Jason POV:

All I heard was the chewing of food, the clinging of silverware to plates, and the occasional conversation as we sat along the grand dinning room of my Uncle Lance's country home. We arrived there just in time to be greeted by my aunt and uncle before being rushed into the dinning room. There I sat on one end of the table with Alice on my right and my father directly across from me at the head of the rectangular table. Surrounding the perimeter were a bunch of business men in cloned suits. Very few were holding a solid conversation but if they did it was all business. I just sat with my back against the chair and my eyes on Alice's sleepy face. She struggled to stay awake but her head was bobbing in rhythm and her eyes were being forced shut. I couldn't help but grin as she fought the urge to rest.

"How about you take her up to the guest room ?" My Aunt Janet leaned over from her seat, that she occupied on my left, and whispered in my ear. She was a kind woman with graying hair and those crow-feet eyes that showed you she had many years of joy. I gave her a warm, thanking smile before quietly standing up from my chair.

I kneeled down next to Alice and tapped her shoulder to grab her attention. Her falling head shot straight up and turned towards me. I whispered, barley audible, asking her if she wanted to go up to the guest room. She nodded her head with as much energy as she possible had.

I waited for her to climb out of the massive chair before I picked her up. Luckily no one saw us leave or questions would have been asked. I made my way up the elegant staircase with Alice clinging to my neck. Once we made it up the stairs, we headed down the hallway leading to the guest room. My eyes caught glimpses of pictures along every inch of the wall. It took me a few seconds until I recognized some of the faces. Some of the frames were filled with photos of my uncle and aunt, my grandparents, a few cousins, and then one particular caught my eye.

The middle sized image showed a picture of the day when my mom and I came during the summer. I was sitting upon the chestnut beast with a goofy smile plastered onto my face. My mom, with her beautiful eyes and loving smile, stood protectively by my side.

I felt the warm tears form behind my eyes and I dared them to fall. She wouldn't want me to cry, she taught me to be stronger than that.

I couldn't pry my eyes away until I was interrupted by Alice's lazy yawn. She looked up at me with squinted eyes and she must have seen that I was on the verge of tears.

"Whats wrong?" Her words came out as a mumble.

"Nothing," I lied and headed down the rest of the hallway. "I just had something in my eye." I know it was the lamest, and oldest excuse in the book but that was the first thing to pop into my head. Plus, I didn't want her to see the photo or worry.

She just gave me a disbelieving look as I opened the guest room's door with my elbow. Even thought the girl is young, she is good at reading people. That is a gift she got from my mom. I see a little bit more in her everyday.

As we entered the room, I set Alice down on one of the two full sized beds that filled the space. She quickly climbed over to her bedazzled suitcase to open it. After she dug her way through the neatly folded clothes, she pulled out a pink pajama top and matching bottoms. With clothes in hand she wobbled into the conjoining bathroom to brush her teeth and change for bed. I heard her groan when she flipped on the light switch. A slight chuckle escaped the gap between my lips.

I went over to my solid black suitcase and picked out a pair of clean boxers and gym shorts for bed. I decided to change right in the room while Alice occupied the bathroom. My fingers found the buttons on the dress shirt a little challenging but I managed to undo them and change out of my pants before Alice walked out with a toothbrush in hand.

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