The Unexpected Everything(165)

By: Morgan Matson

“Hey,” he said, setting down his book and standing up when he saw me, as Bertie lunged toward me, tail wagging wildly.

“Hey,” I said, walking over to Clark, but Bertie got in the way, and I leaned down and scratched his ears, and under his chin, sending his back leg thumping. “Hi to you, too,” I said, stepping around Bertie and giving Clark a kiss. We lingered that way for a moment, and then he kissed my forehead and squeezed my hand.

“How was Toby?”

“She was good,” I said, smiling at him. “Ready?”

He slung his arm around my shoulders and I wrapped mine around his waist, tucking my fingers through his belt loops, and we started to walk, the dog leading the way, sniffing every available rock. “I was born ready.”

“Please don’t say that,” I said, shaking my head, and Clark laughed. “That sounds like something Tom would say.”

“Well, in that case, I’m going to say it all the time,” Clark said. He smiled down at me. “Where were we?”

“They were trying to cross the frozen lake,” I said immediately. “And Marjorie was telling everyone about frostbite prevention.”

“Oh, was she?” Clark asked, but I could hear the laughter in his voice. “Okay. So they’re about to cross the lake . . .” He paused, and I waited, knowing that any minute now he’d suggest a possibility, and we’d go from there.

And as it slowly started to get darker, we walked together, the leaves crunching under our feet, both of us tossing out ideas, trading off, adding a detail here and a moment there, as the world we were building unfolded and the story, without any end that I could see, continued on.

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