Buried Yet Breathing31.

At the thresh hold of Peter’s house…

At the foot of the entrance, Savannah grabbed Peter’s hand, stopping his momentum and causing him to stumble. “Hey, what are you doing, silly?” He was smiling but Savannah was not.

Savannah’s eyes welled up and hot tears blemished her pale face as she spoke, wavering. “Peter, it’s my dad. Almost every night now. Can I stay over?” She broke into heavy tears and muffled sobs as she held her hands against her mouth. “Peter, please!”

He instantly sidled her and wrapped his arm around her shaking shoulders. They sat on the stoop. “The drinking has gotten worse?” Peter knew somewhat of her father Harrison’s rude behavior when consuming alcohol but his knowledge only scratched the surface. “I mean of course you can stay. My parents love you.”

She cried for another moment then ceased as abruptly as she had started. She took a breath, held it then said, “Peter, my daddy is a monster. It’s not just the drinks. He… he touches me and I hate it, Peter! I hate it.”

Immediately, Peter removed his arm. “Uh, what?! ‘vannah, why didn’t you tell me? I’ll kill him. It’s the right thing to do.”

Savannah, through the sobs, took Peters arm and put it back on her shoulders. Through the tears, she stuttered, “It’s… it’s ok if… you… if it’s you. I trust you. Him… him I hate.”

Peter, dumbfounded and in shock of what she just confessed, stared at the ground, his own tears exiting his saddened eyes. Savannah looked at him, took his hands in hers and whispered, “Only you know, and that’s how it will stay, okay?”

Peter nodded quickly, while freeing a hand momentarily to wipe his eyes. “Your painting gear is still up in the attic. Do you want to work on it?”

She smiled big, all signs of sorrow completely vanished. “Please!” Savannah hugged her best friend tight and though she couldn’t see, his face also lit up brighter than a show of fireworks.

At the same moment, they both looked up into the vast, dark sky and what they saw not only amazed them, but cemented everything they knew and were alive for. It was distant but plain as day. Hot, fiery arrows blazed across the black backdrop.

Glowing, blue and crimson swords swung in battle. And little, almost microscopic flecks of brilliant light danced and tumbled through the tapestry of night, with long streaks of warm color and explosions of a divine presence.

And then it ended and the two children looked curiously at one another, refreshed and recharged and leaving all melancholy aside.
Inside the house was a rare sight for anyone who was none the wiser. Father was playing the organ, as loud as it went and then some, while Mother two-stepped her way around the living room, throwing rose petals and singing especially loud; boisterous and robust and sprinkled with beats of deep laughter. Three of the four family kittens sat atop the old organ, watching Father’s fingers and hands move incredulously.

Peter’s little brother Henry was jumping on the couch in the worst way possible. Being borderline obese, each landing impacted the cushions and springs violently, though no one in the household could have cared less. Nothing could stop an evening of celebration, almost a daily occurrence, in Peter’s lively home.

The littlest member of the brood, baby Caulfield, sat in his bouncy chair, fully strapped in and screaming completely off beat with the music. His infant hands clapped and he laughed heartily, while those little baby feet kicked and played to the beat.

Savannah and Peter, all dirty from their after school adventures, not to mention the shared cry session, walked slowly up to the piano man, waiting for the final crescendo and smiling heartfelt grins. Father caught Peters eye and his fingers hit the last chord, if only too soon.

Mother stopped abruptly, then noticed her Peter was home. “Ahhh!” She screamed and ran over to their new audience. She hugged and kissed him and wrapped her arms around Savannah too. “We’ve missed you! Are y’all hungry? Gosh, how long have you been standing there?”

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