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In His Keeping


Page 8




Jolted into action, Ginger hurried to the high chair where she always left Ari while she prepared her bottle and gently pried the bottle from Ari's grasp. Ari made a sound of displeasure and to Gavin's further shock, it appeared as though Ginger was in a tug-of-war as the bottle strained and tried to pull itself from her grasp.
Gavin immediately hurried over and slid back the tray before picking Ari up in an attempt to soothe her. As soon as Ginger handed him the bottle, Ari immediately settled and began sucking contentedly while cradled in her father's arms.
He lifted his gaze to Ginger, who was deathly pale, fear evident in her enormous eyes.
"What's happening, Gav?" she asked anxiously. "Is it possible she was the one who moved the stuffed animals? We can't refute what we just saw, no matter how illogical it may seem. We didn't both imagine it. How could we?"
Gavin wrapped his free arm around his wife, drawing her close so that his daughter and wife were next to him.
"It would seem that our daughter has some very unique abilities," Gavin murmured.
"What are we going to do?" Ginger asked, desperation creeping into her voice. "The very last thing we need is for anyone to find out. What if her birth parents come forward the instant it's revealed that she has . . . ?"
She closed her eyes a moment and laid her head against Gavin's chest, so close to Ari's forehead.
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"What does she have, Gavin? I don't understand it, much less know whatever ability she has is called."
"The evidence points to telekinesis, but she's so young, just a baby. This may merely be the tip of her abilities. We have to prepare for anything. It's more important than ever that we never expose her to the public eye. She won't be able to attend school. At least not until we determine the depth of her powers and she learns to control them."
"That isn't the life I wanted for her," Ginger said brokenly.
Gavin could feel the warmth of her tears soaking through his thin T-shirt and his heart clenched. He squeezed her to him and kissed the top of her head.
"She'll have a good life," he assured. A vow. One he fully intended to see through. "She may not be able to do all the things normal kids her age do, but she will have a full and rich life. You and I will ensure it. Once she's old enough to understand the consequences of using her powers then she'll know never to do anything that draws unwanted attention to herself."
Ginger drew away, her smile trembling but a smile nonetheless. "I always knew she was special. A gift from God when I needed it most. Perhaps it was meant to be. We have the means to protect her, to give her an education and provide her with the necessary guidance and tools that she'll need as she grows up.
"
She hesitated a moment, biting her lip in consternation.
"I suppose my biggest fear, from the moment she appeared in our lives, is that someday someone may come looking for her and want her back."
Gavin slipped the bottle from Ari's grasp and then hoisted her to his shoulder so he could burp her. He looked Ginger squarely in the eye, because he wanted her to know he meant every single word he was about to say.
"Nothing or no one will ever take our daughter from us. As far as most of the world knows we've dropped off the map entirely. I made it known we had moved to Europe and even now reside there. This house can't be traced to me. The business I maintain here is owned by a handful of dummy corporations all belonging to me. It would take a lot of digging, a hell of a lot of red tape to wade through and a hefty dose of luck to ever link me to anything in the United States."
"I don't doubt you, Gav.
Please don't think I do or that I don't have faith in you. But I suppose I'll always live with the fear of having her taken from me. Maybe in time it will diminish. Maybe one day I'll truly relax, but the mother in me realizes that I'll always worry for my baby girl no matter how old she is."
Gavin was utterly sincere in his response. "Me and you both, honey."
This time it came as no surprise when Ari's lovie floated from the floor where it had been dropped and hovered directly over Ari. Gavin plucked it from the air and turned Ari so she could take her stuffed animal.
"I guess she's ready for a nap already," Ginger said ruefully. "I don't suppose there's any point in keeping her lovies from her any longer."
Gavin's expression and tone were wry as he imagined the years ahead. "I think, my darling, that you and I are in for quite an adventure in raising our daughter."
FOUR
TWENTY-TWO YEARS LATER . . .
ARIAL Rochester sighed as she walked through the gate of the private academy where she taught English, a hint of sadness that always accompanied the end of the school year tugging at her.
But she shrugged off the momentary melancholy because soon she would be with her parents, and she'd spend the summer with them wherever her father chose to surprise her mother with this year.
She smiled as her thoughts drifted to her parents. So in love even after so many years of marriage. Her father was fiercely protective of her mother and in turn her mother and father were fiercely protective of her.
With good reason.
Never tell. Never let anyone know. Never use your powers.
It was a mantra her father had instilled in her since she was old enough to remember. She had grown up very sheltered, protected and extremely isolated. With good reason.
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