Title: 3 hours and 2,794 miles
Author's Notes: I own nothing from Touch. No money is made and no infringement is intended.
3 hours and 2,794 Miles
It was hard to sit still. It was so hard to sit still when all he wanted to do was dance around this motel room and cheer. Dance, scream, laugh, hug Jake tight against his chest.
But that would be a bad idea. If nothing else, being the parent of a unique and precious child had taught him patience.
Today had been a great day. A fantastic day. Jake had touched him. Jake had reached out of his own free will and wrapped that tiny hand around two of his fingers. Jake, who screamed, kicked, struggled, and even bit when anyone touched him—even and sometimes especially his own father—had reached out and voluntarily held his hand. But if Martin pushed him…
He would never want to follow up that amazing few minutes of holding Jake's hand as they stared out at the ocean with having his son pull away from him screaming.
And while he loved sitting here watching his son curled up asleep, safe and sound and finally all his again… Martin needed something to finish up this amazing day, to make this feeling a little more real.
He shifted enough to reach for his cell phone and reluctantly stood up next to the bed. Jake was out like a light but he didn't want to wake him right now. Martin's fingers punched her number from memory as he leaned against the wall on the far side of the room. The new burner phone didn't have anyone programmed in. And he didn't want a number in his name on her call history.
Clea had already risked enough for the two of them. "Hello?"
He was smiling, just at the sound of her voice. "It's me, can you talk?"
"Of course I can. Hold on just a second." There was a sudden drop in the background noise on her end of the line. Clea must have ducked into another room. "It's good to hear from you, Martin. How are you guys?"
Martin meant to tell her any number of details about the trip to California. Maybe just describe the whole story from the beginning. But that wasn't what happened. He opened his mouth and the words were just there, already on the tip of his tongue. "He touched me today, Clea. Jake just reached out and held my hand. It was…"
"Oh, Martin. That's amazing!" Her voice caught just a little and Martin found himself imagining the smile that had to be on her face. He wished he could see it in person right now. "You must be over the moon."
"I think I'm orbiting Jupiter actually. I can count the times he's let me touch him on one hand and this is the first time he's ever really touched me on purpose." Martin lifted that hand to his face and rubbed those two fingers that Jake had held across his lips. He could still feel the warmth of that small hand against his skin. "It was… I… it's all I can do not to drag him into a hug right now… even though he's sleeping, even knowing he wouldn't let me."
"I can understand that completely, Martin." He could hear her smiling, adored the warmth and caring in her voice. "Maybe this is a sign that he's going to be able to reach out more. Like how he's been communicating better with both of us."
It had been such a busy few days, he'd almost forgotten completely. "And he's been communicating more and more. When you sent him home, he left me a message to tell me he'd gone to say goodbye to his mother. He's the one who decided where we should go. So much has happened." Martin paused, feeling something catching at the back of his throat. This would be both easier and harder if Clea were a few feet instead of a few thousand miles away. "And so much of it wouldn't have been possible without you. Thank you, Clea, thank you for everything."
"I would do it all over again, so there's nothing to thank me for. Jake is an amazing child. Just getting to spend a little time with the Bohm gentlemen is something I wouldn't give up." His heart was in his throat for one simple reason. He could hear in her voice that she meant every single word and it made the miles between them seem even longer.
"Jake and I miss you, too." Martin knew she had to hear something in his voice too, probably more than he'd meant there to be. Clearing his throat just a little, he tried to change topics. "Jake found Amelia's mother on a pier today. She was following the numbers too."
"You said a lot had happened. Tell me everything. Between the four of us maybe we can put the pieces together faster." Now they were on safer ground. The mysterious quest they'd started on together was a perfect reason for the conversation to continue, even if it wasn't the best of ideas.
"Only if you'll tell me what happened on your end after we left."
"Deal, you first. What makes Amelia's mother think she'd be… where ever you are. Where are you guys, anyway?"
"Los Angeles. Sarah's birth date was the number of the greyhound bus. But Jake found us a car… sort of…"
Eventually Martin sat back down on the edge of Jake's bed to spare his legs without giving up the call. Jake didn't seem to mind the conversation that continued for another thirty minutes. But eventually they'd covered and analyzed all the current information and he should let her go. Even if he didn't want to. "Be careful, Clea, and I'll talk to you again soon."
"You too, Martin, on both parts of that. You guys take care of each other and … if you ever get the chance… give Jake a great big hug for me."
Now his throat was tight again, but he wouldn't give up this feeling for anything. "In a heartbeat, Clea, in a heartbeat. Goodnight."
"Goodnight, Martin. I'll talk to you soon."
The click of the call ending seemed loud in his ear. Martin reluctantly tucked the cell back into his pocket before staring down at Jake. His boy was still fast asleep under the blankets. One arm was looped around the large crystal, the one that represented the universe. The edge of his notebook poked out from under the edge of his pillow. Dark hair curled against his forehead. Martin risked it just enough to brush back some of those curls with his fingertips.
It almost looked like Jake was smiling in his sleep, little fingers curled around the edge of the blanket like they'd curled around his fingers at the pier.
Martin should try to get some sleep himself. But he didn't want to miss a moment of this feeling. Clea's voice in his ear and the remembered warmth of Jake holding his hand.