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That night the Jones family huddled around the radio in the living room after dinner, listening with baited breath. When the words "July 4th," came from the speakers his mother dissolved into tears. His father slid an arm around her slender shoulders and turned his head so Al could see nothing but the hint of anger and worry. His sister's hand slid into his own, thumb rubbing soft circles into the top of his hand. She was biting back tears, shoulders trembling as she resisted the urge to sob.

Later that night, long after the radio had been shut off and his father had led his shakey, still crying, mother to bed, Al found himself alone in his room. He sat on the bed and stared helplessly out the window. Told himself that there was nothing he could do. They were close enough to the Canadian border that he might be able to make that run, but it felt like the cowards way out. Al didn't want to be a coward. But...

He jumped when a soft knock on his door broke the silence he'd let fall. Thinking it was likely his father, Al gave immediate permission for entrance. It was Amelia, though, looking pale and small in a way she hadn't since they were children.

There were no words needed, not as she crossed the room to stand beside him. Her hair was still tangled and messy, eyes glossy with unscheduled tears, hands twisted in her night shirt. She was quiet at first, just standing at his side, staring out into the dark of the night with him.

It was the oddest thing, the two of them near silent. Arthur would have laughed if they ever told him it possible. But it was, and they let it be until the air felt thick and the silence oppressive.

The sound that ended it wasn't a word, but a sob. It seemed to echo in the room, bouncing off the walls and it took a moment for them to realize it had come from Al. But once they both knew that, there was nothing to hold back the rest. Al let tears slide down his cheeks, and his shaking shoulders soon came with gasping sobs. It took less then seconds before Amelia was in front of him, her fingers in his hair, his face against her stomach.


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August 2017

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