Sunlight Moonlight Chapter Twenty Eight


Micah was waiting for her inside the mansion. It was somehow fitting, she thought, that they would meet here, at the Grayson place, where it had all begun.

She had kissed her parents good-bye, promising to come back for a visit if at all possible, begging them not to worry, to be happy for her.

And now she sat in front of the hearth while she nursed the baby, staring at another fire that had started as miraculously as the first one.

’’Are you sure about this, Lainey?’’

Even now, when her heart was heavy at the thought of never seeing her parents again, his voice had the power to ease her heartache.

’’Lainey?’’

’’I'm sure.’’

Micah crossed the short distance between them and knelt before her. ’’If I left, you and your family could move away from here.’’ He swallowed hard, unable to envision a life without her. Without his son. ’’You could make a new life for yourself.’’

’’Micah...’’

’’I only want you to be happy.’’

’’I am happy. With you.’’

He took her hand in his and placed them palm to palm. So alike, he thought. Four fingers and a thumb, fingernails, the ability to hold, to hurt. To heal.

So alike, and yet so different. He stared at the webbing between his thumb and forefinger, at the color of his skin, so much darker than hers.

’’Lainey, we may never be able to come back here.’’

She swallowed hard. ’’I know.’’

He gazed deeply into her eyes, wondering how he could ask her to leave everything she knew - her home, her family, her country - to face an uncertain future with a man who had no home, no family.

’’I love you, Micah,’’ Lainey said, her voice caressing him. ’’I'll miss my folks, and I hope we can come back some time and visit, but if we can't, I'll accept it because I love you. Because my place...’’ She glanced down at the baby, asleep at her breast. ’’Ourplace, is with you.’’

Micah nodded and then, because he couldn't speak past the lump in his throat, he bent forward and kissed her, knowing she would be able to feel the love that welled in his heart, a love deeper than words could ever express.

’’It's time,’’ he said. Rising to his feet, he extinguished the fire, then helped Lainey up.

Her heart was pounding with trepidation and excitement as she watched Micah unearth the remote, and then they were walking down the hill. Lainey was trembling when they reached the place where Micah's ship waited. She had always hated flying, and now she was about to climb aboard a spaceship. The mere thought made her heart beat faster.

Micah deactivated the molecular mask and she watched in open-mouthed wonder as the spacecraft materialized before her eyes. It didn't look like a saucer at all, she thought, more like a sleek, silver-hued bird of prey.

Micah flicked a switch. The hatch opened, revealing a ladder and the dark interior of the ship.

Lainey licked lips gone suddenly dry. A spaceship. This wasn't a dream. It was real.

She couldn't do it, she thought, distraught. She couldn't climb on board that thing and just fly off into the unknown. She couldn't leave her parents, her friends, everything that was familiar. She just couldn't.

She looked at Micah. How could she tell him she had changed her mind, that as much as she loved him, she simply didn't have as much courage as she thought, that she couldn't go with him?

And then she saw the sadness in his eyes and knew she didn't have to say a word.

’’I'm sorry.’’ Tears flooded her eyes, and she wondered how she would ever learn to live with the awful pain she saw reflected in the depths of Micah's eyes, pain that she had caused him.

’’I'm sorry,’’ she whispered again. ’’So sorry.’’

’’It's all right, Lainey,’’ Micah said quietly. ’’I understand.’’ He inclined his head toward the baby. ’’May I?’’

Feeling as though her heart was being torn in half, Lainey handed the baby to Micah, her tears coming harder and faster as Micah cradled the infant in his arms. His eyes glistened with unshed tears as he gazed down at his son.

Tenderly, he caressed the baby's downy cheek, pressed a kiss to the top of its head, lightly stroked the fragile webbing on one tiny hand.

’’Take good care of my son,’’ Micah said, barely able to speak for the anguish that engulfed him. ’’When he's old enough to understand, I hope you'll tell him about me.’’

’’I will. You know I will.’’

Micah hugged the baby close to his heart for a long moment and then, feeling as though his very soul was being ripped to shreds, he returned his son, the only son he would ever have, into Lainey's keeping.

’’Farewell,cominza ,’’ he whispered hoarsely. ’’Be well.’’

He kissed her then, quickly, deeply, for the last time. She saw the tears in his eyes, tears he made no effort to hide, and then he was walking away from her, and Lainey knew with sudden painful clarity that when he was gone, her only chance for lasting happiness would have gone with him.

’’Micah! Wait for me!’’ she cried, afraid now that he would leave her behind. ’’Micah, please wait!’’

She saw him hesitate, saw him turn, the hope in his silver-blue eyes almost too painful to behold, and then she was running after him, her fear of the unknown swallowed up in the thought of spending the rest of her life without him.

’’Lainey!’’ He caught her in his arms, careful not to crush the baby, as his tears mingled with hers. ’’Lainey, are you sure?’’

’’I'm sure. Oh, Micah, I've never been surer of anything in my life.’’

’’I'll make you happy, Lainey, I promise.’’

’’You already make me happy.’’ She smiled up at him through her tears. ’’Let's go.’’

Epilogue

Lainey sat at her bedroom window, staring out at the night sky. Millions of stars twinkled overhead, dazzling in their number. Somewhere out there, amongst all those stars, was a small planet she had once called home. Earth. In two days, she would be on her way to Earth. She could hardly wait to see her parents again.

A soft sigh escaped her lips. So much had happened in the last five years. She had been places and seen things she had never dreamed existed as they explored the galaxy, looking for a place to settle down.

In the end, they had made their home on a small planet named Marna Two, which seemed to be inhabited by people who didn't fit in anywhere else.

Marna Two was a lovely place, reminiscent, in many ways, of Earth. The sky was not quite blue, not quite lavender, but something in between. There were grass and trees, oceans and lakes, furry animals and brightly colored birds.

As Lainey had always believed, there were lots of different kinds of people: some with blue hair and very pale skin, others who were incredibly hirsute with enormous eyes. And yet, as varied as their appearances, customs, and languages might be, they were all human in shape, reminding her of a Bible verse found in Genesis:

’’So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;male and female created he them.’’

They had lived on Marna Two for almost four years now, and Lainey was happier than she had ever been in her life. Though they lived on a different planet, life was not so different from the way it had been on Earth. People worked and played, got married and had babies, worried about their children, worshiped as they saw fit.

Micah worked for the Xanthian Peace Keeping Force as a liason between Marna Two and the other planets in the galaxy. It wasn't quite as exciting as his previous occupation, but it was far less dangerous, and it enabled him to spend long hours piloting his own spacecraft.

Months of flying around the galaxy looking for a home had cured Lainey of her fear of flying, and she and the children often accompanied Micah to distant planets while he discussed trade agreements or soothed ruffled feathers.

Best of all, she was able to keep writing. Who would have thought that there would be an audience for mystery novels on a small planet at the east end of the Milky Way? But there was, a voracious market that bought everything she turned out and asked for more.

Yes, she thought, turning away from the window, it had been a wonderful five years.

Filled with a sense of joy that made sitting still impossible, Lainey walked down the hallway to the nursery and peeked inside. The twins, Bronte and Bronwyn, were sleeping peacefully. They were almost three years old, and Lainey was certain they were the most beautiful, most precocious little girls ever born. Micah loved his son, beaming with pride at Mike's every new accomplishment, but the whole family knew that these two little girls had their father completely captivated.

After drawing the covers over her daughters, Lainey crossed the hallway and opened the door to Mike's bedroom. As usual, he lay sprawled on his back, one arm thrown over his head. He was a handsome boy, the spitting image of his father except for his curly black hair.

Quietly, she closed the door behind her and went down the stairs to the first level. She found Micah in the kitchen, hunched over the table, her latest manuscript spread out in front of him.

’’Well, what do you think?’’ Lainey asked. Standing behind him, she draped her hands over Micah's shoulders and nuzzled his ear. ’’Will it sell?’’

’’It's a little different from your usual stuff, isn't it?’’ Turning his head, Micah kissed her fingertips.

’’A little. Do you think anyone will believe it?’’

Chuckling softly, Micah pulled Lainey into his lap. ’’I don't know,cominza ,’’ he mused, trailing kisses over her face and neck. ’’Spaceships and alien lovers are pretty far-fetched.’’

Lainey poked him in the ribs. The story was their story, a modern-day romance that took the heroine to heaven and beyond.

Micah groaned in mock pain as she nudged him in the side again, and then he captured her lips with his, savoring her warmth, her sweetness. The fire between them had never cooled. If anything, the attraction that had always been there, the passion and the deep inner love they had shared almost from the beginning, had only grown stronger.

His arm curved around her waist, drawing her closer still. Resting his head on her breast, he breathed in the fragrance that was Lainey. His woman. His wife. The mother of his children. The author of his happiness.

Daily, he thanked whatever fates had caused his ship to crash on a distant planet, just as he thanked the Supreme Being for the woman in his arms, for the children she had blessed him with, for the love and devotion that warmed him, heart and soul.

’’Tell me,’’ Micah murmured as he trailed moist kisses along the side of her neck, ’’how does the story end?’’

Lainey gazed deep into her husband's silver-blue eyes, expressive, beautiful eyes that reflected the fathomless depths of his love.

’’Can't you guess?’’ she asked, a small happy smile curving her lips. ’’They lived and loved happily ever after.’’

He should have known, Micah thought. Romantic that she was, all Lainey's books ended the same. And as he drew her into his arms and kissed her, he vowed to do everything in his power to ensure that they, too, would live and love happily ever after.

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