Her husband went on shaving. “It’s driving me crazy.”
“No. You know.”
“Owen, he’s not some Dickensian waif you can pluck up like Oliver Twist. He’s your nephew. He has parents.”
“They aren’t fit! God only knows what the kid sees. Pot, sex, meth, whatever walks in that trailer door.” Owen drew an even line through the foam on his cheek and shook the razor in the sink.
“You don’t know that.”
“You mean I can’t prove it.”
“Same thing.” Clarissa let go of the dress to rub his shoulders. “Honey, we’re helpless until they fuck up. And right now, we’ve got our own family to think about. What would we do with a newborn and a baby nearly a year old?”
“We’d figure it out.” Owen started a new razor trail, but blood bloomed behind his blade. He hissed at the sting.
“Stop it. You’re bleeding. That’s going to make me sick!” Clarissa looked at the floor.
He glanced at his reflection in the mirror and went on shaving. When he shook out the razor again, he also grabbed the styptic pencil to rub on the cut.
Finally, Clarissa said, “When everybody’s downstairs at your grandma’s, I could make like I was nauseous and needed to lie down. I could go through their luggage. See what I found.”
Owen cut himself again on the third pass, and this time, he didn’t stop the blood. “And do what, then? Assuming they were dumb enough to have it with them?”
“I guess we’d have to figure that out.” She looked up and met his eyes in the mirror.
“I guess we would.” He set the razor aside and gripped the bathroom counter with both hands. They watched each other that way until the blood dripped down his chin and into the sink, a growing flow, too deep to easily staunch.
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.