And... I'm actually posting them in somewhat chronological order
12: The Turn of the Earth
Callie’s always been very time-conscious. In elementary school, she would keep track of her activities on a large desk calendar. She’d set goals back then, too. Ride the bike without training wheels by next birthday. Learn the multiplication table before Christmas. As she’d gotten older the habit continued. Graduate high school before seventeen. Get degree then start with Jonas by twenty-first birthday.
An impulsive conversation with Micah Harkness, however, threw her entire plans and sense of timing straight out the window. If she were to find any of the old lists she’d made weeks before meeting Micah, she knows that there isn’t anything she could check off. It feels odd to not to have any goals left to make. She’s stuck working as an analyst with Jonas, and there’s little room for advancement. She can’t abandon Jenna for her job. Callie loves the toddler as if she were her own.
Finding a book on child development gives her a renewed sense of timing, of how to measure the turn of the earth. One afternoon while Jenna’s napping and Micah’s on assignment, Callie sits down with a calendar and wire-bound notebook. Use utensils by sixteen months. Start potty-training by nineteen months.
“How long are you going to be my baby girl?”
“Forever.” A high-pitched, girlish giggle. “Silly Daddy.”
Callie pushes away from the doorframe and quietly retreats. She hadn’t meant to eavesdrop on father and daughter, but they’re absolutely adorable when Micah isn’t trying to be Super Dad and Jenna isn’t testing the limits of his patience. She grabs the cordless phone and slips out onto the patio.
She remembers making a similar promise long ago. She’d been thirteen, heavily sedated, and in a stark, white hospital room. She’d promised Jonas forever because he’d needed to hear it as desperately as she’d needed to say it. They’d clung to each other because they were all each other had left.
Time hasn’t changed things. She’s still the only family he has left. Despite having a husband and step-daughter, Callie needs Jonas as much now as she did back then. Yet, she brushed him aside to play house with Micah and Jenna.
Her fingers tremble as she hits the speed-dial. Jonas picks up on the first ring.
“Joe, I still mean it, you know.”
“The hell are you talking about, Cal?”
“Forever. Me and you. The Unstoppable Quinns.”
“I know, sweets. Me, too.”