a palette of blues;

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AUTHOR'S EDIT: The following chapters deal with Charlie's life YEARS after Azura; here the children are about 3/4 years old. And when they mention "school" it is pre-school but the kids just say that to feel cooool, you know? These are chapters separate from the sequel.

"Daddy, can you please
read a story? Pleeeease?"

Charlie furrowed his eyebrows
and ran his fingers through the
tiny gray ends of his hair.
The kids had put a ton of new
found stress onto his crumbling
shoulders; on top of that,

He thought that college was
supposed to be a new burst
of freedom, of late night stares
into the sky with her by his side.
Now he can't go to the bathroom
without tripping on a rubber duck
or suffocating a teddy bear with
his foot.

"Yeah, yeah, sure but only
one book. Okay? Not two,
not three, and certainly
not four. Not like last night."
He playfully glared at the
two toddlers, who resembled
someone that he hadn't
even told them about.

"Thank you, Daddy!" Adelina
and Theo replied in unison.

"Lina, it's your turn to pick
a book; go ahead."

"Daddy, we have read all the
books. Three times," She pulled the
words heavily out of her mouth. Out of
the blue, she stomped her foot and it
looked absolutely adorable.

Holding in a laugh, Charlie
stuttered (still working on it),
"Okay, I'll m-make up a story
then. Is t-that okay?"

"Daddy, everyone at
school has a daddy
and a mommy. Or a daddy and a
daddy. Or a mommy and a mommy.
Do we have a mommy? Where is
One question. Just one question
that can turn a whole day of
laughter into absolute gloom
and distress.
"Your..your what?"

"Mommy." Theo came over
to Charlie and climbed onto the sofa
next to him.

"Tell us about our mommy."

"Your mommy...well..
she's away right now."

"Is she working?" Adelina
asked, with a sincere
sadness tinting her tiny

"Yeah, she has a special job. She
looks after people. She even looks after
you two—did you know that?"

With a burst of surprise,
the two munchkins huddled
closer to Charlie. "She does?
How does she look like?"

A pause. Dreaded seconds
of a r                    a               c               i          n                    g
heart, racing thoughts of her rushed through
Charlie's veins.

"How she looks like? W-well, she looks l-like..."
He shuffled through his pockets, fetched
out his phone, and scrolled through endless baby
pictures, trying to find the first picture
in his phone.


"This is your m-m-mommy."

"Wow. She's so pretty." Adelina gazed up
onto the screen. Her tiny finger traced
the smile of Azura.

"Hey, Lina, she looks like you!" Theo pointed
out. A beaming smile drawled itself onto his
tiny face.

Charlie let out a laugh. A real one.

"You do look like her, Lina."

"Our mommy is the best." The
two munchkins smiled proudly.

"She is, she really is."

Charlie let out a sigh of
relief. And a little quiet thank you
to the angel up above.

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