Three hours. Bridgette had lasted three hours before she'd finally fallen asleep, curled half on the chair in the living room, and the other half of her laying over both her father's lap and the big german shepherd's head where it had been plopped up on the arm of the chair.
Matthew had sat there for another hour past that, quietly looking out the windows at the late-night traffic outside. The more he thought about it, the more he was tempted to keep the kids home immediately. If they were still living on base and attending a school on base, he wouldn't have worried too much. But these were civillian schools... and he hadn't been very impressed with their security to begin with. Now, when it was so absolutely critical... he didn't have faith in the public schools to actually do what they were supposed to do.
Matthew glanced at the clock briefly; it was just after three in the morning. With a sigh, he reached for his watch, sliding it back onto his wrist. It acted as a power dampener as well as telling time, and he didn't want to wake Bridgette up enough to make her walk back to her room.
Reaching down, he scooped Bridgette up and got to his feet. She mumbled once or twice, but as was common for her when she was really exhausted, she didn't fully wake up.
Matthew didn't speak; he didn't make any noise. He just stepped around Boomer, noting with the back of his mind that the dog was trotting alongside of him as he started back to the stairs. He got them upstairs, and Boomer curled up to the side of his and Jessica's bedroom. He ducked the doorway as he entered Bridgette's bedroom and tucked the sleepy preteen back into her bed.
For a couple of minutes, he stood in the doorway watching her sleep, and then he glanced at the other, loudly empty bed to the other side of the room. Biting his lip, Matthew closed the door and headed back towards the living room, stopping only long enough to grab a blanket from the linen closet on his way.
Matthew had decided that he was sleeping on the couch for the night. He told himself it was to make sure anything coming into the place had to go past him first... but the underlying reason was really that he couldn't sleep in his own room and in a bed that had been shared for years with a woman that was never coming home again.
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