Kiss It Better (Lams)
CHAPTER ONE: “Can You Kiss it Better?”
summary: They felt less like two individual people, and rather two hearts that beat in time with each other, bound to the same rhythm. And with such a calm and blissful future ahead of them, why not shake it up? Family isn’t a home, it isn’t making small talk over dinner. It’s love, the genuine kind that could rarely be found, and how lucky this family was to have found it in such an unlikely place.
word count: 3008
“Can you kiss it better?”
John Laurens tore himself away from his computer, eyes meeting the six year old’s helpless gaze. “I’m sorry?”
“Can you kiss it better?” she repeated in a small and shaky voice. Eyes flicking down to the floor, she continued, voice growing stronger as she carried on. “That’s what my daddy does when I get hurt. He kisses it better.”
Her eyes told no tales of sorrow, yet she looked up at him in such a manner that John felt as though his heart was being ripped from his chest. “Martha.” He knelt in front of the first grader and placed his hands on her trembling shoulders. “Can you tell me what happened?”
Martha kept her gaze fixed solely on the ground instead of looking at John. “I fell off the swing.”
“Did Theo push you?” John asked, keeping his voice soft and gentle in hopes that it would make her feel better. “I saw you arguing with him at lunch.”
“I…” Martha trailed off, biting her lip anxiously. She still refused to meet John’s gaze, keeping her eyes on anything but her teacher.
“What were you arguing about?” John waited for a few moments for her to answer, but no response came from the first grader. “Martha, I want to help you, but I can’t if I don’t know what happened.”
Her voice was barely a whisper as she finally spoke. “He doesn’t like me. He… he hates me.”
“I’m sure he doesn’t hate you,” John assured her, unable to fathom how someone could possible hate another person at six years old. “I know you’d probably rather not talk to me, but you’ve got to tell someone what happened. A friend, your mom-”
“I can’t tell anyone.” Martha’s eyes watered but John pretended not to notice. “Everyone will call me a tattletale. And besides, I don’t have a mom. That’s…” She stopped mid sentence, cheeks growing pink. “That’s why they don’t like me,” she finished quietly.
“Because you don’t have a mom?” John couldn’t quite fit the pieces together. “Trust me, Martha, you’re not the only kid at the school who hasn’t got a mom.”
“Yeah.” Martha bit back a sigh as if to directly tug at John’s heart. “But I’m the only one with two dads.”