Seven minus two

The five Barrowman children shuffled into their living room. They absent-mindedly took their typical spots. The two eldest, Grace and Sam, took up either end of the couch with Faith, the youngest, in between. Hope, just younger than Sam, took up one of their flower-patterned floor pillows, and John, just older than Faith, stood in the corner, leaning against the east wall’s ornate and populated bookcase.

At first, no one said a word—they all stared into the unremarkable center of the room.

Once the pregnant silence had grown too wearisome, Grace spoke up. “Grandma Emma said she can’t come up tonight, but she’ll make it first thing tomorrow morning. She sends her love.”

No voices arose.

Faith buried her head in her hands suddenly. Then, deciding better of it, she pulled her hands away and threw herself into a vacant, brown arm chair. Faith curled herself into a ball, like a cat in a narrow sunbeam, and began to sob. The chair had come as half of a set.

The green one remained empty.

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