Chapter 22: Drowning shadows

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'Do I go home to nothing or stay out for more, Give into someone or lock down my door, Or drown all my shadows drown them like before'

'Do I go home to nothing or stay out for more, Give into someone or lock down my door, Or drown all my shadows drown them like before'

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A sickening shriek echoed through the island mansion, a hushed curse word leaving Jeremiah's mouth as he heard the sound. He rose from his desk and started to make his way down the hall to the door next to Hannah's room. He furrowed his brows as he noticed the door was open and the shrieking had not turned into crying as he expected. He entered the doorway and stopped dead in his tracks.

"You were fast." He said to the blonde woman who rocked the six-month-old lightly in her skinny arms.

"I was in the next room over, how could I not respond to this beautiful little thing!" She cooed, a genuine smile gracing her face as she stared down at the wide-eyed child. The baby gurgled slightly, reaching out and grazing her small fingers across Lilianna's chin.

"I can take her if you want-" Jeremiah started, taking a step towards her with his arms outstretched.

"No, I got it." She assured him, bouncing the baby more and causing her to giggle softly.

"Are you sure?" He asked apprehensively.

"If you want to deal with her being a grouch you can," Lilianna laughed, walking over and shifting the baby to his hands. The second Lilianna's small form was no longer in contact with the child, she screamed.

"Oh Rochelle, calm down sweetpea." He shushed her, rocking her lightly as he tried to get her to look at him. She whipped her head around and looked at Lilianna, screaming once and reaching an arm out towards her. Lilianna's eyes widened and shot to Jeremiah's. He wasn't mad like she expected him to be, but rather hurt and guilty.

"She really likes you, just like Hannah." He sighed, the child's sobs and tears still hitting him full force.

"I'm sorry, I guess I'm a kid magnet." She sighed, walking towards Rochelle and letting the baby's hand curl around two of her fingers.

"Clearly." He chuckled, noticing his youngest daughter had calmed down the second she had physical contact with Lilianna.

"Do you want to take her?"

"No no, she's your daughter. I don't want to-" Lilianna rushed out, stumbling over her words.

"She needs a mom. They both do. It's not an opinion, it's fact, especially for Rochelle. Babies need their moms. She needs you, as you can see." He cut her off, telling her the way it was as the child instinctively leaned towards Lilianna.

"Are you sure?" Lilianna asked him, her eyes on the baby.

"I need them to be happy again. I can't take care of them the same way Ellen did, the same way you do. They don't click with me enough for me to be a good enough parent for them yet." He admitted, placing a kiss on Rochelle's head. He shifted the baby into Lilianna's arms, her tears instantly drying and breathing settling. Lilianna held the baby close, humming softly to her while she bounced on the balls of her feet.

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