A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Twenty-One (Part One)

Marah’s head was pounding.

The minute Tony and Marah arrived at Infierno they had been bombarded by the boisterous Lewis clan.  As Tony had predicted, Reva had immediately snatched Lanie up out of her carrier and was currently making the goofy faces adults did in an attempt to make babies laugh.  One diaper change later and the onesie declaring  ‘My Grandma is Better Than Your Grandma’ was currently on display on Lanie’s small body.  When Marah had seen this she had looked across the table at Tony who just raised his eyebrow in a ‘I told you so’ manner and smirked.

Cheeky bastard.

Now the entire lot of them were seated around the enormous table and the noise level had reached epic proportions. But as she looked around at the people laughing and drinking heartily she had to admit, her family was pretty remarkable.  They could be gone for years at a time, live halfway around the world, and yet they all seemed to find their way back to Springfield.

And watching Tony interact with her father was another extraordinary sight to see, one that she didn’t think she would ever get used to seeing.  Josh and Tony had always clashed.  Now they sat next to each other talking about the merits of the Cubs current roster and their prospects for another National League run for the world series.  She felt a smile stretch across her face.

Next to her Shayne nudged her in the side nearly making her spill her wine all over herself. “Stop making goo-goo eyes at your husband and pay attention.”

Marah placed her glass on the table, if only to keep herself safe from her brother’s next jab, and looked at Shayne, “I am not making goo-goo eyes.  What am I twelve?”

“You so were.” Shayne laughed heartily, “Though you always did look at Tony like he was the only man on the planet.”

This time it was Marah’s turn to jab her brother, which she put just enough force behind to make him wince, “I did not.”

She so did.  And she would be the first to admit it, to anyone but her brother that is.

Shayne rolled his eyes, “Whatever.  So how are you feeling these days?  That damned doctor basically had you quarantined from the rest of us so we all had to rely on updates from Tony and mom.”

A part of her didn’t understand why her doctor had sequestered her from her family but another part got it completely.  This family may be extraordinary but they were overwhelming to say the least.  “I am doing good.  Still no concrete memories but I get bits and pieces of things from time to time.”  She reached forward and grabbed her wineglass again and took a healthy sip, “What about you?  Mom filled me in that you were married.  To Dinah Marler, which I still can’t believe.”

Shayne grabbed the beer in front of him and followed suit.  Taking a healthy swallow he answered, “Dinah and I met when we were both broken.  She saved me.  Literally.  And in turn we saved each other.” He smiled broadly, “And next week our final adoption approval will be done and we can go overseas and get another addition to the Lewis clan.”

Marah just blinked at her brother’s statement.  “Wow.  Who would have thought you’d become so poetic.  I remember when the only thing you cared about was field hockey and cheeseburgers.  Remember when Cassie and Richard got married and you called the palace ‘da bomb’?  I wanted to facepalm so hard.”

The siblings just laughed, which caused Jonathan to scowl from further down the table.

***

Jonathan downed the rest of his scotch in one healthy gulp.  He hated to admit it but he was jealous.  Jealous of the easy camaraderie that flowed naturally between Marah and Shayne.  But he wasn’t surprised.  Those two had shared a lifetime together, while he had only had a couple of years.

But he was still jealous.

Their oldest brother Dylan leaned over and whispered, “Your green monster is showing dude.”

Jonathan just shrugged.  “She doesn’t remember me.  I mean we only got close the past couple of years but we were close.”  Jonathan had to shake his head at how sappy he had become.  It was just a couple of years ago he was the outsider in this family.  And even further back he would have to say he hated them.  Hated that they were all close while he was given up to live with an abusive father.  He raised his glass and signaled the waitress for a refill.

“You may want to slow down Jonathan.  I still need you over at that new job site tomorrow.” Dylan clapped Jonathan heartily on the back, “And you being hung-over is not going to impress the bosses.”  He indicated Josh and Billy with a lift of his chin.

Jonathan accepted the new drink with a smile at the waitress.  Turning back to Dylan he deliberately took a healthy drink before replying, “You sure are bossy.”

Dylan laughed, “As the oldest, and handsomest of Reva’s offspring, I declared myself the leader.”

For the first time that night Jonathan genuinely laughed. “You are delusional.  Everyone knows I am the one with all the handsome genes.”

***

Marah remained chatting with Shayne but out of the corner of her eye she watched Jonathan and Dylan talking.  She knew she had to make the approach, to extend the olive branch to her other brother.  She owed it to him after her cold reaction to him after she was released from the hospital.  Shayne nudged her when she noticed where her attention was, “You know he’s a pretty good guy.  Cocky and bit arrogant but he is still pretty good at being a Lewis.” Shayne started laughing, “The first time I met him I punched him in the mouth.  It was quite a sibling bonding moment”

Marah smiled and nodded.  She finished off her glass of wine and stood, “Guess it’s time for me to do some sibling bonding myself.”  She walked around the table to where Jonathan and Dylan were seated.  She smiled first at Dylan and leaned in to give him a hug, “Hello big brother.  How have you been?”

Dylan returned her hug heartily, “No complaints here.  How have you been?”

“Been better.  Been worse.” Marah tilted her head to the side, “At least I think I have.”

“Well if you are making amnesia jokes I would say you re on the mend.”  Dylan stood, “I am going to try to get some time in with my niece.  Though you practically have to have the jaws of life to pry her from mom’s arms.”

Left alone Marah and Jonathan were left in awkward silence.  Finally Jonathan sighed and looked up at his sister, “Look I know you don’t remember me but we were close.  Shayne hated me on sight.  Dylan couldn’t care either way.  But you were living in Paris and I don’t know, somehow you not living here made your acceptance of me more memorable.  I even came and visited you once.”

Marah sat in the seat Dylan had just vacated, “Oh really?”

“Yeah.  You were all set to show me around Paris but instead we mostly stayed in you apartment.  Drinking wine and sharing our tales of woe.  We made quite a pair.”  Jonathan chuckled at the memory. “But after that weekend we were close.”

Marah reached out and touched the back of Jonathan’s hand with her own, “I may not remember much but there’s nothing saying we can’t be close again.  So little brother, how have you been?”

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