Chapter One, Section 4

Crumbling VictorianJeremy Brooks sat cross-legged, in a circle of parents and toddlers, with three-year-old Ondine on his lap. They were singing The Wheels on the Bus and his daughter was belting it out with glee. As it was the millionth time Jeremy had sung this song, he could pretty much cruise on autopilot as he thought about his mother’s house on Turkey Shore Road.

He felt a slight bump in his stomach. He looked down, but the kick wasn’t from Ondine. Maybe it was sadness – he did love that house and he had been happy there. Or maybe it was relief – now he wouldn’t have to field those phone calls about her leaking roof and rotting floorboards.   Earlier that morning, as his wife dressed for work, she had tried to allay his fears. “Don’t feel guilty,” Perry said, pinning a silver heart on her gold cardigan. “This is going to be a good thing for your mom. She finally has an opportunity to change up her life! It’s really very exciting.”

“I wish Scott or Charlotte lived closer and could help out more…” Jeremy began.

“That’s never going to happen!” Perry shot a sympathetic smile at her dreamy, deluded husband. “And you have your own family to take care of right now.”

Back in the pre-school circle, Jeremy felt a flutter on his cheek. It was Ondine, swiping his face with her sticky fingers.

“Daddy’s not singing!”

“You’re right,” Jeremy nodded. “‘Round and round, round and round’.”