The sun shone above the Grace's Café as Sully family sat down to have some lunch. Little Matthew was sitting on Nicole's lap; the child took an instant liking to his Aunt and if a stranger would pass by, he would never think that two of them met only few days ago. At the moment, Nicole was feeding him with some meat and potatoes, promising him that apple pie is next on the menu.
Atlantis and Matthew also joined the others and Grace filled their cups with some coffee while they waited for food to be prepared.
Atlantis looked around the table and a smile lifted the corner of her lips. Never in her life she thought she will be this happy, especially in last few years. Ever since she could remember, she had to work hard in the circus and than her marriage with Paul…She was grateful for the help Cloud Dancing gave her. That vision quest was one of the most amazing things that ever happened to her and to know that Matthew had the same one few years ago still touched her heart deeply.
She looked at everybody at the table. Dr Mike was cutting her meat, smiling at something Sully whispered to her. Than there were Colleen and Brian; Atlantis couldn't help but smile at Brian stealing a cherry tomato from Colleen's plate earning himself a playful kick on shoulder from his big sister.
Katie was sitting on Matthew's lap, concentrated on a piece of toast he had in his hand. It was something Atlantis noticed some time ago; whenever it came to eating, Katie preferred to have Matthew taking care of it. He always put just the amount of jam Katie wanted to on her toast. Atlantis couldn't help but smile at how Katie literally stopped breathing as Matthew slowly dabbed jam into the corner of toast, barely holding his chuckle until Michaela scolded him:
"Matthew! Stop that! Katie, honey, breathe", as Michaela shook her head, Katie let out a breath she didn't know she was holding and Matthew couldn't help but laugh. Katie looked up at her big brother.
"You tricked me again!", she giggled.
"Sorry, Katie", Matthew smiled widely, kissing his little sister's soft hair and gave her a spoon full of strawberry jam without toast "You forgive me?"
Much to Michaela's dismay, Katie swallowed jam in one gulp. Noticing her Mum's look, she grinned at Matthew "Ma's gonna make you payyyy!", she giggled even more as Matthew tickled her and in next moment, she wrapped her chubby little arms around her big brother's neck. It was the game they played often to tease their Ma and Katie loved every second of it.
In that moment, Grace arrived with their meals and Katie looked up at Atlantis "Here, you can have this", she put up her little hand up so Atlantis could take a bit of a toast with jam and Atlantis smiled, taking a bite "Mmmmm…thank you, Katie. It's delicious!"
Katie smiled happily and looked up at Matthew "You'll make another one for me, won't you, Matthew?", she pleaded.
"Of course. But you have to eat soup and meat first. And vegetables", said Matthew, already cutting meat in little pieces to feed his sister. Katie let out a sigh, causing everybody to smile. But, she obeyed and started to eat her soup.
It was than when Atlantis' eyes fell on her sister and son and her heart melted with love; the little boy was fully asleep on his Aunt's lap. Nicole met her sister's gaze and whispered "I fed him already, don't worry. But I think I should lay him down now, he was up since early morning."
"You can take him to the Clinic, there's an empty room upstairs", said Dr Mike.
"I'll go with you", said Colleen.
"No, it's okay, we'll be fine. In fact, I wouldn't mind to get some sleep either", said Nicole "It's been such a long time since I slept peacefully", she got up and gently squeezed her sister's shoulder. Atlantis covered Nicole's hand for a while with her palm and smiled at her. Nicole bend down and kissed her sisters' cheek.
"We'll pick you up before we go home", said Atlantis.
Nodding, Nicole went away toward the clinic. As everybody proceeded with their lunch, Matthew looked at Atlantis. Her lovely face shone with peace and happiness and it warmed his heart.
She looked at him and smiled "What?"
"I've been thinking…actually got something planned…if you agree, that is", he silently said.
As Atlantis looked curiously at him, Matthew took out an envelope from his right pocket and gave it to her.
"What is this?", she asked.
"Open it", he gently said.
Not knowing what to expect, Atlantis slowly teared the envelope and silently gasped.
Four tickets to St. Louis…
"When did you…?", her voice was barely audible.
"I got them this morning. Horace said that the next train is due tomorrow afternoon already. You, Matthew, Nicole and me can pack up right after lunch. Nicole already knows about this. And I wanted to give you something that will take your mind of the trial…", Matthew spoke slowly as he took in Atlantis' facial expression.
Her fingers absently caressed the paper of the train tickets. She tried hard to remember her home. Photo that Nicole gave her enabled her to visualize faces of her parents in her mind…but, what was the sound of her Dad's voice? What was the feeling of her Mum's embrace?
"Atlantis", at the sound of Matthew's voice, Atlantis looked up "Are you ready to see your parents again?"
She swallowed hard, few warm tears escaping her eyes and pressing the tickets to her heart, she nodded "Yes. I'm ready to go home", she smiled with pure joy in her eyes and leaning forward, she gave Matthew a gentle kiss on his lips "Thank you", she whispered as his left hand gently caressed her back.