ADRIFT

 

(The direct continuation of Sonrise)

 

By Jo

 

Part 1:

 

"That's quite a vie..." Terry began but then cut the word 'view' off.

 

The three couples, Terry and Amalie, Marshall and Eden, and Ryan and Connie were riding the incline up

the steep face of Mount Washington, just across the Monongahela River from downtown Pittsburgh.

 

"Terry, it's all right," Marshall said quickly.  "I understand it's a wonderful view. You're allowed to enjoy

it."

 

"I know.  It's just..."

 

"I understand. I do, but it's the last thing I want, that my friends and family should place limits on their

enjoyment, on their expressions, because of my presence.  I know you wish I could see what you're seeing

and I care deeply that it matters so to you.  But I'm fine, really I am.  Please, I want you to see all you can."

 

Terry thought of the morning he'd left the villa in Tuscany where they were staying, heading out on a long

run, the very run that took him to Amalie under the wall.  The morning had been glorious in that way only

Tuscany manages, the mist lying low in the valleys, the light magical as it rose above the flow of rounded

hills, spreading itself over the land.  He remembered the sharp pain that had gone through his soul because

Marshall not only could not see it, but couldn't even really imagine it.

 

Eden had thought the same thing so many times.  She wanted it for him, that he could see, that he could

grasp the glory of the sky, the distant mountains, the sunlight on the lake's surface.  She adored his face,

never tired of looking at it, studying its every line, but there was still a twinge down in the depths of her

being that he could never look at her.  Was it wrong that she wanted to be seen by him? His hands, yes,

they moved over her in ways she'd had no idea hands could move, and that was wondrous and she adored

it.  But still she yearned that he could sit across the table from her and look at her. 

 

She sighed.  No, she had the better part. Never would she want not to have seen him.  His face had been

the dearest thing in her world since the day she'd met him and he'd lain with his head in her lap, his face

so thickly coated in mud she hadn't even realized what he looked like until the rains began, and the mud

started to wash away.  Right then, right in that moment, before she even realized it, she'd become bound

to him body and soul. 

 

She took hold of his arm.  "He's fine."

 

Marshall chuckled.  Eden had said several times he'd say he was fine if someone asked how he was right

after a train had rolled over him, cutting off both legs.  "No train," he whispered in her ear.

 

Indeed, they were having a wonderful day.  Terry and Amalie had flown in from London two days earlier

and planned to stay two weeks, until April 19th.  Ryan and Connie lived only twenty minutes away and the

six of them were on the go, out for dinner, sight seeing, taking Morgan where they could.  When they couldn't,

Edith took care of him.  Since Eden's mother was more or less out of the picture somewhere in the Caribbean,

Edith, who was Eden's aunt, had filled the mother role for many years.  Now she was to all intents and purposes,

Grandmother to Morgan.  And she loved it. 

 

After lunch at the Monterey Bay atop Mount Washington, where Marshall and Eden had had their Pittsburgh

reception, they'd walked along Grandview for a way before going back down and catching the Majestic, the

largest riverboat in the Gateway Clipper Fleet. 

 

Terry came up to Marshall, who was leaning on the white railing along the lower deck.  "You like this spot?"

 

"I do.  I like it because it's close to the water and I can hear the sound of the river sliding along the side of

the boat.

 

A smaller riverboat passed and everybody on the decks of both boats waved at each other.  Marshall waved,

too, with a big smile.  He'd done that ever since he was a small boy and taken riverboat cruises with his

parents and older brother Jeffrey.  Jeff had always told him that the people on the other boat were waving

and smiling and he should do the same thing back.  Marshall never understood just how it was Jeff knew that

people on a boat somewhere out on the wide river were doing that, but he believed him. Jeff was the center

of his world when he was younger, the one who thought there was nothing Marshall shouldn't try to do.  Even

though Jeff was sighted, he'd guided Marshall into being comfortable in his sightless world.

 

"Tomorrow's your birthday," Terry observed.

 

"Yep, thirty-eight.  The womenfolk are cooking up a surprise party."

 

"You know about that?"

 

Marshall grinned.  "My hearing is more acute than they realize."

 

"I'm glad I know you know.  Takes the pressure off."

 

"Know what?"  Ryan joined them at the rail.

 

"About my surprise party."

 

Ryan let out a loud laugh.  "Can't keep anything from you."

 

"Where are the ladies?" Terry asked.

 

"Up top.  Eden and Connie are pointing out sights to Amalie, though I imagine they're using the time for

more plotting."

 

"Bethel Bakery," Marshall said softly, "I hope.  They make the best frosting in Pittsburgh."

 

"That you will have to wait and see."  Ryan and Terry exchanged a brief look.  Ryan then gave Terry a

thumbs-up to indicate Bethel it was.

 

But it hit Terry how people around Marshall could do things like that, exchange looks and gestures without

his knowing.  Terry frowned.  He'd hate that.  He'd really, truly hate that if people could do it around him.

 

Marshall's hand found Terry's on the railing and he gave it a brief squeeze.  "I hear you thinking."

 

Terry looked at him.  He probably did. "I'm a loud thinker."

 

"You really are, you know," Marshall continued.  "There's an intensity even to your thinking."

 

"So what was he thinking?" Ryan pursued, causing Terry to frown slightly again.

 

"You said I'd have to wait and see about the cake.  You did whatever it is people do with their eyes to

communicate silently with another person."

 

"And you intercepted the look?"  Ryan shook his head.

 

"Radar, sonar, something along those lines."

 

"I always knew he had a little bat blood in him," Ryan chuckled.

 

"I never told you about Gran'pa, the family vampire?"

 

"Don't tell me now," Ryan said.  "You'll make me nervous and there's no good place to hide on this scow."

 

"Defamation of Pittsburgh riverboats," Marshall said mock-seriously.  "It carries a stiff penalty."

 

"What kind of..."  Ryan began but the three women appeared on the lower deck.

 

"Who needs penalized?"  Connie asked.  She slid her arms around Ryan.  "Most likely you."

 

"My sensibilities are highly injured at such a suggestion!"

 

"It is you, isn't it?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"Why?" Amalie asked.

 

"He was casting aspersions on the merit of our riverboat and also implying there was no good place on it

in which to hide his person from the predations of ancestral vampires," Marshall explained.

 

"Vampires?" Connie cocked an eyebrow severely.  "There are vampires in the Malone family tree?"

 

"Sinclair," Ryan defended.  "Malones are werewolves."

 

"Now you tell me! And here I was thinking of having thirteen children begat from your loins, all of them

Malones."

 

Ryan giggled.  "Connie's talking about my loins in public."

 

"I like your loins."

 

"Girded or ungirded?"

 

"Oh, most definitely ungirded."

 

"Get a room!" Terry laughed.

 

"Make sure it's good for hiding out from vampires," Marshall added.

 

"Where did the vampires come from?" Eden asked.

 

"You don't know?" Ryan said in a strange little voice.

 

"I may push you overboard yet, Ryan Malone.  I mean, and you know I mean, how did they get into your

conversation?"

 

"Marshall's sonar," Ryan pronounced somberly.  "He got it from his Gran'pa, the vampire."

 

"Sonar? Oh, he knew what you were thinking!"

 

"Nah, he knew what Terry was thinking.  I don't think intensely enough."

 

Eden slid her arm around Marshall.  "I barely need to speak.  He always seems to know what I'm thinking."

 

Marshall dipped his head down and smiled.  It was often very true where she was concerned.

 

 

 

 

The Sinclair home on Mayhaven was stone and quite large.  That evening they sat around in the living room,

engaged in lively conversation as usual.  Morgan was asleep in the nursery that had been built on the back of

the house off Marshall and Eden's bedroom. 

 

"This is so nice, having all of you here," Eden said. Marshall had her hand in his lap, cradling it between both

of his.

 

"Terry says I should come over and go running with him and Waddy in the morning.  I think I will."

 

"Ryan, why don't you and Connie just spend the night here then?" Marshall suggested.  There was an extra

bedroom that was basically theirs and they kept some clothes and night things there.

 

"Why don't you?" Eden urged.  "Then we can go over to Edith's together while the guys are running."

 

She meant the three women and Morgan.  Marshall had a project he was working on with his special computer

and would be able to finish it with everybody out of the house.  Of course, the truth was that the surprise party

was going to be at Edith's and they would be putting the finishing touches on that.

 

"You want to?" Ryan asked Connie.

 

"Sure.  Why not?  We're here."

 

"Ok, then I'll have another beer."  Ryan got up and wandered toward the kitchen.

 

"I read your Williamsburg book," Terry said.  "I found it really interesting how you two divided the writing."

 

"It worked for us."

 

"Though he was a bit surprised when I put George Washington in a scene with horse manure."

 

Marshall chuckled.  "I'd not really thought of doing that."

 

"You working on something now?"

 

"Just finished," Eden replied.  "Something very different...Marshall's poems illustrated with my photographs."

 

"It's a good division of labor there, too," Marshall added.  "I seem to write poetry a lot better than I take

photographs." 

 

"There was an Australian movie a while back," Terry said, "about a blind man who took photographs to prove

he'd been where he'd been."

 

"How did that work?" Amalie asked.

 

"If he were in a park and knew there was a tree in front of him and then if he took a photograph of it and later

showed it to someone who hadn't been there and they described a park with a tree, well, for him it was proof.

In fact I think that might have been the name of the movie, Proof."

 

"Jeff had me out with his camera once.  I took a whole roll of film.  It's probably still around in his room

somewhere."

 

"What kind of pictures?"

 

"Oh, just around in the yard here.  He'd tell me where to point the camera and then I'd just click the shutter."

 

"I'd like to see those sometime," Eden said.  Actually, she found it would mean quite a lot to her to see them.

There would be a reality to them, a day when Marshall had been a boy and his brother had been with him.

 

Marshall squeezed her hand.  "I imagine they're in that big filing cabinet in his room."

 

"You know, don't you, why I want to see them?" she whispered in his ear.

 

"Vampire," he whispered back.  "My mouth may wish to do things with your throat later."

 

She smiled. "Promise?"

 

 

 

ON TO PART 2

 

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