Seven years later
It had been a lovely and warm spring day spent by the sea.
Jo looked at the sunset reflected on the calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea and smiled. She loved New York, but after two years in this place, one might not even remember what was so special about the bustling city after all.
Children played on the sand along with their best friends; funny thing about kids, they make best friends instantaneously but will never learn their names. A thing or two grown-ups should learn from them.
Allison stood with her back to the ocean supervising the younger kids' work as they playfully buried one of their friends in the sand. She giggled with delight and Jo couldn't help but smile at her little girl. She looked a lot as a younger Jo but resembled Henry in her chubby dimpled cheeks and keen observational skills, much to her father's pride.
They had worried for years if their child would have any trace of her father's condition, but it seemed she didn't. At some point they did wish for it, when she became severely ill at the age of four and everyone feared the worse. She'd spend a great deal of time sleeping and the sight of their chirpy and talkative little ray of sunshine lying on a hospital bed with a needle into her fragile body was painful and heartbreaking.
Luckily, the meds she had been taking for several weeks finally started working as expected and she could leave the hospital within two weeks. Under loving care and at last at home, she quickly improved and in no time was back to school and playing on the streets of the charming Italian town her parents chose to live in.
In those dark eerie days they feared she hadn't inherited Henry's condition at all and they'd lose her. Once she got better, they both agreed not to expect anything in that matter, living their lives as normally was they could and not worrying too much about it. It had been quite liberating.
Allison suddenly stopped laughing and turned to the ocean, squinted eyes surveying the water for something. She found what she'd been looking for and quickly jumped in.
Jo jumped from her seat and ran towards the ocean.
"Allison! Come back!", she yelled and ran for the water, but before she could get in her daughter was already back to the shore, holding what resembled a dead animal.
She felt a chill running up her spine and shuddered in disgust.
She was about to scold her daughter, when Allison turned to her.
The girl looked elated, and smiled, two adorable dimples and three missing front teeth adorning her innocent round face.
"Mommy, look what I can do!"
Jo stood by her side, still tempted to scold her and take her away, but curious as to why she was the only one fretting while the children looked on, unfazed.
"Sit down and give me your hand."
Jo knelt down on the sand and did as she was asked. She felt lightheaded, and briefly thought she must have stayed under the sun for too long on little water. When she looked over at her daughter, she knew she was wrong.
Jo was sitting by the kitchen table by the time Henry got home.
He looked quite spent, working two shifts in a row and leaving two hours later than expected. It was nearly ten when he arrived, to find his wife quietly waiting for him, her inscrutable face intriguing him.
She looked up at him wearily and smiled. "Sit."
He did as asked, putting his case and jacket on the closest chair. "Is there… anything wrong?"
She sighed and licked her lips as she thought about it, replaying the scene in her head. "I don't think so. I went to the beach with the kids today, and something… unusual happened."
She nodded slowly, rather doubtful. "Unusual… good. Come.", she ushered as she stood and took his hand, leading him down the corridor. She halted midway and turned back at him, pressing her lips softly against his. "Welcome home", she said and smiled, resuming the short walk toward the bedroom.
Slowly she opened the door to reveal two kids playing with a pup. The dog ran in circles chasing its own tail and the kids laughed heartily.
"I thought we weren't getting them a dog until Christmas?", he whispered puzzled.
Jo nodded and turned to her daughter sitting on the floor.
"Ally, you wanna tell Daddy what happened?"
"We went to the beach today, Daddy, and me and my friends buried Miguel in the sand!"
Miguel, her five-year-old brother, smiled at the memory and nodded enthusiastically.
"And about Mr. Freckles?", Jo urged her on.
The dark-haired girl shrugged. "He called me and I helped him."
Henry frowned. "'Called you'. And you helped him how?"
"It's this thing I can do. He couldn't get out of the water so I helped him out and talked to him in my head until he felt better", she explained nonchalantly as she petted the animal's soft fur.
Their son nodded. "She does that sometimes. She talks to animals in her head and they live. The other day, she helped a pigeon at school after Mr. Kinley's class. My friends were sooo spooked when I told them!"
Their parents looked at each other for a moment. Henry seemed as spooked as he was sure their friends might have been, and Jo just pursed her lips.
"Alright, guys, time for bed. You've got school tomorrow. Say goodbye… to… Mr. Freckles.", urged Henry, bending down to pick up the little grey-and-white mutt.
The children whined a bit but quickly got up and into their beds.
"Momma, is he gonna be here in the morning?", asked Miguel.
"Yes, but we don't know if we can keep him yet. Daddy and I are going to talk about it.", she explained and kissed her son's forehead. She sat beside his lying figure and caressed his face. "You have sweet dreams, okay?"
The boy nodded and held up his arms to give her a long hug. "I'm going to dream with you, and daddy, and Mr Freckles and Allison. And Hannah, from the beach."
"Alright, sweetie. Hope it's a fun dream."
Jo repeated the nightly ritual with Allison and so did Henry. Soon they left the room and headed back to the kitchen.
"Was I the only one confused by Miguel's explanation?"
Jo offered Henry a large box and an explanation. "This dog was dead. I saw Allison pull it out of the ocean. She laid it on the sand, knelt down, closed her eyes and… I don't know what she did. I was holding her hand and I felt dizzy until she let me go. And it was the most amazing and probably weirdest thing I've ever seen. Our daughter saved that dog, Henry. This dog.", she said, pointing at the tiny animal nestled in a make-shift bed. "And not just that. She had her back turned to the water, there was no way she could have seen it there. Or heard it. But somehow she knew it was there, and exactly where it was!"
Jo reached for her bag and took out a pack of dog food. She quickly filled a small tin for him and offered the food to the new member of the family. He ate greedily, bringing a smile to Jo's face.
Henry raised his eyebrows. "And how did the children react?"
Jo shrugged. "Overall, they were amazed. What do we do, Henry?"
Henry sighed and plopped down on the closest chair, and Jo did the same. "I don't know yet. We have to come up with a plan." He paused, lips pursed.
Jo rubbed her forehead tiredly, trying to come up with a quick solution, and failing. She sighed heavily. "I'm dog tired.", she paused. "No pun intended. I just really need to rest and think it over. I don't know what to make of it."
Henry nodded, far-away eyes set on the patterned kitchen tile. "I don't know either. We must think it over." He looked up at Jo and smiled. "Tomorrow. What I do know for now…" he took her hands and stood, bringing her to her feet. His hands let go of hers and came to rest on her waist. "is that we seem to have a natural healer in our family. A sweet little girl with a heart of gold, who took her time and energy to save a drowned pup. It's a wonderful gift that has to be handled with care so as not to attract unwanted attention. We will have to talk to her about it and watch her closely. I also know, that it won't go away overnight and we do not need to fret right now. Why not simply enjoy it for now? Hmm?", he softly questioned, resting his forehead against Jo's.
Jo nodded and sighed. Softly, she whispered. "You're right. I'm sorry."
"You don't need to apologize."
Henry let go of her waist and slowly slid his hands up her body and toward her face, gently cupping her cheeks and leaning in to kiss her. Jo smiled and kissed him back, pressing her body closer.
Moments later Henry pushed her away slightly so he could breathe, suddenly feeling too hot and trapped in too many clothes in such a warm night. He smiled coyly and played with the thin strap of her floral dress that had dropped to her arm.
Jo smiled mischievously and cocked her head, her wavy hair recently trimmed to just-beneath-her-ears long, enticingly exposing the fragrant skin of her neck and chest as she worked on his shirt. "Been daydreaming 'bout you."
"Really, now?" he asked, raising one eyebrow as his hand reached behind her to unzip her dress.
She hummed affirmatively and softly moaned as he plowed his nails softly down her back, giving her pleasant chills. She hissed and kissed him again, hungrily, skilled hands quickly removing the shirt off his shoulders and pushing him against the table.
A yelp called her attention and she suddenly broke the kiss. "Oh no, wait, wait, wait!"
Jo pushed Henry away from the table and grabbed the box. "You're too young to see this", she whispered to the dog and safely put away the box with plenty of food, a tin of water and the small towel that made it all the more comfortable. "Here. Good night, little guy.", she said and stood to turn off the light, immediately feeling Henry behind her, pressing his body against hers and dropping kisses on her neck. She breathed in sharply and gave him plenty of room to do whatever he wanted to her.
"Bed. Now.", he commanded huskily into her ear and left.
In less than thirty seconds the bedroom door was locked.
Tucked away in the darkness of the kitchen slept a little reminder that the lives of Henry, Jo, Allison and the young Miguel would be filled with blessings and its fair share of difficulties. There surely would be times they would have to run away time and again so that the immortal doctor can maintain his secret safe, so that the loving Allison will never have to face too much heartache due to her special ability and, who knows what the future holds for the little boy as well? In her heart, Jo was sure their lives would never be short of adventure.
But right now, none of it mattered.
Notes: That's it! Hope you liked it. I'm sorry if it was too out of character, but I did my best ^^ If you read and liked this story, please leave a comment! Thank you!