Annie glanced behind her, looking for Ben.
It happened often, a reflex she couldn’t control any more than she could control sneezing in the spring. She looked behind her, forgetting for the tiniest fraction of a heartbeat that he wouldn’t be zigzagging after her like a butterfly in a flower garden.
Annie gasped, the warm night air suddenly heavy as wet concrete in her lungs. But there was no harm done, was there? She let out a long breath, which caught the star mobile and set it spinning dizzily around, casting jagged shadows over Helen’s tiny sleeping form. Wedged in the cradle around Helen, curling around her spoon-style, was Ben. His cheeks were flushed red, and his blond hair was darkened with sleep sweat into whorls of twisty spikes. In the dim light of the nursery, his hair looked like a cap of thorns.
He was sucking his thumb, rhythmically, as though he were nursing. Annie had weaned him months ago at the start of her pregnancy with Helen. And he’d been nearly t…