Ellinor flashed a smile and reached out to pinch Veronica’s cheek. “Okay, Veronica,” she soothed, “I’ll remember to share some of my worries with you next time.”
But Veronica wasn’t fooled. She knew Ellinor was just humoring her. Despite her fierce independence and stubbornness, which were qualities Veronica admired, she also recognized that they were Ellinor’s greatest weaknesses. It was heartbreaking to see her carry such heavy burdens alone.
Veronica sighed longingly as she wished for her brother to magically appear. He was the only one who could spoil Ellinor and take some of those burdens off her shoulders.
“Ellinor.” She began, her voice laced with worry. “What do you think he’s doing right now?”
“It’s late; he’s probably asleep by now.” Ellinor squinted at her as she replied.
Veronica huffed. “Asleep? Lucky him. All the pressure has been on you for the past three years.”
“Enough, Veronica.” Ellinor was getting annoyed. “Go get some sleep. I need to get the kids bathed and to bed. And remember, don’t wake Grandma and Grandpa.”
After Veronica reluctantly agreed and disappeared upstairs, Ellinor was left alone. She gazed out the window at the moon, wondering if he was truly asleep.
She then proceeded to get the kids ready for bed.
After bathing her daughter, Layla, and instructing Baber to help Adrian, she noticed her phone lighting up. After reaching for it, she saw that it was an encrypted message. Only Theo would send something like that.
Her heart thudded in her chest as she tried to decrypt the message.
It read, “Not home yet?”
Even though it was just text, she could sense his irritation. She quickly typed back, “Home now. Aren’t you asleep?
A few seconds later, his reply came through. “Who did you go to the amusement park with today?”
Finally, he had asked. She knew he wouldn’t have been able to sleep without knowing, but she was a bit puzzled by his question. Hadn’t she video-called him from there?
Frowning, she texted back, “Just me.”
There was a longer pause before he replied, “Just you, with three kids?”
She quickly responded, “What’s wrong with that?”
Marcus shot back, “You went alone to an amusement park with three kids. How could you manage that?”
Ellinor couldn’t help but laugh. She replied, “What do you think? I’ve been managing on my own for the past three years!”
In the depths of the night, Marcus’ heart ached as he read her message. She had endured so much over the past three years.
After a while, he finally typed back, “Sorry… Wait for me.”
Ellinor didn’t reply. She had to get back to drying her sons’ hair.