Idyllwild: The One Where its Official
The premise: FLUFF
April 8th, 2011; The Fraser’s Residence.
“Jamie,” I called through the closed bedroom door, “if we don’t leave in the next ten minutes, we’re going to be late.”
“Is Fergus ready?”
Fergus had been ready to go for the past hour and would have been much earlier, had I let him put on his suit and tie when he’d wanted to. The excitement of finalizing his adoption in a matter of hours was almost too much for the eleven year old to handle.
“Da!” Faith announced upon hearing her father’s voice. She wiggled excitedly in my arms as I carried her over to the changing table for the second time in twenty minutes.
“Umhmm,” I pulled a face, making her laugh, “your da is a slowpoke.”
“I can hear you, you ken,” Jamie grinned around the toothbrush hanging out of his mouth as he stuck his head through the door between the master bedroom and nursery.
I shook my head in playful consternation, “You’re not dressed yet?”
“Aye, well,” he stammered, “I was looking for my tie and then Ian texted me and… you ken how it is.”
I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at the expression of complete frustration on his face. I knew it wasn’t something he tried to do, but somehow Jamie always managed to be the last one ready, no matter how hard he tried not to be.
“It’s on the bed,” I smiled.
It was long past midnight when I crept into Fergus room to watch him sleep.
The children’s book I’ll Love You Forever came to mind as I sat on the edge of his bed. I’d read it a hundred times to Faith, but I could never get through it without growing misty-eyed. The mother’s repeating declaration of love to her growing son hit home again and again, each time I read it.
I’ll love you forever.
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.
I reached out and swept the dark curls off his brow. A cashier had remarked last week how fortunate both of my children were to have inherited my curls. Fergus ate it up. He couldn’t keep the grin from his face as he proudly introduced his baby sister to the woman, and it stayed in place the rest of the day. She didn’t know that it wasn’t my DNA that had given him his unruly mop, but she was still correct.
He was my son.
He’d been my son in almost every sense of the word for two years, but, as of 2:47pm today, he was now Fergus Claudel Fraser. There wouldn’t be any more legal battles to fight, hoops to jump, or endless stacks of papers to sign. We had won the war and now the innocent child before me could begin a new chapter of his life.
A life free of the threat of violence.
A life full of affection and acceptance.
A life with a family who loved him.
I didn’t hear Jamie approach, but wasn’t startled when he knelt on the floor in front of me, drawing close and sliding his arms around my waist. I let go of Fergus, leaning forward and burying my face in his neck. My silent tears flowed freely as he rubbed my back, murmuring, “He’s safe.”
Sniffing, I nodded, unable to speak.
Fergus was safe. His father, who’d threatened my life and those around me on more than one occasion, would be behind bars for the next thirty years and I knew he wouldn’t dare to try anything with Jamie’s extended family perpetually on guard for anyone who’d wish the boy harm. They accounted for over half of Idyllwild’s population, with members in the police force as well as the public school system.
“Come back to bed?”
Jamie’s voice held no trace of resentment at my departure, understanding fully my need to see for myself that Fergus was sleeping soundly. I let him guide me back down the hallway and lift me onto the bed beside him. Nestling me beneath his chin, he encircled me in the strength and surety of his arms, his heartbeat lulling me into a peaceful slumber.