I went to the front door and lifted the mat, put the papers down side by side, laid the keys on top and dropped the mat.

Then I closed the door, took in a deep breath and decided against dinner that night. I had the groceries to make one of the few dishes that was a favorite of both my children.

Maybe I’d get to make it the next night.

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