346 69 2

By the morning, a nervous energy filled the air of the cabin. Everyone was on edge both over testifying and the outcome of the trial.

Skye rushed around the kitchen getting breakfast on the table before they left. It wasn't her morning to prepare the morning meal, but Dylan and Wade needed to check the traps before they went to court.

Jesse and Sue Ellen sat in the loft. Dylan had pushed things around to make room for Jesse to sleep and promised to make it a real bedroom as soon as he could. If Sue Ellen was going to take Jesse's room in the new part of the house, then Jesse was going to need a better place up here.

The sizzling of frying eggs made its way up to the loft. "Mom!" Jesse said as he hung over the rough wood banister, "Remember not to cook mine too long."

"Yes, dear." Skye's tone was overly patient. It was a regular request even though she'd only ever overcooked his eggs once.

Sue Ellen pursed her lips at his words before saying in a hissing whisper, "You call her mom? She ain't our momma."

Jesse shrugged, then straightened some of his cars, not wanting to upset his sister so soon after getting her back. But Sue Ellen wasn't about to let it go.

She wagged her finger at him, her voice becoming a fierce whisper. "Our momma wouldn't like that."

Jesse searched for an answer. "Well, she ain't here." He could see from her expression that wasn't going to be enough. "I don't hardly remember our momma. And what I do, she wasn't all that good to us."

Sue Ellen is quiet for a minute. "Still she was our momma." She stabbed her finger down toward the kitchen below. "That one ain't."

"She's mine." Jesse's voice became more insistent as he spoke. This was something Sue Ellen would have to accept.

Sue Ellen grabbed Jesse's shoulder and shook it. "She ain't."

Jesse looked down at her hand on his shoulder as it squeezed tighter and tighter. He slowly removed it and placed her hand on her knee. Sue Ellen didn't know how things were supposed to go. "We don't do that here, Sue Ellen."

Her eyes narrowed.

"Your my big sister but there are some things you don't know, so I want you to listen." Jesse sighed when she made an exaggerated eye roll, then continued. "Mom, Skye, has saved my life more'n once. Even got herself almost killed savin' me. That is what a parent does for a kid. That's how much she loves me. She earned the right to be my mom. Nobody else did that."

When Sue Ellen tried to turn away, Jesse moved with her. "Momma never did nothin' to stop bad things from happening to me. I might not remember much, but I remember that."

Jesse pointed down to the Skye. "That woman there- she's my mom. So get used to it. And if you're smart, you'll let her be your mom too."

Sue Ellen said nothing but pushed her lip out and crossed her arms.

"Sue Ellen, I don't know how it was for you at grandma's, but here, you don't have to worry about nothin'. Dylan, Wade, and Skye believe in takin' care of kids. Not beatin' them or using them as labor. I mean, I do my part, but I have lots of fun too. It's good here, the first good I've ever had."

Sue Ellen wasn't going to be persuaded and humphed as she turned away. Her gaze swept over him and the cabin before turning to the floor. Jesse put one finger to her jaw and gently turned her head to his earnest face. "It's real good, just give it a while, you'll see."

Before Sue Ellen could answer, Skye called them to breakfast. The girl jumped up and ran down the stairs with Jesse right behind her, then immediately plopped herself at the table.

Sanctuary's Aggression Book 2: The CapturedRead this story for FREE!