They stayed that way for a long time, talking, reassuring each other that yes, this had really happened. They were really together again. Carol Jean felt like she had so much to tell Will that she would never be able to fill him in on the years that he’d missed. Yet, as they spoke, she realized that he knew. Somehow he knew that Stella had five children. He knew that Carol Jean worried about her. Stella always seemed a little tired. Will knew that she was afraid Stella’s second child had a learning disability but Stella refused to consider it.
Will somehow knew about their second child, Josie. He knew that Josie and Steve wanted children more than anything and so far they’d only had miscarriages. “They’ll be OK,” Will assured her, with his arms still wrapped around her. And Stella could see that he was right.
And Will knew about Freddy.
Losing his father at a young age had been a blow to Freddy. He didn’t even have the steadying influences of his older sisters around because they had already grown up and left home. It had just been Freddy and Carol Jean and that first year, Carol Jean had cried a lot and not been a very attentive mother.
First Freddy had started smoking, then drinking. It had all come to a crisis the summer before his senior year when he had wrecked his car, drunk driving. Will knew all about it. “I was there,” Will said, “I know.” He patted Carol Jean’s arm and she wondered if all that time when she thought she’d been alone, maybe she hadn’t been.
“We got him back on track though, didn’t we?” Will asked.
And they had, well she had. Carol Jean still wasn’t sure how much credit Will deserved.
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