Frank is having a hard time moving on after all his friends have died, but encouragement comes in the night.
Frank smiled down at her sad face.
Sophie nodded solemnly.
Frank picked Sophie up and let her rest her head on his shoulder. He spoke soothingly.
“It’s okay. I get them too.”
“Everybody was gone.”
“I’m here. I’ll stay with you while you fall asleep.”
It wasn’t really screaming nightmares for either of them; just reminders sometimes about how many people had gone, and how alone they felt. They were all worried about people trying to exploit the children’s powers, or just how unstable things were, but Deanna still thought that they might be able to locate relatives, or maybe even new families, for some of the children.
They might, but even if everything worked out beyond their best expectations, Frank knew that wouldn’t work for Sophie. There had been too much loss for her, and he couldn’t ask her to start over again. She would have to stay with at least one of them, if they started splitting up.
They had, a little. Park was back with his parents, and Beck with his wife. Harry’s place had been ransacked, but he was primarily living there now. Most of them were staying at the school though. Once their lives were no longer in danger, it was the most practical place. It didn’t feel exactly right, but nothing did anymore.
Sophie was asleep again. That hadn’t taken too long, and she had stayed asleep the two nights before. Things seemed to be getting better.
He went to his own bed, thinking about the guitar underneath. Sometimes he would think about singing or playing the children to sleep, but would feel his throat closing at the thought. He wondered if he would ever play again.
Frank got into bed, but stayed sitting up, knowing he would not be able to sleep. He was so tired, and so restless. How long was it going to be like this? What was it going to take? He never expected to see Jane. She was there though, sitting on the edge of the bed, facing him. The room had been dark, but it was light now.
“Am I dreaming?”
“No, this is real.”
Jane smiled warmly.
Having her there, it was impossible not to say what he had felt so many times.
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you. I tried--”
She could not let Frank continue like that. Jane shook her head.
“It’s fine. I told you it would be okay.”
“Not for me.”
Jane nodded sympathetically.
“I know it’s been hard. That’s why I came. I wanted you to know that it’s okay, not just from me, but from all of us. I know I’m not the only one you miss.”
“So…you’re all together?”
“More than you think,” Jane smiled. “Your mother and Mitch’s wife are really good friends now.”
“Mom? Really?” A small smile played against Frank’s lips. “Can I tell Mitch? I have to be able to tell them, it will be impossible not to.”
“No, it won’t. You’re not going to remember.”
That was almost too much to bear.
“What’s the point in coming if I won’t even know it happened?”
“Your mind won’t remember, not until you see me again, but your heart will. This feeling will stay.”
“I don’t know if that will be enough. It’s been…I’m not…” He could not put his frustration into words, but she did it for him.
“You’re tired and sad, and you don’t know what to do.”
“All of those things.”
“But you keep doing them anyway, and it’s going to get easier, I promise. It would have anyway. I’m just trying to speed things up.”
Frank shook his head, but he was smiling.
“You’ve always had way too much confidence in me.”
“No, it’s the right amount.”
“Are you going to visit anyone else? I’m not the only one who misses you.”
“But you’re the most important, because you take care of them for me.”
Frank nodded, knowing it was true. He had never wanted that responsibility, but it had happened, somehow, and somehow it was the way it had to be. There was some peace with it, but he still felt so tired, and he told her.
“ I’ll stay with you while you fall asleep.”
“That takes a long time.”
“Not tonight. You’re going to feel better tomorrow.”
“That will take a miracle. Oh.”
Jane shook her head again, but she was beaming.
“Now, eyes closed. I know you do this for the kids all the time, tonight I’m here for you.”
It was almost impossible to keep his eyes open. He didn’t want to let her go yet, but he knew it was happening. Still, it felt good to know she was there.
“I just miss you all so much.”
“That’s mutual. But Frank, as much love as we have for you, there is so much more waiting for you here. Here in this building, and in this city, and back in Greenvale, people you haven’t met yet, and even love from people who still aren’t born. So much love, and happiness, and we’ll still be there when you’re done.”
Her words did register as Frank drifted away. He may have noticed the room getting brighter, but he was sound asleep when the light faded and Jane was gone. He knew nothing at all until morning.
And then suddenly, it was morning, and there was a muffled crash outside the room, and possibly some laughter, but definitely no screaming. It was probably Jason and Tyrone. They were early risers, and active, to say the least.
Frank got up to check, grinning, and then he stopped. He was grinning; how had that happened?
Looking around the room, it was the same, but something was different. Was it him? But there were more footsteps, and they were running, so there wasn’t time to think about it then, just time to notice in surprise that he was starting to hum.