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A House By The River

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My brother took one hundred and thirty two days to wake up.

I counted.

On this tacky word-a-day calendar that Jude or Fitz picked up at the Seven Eleven in town. Every day, I was convinced, as long as I learned the word on the calendar Webb wouldn't die that day. I had no illusions about my magic calendar being able to wake him up, just keeping him alive was enough for me.

The word for 31 March was serendipity. "The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way." A fortunate coincidence. Like a sign that good luck still exists. It was serendipity that Webb opened his eyes on the day the word was serendipity. It was the best thing that ever happened to us.

"Webb?" Tate asked, soft like her voice might break the spell and pull us back to a painful reality where his sky blue eyes didn't look at us with so much love you might burst from it.

He smiled back at her just as soft and wet his lips, eyes flicking between us over and over while he sucked on the ice chips Tate patiently fed him. Me, Jude, Tate, the bulge of Tate's belly where their unborn child grew. And back to me, again and again, until the ice was gone.

Then, his voice hoarse from disuse, he asked, "Where's Fitz?"