2-18 Portsmouth, New Hampshire

“Do you remember your family?” I asked Jasper.

He nuzzled himself into my shoulder, before he sighed.

“Alice…these conversations end badly.”

I shrugged. “I want to know.”

“You don’t remember yours.”

“I know I don’t. That’s not the point.”

He rolled over in bed, flinging one arm over his head and staring up at the ceiling. I took advantage of the hole and snuggled up to him, resting my head against his chest under his arm.

It took him a long time to answer.

“I had two brothers,” he said quietly. “I don’t really remember their names. Tad, maybe. I think that’s what we called one of them.”


“Younger.” He closed his eyes. “I went off to war because I had to protect them.”

“And your parents?”

“Mama was a washerwoman. Daddy ranched, until the Indians came. That was before the government made the treaty with them.” He grimaced.

“Don’t you think that’s fair?”

Jasper rolled over, propping his head up on one hand.

We see well in the dark, much better than humans—or so I’m told. So I could see every bit of Jasper’s body as he lay on top of the covers, the way his eyebrow wrinkled a little bit as he frowned at me.

“Life isn’t fair, Alice,” he said.

He got up and walked to the window without taking a blanket. The moonlight bounced off his naked skin, making him look an odd shade of blue.

“Nothing about any of this is fair to a one of us.”


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