C 26

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The sounds of laughter quickly snapped me out of my despair. I wiped my swollen eyes and stared ahead…my mouth dropped in shock at what I saw before me.
 
Rachel and Milo were in the floor playing together. Rachel tickled him and threw him up in the air. Each time she caught him, he giggled even louder than before. “Look who’s finally here!” Rachel called to me when she finally noticed me standing there. Milo turned his head to me and grinned. “Mama!” He cried happily and reached his arms out for me.
 
I rushed over to them and pulled Milo close to my chest. “He’s okay. I’m just so glad he’s okay.” I kept repeating as I held him tightly and rocked him back and forth. “Of course he’s okay, Izzy.” Rachel raised her eyebrows and stared at me. “Why wouldn’t he be?” Milo squirmed in my lap and began to play with the bottom of my sweater. He wasn’t paying any attention to what was being said. I peered over the top of his head at Rachel. “I just came from Ricky’s…the cops were there. I know it was you, Rach. But why?” She avoided my eyes. “There was no talking to them. They wouldn’t let him go without a fight.” She smiled and ruffled Milo’s hair. “And I can see why. He’s a great kid, Izzy.” She then sighed loudly and stared up at the ceiling.
 
“So I did what I had to do. And it had to happen, Izzy. You know that. There was just no other way around it.” I looked down at my son…I was so happy to hold him once more. But at what cost? “What about Milo…did he see? You didn’t do it in front of him…did you?” I frowned at her in horror. “Of course not!” She insisted. “He heard the gun go off…but I told him it was fireworks outside.” She winked at me. “But you should know that I would never do anything to harm him in any way. He’s yours. And I love you. Therefore that means I love him too.” She placed her hand over the top of mine. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or terrified…so I went with my gut feeling.
 
“Rach…I-” I began to say…but I was immediately interrupted by a loud knock at the door.
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